Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I have lived with MDD for thirty years now, off and on. It started with traumatic events as a teenager and I just wanted a safe place. And I found it. For years it was my only safe place, well before it even had a name.
But, like any addictive behavior, it took over. The root of the word "addiction" is from "giving over" and I gave my life over to daydreaming and while like any addiction it seemed like a cure for my ills, over time I realized the following harmful effects:
1) wasting time that could have been better spent helping others or just enjoying real life.
2) my sense of reality was affected- sometimes it can be difficult to tell the truth from fantasy.
3)my relationships with real people, when I had them, was impaired because in dreams people can be perfect and not mean and hurtful and actually give a crap. Humans are not like that- we all make mistakes and hurt others, despite pure intentions. I found that dealing with people got more and more difficult and the more I would want to escape. This made me aloof and uninterested and thus more likely to want to escape.
4) an increased sense of shame. Like any addict, I took a hit of dreaming to escape being me. However, the side effect was that the more I took the hit, the more I became ashamed about it, aware that it was not helping me grow as a human being.
Over time I realized this was not what I wanted to do and be. It served its purpose but it was time to move on. Then I found out how hard it was to break the habit.
I have been in other 12-step programs and I decided to apply the same principles to this issue-
1) that I need help from an outside source- I cannot do this all by myself-
2) that the best approach is to let go and not try to control it, and
3) that change happens best when I am with people who have been there and done it, got the t-shirt, and I am accountable to them.
All I am saying is that for me, a 12-step approach has worked and I have faith that it will continue to work. I have not had a serious bout of MDD for around a year now. My mind still works in the same way, but I am able not to go into that place as I know where it will go.
If you are happy doing MDD type behavior and it works for you, great. If not, then perhaps this might be a solution for you too.