Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
So, I have spent my entire life thinking that I was the only person that showed these signs, finding out it has a name is both exciting and a little disheartening. The excitement comes from the fact that there are others like me out there. The disheartenment comes from the fact that we should be treating this like a compulsion or an addiction. For me, it is as much of a compulsion and addiction as breathing air. Yes, it has affected my life in ways that could be viewed as negative, but so has human interaction. So, that point is moot in my mind.
I have no idea when it started, much like walking and talking, but it must have started early. I can’t remember what happened or where I was the first time I learned how disappeared inside of one of my own worlds. I know that I spent hours pacing back and forth in my backyard as a child, talking to myself, playing out characters, and creating alternate realities. Even when I was young, maybe five or six, I knew that what I was doing was out of the norm, so I learned how to conceal it. I hid in my yard if I heard my neighbors come outside, I chased my sisters back into the house because I didn’t want them to see this, or even worse, interrupt me.
I never felt the need to make real friends at school, it seemed like more of a hassle than just creating a world where I re-imagine my peers as my friends. I distinctly remember telling myself the summer before I went to middle school, that this would be the last summer I went outside to “talk to myself.” And that became a yearly ritual that I repeat every eve of my birthday...
“C’mon, A., you’re somethingteen/twentysomething/thirtysomething years old, you’re too old to be doing this.”
What’s funny is that every time I make the promise to myself, I feel like I am trying to punish myself for the way my mind works. And when I break the promise to myself, I feel like I have let down the world around me. A world that I really don’t care that much for, but maybe that’s because I had crafted better ones by the time I hit puberty. I know that I shouldn’t let my fantasy worlds bleed into the outside one, but sometimes it just seems easier. It’s not that I can’t distinguish between them, it’s that I just don’t feel like the real world™ is healthy enough to deal with on a full-time basis.
So, I ended up dropping out of school, my grades had slipped so much that I would have probably had to repeat my sophomore year of high school a few times. And why did my grades slip? Well, I think we all know the answer to that, I spent my free-time pacing in my backyard and talking to myself, rather than actually studying. It didn’t help that I had also turned to drugs and alcohol to try to suppress this quirk. Who would have guessed that drugs and alcohol would actually fuel my daydreams? I mean other than anyone that had finished the 10th grade.
Fast forward to my first serious relationship, which was a complete disaster, I guess I made it hard to trust me. When you come back inside around three in the morning with no real explanation of where you had been, it is admittedly suspicious. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I figured out a way to balance all of it. Since he works early and I work a little bit later, he’s usually in bed at least 5 hours before I am. We have been together for 13 years now, and it wasn’t until the summer of 2017, that I attempted to explain why I needed that “alone” time late at night. Being that he’s such a sweet guy, he obliges, even though I know he shouldn’t. It’s basically like me asking him to get out of the living room so I can shoot heroin.
The logical part of me knows that this is some sort of dissociative and/or avoidant condition. But the part of me that I actually like, you know, the whimsical one that was raised to keep an open mind to the mysteries of the universe, wonders if there isn’t something more to it. Maybe we are actually conduits to other worlds, maybe we are like antennas for the multiverse? I know that we probably aren’t, but I don’t know if I’m ready to admit that we’re stranded on this world. And I am also very aware that saying we “probably aren’t” isn’t helpful, but I just can’t bring myself to say “definitely aren’t. But then again, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
So that’s my introduction rant, sorry for any seizures or migraines that I may have caused you.