Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
MD isn't a physical disorder (in my opinion), I believe it usually stems from unresolved issues like basic insecurities or some form of anxiety. Maybe dealing with your panic attacks with your counselor might reduce some of the MD and help you focus better?
I'm a freshman MDer at uni too ;) and my old work friends joked that I might be a serial killer because of the creepy way I kept blanking out like you described XD. So awkward, but I'm used to it unfortunately.
I'm glad you've booked counselling. Hopefully once your panic attacks are under control you will daydream less.
Have you looked into ways to socialise off campus? There are lots of opportunity to do this that might help you form friendships and can be a great place to practice meeting people Also the more you try to live in the real world it may help you stop zoning out so much. Unfortunately there isn't an easy or a quick fix for this but most people find trying more in the real world helps the most.
There are a number of other MD forums and chatrooms/discords where there may be more people to offer advice.
When I was doing MD, I used to shut my eyes and "black out," and sometimes I was talking with someone, so as soon as my eyes shut, they'd begin to panic and ask if I had a headache. I once did this in front of my parents at the dinner table, while we were eating steak and dad was discussing fitness, and suddenly my eyes shut so randomly, and within a millisecond my dad lashed out at me so hard and fast as lightning, "Are you OK?! I was discussing-----and your were gone—disappeared!" Then my mom gently asked, "Are you on another planet?" with a worried look on her face. I just sat there and died, as I tried to finish my meal. Then I went upstairs to the bathroom and stood still, staring at myself in the mirror for several minutes. Downstairs, I can hear my mom telling my dad that he might've disturbed me.
Another time I was working at a print shop, it was my first job after college, and this opportunity just about got destroyed by my strange habit. I was sitting at a table in our wreck room, eating my take out lunch, when I started having angry thoughts out of nowhere. My head began to heat up, and I started making faces, my eyes blinking shut so often that when my supervisor came out of the bathroom, she let out a wail. Then she came right up to my face and stared into my eyes, describing them as spacey. So I fibbed that I felt tired, which didn't flow well with the company owner. I got terminated not long afterwards.
First time I noticed I had a problem was when I was in my first economics class at the beggining of sixth form at a new school. Everything seemed fine and I was having a good day. Lesson ended, and I went to lunch.
While I was having lunch, two girls in my year who I hadn't met yet came up to me and asked to speak to me to the side. I was confused but followed them and then they told me that for most of my economics class I had been staring at them and that everybody had noticed but me. Yep, I had been staring in front of myself daydreaming for most of an hour and hadn't even known I'd missed anything. I started shaking and told them I don't know what happened but it won't happen again. They seemed nice about it but apparently they took pictures while I was spaced out and they ended up sharing it over snapchat for a good portion of my year group to see.
So yeah, from there I started paying more attention to how many times I blacked out and the anxiety, started to get worse from there as I became paranoid about becoming detached from reality and as a result embaressing myself or making somebody unconfortable. From this, whenever I would snap out of a daydream and there were poeple in front of me like in a class, lunch or even just the library and I would begin to have a panic attack and have to excuse myself.
I think blacking out (daydreaming) and the criticism and embarrassing stories that come with it are just unfortunate symptoms and side-effects of whatever made us want to daydream like this in the first place. I'm sure its common for people to space out during class and social situations, but we know that the way we do it is different because it's more immersive. Trying to force myself to focus and engage in reality never worked, believe me I tried nearly my whole life, I always ended up mentally worn out and the mood swings got worse, so I always became more desperate to relapse. Have you ever thought about why you daydream in the first place?
My sister tends to complain that I'm staring at her, because I eat right beside her, but then I start thinking so much, so my eyes move all around the room, and then I accidentally glare at my sister. She gets so offended and thinks I'm being disgusting. She even stares back at me hard for a minute to prove her point.
In middle school, my mind was very preoccupied with daydreams, and we had an only black girl in my class. She stood out and I would accidentally glance at her, but she'd soon notice and lash out so angrily at me to stop staring at her. I was so embarrassed that on lunch break I walked home and cried in my room, because she was always so malicious. My mom comforted me and explained she was probably doing that, because she was the only black student.
If you have trouble keeping your eyes in one place, especially if your daydreaming, make sure they're no girls in the room, or wear a pair of sunglasses. LOL.