Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Hello everyone. I am writing to share my experience as it may help some of you that deal with the issue.
I have been dealing with maladaptive daydreaming for quite a few years now even though I came across the term only this year. I am now 25 years old and I no longer want to continue to suffer with this issue.
Problem, social anxiety and misdiagnosis
As a child I used to suffer from social anxiety in which I was very shy and would often keep to myself. Though I would engage with my peers it never developed into full-fledged relationships. I am not sure where the daydreaming started but I know that I would create fascinating stories in my mind of my peer and I having stronger relationships than in real life. Doing so in my imagination was comforting and since it required no effort on my part, I often felt little need to do so in real life. I never thought it was a problem until recently. I realized that I graduate from college and graduate school and have still not felt that I have actually lived. I only lived in my head.
I was treated for depression in 2008/2009. I was willing to take medication as I felt I was losing a grip on my life. I got into an altercation with some girls in high school which was really affecting my well-being and school work so I agreed to get help. At first, I was great. I didnt think that there was a problem but then I realized that I sometimes felt like I lacked essential emotions. I am normally a sensitive person and that struck me as weird when I couldnt cry or express my emotions as I usually do. I also have a friend that successfully weaned herself off medication and I wanted to give it a shot. To me, although the medication was working, I couldnt say my life improved significantly and I was still somewhat depressed. (I know now that happiness comes from within and a medication cant cure you). That being said, I decided to follow my friend and quit cold .
Fast forward, I ended up quitting my job, moving to another country and working there for a month and coming back home to do temp work. I worked for a temp agency for about year then decided to do my masters. In my mind, I knew that I should be taking medication but I refused to admit that I had a problem. Despite being stuck on people and places that no longer serve me, I still pursued them even after being rejected. I made myself believe that this former classmate will like me if I move to his country. In the end, I never met this classmate but I ended up getting a Master degree in Human Rights Law in Belgium.
I hate the idea of taking medication but I no longer think its possible to live in two other worlds. While many of you may find daydreaming comforting, which I do as well. I see it as a problem that I am desperately trying to address. I cant continue to destroy things while daydreaming. (I broke a window). I cant continue to pretend that I know these people in my mind when some were never my friends or nice to me or even know me/remember me. This year I lost my grandpa on my 25th birthday and it occurred to me that I have never really live and I find it disheartening. I spent it with family but no friends. I realized that I cant continue to live like this so I am choosing to fight back. It's scary because everytime I face the real world, I start to cry but I would rather live and feel the bitter feeling in the very moment than feel happy, content and satisfied in something that I know deep down isnt real. It hurts knowing that I have wasted time doing because if I didnt have this condition, I would be a billionaire by now. (maybe not but I have spent more than 10,000 hours daydreaming so who knows)
I am sharing because I have been paralyzed by fear all my life. I have often struggled to fit in. I have struggled to make friends so I daydreamed about them. I have struggled to share but I cant live in fear. I choose to embrace it and I will do it afraid. I am not sure if there is cure for MD but I want to live my life knowing that I made a contribution not living in my head.
To everyone on this site, I really admire your courage. Being here has helped me realize that I am not alone.
All my love