Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I had been daydreaming and picking my skin since about the same age as you and had tried to stop a couple of times but never seemed to get past it. Here are a couple of points that helped me:
I quit picking my skin about a year later and am still struggling due to side effects to endometriosis medication. I have come to terms with it though and am continually coming closer to who I prefer to be. A clean diet and some vitamins have helped greatly.
What has also helped me was one post by someone in this forum. It was a post in July 2017 and it had one sentence that had touched something within me:
“There’s no way MDD can give you the future you expected, but only in your imagination, not in the realistic world.”
By the time I read that post I had always though I’d be at a very different point in life: I had expected to be married by then, having great friends and a high-level job. Instead, I was single, I had been emotionally distant the few friends I had and had just started over career-wise living at my parents’ place.
Nothing changes if we ourselves don’t put in some effort. It doesn’t have to be much but a little bit every day/ week/ month can go a long way. It might take some time to see some change and there will most likely be setbacks but we have such a beautiful mind and don’t need to settle for a life only in mdd.
Wishing you all the best for your road ahead!
it seems like you are at a good place and very aware of how things are for you. I tried quitting a couple of times before I finally got through. Eventually I just reached the point where things worked together well. I hope things are going well for you! A step-by-step approach has certainly helped me!
I feel like your description is very accurately: “However the alternative is just to give up, which if I follow it through to the likely conclusion means just acknowledging my pretend relationships will always be more important than real ones, I'll always have a fairly boring life in reality, superficial friendships only, lacking competence in daily life, and most likely die alone.”
It's how I felt before I was finally about to leave it behind me. There really is a foggy real life ahead when we choose to stay in our dreams instead of reality. Some might be able to sustain an emotionally rich life while continuing daydreaming but I was certainly not one of them and I knew I never would be. My daydreams consumed the friendships I had, my education and my future. I managed to hold on to some friends and graduated with acceptable grades, but it was only shallow and generic. It’s still frustrating looking back at all those years I “lost” though staying in my dreams when I could have made so much more out of my actual life. In the end though I am grateful I quit at the time I did.
Congratulations on quitting sugar! I have found sugar being a big issue for my mental health and have moved towards healthier snacks. With the diet changes I went all in from day one. I started following a plant-based diet and with that over time moved away from processed food to healthier choices. Sometimes I still reach out to some less healthy foods for comfort and joy but I have over time found many perfectly health meals that are very comforting too.
As far as skin picking goes: I do believe it had been about self-soothing. While daydreaming it had also been about doing something with my hands while my mind was busy. I had developed a self-hate towards my body and am only slowly finding my way out.
In terms of how the quitting sugar is going - I'm typing while eating a particularly tasty maple & pecan cake. It only lasted a few days sadly. It;s not the most concerning of my unhealthy habits though in the long run it probably is one I should address!
I think part of my problem is I can be very self aware about why I want to cut down on MDD, & can wax lyrical about how it suppresses and takes over from my actual life. Unfortunately this doesn't translate to actual changed behaviour - as soon as i'm bored or between activities i go back to it. And if i keep myself too busy or surrounded by people to do it I get extremely snappy and start craving it like nothing else. It's difficult to unpick cause and effect with my low boredom threshold and MDD - did i start it as a little kid because i couldn't stand to have any time spent unstimulated or disinterested? Or am I so intolerant to boredom because I've always been abe to make up a story that perfectly suits my emotional and entertainment needs of the moment on the spot? It's bizarre how long I've been doing it - I distinctly remember doing it in it's current form at age 5 (used to tell my friends we could only play every other breaktime because I needed to have 1-2 times in the school day where I could skip up and down and daydream.....yeah it affected my relationships). My mum ven said she remembers me spending a solid hour just making two toys talk to each other continuously age 18 months which I think may have been the very earliest form. Essentially this is something I've done my whole damn life so it's hard to know where to begin unpicking it. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning, before I even get out of bed and switch off the alarm I have to pick the DD of the day to be able to get moving.
To quit I'm going to have to reeducate my brain into a whole new way of thinking it's never done before and I'm honestly not sure how, or if it's even possible or healthy to do so. But in it's current system has so many problems and has left me feeling like I'm missing out on my own life.
I'm sorry to hear about your body related issues, I'm glad it's starting to get better for you. It can be such a hard thing to deal with. I think mine initially started with a fairly early puberty and freaking out about the changes my skin was undergoing and wanting to get rid of it, but now has become habitual, compulsive and yes maybe self soothing.