Wild Minds Network

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It could be worse, but it's not getting better.

I've been lurking here since my first post over a year ago. A lot has happened since then, and I need to talk about it.

I think my daydreaming might have gotten worse, but maybe it just seems that way because my outer life has become more demanding.

I have three older sisters, and last fall was the first time that they were all away at college. For the most part, I can stay outside of my head when there are other people present. So sharing space with my sisters limited how much I was able to daydream, preventing it from conflicting too much with my real life. But once they were gone, I had hours of uninterrupted time in which to dream instead of being asked and reminded to be productive or at least interact with an actual person. This certainly did not help me to cut back on daydreaming.

Then there was school. I have always been one of those students who didn't have to study, who didn't have to worry about passing a class with anything but an A. If I wasn't, then MD would have been a much larger problem earlier in my life. It's not like I don't care, though. I've always tried to be the kind of student that my family wouldn't be ashamed of. I did my homework, I didn't cut corners. But I never needed to! For most of my academic life, I didn't have to put in hours of homework every night to know I would get an A. I don't know. Maybe my school system just lacks challenging courses. I have used my daydreaming as a way to figure out problems for school work in the past, and it never came into conflict with academics until a few months before I found out about MD (this conflict being part of why I looked it up). Even then it wasn't too bad. I still ended both semesters with straight As. Then the next school year rolled around.

With my impressive grades, I had signed up for a few AP classes. Everything was fine until my English teacher started assigning his readings and essays. Now this was technically a college course, duel credit and everything. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at how difficult it was. But there were two fundamental things about this class that just made it completely miserable. First of all, nearly every single reading (which there were twenty or so each semester) revolved around the same depressing themes. Things like "humanity is doomed, there is no hope, death is the only way to escape our crumbling world"...Let me make something clear. I am not against the writing of depressing or controversial topics. I'm not even against the use of such writings in schools. It's fine, it's expression, it's art. But then there was reason number two for why this class was awful: the teacher's attitude. I don't know what he was going through, but I hope he gets help, because he was teaching this stuff like he really believed it. This would have been fine if it was just a few books (for the class not for him...dude needs help). It would have been even better if he allowed us to write about our own opinions of the books in our essays. But it was like he thought that if I took something different away from the reading than he did then I was wrong. And on top of this, he was extremely, EXTREMELY picky when it came to grading compared to every other English teacher I have ever had. Literally, someone in my class took their essay to another teacher and they were told it was perfect, a sure A. Then this student handed in the same paper to our teacher. If my memory serves, they got a D on that essay. It might of been an F. Either way, there was no way I could breeze my through this class. 

This single class managed to throw a barrage of wrenches in the balance that I had between school and daydreaming. First, there was a ton of time consuming reading. Then there were time consuming essays after those readings. And to top it off, I couldn't work with my own opinions and everything I had ever been taught about writing essays was of no use because this teacher refused to abide by those guidelines, for better or for worse. I didn't want to let my family down by letting my grades fall, but as it took up more time this class starting conflicting with my daydreaming, and the latter wasn't going away. And the more I struggled to succeed in my class, the more stressed I got and the more I daydreamed instead of working. And that would make me feel worse because then the work piled up and so I'd daydream more to cope with that...it was a vicious cycle. And I didn't want to think about what I was writing because it was always horrible stuff that I didn't agree with, so I couldn't even use my daydreaming to help me write.

Oh, and there was one other recurring theme we had to read about: "people who delude themselves into believing in a happier reality are only cowards delaying the inevitable moment that reality catches up with them and when it does it will destroy them". Thinking about this, reading and writing about this...it just made me feel even more ashamed of my MD then I already did. In the midst of all the guilt over not getting enough work done because I'd rather spend time in my own fantasies, I just...I don't know. I needed help, I needed to feel like there was someone who could and wanted to help me. But reading about that made me feel like it was my fault that I was struggling. So I didn't ask for help, not with my MD.

I spent so many nights awake because I didn't feel like I deserved to sleep until my work was done, and the work wasn't getting done because I was walking around in circles for hours instead of writing essays.

Eventually everything got done, even if it was a couple weeks behind schedule, and the school year was over. But I wasn't able to to pull off my usual straight As ending. Honestly, if it wasn't for my parents, I wouldn't care about great vs average grades. But this is the first time that my daydreaming has affected my grades. Yeah, it took some doing, but it worries me. When life gets hard, I don't want my first response to be running inside my head. But right now that's what it is. And I hate that. I haven't had a bad life so far, and I probably already have more control over my daydreaming than a lot of people on this site and really shouldn't complain. But now that I know how much I really crack under pressure, I'm deeply worried about the future. 

I just started my senior year of high school. I actually came down with a cold and didn't go today (or yesterday I guess it's past midnight) but I still haven't done the homework from the weekend. I've been so worried about how busy my life is about to get that I've been daydreaming way more than I used to. I know it could be worse, but I don't think it's going to get better. I had pretty positive outlook on MD a year ago, but now I just don't know how I'm going to do this.

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Comment by Catherine Mullins on August 24, 2016 at 2:54am

I have really struggled with MDD under the pressures of school. For me, at least, I think the pressure makes the problem worse--I want to run into my head. Now I can describe myself as "recovering." Some thoughts:

#1 I know it probably sounds terrifying, but have you shared with your parents or a therapist? Or a friend? I was TERRIFIED to, but have been surprised to find support at every turn. I think it is important to have someone else real in your life that you can share with--about your MDD, school, and any other personal struggles you may be having.

#2 Set your eyes on something higher. This has probably been my #1 help--turning to God. Prayer. I really don't feel that I overcame this problem by myself. A friend prayed for me earnestly, and I haven't felt the same since. I have to continually run to God. I journal my prayers and thoughts and feelings, getting those things outside of me.
 RUN to Jesus, as if you are a gazelle being chased by a hungry lion, RUN.

#3 If you can at all, try to reduce stress in your life. Go on a walk. I find mountain hikes really help me work through things, and get my eyes off of myself. I don't know if that is a possibility where you are.  Are you signed up for more classes than you need to be? Can you drop some? Don't be ashamed of this.

#4 Think about others. When I am struggling and sad, sometimes I find it helpful thinking of what I can do for others, how I can help and serve.

This is hard to fight--so, so, so hard! I have a master's degree, and I am not sure I would dare getting back into school again because of the pressure, which is hard for MDD. You are in a war zone. I am praying for you. Don't give up. Never, ever give up. This can be conquered, but it is probably too powerful a thing for you to stand against by yourself.

Comment by Kal on August 23, 2016 at 9:47am

Give time to your distractions. An hour or two. Or, try to finish off some work by say, 8:30 PM. After that, waste your time, watch videos on YouTube, surf the Internet, etc. 

You could also try scheduling each day. I know it's rather tiresome, but it can be done. Every night, plan for the next day, and make sure you review your progress every week (I do it every Sunday) and, analyse and try to be more productive next week (: 

Hope this helped.

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