Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I am so glad to have discovered this forum and to find out that there are many more going through the same thing as me.
MD is something I live with on a daily basis and I have often debated about it in my mind - if it is a good thing or a bad? Sometimes all I want is my mind to stop...because I begin neglecting reality. It also causes a severe damage to my self confidence level because on one hand, I envision myself as something special in my dreams and then when I actually come back to reality, you realize how far behind you lag. However, none of us is a stranger to the beautiful, wondrous joy that MD brings. It feels like a harmless cure/addiction that sorts me out at the end of a day. I am in a creative field and one reason that I don't want my MD to stop is because I genuinely feel it acts as a catalyst to my creativity. I fear if I lose it, my mind will turn dry. But I also realize that my MD is far from my actual real-life achievements and that often brings me down.
Anyway, what I really wanted to discuss about is why we think we develop MD? I know there might be some research on it, but no place better to seek answers than from the people who are directly experiencing it. Are we too intimidated by the real world? Are we too afraid to actually do something which is why we create this fantastical world? Could it be because we haven't received attention in life...and we desperately want some...and our MDs make us feel so special? (I know these are all negative questions but I am just being honest with what is going on in my head) Perhaps there is a very biological reason to MDing. But that is beyond my scope. Perhaps each of us feels a different reason why they MD...and perhaps some don't like to question it at all. All of which is great and I would love to hear and understand what everyone else thinks about this...
I haven't done any research into it but I can only tell you my expereince any maybe you will fine something in that.
I never had MD until I was about 4 after I was sexually abused by my mother's boyfriend and made to hide it. I also had no friends and spent most of my time alone reading books, or singing and writing. School and college were both very traumatic for various reasons but each time; I was avoided and treated like a lepear and so, I spent alot of my time alone. Now as an adult I have had similar expereinces at work and so I spend most of my time alone when I am not working or with family. For me I think MD is a coping mechanisim. When I am really stressed or upset, I will automaticly go into a day dream and it makes me feel better. My brother also has MD and we both have the same parents and grew up together. He himself experenced some of the abuse that I did as a child but his MD is not as bad as mine. I don't really know why that is but my guess is that he is very socailable, has many friends and is rarely alone so he doesn't really have much time to MD.
Thanks to all of you of sharing your stories. I sometimes really try and remember what and when was it that MD began with me. And most importantly, why it did? I think for me, one reason was that I felt hidden in the shadows. At home, my older sibling was the center of attention due to certain reasons. I've had best friends who I love a lot and they love me back, but once again...the spotlight was on them. And I am sort of a direct person...so even when I was being straight forward, the person who was more diplomatic or articulate, got the admiration. It was always about being not quite there...I was appreciated...but it would always be the 2/3rd position in everything/ every situation. Hence I think I started Mding...because it allowed me to create and live in a world where I was appreciated. Sometimes I feel frustated with MDs because they only increase this craving in me. I realized what a deep impact MDing had on my life when I realized that this idea of being special was shaping my life decisions. But on one hand while I try to let go off it, I know how important it is in my life...in a good way. How it gives me strength to cope through a lot when things get tough. I think it is better to MD than do drugs or alcohol. I am also in a creative profession and MDing seems like the spring of that world. It is strange and hard...especially since you cant't really talk about it to friends or family. As much as they love me and will try to understand me...I know that unless MD happens to them, they will never quite get what it is like and associate it with the usual symptoms of growing up.
I will try and answer this question. I think there are many reasons why we have this. Daydreaming is a part of many other disorders so MD could just as well come from having another disorder.
But for people that doesn't have any other disorder along with MD or not any that they know of, I think there could be two reasons. It could be biological, maybe we were just born with creative outlets. Maybe our minds wander so much that reality just isn't as interesting as all of the other possibliites out there. I know a lot of poeple mentioned that they've had a family member that also daydreams. I believe that my dad could've been a MDer but I'm not sure. We're easily bored and in constant need for stimulation.
Another reason could be because of what we've gone through or what we feel towards life in general. Some traumatic events that could lead us to depression, are escaped by our fantasy lives. We may feel empty inside but we have our daydreaming to escape to. It's sort of like many other addictions. Like for example a girl that didn't have the best life, could go to bars, meet new men, try to be a different kind of girl, have one night stands, have flings, party, drink, but she does everything to escape the circumstances that she was put in through out her life. For us it's fantasy.
I think one of the reasons why many of us are so socially inept is because we have to deal with real people with real lives and that's exactly when reality kicks in. Because of the high expectations we have on ourselves because of our idealized characters and idealized self, we're very concious around other people and we're not very tolerant of other people either because of our high expectations. Also, at this time, you realize how much you lack and how different you are from your idealized self. I think you also tend to look at everything negatively, what other people have that you lack, how happy everyone is, and how behind and unhappy you are in life unless you are in your little fantasy world, and what you went through vs what they went through in their lifetime.
Sometimes, social situations make me so sad, that right afterwards, I cry to myself at home. And it's not even the people who I"m around's fault. I have gone through a lot of painful things in life and because of that I have a hard time building a connection or trusting other people so I always have my walls up. But the funny thing is despite what I've been through, I'm not suicidal at all. When I avoid too many social situations, I find myself, happy, and relaxed by myself at home. Otherwise, all my insecurities and bad memories kick in. So the answer to your question would be is we've created a defense mechanism that prevents us from depression that could've occured due to the fact that reality failed us or hadn't fulfilled our expectations.