Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
For anyone, trying to stop MDing or curb it... the question we ask ourselves is when does DDing turn into MD. How much is too much? Should I not DD at all because it could lead to MD? Can I still DD but try to put limits on it? Am I capable of putting limits on it or does it become a slippery slope? Should I just avoid my favorite MD scenarios that lead to bingeing where I daydream for hours on end? How do I manage this?
Dr. Eli Somér who first proposed the phrase, "Maladaptive Daydreaming is extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning." I think in determining how much is too much, a person with MD has to do an analysis of how MD has affected them in their personal and professional lives.
Below is my analysis. MD has most affected my personal life. I would rather DD in the evenings then spend time with my husband after my son goes to bed. I don't socialize much as I would rather MD. I have only a few close friends. I don't call my Dad that often as in my spare time I would rather MD. In my professional life, I DD often in the morning which causes me to start work later. I could be more efficient and end my day sooner at work so I can spend time with my family in the evenings earlier. Also instead of MDing, I could work on my writing. One day, I would like to be a professional writer.
Now, I understand better how MD has affected my life. So what am I going to do about? I think the next step is set concrete goals on how I am going to improve my personal and professional life. Instead of MDing, I will substitute some of my DD time to engage in personal and professional activities of my choosing. Below are my goals:
1. General Long Term Goal- Strengthen Social Ties with Family and Friends
Specific Measurable Mini-Goals
a) Call my Dad every weekend
b) Spend quality time with husband at least three nights a week
c) Go out to lunch or an outing once a week with a friend
2. General Long Term Goal- Become a Professional Writer
Specific Measurable Mini-Goals
a) Read a "Book in a Month" by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.d- August
b) Research Novel/Take Notes on Ideas for Plots and Characters- September
c) Create Detailed Outline for Novel- October
d) Participate in National Novel Writing Month http://nanowrimo.org/- November
e) Revise Novel- December, January, and February
f) Have a few trusted friends read it- February
g) Revise it based on feedback- March- April
By taking steps towards the above-mentioned goals, I will be reducing my DDing time and targeting the areas where MD has affected my life.
It is great now that I have set these goals- but what can I do so I don't engage in self-sabotage? I think then you have to have an understanding as to what are your triggers. Below is a list of my triggers:
1) Certain Kinds of Music- Particularly Pop Music
2) Reading about Celebrities on the Internet
3) Anxiety Attack
Now, I have to think about how am I going to control these triggers.
1) Music- Listen to music other than pop music. I have some local music (indie music) that doesn't trigger MD. Classical doesn't either. If I want to listen to pop music then it has to be when I am on the elliptical and then I have to stop DD when I am done. Also I like to sing and I don't MD when I sing. I may need to sing more than listen. If this doesn't work, then I will have to stop listening to pop music altogether.
2) Instead of reading about celebrities on the Internet, do research related to my novel idea instead.
3) Journal about what I am feeling if I have an anxiety attack and take medication daily.
To do this, I think I will need a support system. I am telling the MD community about this- you are part of my support system. I will also tell my husband.
What happens if I slip? Well, I am not going to feel guilty about it or beat myself up about it. No one is perfect. As long as I am trying, I am not failing.