Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Honestly, I don't know who I am. I was a maladaptive daydreamer since I was a kid. So I didn't grow up learning who I really was, through friend cycles and relationships. I didn't get any real experiences to find out what I'm really good at. My daydreaming was my whole world. It defined my life in a way. I kept on running back to those worlds that I lived in. Instead of running to real live people, in real live situations. Now that I'm an adult, I have no life, no friends, and no lifestyle. Except all I can recall is that I was a daydreamer...I just find that so sad. I didn't belong with anybody in particular. I always made imaginary friends that were inspired by famous film and book characters. But I never had real live connections and bondings with other people. I've always been a very independent and solitary person. What I fear is that my whole future will just look the same way.
i'm so sorry and at the same time i relate to your words. it's the kind of thing that's hard to think about without becoming hopeless and it's the kind of thing that makes hope seem mean. i wish i could have an answer or solution to this but all i do is look out the window and dream that one day i'll be part of myself.
**sorry for the bad english, it's not my native language
I created that 'hope' for myself, but the hope wasn't real. I told myself, "I want this to happen," but didn't put this into a course of action. I just drifted around like an idiot. All my friends and peers have better lives, because they knew what they had to do, in order to be successful.
What makes me sad is that in spite of everything I strongly believed in, friends and success don't come out of daydreams. If only I woke myself in advance, and come to realize I made a huge mistake. Even after I stopped, it left a mark on a family member who will never forget this.
Fortunately, I am going to give myself another chance. Go for a career and life interests that I will thrive in.
I hope you are able to find the things you want. Have you reached out for referrals for someone who can assist you with defining the goals, teaching you the tools you need and providing the resources to get there? You are still young. A great life is possible. I won’t beat myself up for decisions I made in the past. We do the best we can with what we have to work with. Good luck!
I feel like there is no hiding who I'm about, as if it's written on me. What I mean is my MD. I could pretend that I don't do it, but then someone will just notice something fishy. Some people are judgementally good that way. I'm glad that I'm dispensing my old issues. Otherwise, I'd walk into future drama.
I guess i don’t understand why you don’t seek out a plan to add things to your life that you would enjoy. Or at least seek input from someone who could help. Professionals don’t judge. They try to help without judgement. Instead of focusing on what others are thinking, focus on your journey.
I have a similar experience and I’m 52. I do have a few friends but it’s a challenge for me to be a good friend. I do now and have had good jobs I enjoyed, but I feel I have underachieved my whole life. I’m learning to be compassionate about my daydreaming habit, despite its negative effects on my life. I started doing this very young, in order to cope. It then became so normal, and my late blooming also meant I was behind my peers and had a hard time relating to them. I have also been self-supporting since I was 17. I have never dated and never had a relationship. It was basically emotional starvation, my whole life. My daydreams are me reaching for emotional nourishment that I so much lack.
I did feel shame and guilt over this, but it is not wrong to want love and attention. I’m just really bad at relating with others, and have had barriers that were from things I could not control.
Now I feel a bit differently. First, as I said above, it is a coping mechanism, which everyone has. As coping mechanisms go, there are many worse ones…like needing to control or dominate others or their environment, creating conflict, excessive drinking-shopping-risky behaviour…these are seriously harmful and disruptive.
Daydreaming may be a waste of time, but I am not sure I would have been able to replace my dreams with a more satisfying reality. So I have come to see my daydreaming as having at least some therapeutic value. I am a relatively emotionally isolated person; it is not that my daydreams prevented me from connecting with others, but that I have daydreams because otherwise I would have an extremely limited emotional life and experience. I know it must only a be a shadow of the real thing, but when I imagine hugging someone or whatever, I experience something in daydreams that is actually hard for me to accept in real life. The few and fierce attachments I experienced in my early adult life were unrequited and the rejection was so incredibly painful and debilitating that I learned well to avoid even friendships.
Physical contact is not comfortable for me, and I can really only ‘experience’ it via daydreams. Brains are weird. When we imagine stuff, our brains activate connections, visualization activates the visual cortex in some ways that are similar to seeing, imagining movements activates the motor cortex, etc. Since we experience EVERYTHING through our brains I feel that I have developed this habit as a way to have amen experience that allows me to experience emotions and social contact.
When I was young, I think my fantasies were very unrealistic and grandiose, a way to bolster very weak self esteem. Now that I am older, I idealize my fantasy self less and less. More and more I have let my real, weak, delayed, lonely self be the real character, my actual self. In my actual world, where I invite fantasy characters (a mix of celebs, historical characters, people I like at work, favourite authors, people I look up to but don’t know very well) into my actual boring life, where we mostly talk and listen.
Sometimes those characters are there to scold me or exhort me to do better; sometimes they are there to share a joke. If I am out somewhere I have a companion to share my thoughts and enthusiasms with, or even someone to complain to. Funnily enough, I feel like this has helped a little, for me to grow emotionally in a way that is safer but slower and more limited. I feel like I will never become a fully fledged person, but I have done what could to support myself. If I really want to overcome this and participate more in the real world, I can do that; it just has to feel worth the risk and inevitable pain. If that never happens then that’s ok too.
I wrote a lot here, about my own experience. I have never said any of this before. Thank you for inspiring me to think about this and to put into words my experience. Maybe someone will be able to relate to something I mentioned.
Something very embarrassing happened to me this morning. This happens all the time...I woke from a crazy dream, came down to make breakfast, sat down, but forgot to toast my frozen bagel sitting in the slot. My mom reminded me and asked if I toasted it, I said no, and pushed it down. She then remarked that my head is always in the clouds, she can see I'm in a daze, that life is happening and I need to wake up. Apparently this is something that I can't conceal, and a number of people have noticed and said things too. I tell myself to shut off the fantasies, but it doesn't seem to cut it, one way or the other. It's the reputation that is the problem. I do feel that MD has ruined my life in every area. I once thought it was making me happy and helping me cope with life and assuring me that things will get better—it was a disorder. It actually pulled me away from being a happier and better person.
I feel the same way, I may be thousands of kilometers away from you, but I understand you and wish you well
I must admit that I wouldn't be considered Normal. I do have trouble living in places that isn't earth. I tend to not be with people, listening to what they have to say. I do talk to characters in my head, and make everybody think I'm coo coo. I never met someone who loved me for me, and not for how fabulous and sharp-ended I appear on the outside. I'll never be perfect and I'll never be good enough for most people. I do make them mad and not like me very much. That's been my whole life. I know for certain it's going to take hell to earn my own independence and freedom. It's that's how it's going to be. I'm just not a bad person, as some people think I am.