Long-going Maladaptive Daydreaming

Hi everyone. This is new to me... talking to people about my mental habits and what not. I recently saw a study about overactive imagination. After reading about it and watching videos/lectures on it I realized that I have the habits and traits of it. After doing further study I heard about <maladaptive Daydreaming. This is my exprience with it

I have a fantasy world and when I'm bored, stressed or overstimulated I got there. I have had it for like 10 years. The fantasy land has rules and an ongoing story, sometimes my irl life struggles bleed into it and of course I am the main character... I am bold, powerful and literally everything I'm not in reality. One main point of this "fantasy story" is the villain or at least antagonist against me, in my story our souls/mind fused and we were able to communicate and think together. He was every negative and rude feeling or thought I had embodied. Everything I wish I could say he would say, everything I wish I could do he did. He was a way for me to be the truthful mean person. Even when I wouldn't play the game or fantasy... even if I was on my break at work I would talk and have a conversation with him. I realized I started doing outside of the game when a major event happened in my life. Since that point I talked to him as if he was my other personality, or my other half, but I of course knew he was fake. It reminded me of a book called "You Never Promised Me a Rose Garden", and while I knew what was and wasn't reality, it still was a part of me. My point here is that last week I wanted to change things up in the game. I wanted him to die and for it to be a catalyst for me to be more venturous and outgoing, to be more like him. Well in the story he died, and I had it so the rules and setting of the story was that he physically wouldn't be able to come back, reincarnated or brought back to life. After this happened I realized I stopped talking to him on my breaks, I stopped thinking as him, or thinking or questioning what he would of thought of this scenario or what just happened in real life, and I also realized today that I haven't played the game or have struggle finding the will to play the game since he died. I know its healthy to having stopped this maladaptive daydreaming, but it was such a coping mechanism and such a big part of my life that I feel so empty without it and its weird. I know I should be glad, but I miss it so much.

This will be a post of many to come probably, please let me know if anyone else has their own fantasy world or their own "darker half".

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Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on August 17, 2022 at 1:56pm

I learned the hard way, and it's not funny, that friends and relationships do not come out of our daydreams. As a matter of fact, daydreaming throws people away from our lives. I realized when I did MD, I made others think I disliked them. I made them think I wasn't interested in listening to what they had to say, nor did I want to talk to them. I wanted a relationship my whole damn life–but didn't come to see that I sabotaged or neglected myself, by preferring to dream about people who are not non-existent (or exist, but are unnattainable). I lived in my bedroom dreaming hours, months and years of my life away. When I should've been socially active around others and in tune with the real world around me. I was just different that way—and I didn't find anybody who could relate to this. So I was ALONE for most of my life. I grew up surrounded by people who didn't understand what the hell I was doing. They honestly found me a very weird person. My dad couldn't get over how I just wouldn't leave my shell and do the right things. He felt that I was ruining my future prospects, health and wellbeing. 
I didn't move...I didn't talk...I just constantly dreamed. Now I don't remember ever having a real social life. I just recall being an outcast and making others think I'm totally rude, absolutely nuts, and in need of help—and living on the other side of the galaxy. Frankly, I have no idea who I really am. I never learned to begin with. So my life feels so hollow. 

Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on August 7, 2022 at 8:07am

I gave up on MD when I approached my 30's. I learned that nobody is going to care how much you daydream to overcome your disappointments of what life really offers you. I did want life to get better—but only way I should've solved this problem was to make it happen for real. Not daydream all day about it. The content of my dreams did make me feel temporary happy and 'magical' inside. I didn't take into account the damage it would do to my real life down the road. Now I'm broke and stuck with no life at all. I look at other people's lives, and they are way more successful—guess what—because they didn't daydream. When I was young, MD did convince me that things will be just fine, and better things are to come. It was a lie. I was basically joking myself, meanwhile I was talking to imaginary friends who never existed. Everybody around me saw my weird behavioural patterns and tried to warn me that's something is wrong—I looked like I was in another world. I didn't care, and didn't listen, just wanted to keep on daydreaming. Now at 36, I look back and see what everyone meant. 

Comment by Valentin on July 22, 2022 at 6:17pm
Thank you for sharing this. I actually have a similar situation, albeit with a few differences. At age 6, I started personifying negative self-talk as ants. As I grew older, I started daydreaming and this negative self-talk became a villain figure in my mind, who I had a very unhealthy romantic relationship with for around seven years. We spoke and were together in my mind a lot, and I knew he wasn’t real, but I rationalized him into being the “other half” of my mind, and our beings were somehow fused. As of last year, I ‘became’ this controlling side of myself and am now in a much stronger, healthy relationship with a personification who embodies the side of myself I once was.

This is also new to me to write about this for others (although I am addicted to documenting my daydreams, and I now have over 400,000 words of them)… I’ve been a lurker on this site for a month or so now, and I’ve been curious if anyone else has the ‘two sides of themself’ scenario. I can’t imagine stopping my daydreams or conversations with him, even though they deplete my interest in pretty much everything else irl. If letting go of daydreaming works for you, keep us updated, (I might have to face this reality someday, too…) - I wish you best of luck and thanks again for sharing.

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