Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I have to admit I'm not a fan of the whole "verify that you are a REAL person" process on here, but I understand that online spam can be a problem. Just the same, some of us don't possess the courage that Cordellia Rose has shown by identifying herself as a Maladaptive Daydreamer. The rest of the world simply doesn't take this topic seriously at all, and I don't believe it will anytime soon.
I'm at the 4 decade mark, and I NEVER directly discussed this with anybody. I know I put some "safe" questions out there when I was much younger just to get a feel for what others thought about daydreams, but ... this isn't something that I was ever able to safely admit to, so please forgive me. I remember how much my peers made fun of "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" when we read it in school. I can't even believe I am doing this! Nobody EVER talks about this ... ever.
I supposed it is time for the "story," correct? I don't ever recall a time where I haven't daydreamed a great deal. My earliest memory is when I was around 3 years old and sitting on my bed (my first bedroom) imagining myself on the set of Mr. Rogers and having him explain something to me (I can't remember what exactly).
I was really skeptical when I started reading online about Maladaptive Daydreaming (I'm skeptical...I don't like automatically jumping to the conclusion that I "have something." However, when it mentioned things like trying to keep my facial expressions from giving me away to others while daydreaming (like my expression changing, or worse...silently TALKING to thin air....or much worse than that would be actually letting a word or two actually slip out...that's humiliating)....It also mentioned pacing around in a room over and over and over and over while allowing the current story to play out in my head...it also mentioned abuse as a child, and that one made me even more nervous.....Let's just say that reading over the symptoms of Maladaptive Daydreaming made me very VERY nervous! It just hit way too close to home.
Television...heavens. There hasn't been a single movie or television show that I didn't end up "modifying" (over and over) and always including myself in there somewhere. You know how uncomfortable it is when you have to explain to someone that you need to "go and stretch" just so you can walk away and have a partial daydream play out in your head? I've been doing it for decades.
I noticed that some movies broached the subject of daydreaming a lot. The Neverending Story was always a very important movie to me on a personal level for that reason alone. I understood the character of Bastion pretty well. I've never been able to keep my head out of the clouds. Then there was that movie Sidekicks where that kid was constantly daydreaming... and of course I would end up daydreaming about MYSELF in these films...over and over and over and over.
Reading books gives me the same problem....I read, and then I feel compelled to stop reading so that I could let MY story play out in my head...and then return back to the story and continue reading until the next daydream interruption....rinse, repeat.
The only time in my life where the daydreaming wasn't about 70-80 percent of each waking day was during the high school years. Looking back on it, I have NO idea how I managed to do so much in so little time. I was involved with choir, show choir, solo work, plays and musicals, thespian club, two part time jobs, lifting weights each day....I have NO idea how I still had time to read fantasy novels and play video games to the point of completion....I'd even make home movies with the camcorder. That was a very happy and healthy time for me.
Unfortunately, college bored the heck out of me, and I kept daydreaming. I couldn't sleep well, so I would walk and eventually come out of whatever daydreams just to find myself out in the city somewhere. Once I even got LOST...I had to find a payphone and call a classmate to help locate me! ...very humiliating.
It just doesn't stop. It simply NEVER stops. For some reason, it has never interfered with my work (but I have been daydreaming like this while working) ... I never talk about it, and my work has never been so challenging that I can't do it while working (dealing high-stress and high-volume call centers hasn't been an issue for years....I don't feel comforted by that thought. I don't know what to make of it).
While I've been writing this, I've been living an imaginary vacation in Hawaii... and now my wife has returned, and I don't dare let her know about this! I've never shared this before....family, friends, nobody.
I'm hoping this group understands. If any of this sounds all too familiar to you, I understand your situation. I understand and feel your anguish all too well.