Addiction, cravings and MD: what they are and where they come from


Put simply, MD is a problem of expression. Psychological addiction is a problem of expression. What is not expressed as raw feelings becomes distorted and expressed as cravings. Addiction is a compensation born out of powerlessness to directly express what one wants or feels. If there is a particular desire in the unconscious layers of the mind that screams to be released but that somehow does not make it to the surface where it can be consciously articulated, it turns into a craving. What we see as insatiable hunger for fantasy on the surface is just trails of smoke of a raging, intelligible fire burning somewhere below. If you want to communicate something important but have no mouth to speak or express it otherwise in a direct, conscious way, this burning need to communicate will refract once its hits the surface of conscious awareness and turn into a craving. The moment you learn to express it consciously, the craving disappears.

Cravings on the surface appear to be automatic, purely instinctual, yet when you dig in a bit deeper, they are driven by an actual logic and are more than just a chemically messed up mechanical response in the brain. They arise when you cannot communicate a particular emotion through your ego. Your unexpressed anger or desire to speak up or express something you consider important is what creates the urge to engage in addictive behavior. Instead of expressing feelings as they really are, this energy is misdirected, misinterpreted and becomes a craving.

It is not normal for human mind to live in an emotional isolation, without being able to receive positive input from real life as if we had a veil over the eyes preventing us to register whatever comes from the outer world. When the brain is caught in isolation, in a state where it cannot communicate with external reality, it will create its own. We know from neuroscience that when brain receives no sensory stimuli from real world, it automatically starts conjuring up internal visual images and hallucinations to compensate for that silence and this is a natural, automatic response everyone experiences when deprived of external sensory input. Brain needs constant input, inner or outer. If you isolate a person in one of those anechoic chambers that block all outside noise and create an absolute silence, the person eventually starts hearing sounds of their own body otherwise not hearable because brain, unless you are doing advanced meditation, cannot stay in perfect silence. When the outer world is silenced, the inner world goes wild.

Isn’t the similar mechanism at work when dealing with lack of emotional stimulation? If you dig deeper in the neuroscience of extreme physical and social isolation, it is not uncommon to find reports of mentally healthy people who sense a comforting imaginary presence, almost like an inner companion when put in extreme isolation. An actual hallucinogenic, soothing presence to compensate for the unbearable silence of the world. This is not a psychosis, this is merely the brain keeping the mind sane. When the outer world is silenced, the inner world goes wild.

Severe MD is triggered when one becomes emotionally isolated and estranged from parts of oneself, automatically leading the person to become estranged from everything normally perceived through that blocked part of the self, including reality. There are things happening in real life but they don’t reach us. Fantasy appears as a response to that emotional isolation, to give one emotional feedback from the inside that outer world fails to provide from the outside. It is the same feedback loop at work: when the outer world is silenced, the inner world goes wild. Have you ever thought how ridiculously cut off and alienated from real world one has to feel to subconsciously start inventing imaginary relationships when real people are all around? There is obviously no sensory deprivation going on here that would explain the prevalence of inner world over external one, which can make us conclude that intense MD can really only be a consequence of an emotional isolation.

I strongly believe that both MD as an addiction and losing responsiveness to reality are merely symptoms of the emotional isolation. But what brought on the isolation in the first place?

Carl Jung wrote: “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.” And indeed, if one cannot communicate the pivotal values of his inner self necessary for healthy emotional functioning, if one can’t have them flow into the outer world, the inner world turns into a prison from which you are allowed to leave but your emotions are not. The external world in turn appears hollow and hostile. You can visit it, but stripped of emotions you left in the inner world. Then you make a common mistake: you mistake reality for hollow when it is you who is an empty shell with feelings detached and left forgotten in some other place.

If this is indeed the case, recovery should be focused on breaking down that emotional isolation by identifying and then relearning how to directly express those vague feelings you express indirectly through fantasy. It is hunger for these feelings that fuels fantasies and prompts the addictive cravings. It is obsession with these feelings that prevents you to focus on reality. This is why one unconsciously calls forth MD in the first place – to provide a temporary and indirect touch with detached feelings that one is having difficulty expressing consciously.

If it could be said in one sentence why MD happens, it is because you are holding yourself back. For a daydreamer whose automatic response is to repress and keep all ruminations turned inward, trying to express feelings directly, which are often bewildering even to us, can seem like a shock to our entire being, awkward and strange, initially resulting in more confusion than clarity. You force yourself to express something and then feel silly and embarrassed for days to come. It’s a messy and ridiculously baffling process. Even depressing. But it is the necessary price for restoring a healthy emotional expression.

Let go of having to be in control of your feelings, let go of thinking everything over and most importantly, let go of holding back and try to release emotions. Hunt down what your fantasies are allowing you to feel and whatever it is that you are trying to express, try to express it outwardly, even when you can’t pinpoint what exactly you even want to articulate. You probably won’t even succeed immediately but every attempt to redirect energy from inner to outer world is a beginning of something. As long as you feel that you are hiding a part of yourself, or that there is something unsaid, you are feeding MD.

63 thoughts on “Addiction, cravings and MD: what they are and where they come from

  1. Nelz says:

    I’m so happy you posted this! This is exactly what I need at this point in my journey to stop MD. I’m at a stage where I don’t feel like relapsing with music anymore (which took me so long!) but I still experience MD thoughts everyday and music still acts as a trigger if I listen to it. However, they are getting less strong as I make a conscious effort at every moment to analyse what emotion I am actually seeking in MD (which is always self-confidence expressed in different ways: to be able to express my thoughts and ideas, to be confident with my body etc). But although I’m good with the whole blocking/analysing thing, I think I’m less effective with the actual expressing of emotions. I try to do this by speaking up in class, letting people if I’m not okay with something but I don’t know if it’s enough. I’m at the end of my therapy and support sessions, which were very helpful, and I’m a bit scared of being left to my own devices.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eretaia says:

      Expressing yourself is essentially the hardest, messiest, the most fucked up part in the entire process and it’s totally normal if you feel frustrated. :)) What worked best for me was talking about my own insecurities and vulnerabilities to someone close who cares back. Basically, exposing your weakest side, talking about emotionally invasive things that bring to the point where you want to explode or burst out crying. Oh yeah, it sucks. You feel like shit for days. People usually just stop and hold themselves back when they reach the critical point where they feel they could explode. But if you push yourself out of your comfort zone and don’t hold your tears or anger or whatever when your dark emotions wash you over, you have done a great thing for yourself that can only result in relief.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nelz says:

        Thank you for your reply! 🙂
        Indeed I’m starting to feel the loneliness and lack of confidence setting in since I’ve been doing much less MD and I guess it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about this in my latest therapy sessions.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Eva says:

    Wow: Thank you so very much for posting this. I spent my morning reading and getting the chills over every word.

    I have dealt with MD for at least ten years of my life. I’m in my mid-twenties now and started obsessively fantasizing (mostly “third-person” daydreams about romance between characters, as you described towards the end of your post) since I was a young teenager. Over the years, my tendency towards retreating into these fantasies has hampered my ability to form relationships with other people, and even to recognize the things I want and enjoy in life in general. I have felt so much shame and embarrassment over this. I convinced myself that I was a crazy person incapable of loving real people or receiving love in real life. I couldn’t imagine that anyone else would be receptive to my problems or able to relate to what I thought was borderline insanity. So being able to read all of this- especially the part at the end about not being sure whether anyone who hasn’t felt attachment to fantasy would even be able to make sense of your words- has touched me and helped me in the deepest way to finally realize I CAN be brave enough to face this problem, which is an addiction like any other, and start living my life. I’ve BEEN in therapy before, and I have never talked about my problems with fantasizing because it embarrassed me so much! Talk about self-defeating.

    Anyway, thank you again. You are a thoughtful, expressive writer and have done such a thorough job of making me see logic in my addiction. I’m not sure how old you are, but you are certainly incredibly self-aware, and I am very grateful, whether you’re 15 or 60! I plan to read through all of your other blog posts after this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Eva says:

      Sorry, I think I actually read several posts of yours at once and thought they were all the same thing. Either way, sentiment remains the same!

      Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Dear Eva, thank you for your kinds words! Oh yeah, I guess we all have a tendency to go through therapy the same way we go though life – detached and absent-minded, just going through the motions of it, without ever letting it get to us. Not talking about MD to a therapist is like being on painkillers and asking your doctor to identify where your pain comes from. Until the moment you’re willing to expose your wound, you can’t really locate anything. I think therapy can really help if you’re willing to let it all out (and of course, if you have an intelligent therapist).

      I wish you all the luck! Keep in mind that your characters are just receptors, and you’re the one receiving emotions through them. Recovery is all about shifting focus from them to yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eren says:

    Okay I can stop daydreaming and analyzing them bit by bit. For example, I’m dreaming the girl I love. I’m talking to her with my idealized self. This is love. How can I express it? How can I feel it? And second, when I’m not daydreaming I hear music in my head. It repeats same music everytime. It’s named earworm. What should I do?

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Hey Eren. You sort of already answered your question. It’s not love that’s problematic emotion, it’s the fact that you need to be an idealized version of yourself to feel love in the first place. It’s the image of yourself that’s the problem. Confidence. I can’t tell you what exactly to do because this is human psyche we’re talking about here. There’s is no single formula how to approach something. It’s all trial and error, trying to understand how to bring subconscious issues to the surface and what lures them our in your case. If you’re feeling lost, I can only recommend to find a good psychotherapist, especially if you’re dealing with something delicate such as biploar disorder.

      Like

    • Eren says:

      After several meets, she just said me to write everything like “who am I?” “what do I want?” “who do I love?” “Why do I hate him?”. I paid a lot of for this bullshiet :/ Will writing work?

      Like

    • ratsalad says:

      Hi Eren, I know it’s been years since your comment but if you’re still experiencing earworms, mindfulness meditation and applying mindfulness practices to your everyday life can help. I find guided meditations from Headspace very helpful, but there are all sorts of resources over the internet for you to choose from.

      SciShow on YouTube also made a great video on earworms that may help you understand them better and so overcome them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq53AjCCfuE

      I suffer from earworms as well and they often hamper my ability to think properly and render me absent-minded. Staying mindful – acknowledging that I am having an earworm, and gently refocusing my attention to the task at hand without scolding myself – is the number one thing that has helped me. This can also be applied to daydreaming.

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  4. Mel says:

    thank you for everything. you put into words everything I feel everyday. please don’t stop writing, its really helping with my self help

    Like

  5. Hanna says:

    So, if my main MD is the fantasy of being in love, passionate marriage with a husband, how do I express that feeling? I don’t think going out desperately searching for a relationship is the answer – I actually believe this is a super important time for me to get to know myself and practice self-love. But the fantasies keep coming. How could I express this desire/feeling?

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      I sort of already answered what you are asking in one of the previous articles, 2nd and the one before this, I think. You should never ever take fantasies literally. Addictive love fantasies are never about lovers and feeling all lovey-dovey, they are totally egocentric. They let you come in touch with something otherwise repressed. A silly example would be feeling desirable, which you could then track to low self-esteem as something that’s at the very core of the problem. You’re absolutely right, self-love is the direction you should be moving towards.

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  6. Masie says:

    I wanted to comment to say thank you. These are incredible and very important revelations, and I feel closer and closer to a path of getting better. Please, I want to encourage you to keep writing (if that is your desire, of course), because these are very helpful, and the thing you wrote will resonate with me and many people for a very long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kartari says:

    This is so helpful Eretaia…at least I’m glad every time I see one of your articles I’m further away from MD and closer to myself. So thank you ❤

    Question: one thing that stops me from fulling letting go of MD is the though that somehow I'll lose the ability to have perspective on life, be empathetic/live in other people's shoes because I'll only be myself. Does that make sense? I know it's not true but it's a hurdle to get over…

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      What you experience in MD is already you, just detached from yourself. Overcoming MD merely means taking those traits back into yourself. You can’t lose empathy because it has nothing to do with MD in the first place. I wrote about it here.

      Like

  8. Anonymous says:

    Eretaia I feel there was a higher purpose why had to go through MD. Thanks a tonne for starting this blog. You’ve helped so many people through your posts as you have this incredible ability to articulate your thoughts and feelings. I ve always believed that only a person who has through the same issue would only be able to understand me. So thank you for posting these articles. Also I wait for your posts as eagerly as I wait for the next season of GOT !

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  9. Jessie says:

    I’ve found that I simply crave emotional intensity, which is why I MD these crazy scenarios in the first place – to strongly and freely feel. So when I come back to my regular every-day feelings, they seem to not be enough for me. I don’t crave specific emotions, just the feeling of being very, very alive.

    So…sorry to throw this question at you, but how can I deal with that? Thanks Erataia 🙂

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Then the question is why makes you not feel alive in the first place when you’re your real self. Whatever is preventing you from feeling alive is what drives your daydreaming addiction.

      Like

  10. Marcel says:

    Hullo. I’ve dropped by to give you a few words of gratitude.

    I spent an endless amount of sleepless hours looking through the internet, obsessing over this little condition that has plagued me more than I’d admit. Knowing that I’m not – was never – alone in my excessive daydreaming and wallowing over a hundred other lives – a hundred other scenarios of what could’ve beens, and illusions of actually living instead of bonelessly sitting in my room with my head in the clouds.. it’s a relief.

    I’ve never really made a link between depression and my daydreams – and it’s really only now that I realized that it only became excessive after a particularly horrible episode of self-loathing a few summers back.

    Maybe, someday, I’d be able to muster up enough courage to approach someone – anyone – about this. But until then, I’d like to thank you.

    If it wasn’t for your articles, I would’ve fallen deeper into the hole I dug myself into. So yeah. Thanks. I hope you rest easy, knowing that you’ve saved (or prolonged) lives with your writing – mine, and no doubt many others.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Swede says:

    Thanks for a killer post as always.

    This all resonates with me in a way no writing has done before. The thing about us not actually wanting what we specifically dream about, for example. It’s really all about this inherent sense of well-being. I can dream about the most insignificant of occasions – say going to a café with friends – and in the moment I feel fucking great. Everything is just as it should be. Needless to say I could do this in real life, but in its place there would just be a sensation of emptiness.

    I’ve managed to quit the “active” daydreaming sessions, ie walking around just doing it. But I feel like it has infected my whole fucking way of thinking. That I can’t have a clear thought without imagining me “presenting” it to other people. Idk, maybe this is how other people do it as well, but it doesn’t feel healthy.

    I believe it’s very hard to see MDDs implications, where they begin and end. I’ve been bashing myself a bit lately for not being empathic enough in regards to people around me. But hell, I guess one has to start with caring for himself.

    Alcohol certainly helps a bit. Suddenly the outer world actually becomes interesting. You feel a sincere connection with others. It’s all ways of coping with reality, I guess.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Nathan says:

    Thank you. I read your post thoroughly multiple times to fully absorb what you’re saying and it’s so meaningful and helpful than any tangible form of writings I read in, like, 3 or 4 years.

    I also went through the comment section and found out that I was really a mild case of MD. When I was a kid, I used to daydream about impossible things but in recent years I’ve been MDing about things that are actually possible. (but a fantasy level of possible.) but this actually made my MD worse. because it was not 100% absurd, I kept digging into intricate details to make it as real as possible. and that wasted a lot of, not only my time, but passion and even motivation because as I delve deeper, it felt as if it was already realized.

    Thankfully with your help I can hopefully turn this ‘realism’ of my fantasy to a feasible plan for my life goals. and not only that, I’m glad that I can be more honest to myself by analyzing my daydreams. such a wonderful teaching that you have written for me here. it feels like a miracle that I unintentionally ran into your blog.

    Question : after reading your posts I looked for the post dates and found quite some gaps between them. but even if I have to wait a year or so to further seek your teachings, I’d love to. if you don’t mind, What is your plan on the next posting? Am I looking at a finale? or is there more to come?

    Thank you.

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Thanks for your comment. Eh, I’m going to give you annoying answer. :)) I have no idea when or if I’ll post again. Maybe… if I feel there’s something important to point out.

      If what I wrote in the articles resonates with you, you don’t need me. It’s all about analyzing the emotions you feel in daydreams, realizing what prevents you to feel and express them in real life, and then trying to remove those obstacles. You sort of have to be both the guide and the one who is lost.

      Like

  13. Newag says:

    Hi, your blog is really good. Suffering from MD since high school i just find out its name yesterday :O I was trying to explain people that i am dreaming all the time but even my therapist did not get the point. In the high school it was in the low level but before 3 years now i lived very bad things that i lived isolated for 4-5 months (but living in a house of 3) and since then I CAN NOT STOP DREAMING. Actually, meditation could help and i am seeing it is positive effects in my life but i think the only solution is to break free all the chains and try to avoid from people who tries to silence your words/feelings/behaviors. Especially if these people has power over your one’s life (parents/partners/coworkers) it is very likely that he/she will continue to extremely fantasizing. I want to write a comment because i like your blog too much and wish if you wrote more! do you have a plan to write more? Also, if you advise sth to read about MD (such as blogs/books etc) i will be happy to hear it. With love..

    Like

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for everything you have written. As someone who has MD, when my mother suddenly died a few months ago it was the driving force for me to stop. I was suddenly forced to deal with the reality of the situation I was in. For two months I managed to stay in the moment, to focus on reality, my emotions and basically what was happening around me. I never once reverted to daydreaming during that time and it was so freeing. But then, when things started to go back to normal or as things in my life became the ‘new normal’ I started daydreaming again, only this time I started paying attention as to why I would start daydreaming, what was the cause or trigger and so forth. The biggest struggle for me has been to allow myself to feel what I’m feeling. So often, if I started to feel angry, sad, upset I would start to daydream but now I am reminding myself to focus on what I’m feeling instead of trying to ignore it. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for writing this and all of your other posts. Until I read your posts I didn’t even know what MD was or how to become better.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Kimber says:

    It’s summer time, and when I don’t have my schoolwork and job and whatnot to distract me, it really hit me: I’ve only MD’ed because I was lonely. And not for anyone else, but for myself. I’ve always been relatively alone, but I never was fully comfortable with just being by myself, so I MD’ed.

    I don’t know why, but I’m finding being my own best friend is pretty hard. Do you have any advice?

    Like

    • Svenia says:

      Hi Kimber, I find this as well, when I sit at home in my house being idle it hits the hardest. You need to keep your mind busy – get out from the house for physical activity or learn something or do an online course where you need to concentrate on something. That helps me a lot at least for some time. Drawing, sewing, gym, new language, anything you need your brain in gear. Good luck x

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Svenia says:

    First of all thank you for all the hard work you have put into this blog. I am fascinated by your ability to decribe what is stuck in my head so well. Often, I had to stop, repause and read again because your definitions gave me chill down my spine how accurate they were. However I did not know that is what it is. Truly amazing, you have no idea how much you helped me.
    I suffer from MD since my turbulent childhood (my parents divorced and I witnessed nasty things – my way to escape reality started). Then it came and went based on my life situation. When I am in a satisfiying partnership with someone or have a good job, friends – I do not obsessively MD, maybe only a little when things get complicated and I do not feel understood.
    Recently it has been a full blown MD for last 4 years and it is eating me alive. It has sharpened it´s teeth. I always thought I can handle it and It was my best kept inner secret. I always thought I am the only one in this world who does it. That I am weird in a way and nobody should know.
    I think you defined FEELINGS as spot on. I was trying to figure out why is it so bad this time and I feel nothing. My husband describes me cold and distant. I have everything on surface which looks perfect – great kids, house, money, we travel and because we do not live in my home country due to my husbands job we are expatriated. I agree with what other people say that MD is i a way boredom out of idle life. When I am in a situation I have to solve something urgent – child gets sick, we have finance problems or something slaps in in my face hard and its uncomfortable – I do not MD – I am in my high gear to solve it. This is what I noticed. When I write and draw and I am in the flow I do not MD either.
    I tried to remember when did I get emotionally cold and started this darkness again. I mentioned 4 years because until that time I had pretty much good stuff going on with my husband – talking, understanding each other, sex… however talking part was always a bit on hard side. I have to watch which subjects I choose. Then he did something really bad that hurt me. I was pregnant then and this is last time I remember feeling turmoil of emotions – being very sad, hurt, hating, having that knot in my stomach. When I gave birth to my child I was on high for some time and did not MD yet but then it slowly started creeping in my life step by step.
    When you said MD is a repressed emotion – feeling – I can´t get in real life – this was the point I could not understand before and thanks to you know I see the picture.
    I have written down everything my main characters are searching for in their narrative and the first thing funnily is EMOTIONAL CONNECTION. I dream about this person who is not perfect but beautiful in his own way and finds someone else with whom he has this most amazing emotional connection. They are soulmates, they get each other and BECAUSE of that they have fantastic physical connection as well.
    I do not know what this means but I dream that this person is a MAN. I am a woman and I imagine myself in a man but for 100 percent I have no inclinations to be one or gender dysphoria issues. And to add to it, this perfect person for this MAN aka me? Is another MAN. I find it weird and I do not understand why is it this way. I don´t like women in my narrative at all. They are usually bitches who sleep around. Only way I can imagine myself being a woman in my narrative is as a transgender woman – physically a guy but looking like a woman and wanting to be one. I even tried to imagine how it feels like for people who are that way. Is this the MEGA WAY to be completely screwed up with MD? I have never told anyone but if I would what would they think?
    I have no one to tell, maybe one person, my old friend who is suffering depression and has an alcohol problem. He tends to listen when I hint it and he says he does similar sometimes but he knows no details.
    Anyways, I am trying to understand now through my characters what I miss. I certainly know I crave for physical attention and I cannot communicate to my partner. He knows 20 percent of my head and I cannot open myself to him as he is conservative, judgmental, and has anger management issues. Sometimes I wish we would be better apart but I still in a way love him. I refuse to blame him for my issue. Maybe I need to find a cure in other way or I fear is this not going to go away if he does not know? He would put me in an instution, I don´t think so he would understand. I do not want to tell him at all.
    I am trying now MIndfullness Based Coignitive Therapy and in a way it works. I am doing mindfulness based exercises which keep in present moment and that helps. I will try to go cold turkey for sometime to see if I survive and throw in mindfulness. I fear I need to blow up my life first for this to go away.
    Thank you for YOU and thanks for reading to the end. I am happy I am not alone.

    Like

    • Joanna says:

      Svenia, thank you for sharing that. That’s a lot to bear and I’m hoping the best for you.
      To give you some hope, I just want to say that it is 100% possible to heal from MD. I’ve done it myself. I just really suggest looking at all of these articles on here and trying to apply them the best you can.

      Any time you can take to just sit with yourself, and talk to your heart, please do it. Not fix yourself, not fix your brain or force the MD away. Just talk with your heart. About everything and anything, especially things you’re scared to talk about/face.

      My biggest MD fantasies we’re about love, too – a wonderful, amazing romantic relationship (in my MD’s, it was being married to a “husband”) that bonded us spiritually and physically together. It took me a while to realize (and longer to 100% accept) that it wasn’t about being in a relationship at all. It was about loving myself (not the cliche it sounds like). Being my own friend, being there for myself, accepting my life in all that it was (the problems, the boredom, etc.) and seeing myself for who I truly was. My life wasn’t going to be healed or completed with a fantastic relationship – it wasn’t waiting for me, like fate or destiny. Self-acceptance is fastest way to growth, and the fastest way to letting go of MD.

      Before hand, I often tried to distract myself from MD with activities, but what I didn’t realize, is that when I go home and sit in that bed by myself, I’m still going to meet myself and all my problems. So I did many activities, mindfully staying in tune with what I was going, with the background thought of that I’m bringing myself with me. Does that make sense? I had to work to being comfortable with myself whether alone or busy. I had to compliment myself, support myself, love myself, talk with myself for and by myself, and not through the lens of a man (my MD man, that is) or anyone else.

      I feel like I’ve vomited a lot of information, but I hope this helps. Please tell me what you’re thinking so far 🙂

      Like

      • Eretaia says:

        Nicely put. In fantasy, boundaries between subject and object blur. If we follow the logic of reality, we are led to think it’s the object we want (a relationship, a lover, a friend) when, in fact, the object is the subject in dreams. It’s always self-acceptance in the end that is at the core of fantasy. It’s ourselves we want, not anyone else.

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      • Svenia says:

        Dear Joanna, thank you so much for your encouraging words and time you write this. It fascinates me how looking at different angles reveals things. Thanks to this blog and comments I start to see it more clearly.

        I do wonder if it´s really the relationship , fairy tale story I really want. I am just not that lovey dovey person at all. I hate romance. Why do I dream romance when I actually really hate it?

        I did have it in my real life and did not actually deliver at all.

        I believe in personal happiness in forms of mental stimulation and I have to be honest that is lacking from my life completely. I am a wife of somebody, completely financialy dependent and have no identity, Before I used to be a sucessful woman with all the freedom I wanted.

        I love talking to interesting people. When I want sex, it has to come from my mind. I could be in love with a ugly beast if he was interesting and funny. I despise conventional beauty yet all my characters are perfect but with my own eyes.They are beautiful but they have scars or they are in the wrong body.

        Maybe that is what crave so much.

        Maybe actually unless I start to BE someone again, I will never cure. Someone would say, you have such a comfortable life and you are not grateful, shame on you.

        I feel like a piece of rubbish getting into MD because I have too much good stuff? going on.

        I noticed I do not MD when I am happy, laughing with my friends, spending time with my mum, cuddling the kids. That feels real but then I look around and these moments seem so fleeting, they go so fast and I put music on and off I go.

        Couple of years ago I started to throw my stuff away. I felt bad having too much and it helped me to see more clearly, that this is not a normal way to live.

        Thanks for the hope that I can feel normal again. I will work on myself very hard and read carefully what all of you wonderfull people have to say. Thank you xxxxx

        Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Hey Svenia. The moment I read your post, I was reminded of something. I’m going to throw a theory here and you tell me if it’s nonsense or not.

      There is a big part of Jungian psychology that defines human psyche as a blend of both feminine and masculine principles. It’s a concept that has nothing to do with sexuality; regardless of whether one is a man or a woman, heterosexual or homosexual, our psyche is made of both and both are necessary for a healthy mental life. Feminine traits include being in tune with one’s emotions, relatedness, compassion, tenderness, mother instinct, whereas masculine qualities include decisiveness, action, strength etc. The reason I’m mentioning this, as cheesy as it may sound, is that these principles oftentimes become embodied in fantasy and give birth to our characters. If a woman with very a monotonous housewife life fantasizes about a romance with an assertive man who makes her life adventure overnight, it’s possibly not the man she wants. Instead, her attraction to him has roots in her attraction to assertiveness. Her own lost assertiveness.

      The fact that your own fantasy focuses on two men indicates alienation from that feminine principle of the psyche. Your daydream is stripped of femininity. You’re a woman. But that very woman is lacking what makes woman a woman – ability to connect emotionally. The absence of feminine figure in your inner world *mirrors* the lack of feminine aspect of pscyhe (e.g. ability to connect emotionally) in the real world.

      At this stage, I’d say your daydream is a consequence of you separating from that inner woman, or at least an important aspect of it. I can’t tell what brought on this alienation but there has to be something, some trait or feeling that you disconnected from, and by disconnecting from that, you disconnected from everything else.

      Like

      • Joanna says:

        Just wanted to add onto this: Svenia, have you ever felt any type of alienation from the women in your life, or just women in general? Characteristics about how women act that you are irritated by, or just downright hate?

        Maybe going into how you feel and relate to yourself as a woman – and what it means to be one for you – would also help your MD situation.

        Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Also, fantasies about romance between two man are incredibly common among women and in most of the cases, there isn’t any meaningful, ulterior reason why they are appealing. So, nothing weird or unusual there. But since you mention coldness and detachment in real life, I think yours go a bit deeper.

      Like

      • Svenia says:

        I understand what you mean, it is in a way a sexual turn on for me but just like thousand other things. I can imagine it better because I don´t find it revolting – quite the opposite. I was worried why I cannot picture myself as a woman with a guy or why my character cannot be in a relationship with one. I just don´t like them in my story at all. Only sexually as a one night stand would be. Never connected emotionally.

        Like

  17. Svenia says:

    Eretaia, thank you, that is interesting as I never thought about this angle, just that something s seriously wrong with me:(

    As far as my grown up MD fantasies go, I was always a MAN, one specific guy, I used to laugh to myself I will tattoo him on my arm as it was so detailed he must exist somewhere.

    I could not see it could be me. Or me wanting what he wants.

    He is this most incredibly psychologically and physically strong individual, very private, very cold but inside he is like a fire full of sexual and inner emotions. He is not understood and he seeks that ONE who will.
    Lately my DD changed and I introduced new character – which is the ONE my man (me’have met and POV changed. He is like his mirror, polar opposite person and they clicked. I used to be one and then the other based on my mood.

    What I find strange is that recently I let him go, I let them both go, after so many many years I could not believe I have betrayed him. There comes my new alter ego – HE who wants to be a SHE. My new character is a male, very badly abused but strong and discovers something special about himself. But he wants to be a SHE, he is transgender but decides to hide it, because in the medieval setting I put himcustoms and times do not favour being a woman. He wants to be a woman but he can´t be one because in the society he will be zero, nothing.

    Is this really me being so detached I don´t even want to be my own gender in my head? I find it so crazy I am scared of my twisted brain. Does this even make sense?

    Cut to my own life as Joanna commented and got me thinking deep and hard all day.

    What do I hate about women? I hate how bloody hard it is to be free after you buy into this dream and lie about marriage and kids and how amazing that all is. That is all I wanted because everybody says so and since I am stuck in a situation which is everybody´s real life fantasy, I want out – but I can´t. I have signed this contract with my blood (kids) and ink (my marriage) and I feel like after birth of my kids and what I have now is like a train crash in my brain.

    However when I met my husband, I believed I found my soulmate, my other half but it dissapeared and I slowly went from real life to fantasy into this HELL HELL HELL I am now.

    I just see it as it is, that perhaps if this was not real after all, it does not exist. I believed in it so much and it crashed. I just can´t see it again happening because I am afraid it it does it will be fake.

    Now what next? I worry I will blow it all up and do something crazy – do you know why? So that at least something is happening in my life, even bad. I was so close to drinking too much, cheating, I started and stopped smoking. I lie and I pretend and something always stops me from doing these kind of things because I cannot look myself in the mirror. I feel ashamed and I fear so much I will completely destroy my life and my marriage.

    Now I wonder what is actually worse? Live this crazy life in my head and suffer or live in reality I don`t want and suffer. Both ways sucks big time.

    Thank you for listening to me, I cannot believe I have actually written this down. First time ever someone in the world of internet knows. I hope it´s a good start.

    Like

    • Joanna says:

      I’m going to reply to your most recent comments all right here:

      First of all, you’re not selfish or ungrateful. I know it will be hard to believe that, but you are not, I assure you. You love your kids, you see the great life you have (material-wise), and you appreciate it for what it is. But it means nothing, not when it comes to accepting and fully enjoying the time you spend with your mom, kids, friends. Because you don’t have yourself. This happens, unfortunately, to the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. Everyone has to have themselves first before they really “have” anything else in this life.

      I understand if you don’t want to go into specifics here, but what would you say are the major issues in your marriage? What makes it so unfulfilling? Does your husband not stimulate you (mentally, emotionally) enough?

      Also, from your name and comments, it doesn’t sound like you live in America. Am I right? If so, let me ask you this: sexism is worldwide, but the culture you come from, do they place a lot of pressures on women to settle down, be happy in marriage in kids?

      I don’t think it’s about you rejecting being a woman, at least on the surface. I’m very attracted to masculinity and men myself. But maybe it’s more about the unexpressed things you’re not allowed to let free as a woman, at least at this time in your life right now. You said earlier you were a successful, free woman, and you love mental stimulation above all. Varies culture to culture, but those aren’t things that women are necessarily pushed or praised to be in society.

      In society (and with ourselves), it’s hard being our true selves, but it’s mandatory to live. Really live.

      In my MD’s, I didn’t have characters – I was the character. But that’s true of all MD’s really. Look at your description of the man in your MD’s: “He is this most incredibly psychologically and physically strong individual, very private, very cold but inside he is like a fire full of sexual and inner emotions. He is not understood and he seeks that ONE who will.”

      The first thing I thought of was you. That man is you. Correct me if I’m wrong, but those characters – man or woman – are all you, or your passionate, bubbling, cannot-be-contained feelings.

      Like Erateia has expressed in these articles, it’s all about transferring those feelings and expressing them with yourself, in real life. And there’s ways to do that, even in the seemingly hopeless situation you find yourself in. We can talk more about that later, if you want 🙂

      Like

      • Svenia says:

        Dear Joanna and Erateia, you have no idea how much you are helping me with your comments.

        I cannot even believe that there is someone in this world who understands what I am going through, It feels very soothing.

        Yesterday I went to bed first time and I did not dream like I always do. It was hard but after tossing and turning I did it.

        It always tortures me how screwed up it is to lie next to your partner and your mind is in a different world. That is the hardest part of all.

        I am a typical European woman, who stayed at home after having kids. I cannot work because I am in a country where I do not speak the language well. It´s not my home and I have lived like this a decade. I am a trailing spouse.

        I wish I was born a man not to have to make my woman choices. I see it now very well – the moment I decided to follow someone else´s dream I started to lose myself.

        I like the way men are and think because they are so so good in putting themselves first. Me as a woman I failed to do that and here I am.

        I felt this rush of great feelings when you wrote – and I have imagined – that this man is ME or could be ME. For all these years I wished I could be like him.

        If there is a possibility I could actually became HIM in my real life – I would be so happy. Strong, confident and myself.

        Now I see it is possible. I am thrilled it IS possible.

        I was digging deep inside myself at what point my life went so wrong. I re-read the article so many times and I think I had a heureka moment now. You say emotional isolation.

        At some point in our marriage he broke the belief I had in him and did something which hurt me very very much.
        We did talk about it but not enough. Since then I cannot communicate and talk to him openly. I do not trust him with my feelings anymore.

        This combined with losing a piece of myself every day I live my life how it is dictated by someone else – is it suprising I am in such a mess?

        I am grateful for MD – if I would not have it then to cope perhaps I would go crazy. Or perhaps it just delayed my life.

        What I find important is that I have kids and they cannot have an emotionally isolated mother.
        My MD affects the relationship with them and it is killing me inside. I know something has to be done now.

        Thank you so so much.

        I have a last question for you Joanna and Eretaia, what was that turning point in your life when you decided you need to do something about your MD? Was it something that happened or some clue or what was it? When do you know it must stop?

        I am so happy I found this blog. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.xxxx

        Like

      • Eretaia says:

        I’m so glad we could be helpful! :))

        I had two turning points. One was when my mom died, which sent me into questioning my entire life and stripped me of all defense mechanisms. It was the moment I finally got hit by a realization that I had been emotionally absent during most of my adolescence. And it was defeating. I always had a wonderful relationship with my family, but it was defeating to think that there were times when I hadn’t been present emotionally, even though I was physically there, playing all the roles I should play. I was mad at myself and it was anger and guilt that motivated me to stop and dig deeper and deeper until I understood what sent me into mental escape. The more repressed emotions I managed to bring to surface, the more I became at peace with myself. This was what made confront insecurities and stopped me from running away.

        The second turning point was when I understood that my inner life isn’t something separate and foreign to who I am but is instead an extension of me that was created from feelings that for certain reasons couldn’t be integrated into my sense of identity at that point. I realized that my fantasy metaphorically was a self out of the self, that needed to be understood and returned to the center of my existence. It was what gave my life a meaning. I realized that I had a right to the feelings experienced in my daydreams and that the emotions experienced in MD weren’t something that had to be given up but something that had to be taken back into the body.

        Like

    • Eretaia says:

      In my definition of fantasy, there is no subject and object. It’s all subject. My own biggest fantasy focused on romance between two characters which later turned out to have absolutely nothing to do with romance. These two characters were two conflicting aspects of me, and ‘romance’ was my way of reconciling them and making myself whole. Like Joanna said, that man metaphorically IS you. He was molded from feelings that you detached from yourself. What if you are a strong man in your dreams because you are, and I quote you, a wife of somebody, dependent, with no sense of identity in real life? What if he is your inner masculinity, inner strength and force, that went dormant once you got stuck in a role of a monotonous wife?

      And what if this transgender man who wants to be a woman fantasy is a sign that you are already unconsciously reclaiming back your feminine side and slowly returning to the self?

      Speaking of being ungrateful, no, you’re not selfish. You’re absent. Emotional numbness is as if someone pecked your eyes out and told you: ‘hey, now look how beautiful the world is.’ If you are blind, then who the fuck has a right to call you selfish when even the most beautiful things are returned hollow and black because the receptor through which you can absorb and observe immediate reality is gone? You are gone. Maybe your real life is beautiful, or maybe it’s utter shit – but you won’t know that until you come back as *you* to make that judgement.

      Like

      • Joanna says:

        And to answer your last question, Svenia –

        My MD started since I was 13, mostly out of extreme loneliness. Then, I MD’d about everything, without really knowing it – I saw the actors and musicians I admired on TV and movies; the celeb crushes I had, and put them into my life, my fantasies, for company.

        But since I was so alone, my self-awareness also grew rapidly, too. I could see what I was doing was unhealthy, and that had so much more potential than to waste away to dreams. It’s funny, because I was reading a lot of self-help books and a lot of literature with wise lessons in them, that were about embracing life and whatnot. I agreed, learned, yet my mind was also split with doing MD. Knowing that MD was stupid and harmful, and doing it anyway. Trying to get myself out of it, swearing to quit, “restarting” my life in a since, and then succumbing to it again. Years of that.

        It did not have to take years at all. That was my fault – I was too scared to let go of MD, and frankly, it numbed me in a great way. I read a quote on addiction once – “at least it started as a way to feel good. Not it’s a way not to feel bad.” Bad being, in my case, coming to grips of how many years I wasted myself to MD. I was still productive and creative, and still knew who I was at my core, but the haze I lived life with was not necessary.

        Soon enough, my life circumstances changed a bit; I was around more people and made friends. Yet I still MD’ed. MD quickly changes from trying to cope with something and into running away from being yourself. No matter how many people I would be around, I would still be lonely if I did not have myself. During those years, my MD of having a husband became a huge part of my fantasies, yet I still recognized that even if I got the wonderful relationship of my dreams, I would still be restless and not 100% happy – because I didn’t have myself, my own method of living.

        For years, my life was a cycle of MD’ing, seeing its stupidity, swearing to get rid of it and in touch with myself, and falling to MD again out of weakness. But really, it was out of fear, not really taking the situation seriously enough. I would have to stop running and meet myself. Life – nor my brain – would just wouldn’t change after a while, due to circumstances and time. I let go of the things that distracted me from changing, and slowly but surely, like Eretaia’s articles have described, I healed.

        This can be the same for you. And much quicker than I did, haha

        Like

  18. Goodyfish says:

    Hey,

    I am having difficulty finding myself and am really scared. I feel so hollow and hideous. I had convinced myself that the fantasies were just as real as reality and that reality is subjective. But now I can’t do that anymore. I was wondering if you ever found yourself suicidal and completely losing faith to feel good anything evoked by reality. And just wanting the fantasy or just wanting to be dead. I’m just so tired and I feel my self is beyond repair. It’s too disgusting. And I can’t fix this receptor. And that no one will love this receptor. And I feel like I just want to end it, but I know I don’t, too.

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Have you had it evaluated by a psychiatrist? Maybe you need to take care of your depression first before you can even attempt to deal with MD.

      Also, fantasies are in a way as real as reality – on an emotional level. All your emotions that make one alive have retreated to fantasy, so without dreamworld, there’s nothing left of you. But you can’t identify with that selfless awareness of fantasy world and completely forget that you have a body and real world to return to. If you do that, you’ll split in two, and will always be subconsciously hungry for that other half, which will manifest through extreme depression.

      You can fix it, that’s the thing with depression. You see the world through black lenses and it’s not allowing you to realize that there’s a solution out there. Do yourself a favor and get a good psychotherapy. As long as you don’t have the eyes to see through them, I can tell you all kinds of things, and it won’t get to you.

      No, I’ve never been suicidal. I’ve had bouts of total personal and cosmic meaninglessness but it had never made me suicidal. Desperate, yes, terrifying, that too, but I never wanted to end it because I knew, if the receptor is broken, the whole world is broken too.

      This is my most honest advice: force yourself and find a good therapist. If your depression is severe, you have a lot of conflicted unconscious material lying beneath of surface of that depression, and that’s giving you both hopelessness and hollowness.

      Like

  19. Goodyfish says:

    Thank you so much for your response, Eretaia.
    I have already been to the psychiatrist but I don’t feel like they care. I’ve been given anti depressants, but I don’t think I have the kind of classical depression that can be helped by them.
    My life stopped around six years ago. Not my inner world, but my outer world. I understand that reality is subjective in the sense that it’s dictated by my feelings of it, but there are also things there that I’ve actually abandoned, such as all my relationships, my academics, my career, my health. It’s a ghost town, and (apologies for the try hard fit) I’m haunted by it.
    I was wondering where I could even start. My feelings may not have to be built again from scratch, but things that evoke them from reality do. It’s horrifying. I just. I’m looking at myself straight in the eye and it’s foreign. This really isn’t me. I feel too proud to be this person. Did you ever feel that way? I think that’s really what makes me want to die. It sounds so ungrateful, I know, but I am not this person. Well, I am, but I thought I was someone else for a really long time. And reality isn’t just dictated by feelings. And it just feels so good that you understand and I’m sorry for being here and I just. You’re so cool.

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Didn’t work? Try another. If the next one doesn’t work, try another again. It’s pain in the ass, I know. But you have to keep going. If you don’t do something, nothing is going to change. In practice, people always change several therapists until they find the one that clicks with them. Psychiatrist can maybe relieve depression but they certainly cannot help with MD. For that you need a proper psychotherapy. Find a psychoanalyst and do a few sessions to get the idea where to start from and what to work with. This is the most constructive advice I can give you because if you’re lost, this can give you a sense of inner direction.

      Like

  20. Goodyfish says:

    In addition, I’ve kind of been speaking to a crush online. It’s really helped fuel fantasies. But I often feel disgusting and like I’m lying about who I am by sending him photos from the right angles, him not seeing my hideously messy room, my face have a much duller complexion than in photos, my life completely broken and shattered. He doesn’t really see it on a day to day basis even though we talk every day. It feels fraudulent. But I like him so, so much. But I can’t really distinguish if it’s because of who I get to be around him that I’m attached to or if it’s him that I’m attached to but it’s so scary and he’s the only thing I have. Sometimes I feel like I’d rather die than not have him. HE’S JUST SUCH A HOTTIE WITH A BODY.

    Like

  21. Mimi says:

    Hi,

    I guess I wanted to talk to someone. I don’t have people who understand what I am going through, my mom try to be understanding, but she is not really helping and in my country going to a therapist for excess of daydreaming would not really be accepted. Too many taboos.
    Any way I read your posts about writing thing and expressing my self . And I really recognized my self, I am so controlled and repressed, yet I could sob for hours in my daydreams.
    So here I am talking about it for the first time.

    In my daydreams I am always a girl or a woman. Someone lonely but strong, someone who save the world, is selfless, learn to love and find happiness and joy. Funny my daydream stop being stimulating once I am fulfilled. Then I have to start again with the same or other partners.

    They all have painful past, trust issues and abandonment issues and walls and then they overcome them and become better persons.

    Also, a really recurrent theme in my daydreams is going back in time and unmaking the things that destroyed their life and made them who they are. Those daydreams I rarely finish because I feel conflicted : I want to change the past thought I know that changing the past would take away some of my character worth. Like if she never felt pain and overcame it, she wouldn’t be the strong hero she is.

    I guess it’s who I want to be, but I am not sure why I couldn’t enjoy it when I got the happy ending? Maybe it’s about the excitement of the treals or something else?

    Thank you very much for writhing this blog and helping me get it out.

    Like

  22. Mimi says:

    Hi, it’s been 3 days now and it’s really hard. I have forced myself to feel rather than repress. I have come to one issue that really hard to let go. Its the gilt over something I did in the past and trying to make amand and the results of all of it. It just feel like a lot of anxiety. I even been slipping in MD and stopping my self to continue further and forcing myself to come back to reality.
    I guess if anyone had advices about how to help, I would be thankful.

    Like

  23. kristiansthoughtsblog says:

    I have been researching MD a bit but your post really made the most sense to me, i have heard that people who have had traumatic experiences have turned to MD. I had a normal childhood though, but i think i turned to it because i had a lot of anxiety and now have social anxiety. I used to make characters when i was young, but now its just usualy myself in good situations that id rather see myself in. I had no idea that so many people did this and now that i dont feel alone anymore and feel that i can really get help. thank you

    Like

  24. Christina says:

    Eretaia, may I ask you a question?

    I’m so used to living a life with MD, that when I think of a life without it, it feels scary. Not in the sense that I’m holding onto the daydreams themselves, but overcoming MD has been in my mindset for so long that it feels like a part of my identity. I’ve always looked forward to living without MD, visualizing it in my mind, but now that I think of that future, it will feel so weird – the fact that I’m not fighting against something, and that I’m actually just free. How do I get over this?

    My MD has actually significantly lessened, I’m more in tune with myself – I guess this is just a random fear on the way to becoming free.

    Like

  25. sunayrine says:

    It started years ago, I was young and naive. I was afraid and lonely, I felt abandoned and worthless. I was not a good friend and didn’t deserve friendships. So I decided I didn’t care about it, but I did very much. I lied to myself because it hurt too much and I was too proud and in pain and lonely. I felt isolated and so worthless. Like none cared really and I had none to talk to.
    My family only added to my anxiety. I was terrorized by my own father, it got to the point that I wished he was never there. My mom didn’t understand and was dealing with a lot of troubles and I didn’t want her to see me weak.
    At that time I started watching those tv shows and reading books on the heroes who overcome difficulties by their own. I thought I could and had to do that. I let myself fall for them, I loved them, they were my friends and I got addicted. When I had a horrible day, when I was bullied, hurt, ignored and everything was so painful, I just had to close my eyes and I had be them. And I go to adventure and live and have friends and be so happy. I never intended to do that for 20 years. I never know it was a trap.
    I put so much pressure on myself, I tried and tried to be strong by myself and I only hurt me in the end.
    A few years a go, I got friends, they tried to let me in, but I was too much into fantasy to let go. And to tell the truth I felt safer in it. My friends- I pushed them away. The very thing I always wanted and when it happened I was too much of a coward to to take it and to feel it. Now, I feel better in a way. I realize that I am weak. But that the same way we all are when alone. Being weak is normal. I don’t have to be superwoman and I don’t want to be. I want to be me.

    Like

  26. Herman says:

    Very well said ! I just discovered the whole concept of MD a couple of days ago ,while searching for answers for what’s going on in my head . And my own analysis was pointing out to the directions you take us in this article.
    I noticed you mention Jung ,”father” of the Shadow. I happen to have been working on the idea of interacting with my shadow ( out of a concept derived from the book The Tools), which is a positive : allowing you to work on disowned parts of yourself and issues of expression ; but you also mention a sometimes “imaginary presence, almost like an inner companion” (which in this case would be a negative). I just wanted to make that distinction , as the Jungian Shadow can be a positive force.

    Like

  27. Aisha says:

    Maybe this is a stupid thing to ask but I’m quite sure I’ve figured out what feelings I seek through daydreams, but I’m not sure how to externalise them now that I know what they are. Your posts are so incredible and I’m so grateful for the clarity they’ve provided on why I am the way I am, but the thing is, what I seek through my daydreams is acceptance. What attaches me to them is that I feel like I’m an impressive, interesting person in them and also I’m accepted and seen on the same level as my peers (to certain people, I have a bit of an inferiority complex that makes them intimidating and gives me this strong urge to make an impression on them; an impression I daydream about). This urge to make an impression takes up almost the entirety of my daydreams in many different forms and I’m not sure how to express such a feeling which is a craving for a feeling that other people express towards me.

    Like

    • Eretaia says:

      Hey Aisha. In your daydreams, you’re impressing other people through your own interestingness and confidence, so what you crave to experience is self-acceptance, and not acceptance and admiration by other people. Other people are irrelevant in this case, and in the end, it’s all about you. You’re looking for validation outside because you lost it inside. The question that I’d ask myself if I were you would be: why am I feeling invisible when surrounded by others? Why do I feel as if I am not interesting enough? What is it in me that’s lacking that prevents self-acceptance from arising? When did these feelings first start appearing? Why do they arise? Also, how do you impress people in your daydreams? With intelligence, with physical looks, etc.? You have to pinpoint exactly what is this feeling that screams to be expressed. It’s self-acceptance almost always, but try to understand what aspect in particular.

      Like

      • Aisha says:

        Thanks so much for the response! It’s odd, man. I don’t impress them with any trait in particular. My daydreams focus the most on their reactions. There’s a strong emphasis on the idea of subverting expectations and refuting previously made assumptions. This is usually with some sort of trait or feature that has a sort of unexpected ‘woahhh…’ flavour to it. Like coming from a foreign and mysterious place that’s well known and talked about but not very understood, which makes it talked about even more because of the mystery. The way it becomes closer to real life, whilst still a fantasy, is that If I get complimented in real life or acknowledged for having a trait that’s surprising, impressive or intriguing, I then daydream the very real scenario. Like the other day at a party where someone pointed out the different way I dance, saying they really liked it for its uniqueness – the instance became something I daydreamed about. Alongside this fantasy, what I absolutely dread more than anything is the idea of being typecast or pushed aside with a flippant assumption, as I’ve experienced in the past. A past of having my talents or unique traits being tossed aside under lazy assumptions. I’m not sure it’s about feeling invisible per se, rather assumed to be something not so promising… then comes the urge of “No! Don’t assume that, you haven’t seen what I can do!” and then what follows is their expectations subverted, then they wanna hear more.

        Like

  28. Midnight Mare247 says:

    I am so grateful that I found your article. I’ve been dealing with MD for years, since I was a kid, and I haven’t realized this until a couple of days ago. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started happening, but I think it began in the 4th grade. From the 4th-6th grade, I got bullied a lot at school and had a lot of family issues at home as well. I was too embarrassed to talk about the bullying and too scared to stand up for myself, so I just tolerated it all throughout late elementary and middle school. So instead of having to deal with harsh reality, I spent most of my free time off in my own little world, creating a version of myself that was better, cooler, and more interesting than the real me. Music became a huge part of my imagination world; I would often plug in a pair of earbuds and start pacing and/or running down the hallways in the house. It was fun and I found myself experiencing a sense of happiness and joy from these made up characters and worlds (some of the characters were actual characters that I pulled from cartoons and anime shows and movies).

    I didn’t think this was a bad thing at first. It certainly didn’t feel bad, after all! It made me feel a little more confident in myself, like I had so much more to offer the world with this imagination of mine. I dreamed of growing up and being able to show everyone this world I’ve built through animations, drawings and stories. So I spent my free time writing and drawing out these characters in hopes that I could express them to other people. Most of the time, I was disappointed when the drawings and stories didn’t exactly come out the way I imagined them in my head. But still, I was determined to share this world of mine and become the personified version of myself that was better than the actual, present me. Years passed and it continued like this. My world would change and evolve and new characters would be added while other characters fell away. I continued to pace nearly everyday with music blasting in my ears. Right before bed, I always thought about a particular scene in my world that I favored (typically an emotional or comforting one) before I fell asleep. I was still determined to express this imaginative world through text or through drawings, and nothing seemed wrong with this world of mine.

    But years later, after I turned 16, something happened. It was almost exactly one year ago. I had a panic attack. It was so out of nowhere and I didn’t understand why it happened, it just happened. I remember just sitting on my bed, watching a video on my laptop, and when I looked away from my laptop for a moment and at the wall, I just started to feel floaty. It was such a strange, foreign feeling that wasn’t going away and it led me to panic. I begged to go to the hospital so my mom took me there and it was confirmed by a doctor that I indeed had a panic attack. I spent the rest of the year struggling with these new feelings of anxiety and dissociation, trying my best to sort out these thoughts and feelings and trying to figure out why this was happening, trying to put all the puzzle pieces together. I got better at managing my anxiety and the symptoms, but I still couldn’t figure out the source of the problem or why this was all happening to me in the first place. I realized after some time that the floaty feeling I was experiencing off and on was me “dissociating” which seemed to be apart of the anxiety. But why was this happening? Why was I all of a sudden dissociating and not feeling all the way there? I had theories, but none of them ever clicked or felt entirely right to me.

    Until a few days ago. I’m 17 now, and a few days ago I stumbled upon your articles. Then it all made sense to me. The anxiety, me unintentionally dissociating from reality – it’s all because of my Maladaptive Daydreaming, a term I didn’t even know existed until not too long ago, when I realized this is exactly what I have. I’ve realized that I’ve been using this world – a world meant to make me feel things when I’m feeling stressed or just flat out bored – that I’ve created as a coping mechanism, to escape from all the stress and unhappiness I felt in life. It explains why I become so anxious sometimes, because I’m not used to dealing with problems head on, and therefore fear and worry all the time about potential problems and my future. It explains why I unintentionally dissociate and don’t always feel there, because my brain is so used to venturing off in la-la land and not being in the present moment, that it seems to automatically detach itself when I’m bored or stressed. Now that I’ve figured out the problem, I feel…conflicted. I never considered this world that I’ve built could be bad. It hurts me, knowing that these feelings I feel and these attachments I have for these characters isn’t good for me. I invested so much time in this world and my personified version of me, that I hardly know how to live in reality properly.

    Which is why I want to change. I love this world of mine, but if it’s doing more harm than good, than I have to let it go, no matter how many hard times and loneliness it got me through. No matter how real those emotions felt. No matter how free I felt and in control of my life I felt, even though in reality, I’m not very in control of my life right now. I broke down in tears after reading your articles. I feel like I have to let go a part of myself. But do I have to let go of all of it? Is it okay to still draw and write about some of the things in my made-up world, or is that only enabling the MD? Can I keep daydreaming and enjoy some of those feelings if I just depend on it less, or is it an all-or-nothing sort of deal? These are the questions I’d really like to know the answers to. I’ve actively been actively avoiding daydreaming about these characters ever since I’ve read this article because I’m unsure of what to do. On the plus side, I do feel a little more awake now and slightly more productive, but other times I feel scared and depressed.

    Sorry if this was so long, I just really needed to get this off my chest!

    Like

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