Now that we've had some time to think about this & discuss it, let's start creating a plan to help.  Let's try and make a list that we can refer to & refer others to.  Here's my question:


What helps? 


Not just what helps you stop daydreaming.  This is a condition we need to learn to live with. 


What helps in any way possible?  Interpret that in every way possible, and be as specific as possible. 

Some ways you can think of it:


What helps make your life better?

What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?

What helps you feel like you’re in control?

What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?

What makes your daydreams more productive?

What makes your daydreams feel less productive?

When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?

What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?

What helps you feel stronger?

What helps you feel safer?

What helps you feel more confident?


Let’s act like we’re compiling a list of things to tell new people who’re just figuring out they’re going through this & are not sure what to do.  What advice would you give them to help them feel more empowered?

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Hello Cordellia, (by the way, I like your name.) I'm a daydreamer for 33 years now and I only found a couple of web sites today about others who have the same problem. What I find that helps is talking out loud (when no one's around). While talking to the wall sounds crazy, it's "less crazy" than sitting in a chair and being emotionally caught up in a story about your life that isn't actually taking place and half believing it because it's so emotionally compelling. Anything that I can do to reduce anxiety also helps, such as herbs and transcendental guided meditation. Meditation is never perfect for me, since I have little control over my thoughts, but the little bit I do does help. On the other hand, stimulants like coffee and tea, I have to stay away from otherwise my mind will be in a "fit" of daydreams. Through understanding generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), I've come to believe that daydreaming could be a symptom of GAD - like obsessive handwashing, counting and checking the locks. I also believe that it could also be a milder form of dissociative disorder, where instead of splitting one's identity and having more than one identity; maladaptive daydreaming splits environmental perceptions/life stories, temporarily. So I want to see how people deal with dissociative disorder and see if that helps.
By the way, I just want to ask this while we have a conversation rolling even though it's not really related: Do you ever feel yourself repeating daydreams? You know, ones that were particularly fulfilling, emotional, exciting, dramatic, etc. Or do you ever go back to some daydreams to change the "storyline" or perfect it in some way? (For lack of a better word.)

Just to answer your question about "perfecting" and "repeating," which is a really really good one btw! I would definitely say yes to doing both.

My daydreaming is almost always about the same thing... just different versions, almost like constant attempts to have something happen in the future or redo something in the past. I might even go so far as to say that the majority of my daydreaming is pretty much based on a template, and I almost always repeat over the same parts of the story until it feels as "perfect" as can be.

I think its interesting that you ask this because, if I could just "run" through any given daydream... I could probably be done and back in reality in a couple of minutes! Its the obsessing and fixating related to perfecting that really makes it the whole thing last so long.

With that said, I wonder if there is anyway to get through a daydream "faster"... especially when you know what it is you are going to daydream about..... I mean, i know I'm going to daydream... it's not going to just suddenly stop... and I can pretty easily predict what I'm going to daydream about (and it sounds like many people here can probably do the same)... So given that, and just focusing on time and nothing else... is there anyway one can decrease how much time they will spend on a daydreaming session (even at the cost of energy, or impractical resources)... any ideas? Btw, I think the idea about simply talking to the wall... is actually not a bad idea... I might actually give it a try and see what I can learn from it.
Anger seems to have helped recently. I admit I'm so sensitive & disconnected that I get irritated easily. I think it's a natural way to stimulate myself. I have to get angry to get anything done. Anyway, I've gotten a certain amount of pity recently, which is nothing but condescending to me, so it got me all mad. I started thinking "How dare people call my life inferior because it's not like theirs?" I was in a major daydreaming slump before, and it did help to a certain degree. I'm proud of myself for not getting mad at the person. I knew they were well-intentioned, so I avoided telling them to go pound sand. I did write a few ranting emails to people I knew would probably understand & be supportive. I wanted to post a blog or something, but I'd afraid the person would see it & get their feelings hurt. I know they didn't mean anything bad by it. I'm just tired of people judging me. It's bad enough we judge ourselves. Pity doesn't help! Anyway, it helped get me motivated........not to make my life just like theirs......but to keep working on my personal goals like working on this site. I really want this to be a safe place for people to connect & learn to accept themselves more. There's nothing wrong with us. Our brains work a little differently, and that can be a great gift if we can just harness it more. We have to accept it before we can do that.
What helps make your life better?

I feel best when I'm following a daily routine and taking care of myself properly. When I eat well, exercise, take pride in my appearance and do my best to complete what I can on my daily to-do list. Seeing friends and family regularly helps too. After seeing them, and observing how they live their lives in reality, it often inspires me to attend to practical matters as well. That's when I get my biggest productivity boost. It rarely lasts, however. As silly as it sounds, until now, I never realized that the daydreaming was to blame.

What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?

When I'm doing my best at whatever it is that I'm attempting. When I overcome a challenge or learn something new, or when I have one of those rare 'in-the-moment' experiences that make me feel flesh and blood and happy to be human. Unfortunately, those 'in the moment' experiences do not come very often these days; especially if I happen to be stuck in one of these daydreaming loops.

What helps you feel like you’re in control?
When I remember to verbally remind myself that I am. After I've exercised or overcome some physical or mental obstacle. Ironically, I also feel most at peace and in control of my life after I pray or meditate (although I rarely do it, because it's difficult for me to maintain my attention without my mind drifting to less spiritual matters).

What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?
I daydream less when I'm around people and/or actively involved in my friendship or family circle. The more time I spend with people, the more grounded I become. I also daydream less when I haven't turned on the television or logged onto youtube for a few days, or when I haven't heard or watched anything fantastical that would tempt me down the ye olde rabbit hole.

I daydream most when I'm alone and when I'm reading/watching/listening/playing anything related to what reminds me of what I enjoy the most about the fantasy or historical genres (swords, sorcery, swashbucklers and viva la revolution!) That's all it usually takes. I realize now I have to avoid these things. My recent imaginative binge was triggered by listening to the Quest for Glory soundtrack, which of course, led me to dig up my old diskettes and play the games as well as imagine alternative scenarios. That lasted for a while, and then I saw the Prince of Persia movie and the two worlds somehow merged in my imagination and I had an entirely new scenario to play with. Goodbye, productivity! See you in a few days (hopefully).

What makes your daydreams more productive?
They are never productive. I like to fool myself into thinking they are and that I'll use the ideas I come up with for a story... but that story never really comes because I freeze up in trying to get it 'just right' on paper.

What makes your daydreams feel less productive?
They are not productive at all, although I rarely realize this until I come out of that fantasy-induced coma and grasp the idea of just how much time I wasted on ideas that a) never went anywhere, b) can't be applied to real life. Not to mention, all the tasks that have been left undone while I was off chasing the end of the yellow brick road.

When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?
I haven't felt like they have done this in a very long time. I don't have control over them anymore, and they always come at an inappropriate or busy time. Instead of invigorated or super-charged, I often walk away feeling guilty.

What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?
When the reality sets in and I realize how much time has been wasted doing essentially nothing.

What helps you feel stronger? What helps you feel more confident?
In the past, when I would daydream or write stories about warrior heroes (men and women) who trained hard and fought injustices. Kind of made me feel like I could do it too.

What helps you feel safer?
Having knowledge and knowing that I can cope with whatever life throws my way makes me feel safe and in control. I feel unsafe and vulnerable when I'm unprepared or when I am unable to appropriately react to my environment. Instead of making me feel safe, I feel as if my daydreaming has completely disarmed me and kept me co-dependent on it in order to feel a semblance of the safety that I have been unable to achieve in real life because of it. It's become a negative loop that I'm anxious to escape from!
Great answers! Thanks for the input. I find it helps to put it down, so I can know & understand how my brain works. For many people, this is both a gift and an addiction. The gift is how incredibly creative we are to be able to do this. Also the strength it takes to live in 2 worlds at once. I work out a lot of issues in my daydreams & feel smarter afterwards.........as long as I don't do it too much. Then I get sick, sluggish, and guilty like you described.

msilvermane said:
What helps make your life better?

I feel best when I'm following a daily routine and taking care of myself properly. When I eat well, exercise, take pride in my appearance and do my best to complete what I can on my daily to-do list. Seeing friends and family regularly helps too. After seeing them, and observing how they live their lives in reality, it often inspires me to attend to practical matters as well. That's when I get my biggest productivity boost. It rarely lasts, however. As silly as it sounds, until now, I never realized that the daydreaming was to blame.

What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?

When I'm doing my best at whatever it is that I'm attempting. When I overcome a challenge or learn something new, or when I have one of those rare 'in-the-moment' experiences that make me feel flesh and blood and happy to be human. Unfortunately, those 'in the moment' experiences do not come very often these days; especially if I happen to be stuck in one of these daydreaming loops.

What helps you feel like you’re in control?
When I remember to verbally remind myself that I am. After I've exercised or overcome some physical or mental obstacle. Ironically, I also feel most at peace and in control of my life after I pray or meditate (although I rarely do it, because it's difficult for me to maintain my attention without my mind drifting to less spiritual matters).

What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?
I daydream less when I'm around people and/or actively involved in my friendship or family circle. The more time I spend with people, the more grounded I become. I also daydream less when I haven't turned on the television or logged onto youtube for a few days, or when I haven't heard or watched anything fantastical that would tempt me down the ye olde rabbit hole.

I daydream most when I'm alone and when I'm reading/watching/listening/playing anything related to what reminds me of what I enjoy the most about the fantasy or historical genres (swords, sorcery, swashbucklers and viva la revolution!) That's all it usually takes. I realize now I have to avoid these things. My recent imaginative binge was triggered by listening to the Quest for Glory soundtrack, which of course, led me to dig up my old diskettes and play the games as well as imagine alternative scenarios. That lasted for a while, and then I saw the Prince of Persia movie and the two worlds somehow merged in my imagination and I had an entirely new scenario to play with. Goodbye, productivity! See you in a few days (hopefully).

What makes your daydreams more productive?
They are never productive. I like to fool myself into thinking they are and that I'll use the ideas I come up with for a story... but that story never really comes because I freeze up in trying to get it 'just right' on paper.

What makes your daydreams feel less productive?
They are not productive at all, although I rarely realize this until I come out of that fantasy-induced coma and grasp the idea of just how much time I wasted on ideas that a) never went anywhere, b) can't be applied to real life. Not to mention, all the tasks that have been left undone while I was off chasing the end of the yellow brick road.

When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?
I haven't felt like they have done this in a very long time. I don't have control over them anymore, and they always come at an inappropriate or busy time. Instead of invigorated or super-charged, I often walk away feeling guilty.

What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?
When the reality sets in and I realize how much time has been wasted doing essentially nothing.

What helps you feel stronger? What helps you feel more confident?
In the past, when I would daydream or write stories about warrior heroes (men and women) who trained hard and fought injustices. Kind of made me feel like I could do it too.

What helps you feel safer?
Having knowledge and knowing that I can cope with whatever life throws my way makes me feel safe and in control. I feel unsafe and vulnerable when I'm unprepared or when I am unable to appropriately react to my environment. Instead of making me feel safe, I feel as if my daydreaming has completely disarmed me and kept me co-dependent on it in order to feel a semblance of the safety that I have been unable to achieve in real life because of it. It's become a negative loop that I'm anxious to escape from!
Quick question for you, Cordellia, and anyone else who may feel obliged to respond. Are you ever a subject in your own daydreams? That is, do you project yourself onto a character or actually self-insert yourself into the situation you're daydreaming? Because I do not. All my daydreaming centers around fictional characters that I've created. I rarely, if ever, am an active participant in any of these fantasies, nor do I consciously project any of my traits on these characters, and if I do, I would assume its almost entirely subconscious.

I wonder what would happen if I did insert myself into one of these daydreams or dream up a scenario that I could participate in? Maybe I would be able to turn these daydreams into a visualization tool and take back some of the control I feel that has been taken away from me. Then again, I also wonder why, in all of the twenty odd years that I've been doing this, I haven't consciously thought of making myself an active participant in my own daydreams. It's like I don't want to acknowledge I exist in my own fantasy world and want to keep it exclusively to my fictional characters. Maybe it's one of the ways I am able to keep my reality and fantasy separate the way I do?

This lack of self-assertion and personalization is possibly why I had such a hard time answering the 'confident' and 'strength' questions above because the 'effects' of my daydreams are not personal as much they are just a temporary means of escape.

Hmm...
A fictionalized (thin, perfect, crazy empowered) version of myself is the main character in my daydream world. It's been one character and one giant, evolving world for over 20 years. My character has grown up with me, and met people who adopted her & became her family. They were the perfect people to take care of her/me. They helped her change from a sad, depressed potentially-gifted child into this super-woman. What really empowers me is the conversations my characters have in my head. They get into all kinds of deep discussions that address real issues in the world. I've learned a lot from them........so much so that it frustrates me to talk to other people because the conversations are so shallow. I also spend time just thinking about my other characters & their own families & world, so I may not focus on what my character's doing at a particular moment, though. She's so intense that I need a break from her at times. Lol.
I have no idea why you haven't incorporated yourself into your daydreams. It may just be that you needed a distraction, whereas I was desperate for love & support. I needed to be coddled & taken care of. If it makes you feel weird, you can make some fictional version of yourself & have her interact with your main characters. You can try having them discuss some issues that bother you. It's always worth a shot. I wouldn't panic if you can't though. Lots of people don't do it. Hope that helps. :)

msilvermane said:
Quick question for you, Cordellia, and anyone else who may feel obliged to respond. Are you ever a subject in your own daydreams? That is, do you project yourself onto a character or actually self-insert yourself into the situation you're daydreaming? Because I do not. All my daydreaming centers around fictional characters that I've created; I rarely, if ever, am an active participant in any of these fantasies, nor do I consciously project any of my traits on these characters (if I do, I suspect its almost entirely subconscious). I wonder what would happen if I did insert myself into one of these daydreams or dream up a scenario that I could participate in. Then again, I also wonder why, in all of the twenty odd years that I've been doing this, why I haven't consciously thought of doing this before. It's like I don't want to acknowledge I exist in my own fantasy worlds.

It's possibly why I had such a hard time answering the 'confident' and 'strength' questions above because the 'effects' of my daydreams are not personal so much as they are just a temporary means of escape.
1st off, THANK YOU! I've never done the whole post on blog/discussions before but I've never seen a site that has ppl who are talking and identifying with my need to fantasize too. I've always thought I was crazy but my best friend says she fantasizes too but I don't think to the extent I do. I would feel insane if my friends and family knew I spend mins to hrs at a time daydreaming. I read some of the symptoms and I kinda fit the type, always been a worrier too, I'm a very nervous person. Any who, I want to stop because it mostly wastes my time!!! I am a full time student in professional school and now that exams are full blown I can't study bc I fantasy so much and I'm ashamed because I feel I am devoting so much time to this alternate world I KNOW DOESN'T EXIST. It always makes me feel worse about myself and makes me wonder why I am to resort to daydreaming....isn't my real life good enough? Hell no, my fantasies are BAD@ss but not real so...


What helps?
Having a deadline or a obligation with tons of ppl involved so you know you have to stop daydreaming to get work done or you will let everyone down.

Not just what helps you stop daydreaming. This is a condition we need to learn to live with.
What helps in any way possible? Interpret that in every way possible, and be as specific as possible.
Talking to ppl or being in a place where you know you cannot daydream bc someone will catch you and you will get embarrassed. IDK if that is good advice but it shames me into snapping out of it.
Having a task or do anything that has to be done for recognition. For example, reading takes me forever bc I stop and fantasize but if I have to read for a class discussion and everyone will know I didn't read it helps motivate me to stay on task.
Finding other things that make me happy like baking because you can't daydream and bake unless you want to burn the house down in which case, in my fantasy I would be the heroine that would save the day.

Some ways you can think of it:

What helps make your life better?
Family and friends, having good times with them makes me remember my life will prolly :( never coincide with my fantasies but they don't have to because my life can be just as good with some effort

What helps you feel like you’re living a more fulfilling life?
When I didn't daydream so much because it means I'm spending time here in the real world which is where I am intended to be and prayer helps too.

What helps you feel like you’re in control?
When I can activately STOP the fantasy. When I tell myself to stop and I do I feel amazing.


What helps you daydream less & what helps you daydream more?
Talking to my friends about what I would prolly daydream about later like talking about a boy or a situation at work makes me daydream less. But if I continue talking obsessively it can be counterproductive and it will actually lead to more daydreaming.

What makes your daydreams more productive?
When I am the hero or the most popular kid in my fantasy so I feel on top of the world like maybe someday I can be the hero in real life too.

What makes your daydreams feel less productive?
When I realize I've done nothing for hours and I have tons of work to do so now I will have to stay up late to do it. Also, I feel so weak that I feel like I have to daydream.

When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?
When my daydream includes me succeeding .

What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?
When I realize it is just a fantasy and no that guy doesn't really love me and prolly never will.

What helps you feel stronger?
When I catch myself before it starts like avoiding triggers. I know certain songs will make me want to daydream so I don't listen to it until later when the urge to daydream passes.

What helps you feel safer?
This site because I'm NOT alone.

What helps you feel more confident?
When I wear cute outfits similar to the ones in my fantasy. It's like taking a bit of the dream with me. But this also puzzles me bc ppl say I'm confident but I always dream of being popular or the guy falling for me. In real life, I am pretty sociable and well liked IDK why I daydream and this makes me sad and uncomfortable.

Let’s act like we’re compiling a list of things to tell new people who’re just figuring out they’re going through this & are not sure what to do. What advice would you give them to help them feel more empowered?

Don't give it up. All things are possible. Talking about it and finding strategies can help you live more in this world.
It's helped me just to know that other people recognise this and are struggling with it just like i am. For the last few days i've been much more aware, have noticed just how much i'm doing it, and have sometimes been able to pull my mind away from it.

Things that help me not daydream -

1. Something absorbing eg a good book or audio tape. I will keep catching myself daydreaming, but will just have to go back and read it again or re-wind the tape.
2. New places and/or situations. This focusses the mind for me. I love walking, but if i go on the same routes the dreaming sets in. New things to look at and stunning scenery are good.
3. Contentment. I rarely experience this, but very occassionally am happy to be who i am, where i am - no need to daydream.
4. Control excercises. Sometimes i try not to daydream for just a few seconds. eg if out on a walk i'll see if i can keep focussed until that tree, then to that log - literally for a few seconds at a time. Perhaps this would also work with books - eg read word by word, highlighting each word as you read it without dreaming. I don't know if it's possible to re-wire our brains in this way?
5. Socialising


What makes my daydreaming worse -

1. Being angry or stressed
2. Being tired
3. Walking/cycling/mundane tasks

Surely we daydream because we are not content with reality? Things that help me feel more comfortable in reality include -

1. Thinking back over the day and highlighting the good bits in my mind. Anything from it being a sunny day to having a nice conversation to eating a nice meal.
2. Learning new things - gaining knowlege in a subject of interest
3. Cultivating friendships - these can be on-line as well as face to face
4. Physical excercise - improving fitness makes me happier with myself
5. Eating a good diet
6. Looking after my living space - i always feel better after tidying up.

These are classic self-esteme building things really, but I'm assuming that's what it's all about. Or am i wrong? Do some people have MD without low self esteme??
I've had MD before I was old enough to have any sense of self-esteem.....unless you can be born with low self-esteem, which doesn't surprise me. I've heard babies can be born depressed. It's worsened my self-esteem because I never developed social skills & never developed friends. I used to get made fun of for staring into space. Then it just snow-balled. It's a vicious cycle for me, so it's been really hard to tell which came first.



Oxalis Wood said:
It's helped me just to know that other people recognise this and are struggling with it just like i am. For the last few days i've been much more aware, have noticed just how much i'm doing it, and have sometimes been able to pull my mind away from it.

Things that help me not daydream -

1. Something absorbing eg a good book or audio tape. I will keep catching myself daydreaming, but will just have to go back and read it again or re-wind the tape.
2. New places and/or situations. This focusses the mind for me. I love walking, but if i go on the same routes the dreaming sets in. New things to look at and stunning scenery are good.
3. Contentment. I rarely experience this, but very occassionally am happy to be who i am, where i am - no need to daydream.
4. Control excercises. Sometimes i try not to daydream for just a few seconds. eg if out on a walk i'll see if i can keep focussed until that tree, then to that log - literally for a few seconds at a time. Perhaps this would also work with books - eg read word by word, highlighting each word as you read it without dreaming. I don't know if it's possible to re-wire our brains in this way?
5. Socialising


What makes my daydreaming worse -

1. Being angry or stressed
2. Being tired
3. Walking/cycling/mundane tasks

Surely we daydream because we are not content with reality? Things that help me feel more comfortable in reality include -

1. Thinking back over the day and highlighting the good bits in my mind. Anything from it being a sunny day to having a nice conversation to eating a nice meal.
2. Learning new things - gaining knowlege in a subject of interest
3. Cultivating friendships - these can be on-line as well as face to face
4. Physical excercise - improving fitness makes me happier with myself
5. Eating a good diet
6. Looking after my living space - i always feel better after tidying up.

These are classic self-esteme building things really, but I'm assuming that's what it's all about. Or am i wrong? Do some people have MD without low self esteme??
1. What helps make your life better?

As previously said, accomplishing a goal, however small makes me feel on top of the world. For a moment I feel as if my MDD isn't taking over my reality.

2. What helps you feel like you're living a more fulfilling life?
Social interactions (outside my own mind, ha!), being the best student I can be and working towards a goal.

3. What helps you feel like you're in control?
Less and less I'm afraid, as my dreams increase in intensity. However, I have a passion for public speaking, grabbing the attention of others is almost as good of a feeling as my fantasies.

4. What helps you daydream less&what helps you daydream more?
Being in public or around my friends. Although, sometimes I'll become very frustrated and antsy when I can't daydream because I'm at a friends house, haha! Also, I know it's a nasty, terrible habit, but smoking is sometimes the only way to pull myself back to reality. It calms my urge to daydream and keeps me from pacing.

On the other hand, ALL forms of media can trigger me into a daydream, a single word can send me spiraling into an 'adventure' into my own mind. Books especially.

5. What makes your daydreams feel less productive?
When I realize I'll never be as close to a real person as my fake friends.

6. What makes your daydreams fell more productive?
When they help me to escape.

7. When do you leave your daydreams feeling better & more charged?
Happy dreams, where everyone loves me and is happy, or I've solved some terrible problem that everyone is grateful for make me feel euphoric!

8. What makes them leave you feeling more sluggish?
Sometimes my dreams take a depressing turn, I can't help it but sometimes the people in 'my world' are hurt. I'm not a violent person by any means but I guess in order to make my fantasy more real it can't all be happy.

9. What helps you feel safer?
This site! Now I know that I'm not (that) crazy! :)

10. What helps you feel more confident?
Creating real relationships with people I care about, even if they aren't as fulfilling emotionally as my fake ones.



I hope my input helped! Honestly, I'm a bit scared to post this but I know you all won't judge me.
Great answers. Glad you posted them.I relate to the public speaking bit - I get a buzz out of it too. I'll rehearse it in my head over and over and it's hard to know whether that makes me better at it, but i suspect it does.

I think a lot of the daydreaming is about craving attention and appreciation - so doing stuff for real like public speaking or teaching or cultivating friendships has got to be good.

Also - isn't it strange that we have bad daydreams? Some of mine are really unpleasant, but somehow i can't stop them - i can't switch topic into a nicer daydream any more than i can stop entirely.

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