Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
I feel very conflicted about my maladaptive daydreaming. I mean, for most of my life I've lived in my head. Oddly enough, this didn't stop me from living a very active and full life. I would just daydream whenever I didn't absolutely need to be grounded in reality. I've had many wonderful real life experiences and met some amazing people over the past few decades.
The problem is that sometimes my daydreaming gets in the way of life and it's gotten more intense over time. Everyone who I'm close to knows that if I stare off into space it's because I went into my head unintentionally. Those who care about me most aren't offended. Because I'm an artist and a writer, they just chock it up to my having a very vivid imagination. It's not until the past few years where they started to become really concerned about me.
See, I eventually reached the point where I can't be out of my head for long periods of time. Sometimes the daydreams will take such strong control of me that I can't even hold a simple conversation. I've become withdrawn and have cancelled plans because I can't leave my head.
I know I need to get help and finally have decided to do so. But, I feel so conflicted. My daydreams have been a comfort blanket, entertainment, and a way to deal with all of the trauma I've experienced throughout my life. They've helped me to cope in ways that nothing else could.
I've found ways to make my daydreams work for me. Socially, I'm very into RPGs and would DM games, using my daydreams as a background for the games. (RPG=role playing game and DM or GM is the person who creates the world and story that the other players' characters are in...it's like writing a story where you have no control over the characters. So much fun!). I write novels that are entirely based on my daydreams. I've used them to help me understand my past and my future. I've used them to help me understand why other people are the way they are and have become a more compassionate and understanding person as a result...traits that my friends and family love about me.
All of this is wonderful, but there is a downside. Sometimes my daydreams take such control that I don't take care of myself or my home. I can take care of my kids just fine because I force myself to (they're 20 and 16 now) but everything else kind of slid away. What my mom sees as me being lazy is simply my inability to do more than I do because I can't stay out of my head.
It's gotten worse over time and I'm to the point where something needs to be done. I'm barely functioning these days. I can't hold down a job. My house is way more messy than I've ever let it get. My kids pretty much do their own thing with little interference from me (not so bad for my 20 y/o but my 16 y/o still really needs me to be present).
I want to get help so I can function. But, I also don't want to let go of my daydreams. I love them so much. I mean, yeah, they're not exactly the most joyful experiences as my characters tend to be very tortured. In truth, my life is better than theirs in many ways. But, I still love them and prefer them to movies or TV.
I've tried to limit my daydreaming in the past and have found that when I do that they come back with a vengeance. I have almost no control over them anymore. Last year I had a series of daydreams that were so intense that I didn't register when I needed to eat or drink. If it weren't for my roommate (who has since moved out because his job transferred him) I might have died from dehydration. This is what caused me to start researching if there was a disorder related to daydreaming.
I'm going to get help and see a therapist, but I'm terrified. I don't consider myself to be a weak person and I feel that not getting help when you need it is a sure sign of weakness. Ideally I will learn how to control my daydreaming so I can function somewhat normally again. I don't want to stop completely, especially since I'm trying to make a living off of it through my writing.
Thanks for listening to me rant