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Where wild minds come to rest

I have this odd relationship with my daydreams. Since I found out that I'm not the only person out there who does this, and since I examined the ways my daydreaming has negatively affected my real life, I've tried to daydream less. I'd always assumed that some day, when I fall in love and have kids and a house and a family, I would stop daydreaming. For years I thought I was just kind of playing, even as a teenager, and that I would eventually grow out of it. But I have realized that if I want to stop, I'm going to have to actively try to stop. And I'm having so much trouble with that thought.

I'm graduating college soon, and hopefully will be starting a full time job in June. I have a large family who love and support me, and a lot of great friends who are there for me whenever I need them. I struggle a lot with my mental health, but I have an amazing support system and a lot of resources at my disposal. And I know a lot of people who struggle with MDD do so precisely because they don't have these relationships and resources. I don't know why I do it if I have love and support in my real life.

The one thing I've never told anyone - not my family, friends, not even my therapist - is about my maladaptive daydreaming. I'm too embarrassed, that's true, but if I'm being honest with myself, that's not the biggest reason I keep this to myself. The biggest reason is that I know that if I talk about it to someone, it would mean admitting that it's a problem. And it would mean working to try and stop. I feel so ashamed to admit it, but I am so attached to my daydreams. They feel like a part of me. They make me feel safe, and loved, and I honestly can't fathom what life without them would be like. I know they're in my head, and that the people in them aren't real, but I feel like if I make efforts to stop daydreaming and I succeed, I'll just feel so empty. I don't daydream as often as I used to when I was younger - I used to spend at a minimum four hours a day, every day, daydreaming, and now I do it maybe once or twice a week. So I know I've improved. But I still daydream when I'm overwhelmed or stressed, and I think my attempts to stop daydreaming have led to me just shutting down emotionally, which I don't like at all.

I feel like I don't know who I am without these worlds inside me. I don't know how to handle things without them. I know that it's not healthy and it's caused so many problems in my life. But I don't want to stop. I'm terrified to stop. I don't understand why I'm like this - why I'm so attached to these fictional friends when I have many wonderful friendships, why I can't stop craving affection from fictional people even though I get a ton of affection from all the people around me. I don't know why I feel like I'll lose so much of myself if I stop daydreaming. I don't know how to feel any other way. 

I've never posted on Wild Minds before. Even sharing here feels like a huge risk, and I don't quite get why. I think that maybe my daydreams are so precious to me that I'm petrified to talk about them, as if they'll disappear the second I bring them into the world outside my head. I'm not ready to talk to my loved ones about this, and I don't know if I ever will be. I guess I'll talk here until that day comes.

I know this may not have made much sense, but if you read it, I appreciate you taking the time. If anyone has any thoughts, please share - I would love to hear them. 

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Comment by Jennifer on February 16, 2018 at 3:00pm

Hi Cecelia. :)

I can relate to 100% of what you wrote. I am also a full time college student, and I have always thought that my habits were just something all children did and that I would grow up and grow out of it. I am almost 21 now and can say that I have not grown out of it and still do it whenever I find the time. It serves as an escape from my real life, which I'm unhappily living. I've had many failed relationships, many awful "friendships," and am so lonely and struggle finding my way in this world. I want more than anything for my dreams to come true...So much so that it hurts. 

I have admitted this problem to my therapist, and even brought her a whole article from the internet that explains what MDD is...She didn't quite understand. I can't talk to anyone about this, no parents, no friends, no partners...I am completely alone when it comes to this. 

Comment by Daniel D Woodard on February 12, 2018 at 9:26am

I think being engaged in the real world is a major key to managing MDD. I find that when I'm bored I tend to automatically start to daydream. If I'm really interested in something, I get absorbed by it. I may still daydream, but it's focused on the task at hand instead of an unrelated fantasy. It's similar to obsessive/compulsive behavior I would guess. It is a response to some subconscious anomaly because I don't consciously do it, it is an urge.

On a personal level, I think I started doing this because I have a horrible self-image. This is a way to comfort my ego and be heroic instead of a crazy freak of nature. It is a self-survival defense. If I was to totally give up on it I would have to face my somewhat repressed feelings of inadequacy and unlovability. I can't let that happen

Welp, that's probably enough sunshine from me on that topic. I don't have a lot of answers, but I can contribute my experiences and maybe together we can find some. I do know it's important to Love yourself & accentuate the positive. Realize you're not alone and things aren't as horrible as they might seem.

Comment by Honeyed Potatoes on February 12, 2018 at 5:07am
It’s so crazy to see other’s talk about this stuff. It’s like, woah, you’re like me. Yeah I’m only in high school but it’s still a pretty prominent (don’t know if that’s the right word) thing in my life. When I was younger I’d daydream about 3 best friends. I then got friends and they stopped, I basically forgot about them. Then it started again in 8th grade, I thought about love. People being in love and it’s still going with even more people and even more complexity. It’s insane and I also don’t want to stop because I’m so emotionally attached to them. I feel like I’d break if they disappear. But from the previous matter, I’d imagine if I gained a lover I’d forget again. I long for a lover, but I don’t wish the little people in my head to vanish.

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