We maladaptive daydreamers spend so much time and emotion on imaginary people in our head. But we must come to the realisation that even if our imaginary friend comes to life we wont be happy. Some people think that the only solution to maladaptive daydreaming is to make those daydreams come true , convert them into reality, make their real world so perfect that there won't be any need to daydream. But that's not true. Because MD is not like normal dreams, you wont get happiness by fulfilling them.

Simplest way to describe MD is 'Self Hatred' or ' Low Self Esteem' or ' Looking Down On Oneself '.

I had never thought of it this way before. I always thought that I just want some excitement in my life, that I don't necessarily hate myself. But one time in one of our sessions, my therapist asked me to write answers to a few questions :

1) Who am I ?

2) Who do I belong to ?

3) Where do I live ?

4) What do I want ?

you will notice there is an ' I ' in every question.

So I started to ans them and got stuck at the very 1st one . No matter how hard I thought I just could not properly describe myself . Who am I ? sounds like an easy question . But Maladaptive Daydreamers do something called dissociation (Dissociation is a mental process where a person disconnects from their thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity). And according to me not having an ans to this question is the root cause of MD

For the 2nd one I easily said 'myself' .

For 3rd question I could not decide what to write, my real house or the imaginary villa I created in my mind (and mentally spent most of my time in ). This is what being split between two worlds is like . You get so emerged in your daydreams that your imaginary house/family/lifestyle are more close to your heart than the real ones.

For the 4th one I answered 'perfection' because I always saw others doing their homework on time, getting good grades, being organized, and most importantly being in the present. I wanted to be like them. My mind raised every person in my life on a high podium and myself beneath them.

That day I realised my actual problem.

Question 1 told me that I am not spending enough time with my real self. I am ignoring my real self to be with the glorified and perfect version of myself. This is such a big injustice with my real self and to compensate for my mistakes I am trying to keep my mind in the present moment with my real self and push my imaginary version far far away.

Question 2 told me that when you take ownership of something, you also have to take the responsibilities of that thing. The moment you say ' I belong to myself', you become responsible for loving and taking care of yourself. You have no right to hurt your feelings or mistreat yourself.

Question 3 made me realise how serious this problem has become. I'd rather stay with my imaginary family and friends in my imaginary house than my real family. This is my biggest mistake. I never appreciated what was in front of me and always chased after a mirage, those fake people who never existed. IMPORTANT POINT : The things which you desire for may not actually be that good or necessary . We keep thinking that once we get this 'Thing' that we want, our life will be set. This 'Thing' may be money , lover , friends , fame , or even superpowers . And we keep dreaming that we are going to get them in the near future. But there is a strong possibility that this so called beautiful future maybe 'garbage' and what we have in our lives right now may be beautiful flowers. Always remember, garbage can only stink, flowers give the real fragrance.

Question 4 is most important, All the daydreams i have ever had were circling around others. I craved others' recognition, others' appreciation, I wanted others to think grate of me. There opinions were most important for me. everybody else seemed to have atleast 1 good quality only I was useless. Low self esteem , comparison with other , not being able to see the good in your self , and unnecessarily saying hurtful things to our self makes us have zero self satisfaction and hence escape to a world in which we think can be perfect. Instead we should understand we ARE perfect the way we are. And please note I am not telling you to hate others or be overconfident about yourself just accept yourself the way you are.

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Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on March 21, 2021 at 1:55pm

I wake up every morning, in a house I always lived in, and I'm like "Wowe" that's why. I was too busy daydreaming to make anything happen. I remember everybody's reactions on me the whole duration of time I resided in town. At first, I wondered what was up with them. I didn't find anything wrong with what I was doing. I actually believed it wouldn't harm my life's journey or disable me in any way. But then I was wrong. It took over my life. It prevented me from experiencing real relationships, doing all the things I wanted to do and eventually earn my independence. I've been doing MD for years, suddenly I realize it did quite a bit of damage. It even effected how I adapted into the world. 

I'm still trying to save up for a house, but for now I work remotely at home. I hope to extend my job or use it to find better opportunities, so this becomes affordable. Reason this is happening so late, is because my daydreams made it harder. 

Comment by Sakshee Dhumal on March 21, 2021 at 9:46am

@ Valeria Franco 

Ikr, we have unnecessary desires in life. Like I desired for a family , friends and a ideal version of myself. But we never question our desires. Do we really need these things? Are we really not happy in life or are we just pretending that life is boring or difficult ? Maybe we do have a good family but we can't see the good in them. Maybe we do have a lot of people whom we could befriend but we never try , we never make an effort to make new friends. Maybe people want to talk to us but we shut them off and create our own imaginary friends. Why? And our lives might be difficult. Managing studies, finding the right career, getting a stable job or maybe family problems but there are so many Normal people who don't have MD hence don't have a source to a safe and sweet world of imagination. They have all of these problems too and they can't run away they face them and get through them. They actually live a life. Because troubles are important in life . Without them life will be boring and depressing. Imagine a game say Mario, if there were simply no hurdles in that game, only a plane road filled with gold coins and you just have to walk straight on that road no left , right , jump nothing. You won't have to face  those turtles. You get the gold coins without any efforts. Then would those coins be of any value? Would anyone like to play such boring game ? So lets be happy that we have a life ( a game) and we also have problems in it ( an interesting game) so lets play till our hearts content. And why imagine an ideal version? Whatever we do in the imaginary world stays in the imaginary world. So if you want to experience those things irl you must take efforts in real life. And not every daydream can be brought into reality only those which are actually necessary will come true through our efforts.

Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on March 20, 2021 at 7:32am

Just now I realize that I should've done the opposite of what I did before. I didn't follow advice, and I listened to MDD. I was wrong. MDD doesn't care about what happens to you next. As long as you feed it. If I had known as I teenager, what I know now, I would've stopped then. But I do have to get on with the future. I'm ready for change, and I won't look back. 

Comment by Valeria Franco on March 19, 2021 at 12:11pm

What a beautiful post.

I'm impressed and I couldn't agree more.

Your analysis is deep and unexpected. I love this point: "The things which you desire for may not actually be that good or necessary".

We desire things like some other people always crave for shopping, but you don't need more clothes to be happy. We desire just because we have the capacity to desiring.

Desire is a wonderful word, full of tension towards something, desire moves people into actions.

But what if we start to desire what we already have? At least a small percentage of all our desire?

Desiring our family, our partner, our clothes, our home, our happy moments... wouldn't it be... happiness?

Comment by Sakshee Dhumal on March 13, 2021 at 2:58am

Heyy Jessica!

Thanks for replying I was in a big need of some feedback and I completely agree with you. If we want to be happy we'll have to work hard for it. Happiness comes with a price. I learnt it the hard way. But you shouldn't be sad about what has happened. At least we have realized where we went wrong. That realization was important. Getting out of MD is hard because we don't realize how much harm we are doing to ourselves. We never get out of that web, that cycle. It keeps drawing people in. But now that you have finally opened your eyes and you've come back to your senses , you should be celebrating ! Since past 2 weeks I've been so happy that I am finally in little control of my thoughts. I have finally realized how beautiful my real life is. I can now say that I love myself the way I am and that means the world to me. But if you still have any regrets about your past , then trust me letting them go is the best decision you can make. We can't turn the time back ( I know it sounds cliche) and by keeping so many regrets in our heart we spoil the current moment too. In 2022 you wouldn't wanna say ' I wasted 2021 by just regretting the things from my past , wish I'd stopped thinking so much about the things that had already happened and had lived my year happily' Regret is a big disease. Don't let it cling onto you, get rid of it as soon as possible.

Today after reading your reply I realized something. MD was never the true problem. It was only a side effect. Side effect of us not appreciating what we have in life. Our unsatisfaction towards our real life made us daydream. In the same way every problem we have in life has got a deep meaning to it. For example if I go out today and someone says that my fashion sense is completely shit and starts making fun of me. I'll instantly become self conscious and that incidence will forever have an impact on my brain . So I'll avoid going out and socializing . There you go I've got another problem in my list. But this insecurity is not the actual problem, its a side effect. Have you noticed there are few people who always walk with confidence and there are others who freak out in front of people. The confident people do something called building a shield around your heart. This shield is made of self love and self respect. It protects their heart from the sharp arrows coming out of others mouths. The more you love yourself the stronger your shield will be. So next time if anyone feels social anxiety, remember its simply a reminder that you forgot to build your very own shield. The people around us are not that much of a problem, our lack of selflove surely is. We can't change the people but we can change our thought process.

In short the moment we start loving your real life we'll be free of MD and the moment we learn to protect ourselves from others negative remarks we'll be free from our insecurities.

sigh! that was a long one. Wish you happiness (>‿◠)✌

Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on March 12, 2021 at 2:00pm

The root cause was probably that I was socially inept with Asperger syndrome and I failed to find my own tribe, when I was growing up. I had a difficult time making friends and even finding love. So I explored in my daydreams for this reason. But what I didn't realize is that it was only doing me more damage than good. I once believed that I can make my MD come true, but as I matured and got older, I realized this isn't the case. It's impossible to manifest your MD into the idealistic world you want. And according to my mother, she told me "That's just life." My parents intended to bring me up to live life to the fullest, but endure what life can bring to you, for better or for worse. What I did instead, was go "La te da, I expect things to be wonderful and happy." Really, I was setting myself up for a disaster. I didn't seem to realize that being happy comes with a cost. You have to work hard for it too. Otherwise, if you're laid back and daydreaming, your going to be crying as a result. Truth is, nobody cares and understands your satisfaction all but you. Whereas, when I was in my youth, I used to live in a ferry world, where money grows on trees. Now look back and think, "How stupid can you get?" In fact, I'm so jealous of my peers, because even as teenagers, they actually knew in advance what they had to do to live better lives and get there. And they were confident in themselves, their egos, and had no trouble with friend bonds and relationships. I guess it's because, they didn't have an imagination. They knew what life was about and what to do. To be frank, a few of them actually freaked out bad, all because they noticed I wasn't paying attention in given moments. So there you go. 

Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on March 12, 2021 at 1:34pm

I spent a good 20 years daydreaming about how I wanted my life to look. Thing is, real life never does look like your perfect alternative worlds. I spent so much time in worlds that didn't exist, that I just neglected my reality to an extent it put me in hot water with a lot of people. It's a long story. It started when I was just a kid. I never appreciated the real things that life offered, because I preferred my daydreams. Apparently, it made the moments in my life sad, because I wasn't paying attention to WHO and WHAT was there. I was too busy fussing around in my fantasy lives. Therefore I didn't see what I wanted at all. In fact, I spent so much darn time in my room or commuted to stops all by myself, instead of partying and hang out with friends. I'd go straight home and spend hours in my head. Ultimately, it effected my growth and future as well. So I am very shocked at this. Even though it's eye popping how I ignored everything real for my fantasies, I decided that I will not continue doing this in future. 

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