Wild Minds Network

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If you don't mind sharing (talking helps), how do you think PTSD affects your daydreaming? Daydreaming only started to be a problem for me after the event I experienced (I think - it at least played a huge part in wanting to get away from the real world). I can trace almost all of my issues back to that. It felt way safer to live in an imaginary world than in the real world. But strangely enough, in college, my daydreams started to include the event. It felt good to dream about them this way, but I often acted out exaggerated experiences. Afterward, I felt terrible. This is when I started to think they were a problem. I guess they were sort of flashbacks. I've noticed the daydreams about this topic have disappeared after I dealt with it in therapy.

To avoid calling it "the event" any more, which sounds all weird and means I'm avoiding the topic, I'll talk about it. I find the best thing to do is talk about it until it doesn't hurt to talk anymore. Anyway, I live near New York and when I was eleven I witnessed some of 9/11. I guess. I saw the smoke and stuff on the day, and then went back to visit the site other times. My dad was a police officer who worked at Ground Zero and this, apparently, messed with my head for a few years. It sucks, being too young to really handle something. For years, barely a day went by when I didn't think of it. I didn't think it was strange, until I mentioned it to my friend, who said she never thought about it. Then, in college, I saw a presentation by a Vietnam veteran who talked about his PTSD symptoms and it was a similar experience to when I discovered this site - Hey! I have all of that! Oh, there's a name for this? Basically, when there's a drastic change in your environment, it can bring all of the feelings flooding back. I noticed this when I went to college far away from home, where no one understood what I had gone through. I was doing okay, but then everything came back and I started thinking about it all the time. The daydreams became a real problem too.

I think some of the techniques I learned to deal with PTSD triggers can help with daydreaming. The most important thing to me is touch. It's easier to stay in the real world when I'm focusing on feeling something physical.

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When I was young, 4 or 5 years old, I had trouble falling asleep at night. So I would rock in my bed back and forth imagining stories in my head until I became so tired I would fall asleep. As time past, this continued and I never really considered it a problem. It was like a secret hobby I would indulge in occasionally. In my early 20s I started to develop depression and this is when I first began to notice that choosing to stay in bed and dream, instead of getting out and interacting in the real world was becoming a problem. Life went on though and times got better and worse, and back again several times. Life can suck sometimes though and things started to get bad and they just kept getting bad, ending in a rather tramatic event which left me with a diagnosis of PTSD. A few more hurtful experiences on top of an already wounded and fragile state of mind and that was about it, I was done. Trusting ppl became nearly impossible for me and depression and isolation was the perfect environment for MD to take over where the real world left off. So I would have to say that the PTSD was a major contributor and was what I thought was the primary reason for continuing to MD. The fear and anxiety of trusting and being hurt again is too overwhelming.   I really wish I could watch the news, listen to the radio or read the paper and be proven wrong, but time and time again, I am not. The more I see of what people do to each other in this world, the more I don't want anything to do with it, the more I want to MD. So then I think...... Thank God I have MD. I'm grateful for such a gift to get me through this life. Perhaps it is maladaptive because I am not interacting in the world the way society dictates is normal and productive, but I'm not normal: I have an illness. And if this is the only way that I can survive in this world with the brain that I have with all of it's malfunctions that doctors and scientists have yet to understand, then I'm good with it. No one can tell me what it's like to live inside my head.
Thanks for you reply, Rhiannon. I agree with you, that MD can be a good thing in that it helps us cope when we need to. Otherwise, who knows what would happen. When I'm confronted with stuff that triggers me badly, I slip into MD even though I don't want to, because it seems to be the only way to function.

Rhiannon Augustus said:
When I was young, 4 or 5 years old, I had trouble falling asleep at night. So I would rock in my bed back and forth imagining stories in my head until I became so tired I would fall asleep. As time past, this continued and I never really considered it a problem. It was like a secret hobby I would indulge in occasionally. In my early 20s I started to develop depression and this is when I first began to notice that choosing to stay in bed and dream, instead of getting out and interacting in the real world was becoming a problem. Life went on though and times got better and worse, and back again several times. Life can suck sometimes though and things started to get bad and they just kept getting bad, ending in a rather tramatic event which left me with a diagnosis of PTSD. A few more hurtful experiences on top of an already wounded and fragile state of mind and that was about it, I was done. Trusting ppl became nearly impossible for me and depression and isolation was the perfect environment for MD to take over where the real world left off. So I would have to say that the PTSD was a major contributor and was what I thought was the primary reason for continuing to MD. The fear and anxiety of trusting and being hurt again is too overwhelming.   I really wish I could watch the news, listen to the radio or read the paper and be proven wrong, but time and time again, I am not. The more I see of what people do to each other in this world, the more I don't want anything to do with it, the more I want to MD. So then I think...... Thank God I have MD. I'm grateful for such a gift to get me through this life. Perhaps it is maladaptive because I am not interacting in the world the way society dictates is normal and productive, but I'm not normal: I have an illness. And if this is the only way that I can survive in this world with the brain that I have with all of it's malfunctions that doctors and scientists have yet to understand, then I'm good with it. No one can tell me what it's like to live inside my head.
I will admit that sexual abuse led to my  PTSD which in turn has contributed to my MD. I've never told anyone.  And it is so scary and lonely at times.  I also completely agree with the not trusting people.  I know I should but after being proved right time and again, why bother trying?  Everyone always leaves and everyone always betrays your trust. Harsh and bitter, yes I am. But not when I'm in my own world.  I honestly believe that this is the only way I have survived this world.  It is a defense mechanism that started when I was a little girl. It saved me from harsh reality then and it still does to this day.

My PTSD is initially from trauma in childhood.  There have been more traumas of different kinds throughout my life and it has snowballed over time.  I started daydreaming when I was very little.  It was practically the only social life I had and it has been with me since then.

 

It stopped for 6 months in my life.  I married in June of 1976 but in December of that year my husband said in front of everyone, "I don't want to buy a present for that bitch."  He was referring to me.  I was devastated and MD has not left me since.

What a horrible thing to hear your husband say.  Just reading that makes me want to cry because I know how it would have effected me if I'd heard it.  I think  for some people, myself included, it becomes necessary to retreat into ourselves to find decent, loyal, and loving people.  There just isn't that many left in the outside world, so we're left to search our own psyches and create them because the world is too full of hurtful, selfish and cruel people who don't give a damn about helping people or how their actions affect others.  I hope that you have found someone to love you unconditionally whether it's in the RW or in MD. 

Bibby said:

My PTSD is initially from trauma in childhood.  There have been more traumas of different kinds throughout my life and it has snowballed over time.  I started daydreaming when I was very little.  It was practically the only social life I had and it has been with me since then.

 

It stopped for 6 months in my life.  I married in June of 1976 but in December of that year my husband said in front of everyone, "I don't want to buy a present for that bitch."  He was referring to me.  I was devastated and MD has not left me since.

I have PTSD but its just part of the trauma I've experienced so I don't really know if its added to my daydreams or not.   I've never daydreamed about the subject matter of my PTSD (electrocution), but now i wonder if maybe I should, if maybe it would help me heal somehow (or be scary as all get out!)?  Worth a shot.  Its always interesting to me that I can watch something on the news - some trauma (cuz I'm a negative daydreamer) and think 'Hey, that's a good plot for my daydreams'.

I've had a boatload of trauma in my life, I just wonder why.  Why me?   I don't have much of a social life.   I do have a number of friends but I only see one every couple of weeks, then another a month later etc., so every night after work (when I was working) I basically go home and keep to myself.  I live with my boyfriend, but we basically do our own thing at night so I'm free to daydream my evenings away (that's a plus and a minus).

Like Stormy, I also have that view that everyone leaves eventually (or fast) and no one can be trusted, except me.  I have a friend who is 90 and I'm in my 40s.  I tell her I'm jealous that she's 90.   I have my moments where I enjoy life.  I do take long walks and honestly if I were rich, I would do more like play tennis or something.  Then I wouldn't have to work or worry about finding a job or saving money so I would be more apt to do more social things because I would have more time to daydream without work getting in the way.  Anyway,  I do wish I were 90.  I'm not suicidal or anything like that but I just wish life was over, its just a big pain in the *** most of the time.  So looking forward to being elderly : )

 

Hello. Please forgive me for just skimming through your posts. Life is hard at times and I'm sorry about that. PTSD is yuk and very isolating and keeps me stuck, at least at the moment. Hope it eases as time goes on.

DDing really helps and gives relief to me. Because like a lot of you guys have said, trusting others (in reality and out of my control) isn't always easy after you've been hurt. But spending most of my time alone isnt easy either. Glad I have you to chat to about this anyway. Hang in there everyone...

I don't currently suffer from PTSD, but I know at least twice in the past 6 years I've had symptoms of it, after witnessing a friend in an accident, and in dealing with my aunt's death.  Both times I've had counseling, but I can't much remember much of my symptoms the first time it happened (I was pretty numb).  Anyways, the second time...actually there's a bit of a back story.  I know this sounds morbid, but throughout my teen years I would 'see' corpses everywhere for no apparent reason.  I blamed it on overactive imagination and just regular teenage stress.  Now, you need to know that corpses are my number one worst fear.  I'm talking fleshy, mutilated corpses.  I still freak out when they pop up unexpectedly in movies and such, but the ones I imagined popped into my mind so frequently that I'd grown a bit de-sensitized to them.  They were usually the same guys in the same spots (hiding underneath my bathroom sink, laying in my bed, etc...)  Yeah, I KNOW this sounds crazy, but it's very similar to a little kid imaging monsters under the bed (mine are just a bit more graphic).  After I started college, the crazy imaginations disappeared, with only the occasional corpse.  But after my aunt passed away a few years ago, I know I was having a hard time dealing with it.  She passed right before I went to study abroad, so I was well distracted from her death for several months.  But about a month after returning to the US, I was having a really hard time adjusting back to my life here.  I was grieving for her by myself (most of my family had already had time to grieve while I was gone).  And that's when the corpses started popping up again.  It was getting OUT OF CONTROL.  I didn't even have to try to daydream for them to appear, they'd just magically be nearly everywhere I looked, even in the daytime they would show.  They were starting to go from being a silly over-active imaginary thing to being full-on hallucinations.  I was losing sleep, and was anxious whenever I was alone.  This was the worst it had ever been...I'm talking seeing them each time I walked around a corner, opened a closet door, walked into the shower, etc...  I knew they were just hallucinations, and after the initial shock of seeing the corpses each time they appeared, I was able to go one with whatever I was doing (though I remained distracted and scared).  And when I started to 'feel' them touching me, I decided it was time to see a counselor.  After a few sessions, we got some answers down.  I think she termed it delayed-grieving??  I was well aware that they were hallucinations; schizophrenia was very quickly ruled out.  It was grief, in addition to reverse culture-shock (from returning to the US) and just academic/relationship stress in general that started all these PTSD-like symptoms.  Eventually I was able to find closure from my aunt's death and the hallucinations stopped.  I haven't had any 'episodes' like that since, but to this day, I still don't know why I get such specific and morbid hallucinations.  If I were to be pushed onto the edge like that again, have some strong emotional disturbance, I wouldn't be surprised if the hallucinations started up again.  Even though they don't 'pop up' anymore, I can very easily imagine what the corpses look like.   But it's probably better to just leave it alone for now.  I'm not gonna go poke the embers of a fire that's been put out.  

Ok, so to answer the post, I don't think PTSD affected my MD.  I've had MD all my life, since I was a kid.  But my first real diagnosis of PTSD was in college, when I saw my friend get into an accident.  And the second time it happened, I think my MD kinda fueled the hallucinations and the PTSD (so for me it went the other way around).  Since I can so easily let my mind wander without me knowing it, I think it's even easier still, for my subconscious to bring forth unwanted thoughts and feelings, especially in a time of stress or after some sort of trauma.  I think, if I didn't have MD, I wouldn't be so susceptible to the PTSD hallucinations.

Yes, PTSD is probably a very large contributing factor to my DDing. Due to all the trauma I've gone through(being molested, severely neglected, and raped) I've kinda ended up pretty far down my rabbit hole at times. I can understand how something that traumatized you can end up playing a role in your daydreams. Some of the stuff I have gone through has seeped into my worlds and has become a main event that often my worlds are built around just to cater to it. I don't mind and still enjoy them. I think that it is a good start to overcoming the trauma. Because it can help foster a sense of control that had previously been taken.

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