Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
My story, APOLOGIES for the long read I'm putting you through!
my name is Floris, 35 now, male and I'm from the Netherlands, a small country with plenty of rainy days but also sunny ones where feelings of guilt are placed on pale people not going outside because the summers don't always last very long. I have spent a large part of my life inside my mind and have found a rich life there, but also experienced pain for the lack of a life outside of that mind.
I'm fascinated to find similar minds and I hope to find wisdom, and an antidote to the thought "I've wasted 50% of my life", although I have never experienced fantasies as a time-waste since they were too much fun...knowing that I'm not alone is comforting.
Also, sharing fantasies and reflections on them, could connect me a little bit more to the outside world, something I already do but not enough.
What would summarize me, all related to each other:
-leaning towards Asperger;
-philosopher (I like to think about ANYTHING, deeply, to understand it);
-very interested in many irl things;
-a very busy mind;
-modest and self-critical;
-at the same time stubborn towards change;
-Hades archetype (as described by Jean Bolen);
Reality has these things that keep me from being too bored:
-a good computer job, not too ambitious at it, with some good colleagues I can talk to, but not about everything;
-hobbies like making music, making apps;
-an interest in filosophy, psychology and mythology, politics also although it can really piss me off;
-a love for games of all sorts, mostly RPG's (should not be a surprise here) and trading card games;
-good contact with both of my divorced parents;
I don't find reality as boring anymore as I used to, since I switched from being tax lawyer to a new career in Information Technology. Also because I've become more of a philosopher as I got older. But I am still easily distracted within my own mind, so I can still easily phase out to fantasies. Sometimes it's not boring at all but I cannot help myself! I cannot concentrate, even on things I LOVE.
Phasing seems to be a part of my biorhythm, it may even be at set times that I phase out to phantasies, sometimes it's the length of more boring things that trigger phasing out but it seems like a regular short pulse throughout the day. This short attention span worries me as my lack of attention causes lack of memory. I'm considering learning more focus doing Tai Chi. Focus is also a long term aspect in my life I want to get right.
Also it's like I can get addicted to all sorts of things but never too long. Everything can get boring, including addictions. So I hop from one little addiction to another: tv shows, computer games, Wordfeud, buying stuff online, reading, or just plain thinking. I spend a LOT of time thinking. I like to solve problems, including my own and I want to look at the COMPLETE picture, from a distance, looking at all aspects. This can consume hours. Sometimes just for fun.
I mentioned Asperger...I don't score high enough on that chart to qualify but above average:
-sometimes a need for repetative actions;
-difficulty to emotionally connect and make friends;
-crowds make me very uncomfortable.
I probably don't daydream for long enough intervals to qualify as a maladaptive but I am regularly distracted, partially by more realistic fantasies, partially by really fancy ones.
Below I will go into my fantasies (and I'm leaving out the sexual ones). Boring to others probably, but I'd like to focus on the meaning and hope others can shed light.
The realistic ones just associate antything I know from real life to something else, this can lead to jokes inside my head, dialog with a person I know discussing a problem, lots of things.
The fancy ones often involve me being a "Mary Sue", i.e. a too good to be true, character, varying but mostly a female (!) athlete with many other talents, all artistic in nature. This character has flaws and a personality I could have since I make up everything Mary says. Actually I call her Juno though she is nothing like the jealous wife of Zeus, except she is proud and strong, like a total goddess. She is not actually very female in behavior, but a tomboy, a very pretty one, boyish enough to be able to fantasize about being her. I am somehow interested in the question why I fantasize about being this woman so much. These are the explanations I can think of:
-she is the anima, the female part of my psyche;
-she compensates not having a girlfriend;
-she compensates being ordinary looking rather than stunningly beautiful, and has other assets I lack: quiet confidence, pride, fire, physical strength. She has fire as an athlete, professional basketball player (I used to like this sport), a warrior inside out;
-she can also embody other personal desires, the things I would like to be, mostly creative professions (musician, writer), but also have roles in my job that are different from mine, like manager;
-she has access to a huge audience of fans so whatever she would blog with her (MY) sharp pen would be read by millions;
-she is also entertainment (actress, director, scriptwriter), whenever I think of her as playing in a movie acting out some character I like from a video game, these are just for fun;
I have other alter ego's and I fantasize these as being related to Juno, embodying various other aspects of myself:
-a boyish, "bishounen" character, lover of Juno, that looks like Hope from Final Fantasy XIII, very bright and a computerwiz;
-a brother of Juno, succesful but less aggressive and ambitious somehow, less serious and more funny.
Obviously alter ego's all serve some need from within myself or some characteristic, they're all like me in some way, saying what I would say. They just look a lot better and were a lot more lucky, having huge talents...this is obviously target for criticism (something I subject myself to often), you'd think maybe it's a generation X thing, getting many things that forefathers had to struggle for, easily. But I think for fantasies, it's simply to boring to fantasize hundreds of hours of training to only then start fantasizing about the beautiful basketball player Juno soaring over all the other players. It's actually efficient :-) just showing some of the hard work and going quickly to the more exciting part, like a movie would do.
I think that only certain parts of Juno and friends actually point to problems, the other things are good fun.
1. Really a big issue for me, more than anything, is not having a girlfriend and having had only 1 immature one for a short time. I feel inadequate, a loser, failing, as if it's all my own fault and I should simply have lived like other guys, but thus betraying myself by adapting to what is expected of me by others, just to survive. But I was different.
I do not know better and I like being alone very much. I feel shame when having to talk about myself too much and I feel I cannot really talk about it, because it will destroy my social life if people see me as a loser that is hopeless with women. People can say "oh don't be ashamed" but are unaware of the consequences of being shameless. Just go walk outside in the nude to get an idea...
While having friends and meaningful connections, connecting with people I find difficult. I've learned rationality since I was a child, but emotional bonds seem to come a world far away that I haven't seen much. I get the feeling women, though friendly, can see through me, that I do not want children and would not be good lover somehow, too distant. I also feel that they CANNOT see what I am, my good parts are invisible: like reliability, tenderness, kindness, compassion. These are soft, passive traits that can remain hidden. They don't "score" points.
People with busy social lives have often had a rich emotional life: relationships, sex, friendships...I would like to be there just to feel what it is like, only my imagination can tell me some things about it, many truths (because I believe in Plato's core notion, that a lot of knowledge is within ourselves, and can be found if we think or fantasize enough), but not the wisdom from experience.
2. Emotional riches aside, I also find it difficult to explain things to people, it seems I am often too vague. My memory can serve me poorly and when explaining complex things I seem to leave out important info because I don't have access to enlightening details, only general concepts are in my mind and the rest is forgotten. It's like I live in a cave and can only see some light from the outside world where others see it much more clearly. Plato meant this allegory in an opposite way, that actually our MINDS would help enlighten rather than looking outside with our EYES because their vision is limited by darkness. But my inward mind darkens my own view, I feel intelligent but I don't feel "bright".
3. Another issue is career, I'm not exactly golden boy, more like underachiever with high potential. Career, scoring, winning, being the best has little meaning to me. I simply want improvement of myself and my life, in babysteps. Sometimes I stagnate a lot and there's no steps, being content, but after a while I can have a mild depression, thinking more about my issues. I would like to get more opportunities to grow but at the same time seem content with little challenges and the good life, being laid back. As a teenager I imagined this kind of laid back good life at the office already.
4. Phasing is an issue. Phasing from reality and then from one fantasy to another, associating ALL THE TIME. And then back to reality. Distractions upon distractions. This is short term and can make me ponderously slow at things. On the long term it has affected my career. I've had too many distractions and did not have a clear enough goal. I still don't, though I have made up my mind much more.
More and more I am convinced that people should use their strong points RATHER THAN keep hammering on weak points to work on. The latter only lowers your confidence even more, proving how much you suck at something. You have to do certain things you dislike, but it should never be too far from your core values, cutting off parts of yourself that matter (they will come back to haunt you). This is a Taoist way of looking at things as well: it's harder to fly against a stormy wind, better to go along with it, have harmony. Better than struggling with no end, head though the wall, fighting windmills, heaping frustration after frustration. Failure is normal but you can't win a marathon if you have no legs: stick to what you're good at and learn those things still lacking if they're within reach.
So maybe my fantasies could help me to make me emotionally more available, accessible, visible? I get criticized for not showing enough passion for work, while I do have it (if I'm phased into reality enough). For things that are harder for me (telling about my spare time in an engaging way), I guess first I could fantasize about Juno or the other friends doing those things.
More and more I felt like my fantasies and my reality should find some harmony somewhere, hand in hand. And it's still totally OK to have those wild fantasies and actually good they're not all real. And it's also OK to have parts of life being boring, accept it and acknowledge they're not that boring at all :-) But to see a merge between larger parts of these two domains: fantasy and reality.
What I hate is that the fantasy domain is looked down upon. I sincerely believe that scientists, philosophers, religions and artists all look for the same thing: truth, realness and that it cannot be found just by science. It's simply not just in the cold science facts, but in thinking (left brain half), dreaming (right brain half). There is still disdain for "soft" sciences, I think I'm starting to appreciate them more but that they need to be much more practical and actually focus on helping people.