I have known all along how and when my day dreaming began. In middle school, high school and through half of my college I had these chronic headache's accompanied by sinus inflammation, eye watering etc that made it impossible for me to concentrate on the outside world. This pressure in my head would build up right in the morning and with great pain I would get through half of the day, with my head down and wyes staring at the floor, after which it would subside and I could relax. It grew progressively worse throughout the period that it ailed me, from pretty benign in middle school(age:12) to killer at the end of school(age:17).

Somewhere in-between compensating began, I would put my head down in school and looking at nothing I would concentrate on my inner world, making dreadful fantasies with sprinkle of happiness but mostly sacrifice, anger and dread. My favourite one was where I would save people trapped in the very building I was in from zombie infestation that had occurred(derived from Resident Evil 4).  Only once my sinusitis and headache was cured two years ago did I actually notice how much I Day Dreamed! And my dreams are full of dread and painful things occurring; things like having a mutilating accident or killing my brother by some ill mistake, diseases etc. Don't get me wrong, I would also fantasise a lot of Narcissistic content and a lot of sexual stuff too(I was a teenager!) but the sum total of my Day Dream was, as I said, Dreadful. 

Lately I managed to minimise my Day Dream by acknowledging their negativity and using it as a negative reinforcement to forcefully stop MD. But it wasn't until I had read Eretaia's brilliant post titled "cure to maladaptive daydreaming" did I make all the connections and have a breakthrough. I have been using Day Dreaming to mask my every inability and take refuge in this alternate reality, from using it purely as mind diversion from pain, I learnt to use it to 'dissociate' from my every inability and weakness stemming mainly from my inability to apply myself ever since this whole misadventure began. 

The arguments at Eretaia's post brought me to think: can it be that there are those of us who use it purely for mind diversion from pain and on the other hand those who use it to creatively express themselves unbarred from obstacles of reality. And if there is a whole gradient of those in between doing a little bit of both. I think which camp you are from depends on your answer to this: Does day-dreaming enable you? or Does it disable you?

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I fall somewhere in between - nothing started/triggered my MD....it just did. No pain, no drama, no anything. I believe we're just wired to get MD. Is it a coping mechanism now? Kinda. But, it causes as much trouble, as it soothes. I don't believe depression/anxiety/OCD, caused my MD...I believe my MD left me wide open for anything to take root.

Does my MD enable my creativity and would I be a different person without it? Yes. Would I give it up if I had better control over it. No. I have a hate/love relationship with my MD. For example: in school and uni it worked for me - it gave me an incredible memory, but also focus and as a journalism/politics grad, it was great in analysing problems from all sides.

The point is, I don't think you can box MD into one category. Who knows...while we might all have the same 'quirks', we could all be on a different 'levels' of the same 'disorder'. In some of us it might be deeper rooted than in others - which is why the techniques mentioned in Eretaia's post just doesn't work for us (and because we're not "dissociating"). Different strokes for different folks.

(Also before we stumble down this rabbit hole again, I recommended everyone at least peak at the current research we have. ;-) )

Eretaia's method is working for me, atleast it seems to, too early to tell. I don't have a very elaborate imagination and am not very creative either. What I am is a very deep thinker, which is why i guess I got pushed this way, but I am a deep thinker of pragmatic kind and thats why I don't want to day dream. I know all Day Dreamers are deep thinkers but I am like a handy man, I am there to think the less interesting but practical stuff (like thermodynamics) ;D. Eretaia's method is busting my chops but I'm feeling bouts of sharp consciousness like never before and I want that.

Ohhh, I want to bawl my eyes out whenever I read those posts of mine are actually helping someone. :)

Don't do that!! ;D

gonna appolagize already for the length of this thing. 

"use it to creatively express themselves unbarred from obstacles of reality"

that's me!

First daydreams I remember where from when I was around 5 years or younger. Did I dream about myself as an ideal superhero? Sure, but that would go away in about a year. The thing is, I was a toddler, and not only that, I was a very dumb toddler that didn't know anything more about the world than the things closest to me. (nothing changed over the years btw haha) As a toddler I was happy. Hell I didn't even know what pain or sadness was. The only villains in my daydreams were litterally tigers and lions because as a kid I only knew these animals could eat you, and besides that the world was one big pile of happiness.

For a toddler this is not unusual. But what isn't usual is that my daydreaming activity and abbilities -not just stuck but- got better and more and more and more over the years. 'till I reached the point at age 17 where I realised I no longer needed reality to be my source of inspiration, because I had made up enough content in my own head and I had become a skilled dreamer that could come up with ideas, images, sounds and emotions out of thin air.

So why am I telling this? To make clear that I didn't flee into my own imagination to hide from anything in reality. It just so happens to be that my head is my own "place". My home. My collection of worlds with endless building possibilities. I play videogames, I make stories, I watch movies, I even used to meet friends and have houses where I lived. All of that, but it is only happening in my head. And nothing in reality can live up to it. I don't dissociate from reality to hide from hurt. I dissociate from reality because reality is boring. The fact that reality isn't as "perfect" as the web of dreams in my head, rarely makes me sad.  Social acceptance or friends never bothered me (I'm autistic) and I never cared about who knows what is missing in my personal life. I can only name 2 things that I find a pitty for not existing in reality: 1) I don't like not being able to create as much in reality as I can in my head, but this is not realy a problem because I can create it all in my head anyways. I don't need it to exist irl. 2) lack of romance, but I don't have any romance in my head, it's just nowhere and so this is nothing more but a frustration many people of my age seem to have. I'm only seperated from reality, because realy nothing is drawing me towards it. it doesn't apeal to me. It's just this boring neutral thing that is sitting in my way .

MDD is not at all a problem to me. In fact it is me. It is who I've been my entire life, and I never knew anything different from using my head as an endless generater of intangeble matter and stories. However in order to succeed at things in life (graduating, getting married, getting a job, staying in touch with friends) I need to let go my MDD. However like I said, I don't realy care about reality so I just experience this as something annoying people want from me. They want me to do all these stuff instead of dreaming. I don't want it  that muh. Not like I don't want it, but I wouldn't rate it over my great imagination.

So to answer that last question: Daydreaming enables me to be me, but it disables me to be whoever would make my parents proud, whoever would make a woman fall in love, whoever would create something awesome for everyone to enjoy, whoever would be  a great employee at a company, etc.

So MDD is a problem. But it's not my problem. It is the cause of all problems everyone else seems to have with me. But MDD does not bother me. it just bothers me that it bothers others. People want me to stop dreaming. But without these dreams I wouldn't be me. And actually I don't know how to feel whene people ask me to stop dreaming, go out and stay in touch with the world. It's like the world in it's entirety doesn't want me to be me.

About that gradient;

Now or than I find myself standing in the middle of the gradient.

Sure when something bad happens irl, I can daydream about myself solving the situationss. I do get through sad periods some times, and in these cases I don't daydream more than usually, but the subjects of the daydreams do change. However this sadness irl is not the cause of my MDD's existance. For us daydreaming is a "dissease" because we do to much of it, but "normal" people daydream too and they also daydream about themselfs being awesome etc. Just without the total obsession we have. I would say that this type of daydreaming is bound to happen, and it is completely normal as long as it doesn't become a total obsession. For me it's no obsesion, so I refuse to believe bad things in life are the main cause for MDD. If it turns out I do daydream more to escape reality than "normal" people do. I would say this is still pretty logical because I am used to daydream extensivly for other reasons.

Nothing is ever black or white ;) same goes for my daydreaming and I have had times in my life where my imagination was my "shield" to protect me from harm. Or I used my imagination to try to understand feelings that I couldn't understand because of my autism. Or I used my imagination to think about difficult life's questions. But in general, my daydreaming is nothing more but a massive creative outled. Just my mind that is spiraling away, making dreams that keep branching out and go absolutely nowhere.

I stumbled upon Eretaia's post so many times but never took effort to read it (Sorryyyy! my fault completely!) I always fear these tests will only talk about OCD depression and social neglect and what else, and I just feel these things don't apply to me :/

I swear I will start reading it soon though!

I hope I kind of gave a valuable input, and sorry for the length

Strength and love

-roelifant

Great post like always Roel. Always fascinated that we totally use our MD for different things. Just shows there are two or more sides to every story. 

My daydreams are very dark and often create a sense of dread. Only when I have experienced something new in my life does my daydreams become a source of inspiration.

It's also repetitive and OCDish. I use the same storylines over and over and twist them a bit to suit my mood. The effect in real life is outright paralyzing.

One example of this is that I like to daydream about revenge or calling someone out. I have social phobia and people sense this and take advantage of it. Instead of confronting these crushing emotions, I use a lot of my time up raging at people in my head. I never 'have to' speak up, but you know what? I still feel like every time I do this instead of calling someone out, it's taking little bites of me(sortof like i piranha, I don't know). And this is just one example of how MD keeps me in a state of chronic passivity and anxiety.

The irony is that I am actually quite creatively gifted. Always has been. In music, in writing and in all kinds of visual arts - but daydreaming and depression took over when I was 12, and then I just stopped getting ideas. 

Only when I start doing stuff and start talking to actual, real and spontaneous people do I feel this special drive to create and express myself. It is hard to stay in this state, though, when I have to deal with all of these previously frozen emotions and wasted opportunities.

Oh! maybe we are in the same boat. After reading about others saying how creative and entertaining their daydreams are I was confounded as to why are my daydreams useless.

And I understand the stuff about previously frozen emotions and wasted opportunities too. Since eight years or so ago I had been living in a zombie like state, unaware of my emotions and state of affairs. It only hit me two years ago that I hadn't been applying myself and had been reclusive and hiding in my mind at every opportunity. I hadn't been connecting with myself or others and lost so much time at such crucial age that it gnaws at me. And all the emotions I kept bottled up I have forgotten how to express myself. And whenever I take a step forward so much unresolved stuff comes flying at me that should have been addressed long ago.

Sophie said:

My daydreams are very dark and often create a sense of dread. Only when I have experienced something new in my life does my daydreams become a source of inspiration.

It's also repetitive and OCDish. I use the same storylines over and over and twist them a bit to suit my mood. The effect in real life is outright paralyzing.

One example of this is that I like to daydream about revenge or calling someone out. I have social phobia and people sense this and take advantage of it. Instead of confronting these crushing emotions, I use a lot of my time up raging at people in my head. I never 'have to' speak up, but you know what? I still feel like every time I do this instead of calling someone out, it's taking little bites of me(sortof like i piranha, I don't know). And this is just one example of how MD keeps me in a state of chronic passivity and anxiety.

The irony is that I am actually quite creatively gifted. Always has been. In music, in writing and in all kinds of visual arts - but daydreaming and depression took over when I was 12, and then I just stopped getting ideas. 

Only when I start doing stuff and start talking to actual, real and spontaneous people do I feel this special drive to create and express myself. It is hard to stay in this state, though, when I have to deal with all of these previously frozen emotions and wasted opportunities.

Yes, I think we have quite a lot in common! I relate to everything you have written. Let me know anytime if you find a way to make progress. I'm doing much better but could always use advice!

I was said:

Oh! maybe we are in the same boat. After reading about others saying how creative and entertaining their daydreams are I was confounded as to why are my daydreams useless.

And I understand the stuff about previously frozen emotions and wasted opportunities too. Since eight years or so ago I had been living in a zombie like state, unaware of my emotions and state of affairs. It only hit me two years ago that I hadn't been applying myself and had been reclusive and hiding in my mind at every opportunity. I hadn't been connecting with myself or others and lost so much time at such crucial age that it gnaws at me. And all the emotions I kept bottled up I have forgotten how to express myself. And whenever I take a step forward so much unresolved stuff comes flying at me that should have been addressed long ago.

Sophie said:

My daydreams are very dark and often create a sense of dread. Only when I have experienced something new in my life does my daydreams become a source of inspiration.

It's also repetitive and OCDish. I use the same storylines over and over and twist them a bit to suit my mood. The effect in real life is outright paralyzing.

One example of this is that I like to daydream about revenge or calling someone out. I have social phobia and people sense this and take advantage of it. Instead of confronting these crushing emotions, I use a lot of my time up raging at people in my head. I never 'have to' speak up, but you know what? I still feel like every time I do this instead of calling someone out, it's taking little bites of me(sortof like i piranha, I don't know). And this is just one example of how MD keeps me in a state of chronic passivity and anxiety.

The irony is that I am actually quite creatively gifted. Always has been. In music, in writing and in all kinds of visual arts - but daydreaming and depression took over when I was 12, and then I just stopped getting ideas. 

Only when I start doing stuff and start talking to actual, real and spontaneous people do I feel this special drive to create and express myself. It is hard to stay in this state, though, when I have to deal with all of these previously frozen emotions and wasted opportunities.

And one last thing: it can get better. Before realizing that people in class and in my neighborhood were making fun of me, I was making great process. It really helped me to write in my journal every single day and come up with new techniques. I reduced my MD to a very tolerable level before isolating myself completely again(social anxiety and maladaptive daydreaming are very fond of each other in my case).I lost all of my previous energy, stopped journaling and stopped going outside my own house unless I absolutely had to. A pessimist might say that since I've returned to my previous social ways, my efforts were futile and didn't matter much at all.

But even now I'm not nearly as passive as I was before. I have taken up drawing again, and I've restarted my quest to find new music. I exercise daily now and I eat much more healthy than before. Even though I'm still dead-faced a lot of the time, I have noticed that people are becoming more animated around me and that more guys consider me girlfriend material - proof that I seem much more healthy and responsive than before.


And that was all because of past effort. I tried hard for a little while, and it ended up changing my life. Now that I'm ready to give it a go again I have even more energy and tools at my disposal than I did before. So please don't despair(too much - I know how terrible this particular faction of MD is, so a little despair is to be expected!). Any positive change, no matter how small, will probably make you a happier person than you were before. I know I am.

Thank you for the encouraging words. I'm glad you're finding it in you. But don't worry, I'm doing alright too. I know it can get better and is actually getting better for me. But I am still yet to find my old self, I don't know where it's buried but I'm gonna fight tooth and nail to get my enthusiasm and curiosity back.

Journal keeping is quite cool. You used to that when you were a kid? I remember I used to keep a little diary when I was 10. I'd summarise dragon ballz episodes in it as I saw them on T.V. and I'd put other out of mundane stuff in it. I don't know where those instincts are anymore. I'd also always finish my science textbook on my own before the teacher. Now it seems like I have to fight logic or find logic to do anything anymore. While so much good things came spontaneously before. It truly feels like I was alive until I was 12 or 13 and then some machine took over.

I'm sorry if I got negative there. I just wanted an outlet to my thoughts. On a brighter side I know what I must do now, I try to experience things and not make sense of them, and face pain head on as it comes so it does its job and I can be free from it. It's actually working pretty well for me.

I was, if I can judge from what you're saying, you seem to be very smart and self-conscious. Like extremely smart and self-conscious, you figured out so many things already that took me yrears to realise!

I'm pretty sure you can do this and you'll get yourself to be happy :)

yaaay peptalk! But it was for real though, you're doing great! I things still fail, we can help supporting you from a distance ;)

Strength and love m8!

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