Part II: Things you are and things you are not

You’ve probably heard that it’s surprisingly common for some people to have rape fantasies. Does it mean that those people are really attracted to it in real life and that they feel like acting it out? Hell no. Introduce this thought to them in real life and they will most likely be very disturbed.

That’s fantasy for you. Far-fetched scenarios and events that you think you want but you actually don’t. Majority of those people fortunately know that their fantasies are just fantasies whereas maladaptive daydreamers think that events in their daydreams are mirroring their real needs and that they cannot be happy unless they came true. This is the first misconception that you’ve possibly imposed on yourself. Ask yourself: what is it that you really want? Break down your daydreams to pieces and analyze them bit by bit. Is it people from your daydreams? Events? Adventures? Is it feelings you experience there? If one by one came true and appeared in your real life, which one would finally satisfy your needs?

There are many types of fantasies just as there are many different reasons for their existence. Some are superficial wishful thinking while others contain very precious salvaged parts of you, so to discard MD as a cowardly attempt to rewrite things that didn’t go the way you planned is an oversimplification. MD is how you would like things to be but it’s also how things would have been hadn’t you fallen somewhere along the way.

Narcissistic daydreams centering on idealized self, success, power, intelligence and need for attention serve to delude and distract you from the fact that you can’t deal with your own weaknesses. Nothing deep here. They are superficial and have no other purpose than to get your wounds licked. You already know that having narcissistic fantasies doesn’t mean you’re a narcissistic ego maniac with control issues – it means you’re insecure. Work on these insecurities in real life, do things without being held back by your own and other people’s expectations and daydreams like this vanish. Don’t try to fix yourself by force. Trying to mimic your daydream characters by doing things they do will only give you a false sense of security and further hold you back. You sincerely have to accept and acknowledge your own flaws, you have to accept yourself as fucked up as you are and then start dealing with insecurities and flaws one by one, correcting them when possible, accepting when not. Same goes for need for attention; it means there are so many things you would like to communicate yet somehow always end up being silent. For every word you wanted to say but chose not to because you were doubtful of yourself, the energy builds up, feeding your daydreams and starving your soul. Speak up, don’t bottle things up. If you want to shout at the world that you hate it, then shout and make sure you are heard. Until this urge is satisfied in reality, a part of you will always want to wallow in self-soothing daydreams and no medication or trigger avoidance will stop this. You will be surprised how easy these fantasies are to break once you have dealt with insecurities. When you sort yourself out, you will find yourself reaching the level of confidence of the idealized you. While you may never be in control of real life like in your daydreams, you can be fully in control of yourself. And that’s enough for happiness.

If issues that lie beneath and feed your MD are more severe, chances are that you are broken to the point of feeling like you have no personality and exist nowhere, robotically observing life without participating in it.

MD begins where self breaks. Something had to butcher your sense of self so hard for MD to take over your life. Your daydream characters are your last attempt to latch yourself onto something concrete before you completely disappear. You are extending your existence through them in ways sometimes unclear even to you, you live off them. It’s as if you severed a part of yourself, dissociated it completely from your own identity so that not even you can recognize it and transferred it to daydream characters because that is the only place where it can continue to survive when you no longer can and when everything else is falling apart. It’s pretty parasitic way of living but it is doing an excellent job of keeping you alive.

Selflessness. That is why it’s so easy for you to become other people – i.e. daydream characters. You take form of whatever pours into you because there is no solid sense of self that would make your identity firm and separate you from them. This holds particularly true for daydreamers who fantasize about fictional characters from books or TV shows without ever involving themselves. It may feel like you aren’t involved at all but one of those characters usually has something very personal to you which allows you to merge your identity with theirs. Maybe, if the things hadn’t gone wrong, you would have been very similar to them. Maybe, you are attracted to something they have that was supposed to be but somehow didn’t end up yours. And you want it back, that’s why you are so drawn to them. Because you perceive your identity as flawed, you abandon it and conflate with one of those characters without ever even noticing. Because if you noticed, it’d backfire, you’d be aware of yourself, the very same self that you despise and try desperately to keep out of the way. If you can only fantasize about romance in third person, using two characters without involving yourself, this signals that you are failing to connect the feeling of love to your own identity, so you eventually end up transferring it to your characters and experiencing it through them. This level of dissociation speaks volumes on how much your sense of self is actually broken. But if you can feel love through your characters, then you are capable of feeling love of identical intensity in real life even though you may have convinced yourself otherwise. It’s not emotions that are foreign to you, it’s you who are foreign to yourself. How can you connect emotionally to other people when you can’t even connect to yourself?

Fantasies like this are oftentimes extremely profound and don’t revolve around superficial urges such as need for attention and narcissistic desires – instead, they are more existential in nature, usually relative to deeper issues like loneliness, love and wanting someone to acknowledge your existence and they’re not something to be disposed of. You usually engage in these types of daydreams in order to come in touch with these detached parts of yourself that have been shunned in real life for so long that you even forgot they existed. That spontaneous person you’re in your daydreams isn’t a lie. That could be you. That would have been you had you properly developed.

I’ll repeat what I said in previous post. You aren’t running away from reality, you’re running away from yourself. But is this self you are fleeing from really you?

No.

It’s not even a self. It’s a blend of negative emotions that permeate your existence and deceive you into believing you are what you are not. It’s a void where you don’t get to exist. One part of your real self is missing, asleep, dead, you name it, and it will be asleep as long as depression messes with you. The other part is stuck somewhere in daydreams and only chooses to express itself there. Give them up and you will be giving up yourself. This is why abandoning dream world hurts as if somebody tore your heart in two. You wouldn’t be giving up just your false comfort but also a part of your own soul, which tells you that simply abandoning feelings of the dream world by ignoring them isn’t correct either.

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57 thoughts on “Part II: Things you are and things you are not

  1. Feride says:

    Hi there, I read your article but I cannot succeed in breaking away from daydreaming. I really am running away from reality, not myself. It did not start at an early age or something as a habit. It is recent. (Though, I think I was always prone to it). Anyways, it started with a trauma followed by depression and this is the only way I can cope with reality – by escaping from it because however hard I tried, I could not solve it. I saw a therapist for my depression for 6 months but because my reality did not change, my depression is still here and this is the only cure I have found for myself. Because my trauma is still there and I can’t stand it, I am escaping from my life and hiding under blankets. I spend the whole day daydreaming another life because I don’t want to live my own. But every now and then, I realize that I am wasting my life away. Any ideas or advice???

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    • Eretaia says:

      I’m sorry to hear that. I guess that the discouraging part about MD is that there aren’t any shortcuts. Breaking away from MD means defeating depression and defeating depression caused by trauma means emotionally reprocessing traumatic events and moving on. MD is a survival mode in a way, but it’s a survival mode that freezes and paralyzes you instead of stimulating you to change and fight. If your addiction is an attempt to run away from real life as you say, then the only way out is to confront the problems head on and change that life you despise. Like you said, MD is sort of a cure, so trying to get rid of the cure while pain remains won’t do much. Also, it takes 6-12 months for people to notice effects of psychotherapy, so don’t give it up. The problem isn’t just reality, it’s the way you deal with it – and therapy can at least help you improve that. The first thing that needs to be done is to stop being passive. MD is absolute passivity. One has to exit their comfort zone and things start happening from there. It does hurt, but the only way out is through.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jon Pienaar says:

    As far as therapy goes, look into CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), or one of its variants. It’s important to find a good practitioner with a track record. CBT is a very active, involved way of dealing with both the behaviour (e.g. daydreaming) and the reasons behind it (e.g. escape) and replacing it with more useful thought patterns (e.g. confronting irrational fears). You could talk your head off to a Freudian/Jungian/gestaltian for years and get no closer to a solution.

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  3. Sepia says:

    Thanks for these posts, Eretaia. They are so well written and deep – started to cry in many places.
    My dreams are mostly what you called the comfort zone fantasies. I’m extremely ashamed and embarrassed that I have such fantasies. What you said about them made me feel worse. ‘Nothing deep here’ made me feel that even in dreaming, I’m mediocre.
    Mediocrity is my worst fear. Maybe that’s why I try to be great in my dreams. I’ve been struggling with this for years. Ironically, I have everything that would make another person think of me as successful – I have a steady job in a good company, I’m married to a great guy, I live in a huge house.
    And yet, this constant need for attention. I occilate between real joy at being this fantastic self in my dreams and then hit the lowest pit of depression where I absolutely hate my real self.
    You described it perfectly. Even if I get in real life the things I dream of – I’d probably still be miserable and dreaming of something else.
    My husband constantly reminds me to stay real and I tell him I find it impossible – that I’m addicted. He’s sympathetic but I don’t think he understands. Every day, he asks me if I dreamed that day and I feel crushed when I say yes. I feel so pathetic in that moment – like an epic failure. I have dreams where I’m saving the world, cut to where I’m winning an oscar, cut to being a volunteer with red cross… they are endless. But most of my dreams are actually just me talking and someone listening to me. I sometimes dream of things that actually happened to me. How stupid is that? If I and my husband kiss and I feel happy, I dream that over and over. And this confuses him so much – why would you want to dream of something you already have? I have no answers. What I started as a defense while growing up in a dysfunctional family has just gotten out of control and I’m a slave to this now. I’m seeing a therapist for the first time this week – I really hope something good comes out of it.
    Thanks again for the guide – it’s brilliant and I really appreciate this. Even though it made me feel terrible, stupid, and shallow, but maybe it’s good that you’re showing me a mirror.

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    • Eretaia says:

      You aren’t mediocre. Your defense mechanisms can be shallow or stupid or whatever you want to call them but that doesn’t say a thing about you. I’m not even saying this to make you feel better. Everyone wants attention. Your husband, your most optimistic coworkers or friends, they’d all fall into profound depression without attention. There’s nothing shameful or stupid about the fact that you crave it in your daydreams. You can think of your narcissistic fantasies as a coping mechanism gone wrong, a flawed, mediocre compensation but that has absolutely nothing to do with who you really are.

      When I realized how silly my own defense mechanism were (and I had a lot of them), I felt like the ultimate crap. You realize you’re self-medicating, you realize that you won’t get anywhere with it, you realize you’ve wasted years doing stupid things. But you know what? It’s not your fault. You didn’t choose to have MD. It happened and you got stuck there. Just accept it, then acknowledge the fact that we have been trying to escape from our covert insecurities, then acknowledge the insecurities themselves and after that start to move on. If you dream of greatness in your dreams, it means two things. Yes, it means you’re distracting yourself from the fact that you’re feeling fucking miserable and mediocre without your daydreams. But it also means that you’re secretly protesting against the fact that your real life or your emotional situation is dull. Which means that you are striving for something better, something greater than your current monotonous situation. So, no, you absolutely aren’t mediocre.

      Why would you dream of something you already have, you ask? Because you are not HERE to live your own life. You can get all the attention in this world but you’ll still crave attention – because you’re not here to receive it, you’re completely emotionally absent when it comes to these things.

      Can I give you advice regarding you therapy? Talk to your therapist. Talk about everything, get every single thing out of your system. Yes, you’ll feel stupid and ashamed and embarrassed about it (for weeks to come!) but the more you talk about it, the more you’ll reprocess these things and eventually, you won’t feel intimidated by them. If you feel like you’ll break out crying in front of your therapist, then cry. Don’t hold yourself back.

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      • Amy says:

        Typically characters I day dream are fictional characters.From superheroes to tv show characters like the Justice League to The Vampire Diaries characters.My mind recreates the scenario and includes a personal character into the set scenes where I control what happens. My set character I made up name is Allison.Every day dreamt scenario has her as a main character.According to the researches I made,this disorder is due to a feeling of helplessness/boredom/or lack of power.If we are talking personal,my parents do fight and do have a disruptive relationship. Perhaps my inability to control how my family relationship is a cause?
        Describing Allison is also very interesting.She is the opposite of my character traits.She is confident,brave,pretty,talented,and selfless.Although many of us strife to have traits like hers,humans are not perfect. Perhaps my helplessness to feel powerful and confident might be why I do this. Allison experiences things I longed to do but couldn’t. I believe my mind is coping to my inability to have the life I truly want by making up things in my dreams. But I do realize my dreams and unlike a sritizophranic,am in contact with reality. But I do want to cope with this disorder.Thankfully there are no major harmful consequences of this daydreaming that can harm others.But it does mean that value able time will be wasted do to my dreaming.Treatments I found are:therapy,antidepressants,and identifying yourself.But I am very young and I don’t know how I am supposed to find this.What do you supposed I do?

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  4. Sepia says:

    Thanks so much for this insight – it’s making lot of sense to me. And thanks also for the advice on therapy.

    I’ll try to open up to my therapist. Though I’ve noticed that I can write much better than I can talk – I just clam up when someone asks me a personal question, and I try to deflect it.

    I think I’m dissociated to such a great degree that I don’t feel like talking about myself at all.

    This conversation really helped me. I’m thinking clearer and I know that I need to give my real self its due. I’ve been starving it forever and it’s atrophied to the point of almost vanishing completely.

    Bringing my self back to life is going to be hard. Why would I want to save someone I don’t even like, right? But I have to because I cannot exist in two worlds, at least not the way I’ve been living till now – it really is time to awaken my butterfly.

    Very grateful to you for the time you took to listen and respond. You are very kind.

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  5. Eretaia says:

    You’re welcome! You can always try to write down some things and show them to your therapist until you break the ice. You’re right – trying to discuss things that belong to your dissociated self is a path paved with repeated self-sabotage. Even if you decide that you’re going to tell your therapist everything, you’ll probably go numb in the midst of it and then feel like a total fail. The trick is to keep trying, so don’t give up, keep exiting your comfort zone and you’ll eventually get stronger.

    Thanks for all the nice words. Feel free to drop me a message whenever you need it! Good luck with your therapy!

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  6. hajira says:

    Hi I read your article and it’s really helpful. I tried to break out from my daydreams and once I got conscious again now I just dint want to go back to them braise it’s not the truth. But now I feel lonely . It’s awful but I don’t want to go back to daydreaming again. It’s awful. Do you know what should I do now? Yes I do daydream but not like I did before. My life is very boring now.

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  7. sonal says:

    i thought I m d only one with it my mom suffers from d same thing but she doesn’t admit it I spend hours day dreaming I don’t sleep early coz I feel d urge to day dream I have a imaginary boyfriend n d gang of frnd new set of mom dad brothers n sisters sometimes I imagine myself to be a princess on sometimes a poor girl I m an engineering student daydreaming gives soooo relief but itzzz to time consuming n I need help I want to come out of it I have stopped myself a million times from daydreaming but all in vague I m happy I m nt alone with this problem I need help sonanakil@gmail.com this is my email I’d people who have been through it n who are still suffering plzz do contact me I really want to come back to real world n I need help

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  8. Terra says:

    I have been searching for years for something like this- a validation of my experience and the intense pain it can bring. It was both a revelation and a square kick in the gut. Reading how at a loss for love we must be to resort to finding it through MD was hard to take in- because it rings true.
    I am definitely in the more ‘selfless’ category of dreamers- the intense dd’s don’t include me. Like a lot of people here, I have been daydreaming- I call it ‘resorting’- since I was little, it became very intense in my teens, where I really felt like the lines of my identity were uncertain and blurred.
    The thing is, is that I am far from my teens now, and while I would slip back into obsessions, or mild resorting, I also found that, like you wrote Eretaia, I am capable of feelings these intense emotions, have felt them in real life. But now, I have fallen down another rabbit hole. I know that I am capable of feeling things but also knowing that just because I can doesn’t mean I do, largely because I don’t have anywhere or know where to put it.
    Anyway 🙂 I have never ever expressed this – thank you for creating a space to do so and for your wise words.

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  9. L says:

    Wow this is so…true. You clearly explain things about MD I’ve always knew deep inside but I didn’t know how to articulate in my mind (or maybe I didn’t want to). It’s absolutely helpful for people with DM. Thank you so much!!! Do you mind if I copy this and post it on my personal blog? With the link, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anon says:

    This blog is golden. I have struggled with this for so long and this is the first time I have been able to put a name to MD. I thought I was alone in this. I have a question though, and maybe you could even write another post on this, but in finding who we really are, do you think there are some positive traits or strengths that go along with MD? Like when I learn to handle my feelings in reality and live my life externally, do you think that the fact that I am more prone to daydreaming can be a positive trait in me? How can I use this for good in my life? How can imagination and introversion be strengths?

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    • Eretaia says:

      Hi! The bad thing in MD is ‘maladaptive’, not ‘daydreaming’. If you manage to overcome MD and continue having a vivid inner world, there is nothing problematic or wrong with that. The only problem is when you grow detached from yourself and in turn get attached to your inner world. As long as addictive tendencies exist, you’ll hardly be able to draw some positive things from MD.

      However, MD is a window into your subconscious. Almost all answers to what your inner demons are lie there, and even answers to where your real fulfillment is. If you know how to interpret it and read little signs on the road, it is a huge help, if not the biggest one. MD in a way is a bridge to yourself. It splits you but also connects you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Mel says:

    Thank you for this post Eretaia. Not only has this helped me put a name to everything everyone has described and exactly how I feel but has also made me realise I am not alone.

    I too have been daydreaming since young however this is heightened particulary recently following a trauma a few weeks ago.

    I escape to a world where I am happy because I have loads of friends or I am confident and talented. So many different daydreams. I can spend hours here and find when I “snap out of it” I instantly feel anxious and low because everything I dream that makes me happy isn’t real.

    I feel the more i idolise my fantasy world and escape there the more I hate my reality.

    I quickly I acknowledge what I am doing and within minutes I am back in reality doin chores, going to work etc but I slip into MD way too often.

    I am still grieving and do not know how to stop daydreaming. I am thinkin of speakimg to someone as I do believe as you say this place is an insight into your subconscious mimd and maybe by talking to someone , not linked to me, may help me to dig deeper and hopefully allow me to stop MD.

    Are there any other ideas/experiences of how to stop drifting into fantasy?

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    • Eretaia says:

      Don’t obsess to much about MD itself. It’s not your enemy, it’s simply a mirror into your subconscious just as you said and targeting it alone won’t give you many positive results. You engage in MD because certain situation makes you helpless. When you feel helpless and can’t express a certain part of yourself in reality, you instantly compensate and do it in fantasy and that’s the entire philosophy behind MD – it allows you to experience something you otherwise can’t experience directly in reality because something is preventing you. Every time you get a craving, ask yourself what it is that you want to relive in fantasy, what kind of emotion you want to feel. Not being helpless and learning to express things you otherwise stifle in reality will instantly reduce MD. Every fantasy will definitely give you insight in the particular issue. If you have daydreams focusing on self-idealization, building confidence in real life and speaking up for yourself will instantly diminish fantasy and you will never get cravings for that particular daydream again. It’s all about being helpless and unable to express yourself, it is what creates and fuels MD. Learn to take control and express yourself and all cravings and MD will disappear. This can be a painfully long process and it takes a lot of work and trial and error but the more you advance, the easier it gets. Hope this was helpful.

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  12. Mrln says:

    Thanks so much! I’ve suffered from major self esteem my entire life and even though I worked very hard on them I think that my only way to truly feel good about myself is knowing that someone can fall in love with me. I’m almost 26 and never had a boyfriend, but I’ve always wanted one since I was little. Ever since I was 10 or something I’ve had a fantasy boyfriend. He looked and felt so real although he was simply based on what I felt attracted to. The fantasies made me feel loved and kept me safe. However, I knew they weren’t real. But I wanted them to come true so badly! So every time I met a man who looked a bit similar to this fantasy boyfriend, I thought I had found him and started projecting these Disney-like fantasies on this particular guy. Of course he had different plans with his life than being my Disney prince and so it always ended in an intense heartbreak. Even though these men never wanted to have anything to do with me, for me it felt like the end of a long term relationship. The only way to ever get over these ‘break ups’ was finding a new person to project my fantasies on. I finally decided to project them on an actor who shockingly enough looked exactly like my fantasy boyfriend and even had the same Christian name. I thought: I’ll probably never meet him so he can’t break my heart. Additionally he never revealed anything about his love life, so that made him the perfect fantasy boyfriend! However, now this actor is also in a relationship with someone and I never thought this would affect me so much. But it does and now I realise how serious and unhealthy this whole issue is. I might start using your tips! Thanks 😊

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    • Mahayana says:

      My guess is Tom Hiddleston filled this need for so many people. And you are definitely not alone. Thanks for pointing out the unhealthy issue of imaginary boyfriends.

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  13. Abdul Barrie says:

    Thank you so much for your insightful comments. I always felt that I am the only person going through this syndrome. I have been seeking comfort in my daydreams from a very early age. I had very low self-esteem as a teenager, even though I was popular and had lots of friends . I always felt alone and lonely even with so many friends and family around. I found so much comfort and relief in day dreams. I could be all the things I desired that I felt are beyond me in real life. This has continued on in my adult life, and has affected me in so many negative ways. It has affected my relationship with my wife, and also interferes with projects that I start and can’t finish. I know that this behavior is foolish and unproductive, yet I can’t stop engaging in this habit. I have tried so many times to just stop it but have not succeeded so far. I thank you very much for your article and your helpful tips on how to overcome this issue. I am also happy to know that I am not the only one suffering from this. Now I know that there is help for me.

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  14. Kelsey says:

    This is a great piece of information. Now, i apologize in advance for my writing (english isn’t my native language). I’m 24 yrs old and I daydream on a daily basis. At first I thought it was just a phase, like a part of your life where you just want to become someone else or to be somewhere else but it has gotten worse. I went from picturing me having a conversation with an old crush (like what to say, how would he respond and find out he likes me too, right?!) to meeting a famous football player and getting into a relationship with him. When I think about it I feel ashamed and I wonder if I’m just losing my mind and this is just the beginning of a dead end. I didn’t pay attention to what it was doing to me, until this week. I decided to search and it took me here.

    When I think about the reasons or the actual trauma that has made me addictive to MD, I can say that a lot of things are not going the way I want and I feel unworthy. I honestly dont know if therapy would help but its nice to know that I’m not the only one struggling with this and that I’m not crazy, I’m just running from myself. The hard part is to find a way to get my life back and be the person I am whenever I daydream.

    Thanks again.

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    • Eretaia says:

      Psychotherapy, if done right, helps immensely but you have to keep in mind that it has to go two ways. To allow the therapist to have a peek into your emotional state, first you have to open and expose your wounds and that’s not something people usually do. They do therapy with their defense mechanisms still on, so changes never really take place.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I am 72 years old and I have just found out what the mental illness I suffer from…. I have been to countless doctors of all persuasions, none has had an answer for me… I have just found it in these pages… it is magic…. I am NOT THE ONLY PERSON in the world that has lived like this…

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    • Eretaia says:

      You’re definitely not alone! MD is much more common than we think and it’s not as mysterious as people make it out to be. It’s a fantasy addiction, a defense mechanism that conceals other issues. The reason why MD is so hard to deal with is because underlying issues are hard to deal with, not MD per se.

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  16. Lari says:

    I can say that this has been very helpful….. But I still don’t know where to start, I’m 17 going to be 18 in a few weeks and when I read that I can’t get through this “alone” I don’t know who to turn to. It’s hard to tell anybody about this yet try and get my parents to let me see a therapist about a mental illness that rarely anybody knows about . So I feel even more confused and lost. My MD is heavily triggered by music, and I would say that it’s all over the place – from narcissistic- to – character fantasy-.from the time I wake up to the time I go
    To bed I have my headphones in my ears and I day dream… Even while I do my chores , shower etc. over coming this will be the hardest thing ever for me because even with out music I steadily daydream without even trying . It scares me to think that I will keep doing this and never be satisfied with myself… Kind of letting it out right now is a little better , but I have the urge
    To stop what I’m doing and listen to music and go back to my world . It’s ruined so much for me, I can barely study , do work , I’m afraid of everything … And I have had social anxiety since I was 10 ….( maybe even younger ) but sometimes I’m still confused … I wouldn’t say I have low self esteem like I used to , I feel like I have a lot more confidence and when I look in the mirror I don’t hate what I see…. I ACTUALY LOVE what I see and love who I’m becoming …. But I still can’t stop this sense of spending my WHOLE day ( not even kidding ) daydreaming …. I love what I read here today… It was so eye opening but I feel like I’m still stuck 😦 I’m going to re read the whole guide again because I am determined to not let this consume my life anymore … ( I would rather daydream then hang out with my friends …. But then daydream about hanging out with my friends that I really want to have???) it’s so frustrating knowing what’s wrong with you, knowing the deep part of it, having a GUIDE that tells you how to cure it but STILL is stuck and lost .

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    • Eretaia says:

      It’s not that you can’t get through it alone. You can. It’s just that the things go so much faster when you open up to someone else. MD exists because a person suppresses things, and if one continues to suppress them without ever opening up and exposing themselves so that the changes can take place, then how are you going to overcome it? Even if you logically understand and know what to do, it still takes time to work through things emotionally, lots of time. Choosing to daydream about hanging out with friends rather than outright doing it just says that the problem is in you and not the outside reality. When you fantasize, you’re virtually free from ‘the self’ and all bad things that come with it like anxiety and inhibitions and hanging out with friends in your fantasy feels right because there’s no anxiety to make you feel uncomfortable. But when you do it in reality, you’re forced to deal with all those insecurities that come with the self, and your experience is destroyed. So, apparently, the trick here would be to learn how to not be bothered by anxiety (or whatever is bothering you) while you’re are in your real self. Mind you, this is a slow process and things don’t happen overnight even when you’re doing everything right whatever right is. You should deal with your social anxiety since it’s obviously what’s fueling and possibly even creating your MD.

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    • Anon says:

      Hi Lari, it is definitely better to talk it through with someone to process what you are daydreaming about but if that is not possible just now try writing instead. When writing be as detailed as possible and examine what needs the fantasies are fulfilling. I did this when I was at college years ago and it very nearly worked except for the fact that I didn’t tell someone when I felt I had overcame it. At the time I felt elated that I had gotten in touch with myself and conquered this problem but I felt at the time that I couldn’t tell a soul in the real world. If you do manage to get to a stage by yourself where you can stop I would say tell someone you trust. Verbalise and celebrate it in the real world or else you will risk doing it in your dream world. Best of luck.

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  17. Anya says:

    Thank you so much for this blog. I’m from France and this problem is unknow. When I talk with a specialist it’s always end up like: ” you have so much imagination, you could be a writer”. They don’t understand.
    When I was a child I was send away from my family and maybe I was abused (I’m not sure about it). I can’t give up on MD and it’s detroys my life. I know but I keep it. And I found your blog and I have hope. I understand what happen and I must stop.
    Thank you. 🙂

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Unfortunately, you have to be very picky with words when talking to doctors about this. I guess most of them would shove too much daydreaming off as an overactive imagination, which is why when explaining your problem to them, you should always focus on telling them how cut off you’re from your feelings and how absent from reality you really are. They’d take it more seriously.

      Like

  18. Dee says:

    I have also thought that I had a overactive imagination into I found out about MD I am happy that I found out about it and that I’m not the only one with these feelings. I have also been daydreaming ever since I was a little girl. I of course still daydream it seems like a lot more then I did when I was young I have been doing it for some time now. I’m now married with three kids my husband works on the road a lot, I don’t really have any friends and mostly spend my time with my kids and there daily activities I mostly daydreaming when I take walks ,listen to music and at night when I go to bed I have fantasies about different things like being a famous celebrity or being someone totally different from myself, being with another man beside my husband . My most recent fantasy is about my kids principal he isn’t married I see him offend so I started really daydreaming about him I really don’t want to look at my kids principal that way but it’s really hard I’m not sure what to do about it, I’m scared that I may look at him a certain way or even say something out of line to him not sure but can you please give me your opinion on it?

    Like

  19. Patricia C. Bodington says:

    Halleluiah !! Finally a place to talk about this problem! I’m 60 and have had this all my life. I’m intelligent, outgoing and had a good job until retirement. I remember dreaming while in high school and always looking out the window imagining another life. I always had a hard time to focus in school and because of this did not end up with my dream job of being a doctor. I was married at 21 to a man I shouldn’t have married and had 4 children. He was an alcoholic and after I divorced him I married the man of my dreams. We’ve been happily married for 30 years and just recently we’ve both had some health issues which has left us both unconnected as we need to sleep apart for a while and are both on medications. I’ve always daydreamed about other men, mostly when I was in the bad marriage. It’s been an on and off thing until recently I realized that I have been using MD more frequently. They were always imaginary until recently I saw “my perfect partner” on a reality show a few weeks ago. OMG ! Now I can’t stop thinking and dreaming about how my life would be if I was with him. He’s married with two small children and is half my age. Shoot me now! It’s interfering with my daily life and I find myself just waiting to be able to lie down and dream about being with him. I’ve read that if you were disconnected or didn’t have a relationship with your father this affects how you think about men and is never resolved. My father was absent from my life from the age of 3 and my Mother was angry and difficult throughout this time until I finally left after college. Please, any thought or tips for treatment ?? Thanks

    Like

  20. Anna says:

    Thank you for this article. For a very very long time I thought I was alone and I was simply different from everyone in a bad way. Now that I’m here I can’t hardly believe it. There’s LITERALLY been time as read through, I would pause every few minutes because I keep second guessing myself: “is this real? Are there really people like me, who understands and feels same way I’ve been feeling for years? Again, thanks for writing this and digging really deep to explain it so in depth. I’m currently struggling to stop my MD but now I have a lot more motivation knowing there are others who are battling it too.

    Like

  21. Mmaduabuchi Ugochukwu says:

    MD has made a caricature of my in real Life. How can i explain to people why i dont go into relationship because i have already experience in my subconscious so having a real relationship does not solve anything.
    I am 26yrs and i have not accomplish anything in this life unless problem i am pressured to solve.
    It all started in my childhood when i went to stay with my granny in a remote village where u hardly see kids to play with, even if u see one u cant connect with them because we dont speak thesame language. I spent a whole year talking to myself, playing with myself and making myself my best friend. when MD start becoming a problem is in my adult days when i cant complete task because am always in a remote state of daydreaming. I tried stopping it but cant. i daydream from the moment i wake up in the morning to the time i go to bed….Everything is a trigger.
    I appreciate your write up, i can now know am not the only one in this and find a solution.

    I will also want to know if there are drugs that can help out?

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Personally, I see MD as a symptom of an emotional suppression. A symptom, not an illness, not a disorder. So, depending on why and what you’re trying to block, underlying issues are different for anyone and hence different medication may work. Now, I’m not a doctor and I don’t really dare talking about meds, but I’d always go for a few sessions of psychotherapy first just to see if you really need something to give you an additional push. Before you can treat MD, you need to understand what causes it.

      Like

  22. songul says:

    I have been living in this situation for years. And I want to get rid of this situation. I saw one therapist. But he did not understand me exactly or I could not tell. He told me that this was normal. I know he is not like that. I try not to imagine three days, but I do not know if this is effective. Please help me. How do I follow a path? My head is frozen. I do not know what to do. Lastrose536608@gmail.com. this is my address. I am very happy that you communicate with me. I want to talk more in detail.

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      If your financial situation allows it, change therapists until you find the right one. I know it’s frustrating but heck, it’s how it works. If you’re confused, the best advice I can offer is to find a therapist that resonates with you. If you feel really lost, working through MD demands live contact with someone other than you.

      Like

  23. dhiyaprogrammer says:

    Thank you eretaria. Your writing is very encouraging. I’ve read many articles about MD and I found out those articles not satisfiying but your writing. I read your story more than once and copied it into my diary book.

    I am definitely MDer. I have yet to understand what the cause. Acording to many articles, It can be caused by traumatic experience in the past. I have had such painful experience when I was very child but If I am not mistaken, I had already suffered from MD before it happened.

    I have lovely family and nice friends. I study well (I am going to pursue my postgraduate abroad (scholarship) in september this year). I am also feel very comfortable with my envinronment, my house, my city. But why I still do day dreaming to excess? Your writing gives me an answer.

    Thank you very much.

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      It doesn’t necessarily have to be a traumatic experience. In fact, most of the cases of MD actually have no trauma behind it at all. However, there is probably some form sort of emotional suppression going on beneath the surface. Whatever emotion you are trying to experience via your daydreams is probably what is being suppressed in your conscious awareness.

      Like

  24. Steve says:

    Hi Erataia,

    I’ve just finished reading the article and am now daydreaming myself counseling others. Ironical :). I can relate each and every emotion and negative quality mentioned here. My worst negative qualities are being shy, not being confident and undermining myself all the time.
    Confidence – I always self-doubt out of the fear that I may be wrong and others may point at it. That’s the reason I gave up singing (trained for 10 years) for the past 7 years out of the fear that I may not sing properly and others may poke fun at it. Although every inch of my body wants to burst out, sing and enjoy.
    Shy – I’ve been comfortable with girls during my school days, but, for some reason, I started being shy with girls since high school. It’s difficult to talk to them and make eye contact with them. Shyness is also the reason for me being socially awkward.

    How have these affected me? Via MD. I’ve been suffering from it since 2011 Feb. Initially I would daydream while going to sleep or just after waking up. Slowly it entered other times of the day. It was in 2015 when I started daydreaming during exams. I keep open the book all the time but I daydream. I remember staying awake all night in the hope of studying but I end up daydreaming all night. It happens to me till date. Whenever I start studying for exams, subconsciously daydreaming pops up. Only once, I could remember having been able to focus on studying i.e., I couldn’t daydream even though I tried to do it consciously. That was in May 2016. But, I couldn’t figure out the reason. The worst part was 3 weeks ago when I started daydreaming while doing research in my lab. Since then, my efficiency has taken a hit. It’s become very difficult for me to focus especially when I do any theoretical work.

    The bigger question is what do I daydream about. It varies from dancing without any fear in a bar to asking solid questions in a conference to finding out what I’m passionate about and doing it. These account for 1% of total time spent on daydreaming. The other 99% is about me and my partner (gf or wife). I’m 23 and single. But, I imagine myself being romantically involved with my partner – hugging her all the time, caressing her forehead, kissing her, help her when she’s emotionally down and vice versa, asking her out, playing with our child, crying over breakup and patching up again. These are the emotions and I create different storylines with these emotions. But, in reality, speaking to a girl for 5 min is like climbing mount everest for me. Lately, I’ve realized an additional problem. I tend to picture whichever girl I meet to be like my gf although it’s not. Hence, the shyness and other crap. I feel like I’m getting worse day by day but your article hit me like a ray of hope. I’m planning to implement it. But the biggest hurdle is being shy. Any suggestions how to get rid of shyness? I tend to get lost, i.e. I don’t know what to speak when I’m with a girl. It’s always “HI, How are you, Bye.” Just 3-4 min. I want to extend it which may help me in getting rid of MD.

    Other suggestions are welcome too. Thanks!!

    Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    Your blog has made me cry. I read about maladaptive daydreaming a few years ago and was so frightened by the little I found that I ignored it. But recently I’ve been doing more research, forcing myself to come to terms with it, and I have never identified with a post as much as yours. It true. I’ve completely cut myself off from feeling emotions. I have had this growing fear that I can’t feel anything anymore because my characters feel them for me. Its scares me how cut off I seem to be with my emotions. My mom commented recently that I very rarely show any emotion and when I do it is only short bursts, and then I gain control and go back to feeling what you called numbness. I know exactly what that feels like. I would never have considered myself depressed, but after reading this, Im not so sure. Do you think that if I were to go to see a psychologist it would do anything? I don’t even know what I would say…Or where to even find one. How does someone even begin that conversation when technically MD isn’t widely known? I guess I just don’t really know what to do because I want to take back my emotions. I think it is holding me back from being a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend. There are so many times that I have passed up opportunities with my friends because I would rather sit inside and daydream. I spent most of my teenage life laying in my bed pretending to be asleep so I could daydream. I never connected it back to the fact that I have absolutely no idea who I am but now that you have pointed it out, its a little disconcerting, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I know that one way to keep my mind from daydreaming is to stay busy, but I think as you have pointed out that it goes much deeper than just the daydreaming. I guess I just don’t really know what to do with the information I now have. Do you have any suggestions on what to do or where to begin in the healing process?

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      I think talking to a psychologist, or even better, a good psychotherapist would be an excellent start. When we lower our defenses and force ourselves to reveal things we otherwise suppress – such as the very existence of MD – then suppressed emotions you may even not know come welling up and then you get little cues on what went wrong and where it went wrong. It doesn’t matter that MD isn’t widely known as a disorder. Approach it as fantasy addiction and if the psychologist is any intelligent, they will know what to tackle. You don’t even have to mention MD as a newly discovered phenomenon. Just profound fantasy addiction. Any addictions entails emotional suppression, which is the very core of the problem. MD is in fact just that, an addiction, that is a response to you not expressing emotions directly. If I were you, I’d find a good psychoanalytic therapist and do a few sessions, just to get some evaluation, and see if that method would work for you. Learning to express things is the key to overcoming MD. Now, the question is: why aren’t you expressing things in the first place? Is it low self-esteem? Is it anxiety? Is it just shyness? Depending on what your answer is here, you’d deal with it accordingly.

      Like

  26. Ellie says:

    Eretaia, thank you so much for writing and posting this blog! Up until a year I was not aware that my daydreaming was actually MD and has been robbing me from living a real life. Through reading and soul searching and going to see a counselor a few times I managed to pinpoint some of my issues, but honestly this post blew me away. I have fantasies of what you have called the “true self”. Everything you’ve written just hits the mark. I only wish I have found your blog sooner. Thank you again. Blessings.

    Like

  27. Bianca says:

    Hello Eretaia

    I just found this article which I am so glad you wrote. I’m in therapy again, 3rd time in 12 years at the age of 32 for living in a fantasy world. I really want to change this time but the question is what is there if there’s no fantasy world? What goes in place of fantasizing when you’re alone?

    I am “very introverted” not really needing time with others. I get extremely bored if I don’t fantasize. I feel really lame saying it….but what’s it like to think normal?

    Like

  28. KK says:

    Hi, thanks for the article it is really helpful. I just found out about md like six mounths ago and i am happy that there is hope for cure. I had a very lonely childhood and i probaby started md as a coping mechanism for loneliness i guess. But know it really disturbs my life. I am a general practitoner and in my country medical school graduates need to take and exam to start residency in their area of choice. I constantly dream about being a succesful pediatrician, saving lives and giving speeches in conferances. But the problem is i can not focus due to daydreaming and get enough points to get into my favorite hospital. I feel like i’ve hit a wall that i won’t be able to climb and i am really depressed.

    Like

  29. kirti says:

    well written,
    For every word you wanted to say but chose not to because you were doubtful of yourself, the energy builds up, feeding your daydreams and starving your soul. Speak up, don’t bottle things up.

    Probably my reason of daydreaming is i could not defend to those people who insulted me or always tried to lower my value.Our soul always want to say back and when we don’t do that we are feeding MD.

    Like

  30. Lauren says:

    Hi, thank you so much for this blog. I’ve been an md since I was in 1st or 2nd grade, and I’m pretty sure my dad was too. I’m excited to try some of these techniques, even though I’m not sure I’ll be able to use the method of reflecting on when I wasn’t an md, I think trauma triggered it to much in me. Its enlightening to realize why I’m daydreaming and why I made up these people. I focused on a celebrity family who I admired for their dedication to each other, and created a boy who loved me unconditionally. I realize now that I can find these things in the real world when I become comfortable with who I am.

    Like

  31. Claire says:

    I discovered your blog 2 hours ago and just finished reading it in its entirety.

    Know this: you just saved the life of a 33-year old woman who has spent the last 16 years doing and accomplishing some tremendous things, however ultimately only ‘dabbling’ in life— experiencing it barely with one foot in the door, delaying and procrastinating, lying inert while life moves forward.

    Three authors in particular have given me invaluable insight and help: Mel Robbins, John Hargrave and Tom Corboy (OCD L.A). Identification and DEEP understanding of MD was the missing piece, however. I genuinely believe it to be the problem ultimately underlying all of my ‘symptoms’ and maladaptive behaviors as well as the thread that links them all together.

    You are one hell of a writer. It’s no wonder you have had such ‘stimulation’ from your mind— you are a true genius.

    THANK YOU with all my heart. I owe you my life!

    Like

  32. Anonymous says:

    Expressing myself didn’t really work for me. I’m lucky enough to have a dad that’s a REALLY good listener, and since about the age of twelve I’ve been having these long talking sessions with him where I pour out my beliefs and even daydream stories and charaters. Five years of talking sessions with my dad and i still feel like my DD’s are taking over my life….

    Like

    • Anon says:

      I think you need to look at not just the daydreams but the need you are trying to fulfill. Maybe also you were too young to process it.

      Like

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