Maladaptive Daydreaming due to extreme self-consciousness/reservation?

After reading a few recent blog posts, and reflecting on my own experiences, I'm convinced that MD, for at least some people, and at least in part, is due to extreme reservation around expressing your true self to others, or extreme self consciousness.

While most people have never had a problem pursuing the things and people they love, and overall expressing their deepest desires, fears, etc. from a young age, some of us for whatever reason have either never learned to do this, or have learned not to through a negative experience.

I'm getting the sense that we are just super hesitant to express ourselves and our emotions, compared to most people, and as a result our "true self" becomes internalized rather than outwardly expressed and acted upon. Thus we daydream about how things/we would be if we didn't have the extreme self-consciousness, or as an escape from a life where our true self doesnt' get to show itself.

Does anyone else think this sounds like their situation?

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Comment by Noor on December 26, 2016 at 12:03pm
I relate to this as well.
Comment by Satchi R on November 22, 2015 at 7:41pm

I agree with you.I'm so self-conscious its just sad

Comment by Willie Coyote on December 11, 2013 at 9:10pm

I've always felt the same way and, until fairly recently, have been tripped up by fear and hesitation at every turn. I think part of it has to do with creativity. When we are capable of having such complicated and vivid thoughts it can be difficult to communicate what we actually mean.

The words I say never, ever live up to the ones in my head, and I think that that is part of it. We have these fantasies where our words and actions are perfect, and then we end up falling short whenever we try to live these fantasies out. Could that be why we are so hard on ourselves? We never end up performing with the same quality as our own expectations and thus a terrible cycle of disappointment and reservation keeps getting worse, our fantasies always far exceeding reality.

I'm hardly qualified to give advice, but I think one thing that has helped me is bringing those social situation fantasies back into to reality. After I come up with that perfect speech and it's still rolling in my head, I think "Alright, what would Willie actually say? When I talk, what does it actually sound like?"

That good old phrase: "know thyself" comes to mind. Presently, you might not have the physical ability to express all the wonderful and colorful thoughts you have brewing in your skull. That doesn't make it impossible to express yourself though, you might just need to shave off a few of the details, tweak the phrasing a bit. You know what you want to say, now try to picture how your physical body is actually going to say it.

Of course, this is only a small part of the challenge, but once you start to understand what you are physically capable of, you'll likely start feeling much more comfortable. Eventually, you might just find your outward and inner selves becoming closer.

Comment by Dusty on December 10, 2013 at 1:39pm

@Amanda: I know how you feel :C. Do you think you may have Social Anxiety Disorder as well? Something that has really come along way to help me feel more comfortable socially is meditation, as well as Buddhist principles. You don't even have to be a Buddhist to use them or to meditate. I found this Youtube talk VERY helpful and informative on the nature of, and ways to deal with anxiety:

I think another aspect is getting to know your true self and exploring your passions. Until about 1-2 years ago I had no idea what my passions were so it really takes a lot of exploration. I find once I know the things I'm passionate about, while I still get nervous, there's a little more of a concrete thing to work on expressing.

@Kim Katz: That sounds like a great way to get over MD!! That has really helped for me, rather than avoiding my DD's specifically, I also try to become more engaged with real life things and people. It also helps to try to "live in the moment" and observe and truly feel whatever emotions you may be feeling with no judgement. The realization that it's OKAY to feel anxious, and not a big deal if others can tell, was big for me.

@ Faye: I totally agree, a lot of the "feeling" that comes from emotion comes from expressing it. If we are trying to hide our emotions from other people, our mental energy shifts from the emotion itself to the anxiety that someone may pick up on it, so we just feel socially awkward and worry about how we're coming across, rather than feel the actual emotion. I definitely find this a lot when watching movies or listening to sad songs-- when I'm with people I'm much less effected by the emotional content because I'm more worried about revealing the minimal amount of emotional response within the boundaries of social acceptability. However when I'm truly alone I am much more emotionally affected, because there isn't anyone there who I'm worried will notice how I'm reacting.

Also, this is another very helpful website on dealing with social fears:

Comment by Faye on December 10, 2013 at 9:26am

I  think there is some truth to that. I realize now that I find it very difficult to express or even truly "feel" my feelings so I tend to capture them in MDD instead. I've always felt like "myself" but I definitely have trouble dealing with difficult and overwhelming feelings.

Comment by Kim Katz on December 10, 2013 at 3:18am

Dusty Rose,

(Sorry my English is not very good, I am French speaker)

It is at least my case. I am now learning to live in reality more than in my dreams by learnnig to express my feelings to real people,  trying to transport the beauty of my dremas to real life and I dream much less ... of course it is a decission I had to take, that is to do everything which possible to diminish my day dreams and live in real life ...

kim katz

Comment by Amanda Lewone on December 10, 2013 at 2:49am

This is me! I’m so glad you wrote this. 

I recently wrote a diary entry about this; my two selves: 

1. My true self which I experience on my own. 

2. The automatic self - which interacts with the world - which I feel I have little control over. I just automatically get shy, nervous…

When I am around other people, my true self never emerges. I am just automatically responding to the situation, feeling anxious, uncertain. I can’t enjoy an interaction.

Right now I am working on quitting bad habits. I have not dealt with the fundamental reasons why I dd excessively, avoid real life and feel insecure. I am just working on developing some positive habits.   

If you have any additional insight on this, it would be helpful. 

In addition to some of the behavioural problems, it makes me feel so alone in the world! :(

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