Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Warning : This will be a very long post but please bear with it.
I have had MD since I was 8 ( or maybe younger I don't really remember) My journey of recovery can be described in 3 stages.
1) The first stage : This is when I knew I was MDing and also knew that it is causing a lots of problems in my social and academic life. I wanted to stop doing it but did not know how to. So I used to think that once I fulfill all my wishes then my MD would be over. Because my innocent mind thought that I keep imagining all these things because I don't have them in my real life right now and if I achieve then my MD would go away too. You all must be knowing what happened next XD I only decided to, but never actually worked towards my dreams. Because I spend all my free time after school into Md and kept blaming myself for being lazy and not being determined enough to work for my goals. So this plan of mine to stop Md by making those dreams come true was a failure. I wanted to ask you guys, have you ever accomplished a goal which you daydreamed about while still being a MDer ? It can be anything, small or big .
2) Stage two : The beginning of this stage was started by a miserable event. In 2020 when the first ever lock down started, that's when things went wrong for me. I'll give you a little bit background Idea first - when I was 14 I first came across kpop and got really impressed by the idea of someone producing there own songs AND making dance choreos. I loved what they did so I decided that's gon be my career. Now the crazy part : I imagined that 'somehow' I will learn to sing and dance ( I sucked at both I still do) by the end of the year. And then make my own music. Everyday I used to think about it. And slowly days passed by, I thought I'll start practicing from tomorrow. But my tomorrow never came and I soon turned 15 with no skills. But I did not loose hope and thought I definitely do it this time by the time I turn 16, Again failure. This time I really started doubting if my dream will ever come true. But I somehow convinced myself that I'll be a very good singer and dancer by the age of 17 ( I still don't know why I used to set the deadline for 1 year each time ). But this time before I could turn 17 Lockdown happened. I had been sitting at home with nothing to do. During those days I realized that my dream will never come true. Because I don't have a good voice, I don't look beautiful, I'm fat and I belong to a middle class family....these are all my deepest insecurities and It was really hard for me to write this. This realization made me depress. For the next few months I felt low, numb and suicidal. The only aim of my life was taken away and there was no point in living ( or I thought so ).
Just examine my mindset prior to depression and you can estimate the superior version I created in my daydreams: A rich girl with a fit body, amazing vocals, and beautiful face. This is what made me loose hope. Because you can't change your voice or features. And yeah take a look at the 'somehow it will happen (even if I'm practically not moving a finger)' mentality and ' I will start tomorrow' one too. I'm saying this because if you are creating such unrealistic daydreams, stop. I was not born in a rich family but I can make my own money and loosing weight is possible but some things will always be impossible.
3) Stage three : I got hold of myself and no I never attempted suicide I only thought about it... In this stage I decided to let go of that dream. Though my dream crumbled, I was not ready to face the reality. I made other daydreams about finding a boyfriend and new friends who will understand me and fill the void in my life. I became more and more dependent on my MD characters to get through everyday life but my faith in MD was somehow gone and I wanted to get out of the web. I did not study all year, I was just caught up in myself. So as soon as LockD opened, my life became a mess. I failed in 4 tests consecutively. This was the second time I was shaken back to reality. I really needed to get rid of MD or else my life would be destroyed. I became desperate for help and told my parents I want to see a psychologist for career advice. I told him everything about my MD I've written more about it in my previous blog. From my first appointment to the psychologist, my journey to recovery started. I went there only thrice because after the 3rd time my parents thought he was just wasting time and not doing any career test for me. They were not ready to pay him anymore. I don't blame them though. After that I still wanted to understand the psychological reason to my problems so I started to listen to Sandeep Maheshwari. He is an Indian youtuber and his videos explain how our own thoughts give rise to so many problems in our lives. If you understand Hindi , give him a try. In stage 3 I understood my problems and the cause behind them. After sorting them out controlling MD became much easier.
To sum up, stage 1 was about ignorance towards reality.
stage two was reality hitting be with a brick. But another problem happened at stage two, I lost my confidence. I lost the faith that I can achieve anything in life. I'm not talking about the impossible things but things like completing my portion before exams seems impossible to me. Because I have only daydreamed about studying. I never actually did it and in stage when I tried it for the first time it felt veryyy difficult. And other things in life too. Till date I face this problem. So yeah I'm not perfect I still have problems in life.
Step three was enlightenment, journey to discovery of self, understanding life and its problems better etc.
Now here's the real thing : My MD was most importantly based on 2 things. One was low self esteem and other was dis-satisfaction with my life. Now lets see how these problems evolved throughout the three stages.
Low self esteem :
In stage 1: Low self esteem. That's why I used to imagine that I'm doing some great things with confidence and imaginary people are watching it. I'm shocking them with my talent, looks, strength you name it.
In stage 2 : Very low self esteem. Yes there are levels of self esteem and I was at the lowest. So when you have low self esteem, proving people how amazing you are makes you feel good but when you have very low self esteem you don't even see yourself worthy enough to able to prove something to others or pull of those amazing things. What I imagined in this stage was forced love, not sexually but in an emotional way. Basically when I had to accept the fact that I don't look quite attractive instantly another thought popped in my head : no one will ever like me. So I started creating scenarios of someone loving me unconditionally and well..... forcing me to be theirs ( I'm not sure if I'm suppose to be posting such personal things on a forum), Never mind, I'm not ashamed of what happened, I was lost back then.
Stage 3 : My self esteem boomed here. I was surrounded by the positive thoughts, initially by my psychologist and later my those youtube video. And from those videos I learnt how to ' self love'. Its basically accepting yourself the way you are. Cliche right ? But that's the only way. Now I don't want to prove anything to others and I definitely don't want any forced relationship even in an emotional way. I am sufficient to love myself so I don't wait for a boyfriend/ prince charming to come to my life and make it more happening. I am looking forward to making good friends and I definitely don't want to be single all my life. But I'm not desperate for them anymore and I also don't have a specific personality whom I want to friends with or fall in love with. I just want to explore the world around me and choose the best ones out of the people I meet in my life. And until I don't meet them, I'm definitely not waiting being sad. I have me until then so even if they come or not I'll still manage to be happy.
Dissatisfaction with life :
Stage 1 : I super dissatisfied that's why I stayed in my daydreams. I never accepted my real life so the imaginary version was the only life I had. That's why giving up my imaginary life felt like dying or atleast like a big loss.
Stage 2 : I did come face to face with reality but still did not like it, it made me feel inferior, week, unworthy and a looser
Stage 3 : I have accepted my real life totally and that's why giving up on my MD life is very easy now. Because I know even if I lose the imaginary version I still have my real life. The fear of giving up MD has diminished.
So that was it. Now stage 2 is kinda trickey and I don't think anyone else has to go through it. You just have to slowly and gentaly let go the daydreams which and out of human reach and may require magic to be fulfilled ; D And keep the achievable ones with you. once you get atleast partly out of MD you can start working on them sincerely or if your MD allows you to work then start from today.
And also try not to loose your confidence of achieving success on the way. Today I might be confident in my looks personality and might not be facing any social anxiety but I do worry a lot about my career and studies. I overcame my past regrets totally by forgiving myself for all the time I've wasted and all the things that I messed up. I learned to live in the present my accepting who I am and what my life is. The biggest lesson I've learned so far is happiness is always present in our lives, we just need to let it in. Just because a change in my mindset, the life that I loathed before i love it today. But that doesn't mean that I'll settle down for what I have right now. I want to make progress but with respect to self development and career, not with family, looks etc. I do wanna become fit though cause if its in my hands then why not. But this time not because I feel fat or ugly but I want to be fit and active in order to enjoy life fully and not remain a lazy log.
I was reading through the old and dusty blogs from the past and in 2016 someone had started an interesting blog. That person used to write everyday how he controlled his MD for that day and how much he worked for his goals in life. The blog is by the name Journey to a life free from maladaptive daydreaming on 16 march 2016. Check out his blog, it's filled with positivity. Inspired by him I want start blogging on daily basis and want you guys also to join me. Lets start a journey to a healthy, MD free, happy life. If anybody is interested in making a fresh start and renovating their lives please join me. Together we can inspire each other. So choose a goal and get started.
It took a lot of courage for me to speak out all of this. This will be a memorable achievement of my life. Thankyou so much for reading till the end. Next time I'll make it short : )