Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Hi everyone! My name's Ivana and I'm 25 and living in the UK.
I found this forum because I am finally facing the reality the I'm never going to stop my MDDing unless I start taking tangible actions as nothing appears to be working for me.
I've become trapped in an inescapable cycle of MDDing and desperately wanting to quit as I feel like I've lost my life. I want to stop more than anything, even if my 'real' life doesn't make me happy as I'd rather be there but the extreme guilt and depression I feel about how much I've spent of my life not living makes me want to MDD more to cope with these feelings. It become a never-ending cycle.
Now it's truly become and addiction which I cannot stop no matter how hard I try. I seem to have everything in life and there is no trauma in my past that would've specifically triggered this disorder but I don't even feel like a human being. During every social interaction I am finding it increasingly difficult to be present or concentrate because I can't wait to get home and MDD (pace around my bedrooms with headphones in, in the darkness).
I left my whole life and moved countries (from Australia to the UK) as I believed maybe detaching from everything and starting over would assist me in curbing this behaviour but being alone so much has only made it worse. I love the experience of it in the sense of wishing it was my true life and giving me everything I feel like I am missing in terms of who I am, or wish to be, and the people around me, but also hate it more than anything because I have literally lost my life. Nothing in my whole world is real.
I've been doing this behaviour for about twenty years (I remember doing it as a child in primary school very mildly whenever something wouldn't go the way I hoped, rather than doing anything about it, I'd just imagine the way I wished it'd gone) but now it's just massively escalated. It has ravaged every part of my life from my education to work, relationships both friendship, family and romantic but nobody knows about it because I keep it to myself as I feel they in no way can wrap their minds about it.
I almost feel like I need to get treatment or the only other way I can stop feeling the guilt/anxiety/depression of my life wasted would be to completely 100% submit to the MDD life and just in reality do the minimum to cover my survival and live in isolation because in my MDD I never feel lonely at all.
I can't spend any more years of my life dreaming away my days and achieving and experiencing nothing real as a result but hating myself and becoming consumed with guilt and shame at the way I've lived my life as soon as I take a break.
I feel like perhaps being open about it with people experiencing the same thing will at least give me the sense that I am doing something real and create a disconnect between the 'fantasy me' and the 'real me' to try to bring me back to the real world at least a little.
If anyone has any strategies or tactics to help control this behaviour please help.
Because mine has been going on for so long (20 years) my actually sense of reality is becoming skewed. In my MDD land, I'm in a relationship with one of my 'characters" and the storylines I make up based on this actually start to seep into my behaviour in the 'real world' and anything that happens in the real world - I'm completely indifferent too.
The only time I seem to feel something is when I think of my mortality (for example during some heavy turbulence in a flight or something - I travel a lot) and in those moments I feel a great sense of empathy for myself as I feel like a young woman who dreamt her life away because she didn't feel like she deserved to truly live but unfortunately this is fleeting and rather than delve any deeper the MDD returns and I close my eyes and in the seats beside my are all my "friends".
I know I need to stop - I feel like I'm losing control.