Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I recently came to the conclusion that I may indeed be a maladaptive daydreamer....
Books used to be my escape from reality. When I was in middle school and I had a bad day at school I could just read a cheesy teen novel and picture a better reality. Little did I know that my method of escape would soon be the very thing that entrapped me. I think things went downhill when my imagination started to be a crutch I used to deal with life issues. But then again when the places that are supposed to be your safe haven are in fact the places where you experience the most pain, what else are you supposed to do but develop a way to cope. As I began to read more and more books, they started to become more real to me and one day after reading the same series a handful of times I began to connect with one character more than others. Rose Hatheway from vampire Academy was and still is the source of many of my daydreams. I think in many ways she embodied everything I wanted to be. She faced trauma, but was still strong enough to push forward, she had romance, adventures, and if she didn't like something in her life she could change it. Maybe what I loved most about her was that she had people surrounding her that would fiercely protect her and fight for her when she was in the midst of trouble, and at a time where I felt like I was publically drowning, that was what I needed most of all.
But after a while, Rose began invading my mind even when my life was fine. I began to daydream not just when I felt like I had no control over my life but in the times where life was good and I was actually happy. It was like, no matter what I was no longer satisfied with reality. So whenever I took a walk, Rose came with me and we would walk the streets for hours, because I knew once I got back home and put my key in the door the delusion had to end, because reality overpowered the daydream.
But today I made a breakthrough. I had a near breakdown today because something I was hoping for fell through, and it hit me really hard. So my mind knew it was time to enter into my safe haven and imagine Rose doing something fearless and brave that would help her plans pull through even with all the obstacles that stood in her way. Then I stopped and I realized..... when this daydream ends and I come back to reality everything will still be the same. I'll still be disappointed, upset, and will need to find a solution to my situation. For the first time in over 10 years of daydreaming I understood that my daydreams can't fix my reality, they only momentarily take me away from it; the only way I can fix reality is by dealing with it, and I can't do that in a makebelieve world. That may not sound like something huge but it is because I finally see that my "safe haven" is a delusion. That doesn't mean I won't enter into it again, it just means when I do I'll know what I'm walking into because when you know better you do better and finally, I know better.