Maladaptive Daydreaming - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Maladaptive Daydreaming


Maladaptive daydreaming doesn't seem to be a very well-documented illness yet. It seems that it's only recently been described by some psychologists and hasn't quite caught on as an "official" illness yet.

http://daydreamingdisorder.webs.com/

I've long been searching for a name for my... peculiar habits, and now that I know of this illness, I think it's possible that I have it.

Almost for as long as I can remember, throughout most of my childhood, I've been prone to daydreaming. But what's weird about my daydreaming is that it's almost always accompanied by movement, just as the description of MD here talks of the "kinesthetic element". On the internet, I've seen people talk about how they may rock back and forth or fiddle with an object to facilitate daydreaming, but my movement is much stranger: I jump around, do handstands, and other odd exaggerated energetic movements.

While maladaptive daydreaming seems to be mostly concerned with excessive daydreaming, I'm not so much concerned with the amount of daydreaming I do (I do think it is probably a lot more than normal people, but it doesn't interfere with work) so much as I am concerned with the fact that I feel compelled to do strange movements in order to daydream. It's almost like I can't even do it without doing those whacky movements.

It's been going on since I was a kid, and I'm a young adult now. That's why I'm getting increasingly worried. I always shut the door when daydreaming, but how long can I keep this a secret? What happens if someone finds out a grown man is jumping and flipping around like a madman in his room? I need to change this behavior, but I don't know how.


The content of my daydreams also concerns me. Like all daydreams, they are an escape from real life, but I think mine may be overboard. I have daydreams where I am some sort of brave hero risking his life to save others, like stopping armed criminals or saving people from disasters or something. I also have daydreams where I am some bold fearless politician who stands up to corruption and single-handedly fixes everything wrong with the system. My most reoccurrent daydreams are the ones where I am a rockstar, and these are probably the most potent because I do play the guitar and wish to be a musician. Some of my daydreams are a mixture of these things (I'm a rockstar and politician).

A lot of my daydreams don't even involve me. I'm a huge comic book geek, and a lot of my daydreams are about occurrences in fictitious comic book universes with my favorite characters. Like, the stories I would write if I were a comic book writer (another pipedream of mine).

The worst thing about them is how I feel when I "snap back" to reality, and realize how dull it is compared to my "fantasy life" in my daydreams. In my real life, I feel as though I've accomplished nothing, that I have nothing to look forward to, that I am incompetent at everything I do. In my daydreams, I'm a rockstar, but in real life, I can't even write a full song. In my daydreams, I'm a comic book writer/artist, but in real life, my art is pathetic. In my daydreams, I'm the coolest person on the face of the Earth, in real life, I have no friends.

This is distinct from any sort of psychosis, however, as I know the difference between fantasy and reality. It's just that I get a little too involved in the fantasy.

The fact that I pretty much play fantasy in my room while being an adult embarrasses me. I have no idea what I'd do if someone found out. I feel like I have to put aspects of my life on hold until I fix this. I could never, like, have a girlfriend or something knowing that I'd either have to hide this from or reveal this to her (not that I'd ever have a girlfriend anyway, I've still got the social anxiety in addition to this, LOL). If anyone where to ever film what I do, I guarantee you it would he a greater pathetic YouTube viral video than that Star Wars kid. It's that bad. It's like some sort of deranged dancing/fighting thing.

Anyone have something similar? Anyone know if this is even well-known enough that a shrink could help with it?

I'd be surprised if you actually read this long post. But I'd be appreciative, as well.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 01:09 AM
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I don't think the average psychologist knows much about maladaptive daydreaming, let alone your particular kind. They might focus on other problems you have with real life and try to get you more involved in enjoyable things you can do in reality, which would perhaps reduce the amount of time you spend daydreaming and the level of your involvement.
Have you already attempted to limit the amount of time you spend daydreaming and doing the movements? It might help to try to let it out by writing your stories out or turning them into art? I don't know much about it so I don't know if those ideas are really stupid or not.
It sounds awesome by the way. I don't think you should be embarrassed about it, but I understand why you are.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, maybe I need to fix my life and the daydreaming will follow suit.

I could try channeling things into art, as I feel I should because I yearn to produce art yet am very unproductive. But in order to even conjure up an idea, I have to do the weird daydreaming thing. It's like I can't function and create things without it. It's like what I do when brainstorming ideas. But I guess I have to take measures to just cut it down slowly and force myself to learn to function without it.

Grass is always greener, eh? But I assure you, it doesn't feel very awesome to feel like some sort of mashup between a madman and a 6-year-old, like how I feel like.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 06:24 AM
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Are you aware of what triggers your daydreams?
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 08:36 AM
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Hey what a coincidence I've also recently learned of this term, which explains something i've experienced for as long I can remember.

I also experience the same feeling, when the daydream fades: I am not capable of whatever things I imagined, I don't know those people, I don't have their esteem and all I was doing was pacing around..

I also know the line between daydream and reality (often painfully), but as I assume you know, that doesn't address how involved I get in them, emotionally and physically.


I've wondered how to address this. It seems like we have a pretty specific problem with very little writing and fewer professional research about it.
Any psychologist we'd see would need to be open-minded so not to assume this was purely rooted in depression, or was early onset schizophrenia.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 09:39 AM
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I'm curious, do you lose complete sense of your surroundings and have it morph into dreamland? What is it like?

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain cosmic View Post
A lot of my daydreams don't even involve me. I'm a huge comic book geek, and a lot of my daydreams are about occurrences in fictitious comic book universes with my favorite characters. Like, the stories I would write if I were a comic book writer (another pipedream of mine).

...

The fact that I pretty much play fantasy in my room while being an adult embarrasses me. I have no idea what I'd do if someone found out. I feel like I have to put aspects of my life on hold until I fix this. I could never, like, have a girlfriend or something knowing that I'd either have to hide this from or reveal this to her (not that I'd ever have a girlfriend anyway, I've still got the social anxiety in addition to this, LOL). If anyone where to ever film what I do, I guarantee you it would he a greater pathetic YouTube viral video than that Star Wars kid. It's that bad. It's like some sort of deranged dancing/fighting thing.
I've bolded the parts that stand out for me personally. I do much the same, except with my own characters, since I write. I daydream about them and their situations almost all day long. Fortunately, SOME of this EVENTUALLY translates into actual writing, though I should certainly do a lot more than think about it! (I almost NEVER daydream about myself. Only my characters, and perhaps myself living through them, vicariously.)

When I was younger I would listen to music really loudly so in case I sang along no one could hear. I would do this in the dark (so I couldn't be seen, even though my windows were covered and nobody was around!) while I "danced" to it...only I wasn't really dancing. That was just what I told my parents because they wouldn't have understood. What I was in fact doing was playing out various scenarios from my stories, moving around and playacting all that...granted, my movements were very restrained, but my imagination filled in the rest. Lots of dramatic action-type stuff. I'd imagine my scenes set to music like in movie ads and videos and stuff. So this is similar though not the same as what you described when you mentioned how you move around. I've long since stopped doing that though I must admit, I miss it a lot. (It was a good physical outlet.) Nowadays, often when I'm walking around I'll be pretending in my head that I'm my characters doing things. I do this so regularly that I even do it in my dreams!

I don't have a social life or prospects for this to interfere with, and for the most part people don't notice whether I'm actually writing anything or not, so for right now I have no real reason to "overcome" it. It's more interesting than most of what goes on around me every day. Plus as I said, SOMETIMES I manage to get some of it down in actual writing, so it aids the creative process for me, for what little that's worth.

Sorry that I don't know any techniques to minimize or stop doing this, since I have little reason to do so!

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pehrj View Post
Are you aware of what triggers your daydreams?
They don't always have a trigger. Just happens whenever I feel like it, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruddy View Post
Hey what a coincidence I've also recently learned of this term, which explains something i've experienced for as long I can remember.

I also experience the same feeling, when the daydream fades: I am not capable of whatever things I imagined, I don't know those people, I don't have their esteem and all I was doing was pacing around..

I also know the line between daydream and reality (often painfully), but as I assume you know, that doesn't address how involved I get in them, emotionally and physically.


I've wondered how to address this. It seems like we have a pretty specific problem with very little writing and fewer professional research about it.
Any psychologist we'd see would need to be open-minded so not to assume this was purely rooted in depression, or was early onset schizophrenia.
Yeah, it'll be hard to find help until this is a better-known illness. Hopefully the few doctors that are researching it are informing other doctors and getting their work peer-reviewed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moasim View Post
I'm curious, do you lose complete sense of your surroundings and have it morph into dreamland? What is it like?
Well, I don't lose complete sense of my surroundings. The fantasies are vivid, but not so vivid that I totally disconnect with reality or anything. It's not like Inception, if that's the sort of impression you're getting. I'm aware of my environment, but it's still a lot more "involved" than a regular daydream.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-09-2012, 08:46 PM
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Ha! I knew there was a term for what I do - and have done, since childhood, and never grew out of. About 90% of my inner thought life is imaginary dialogues and daydreams. I'm also a compulsive pacer/walker, talk to myself, gesticuate, and so forth. Funny thing is that my 10 year old son, who is much higher functioning (academically and socially) than I was at that age, exhibits a lot of the same characteristics. But it doesn't seem to otherwise cause him difficulty. If anything, he's even less self-conscious and/or inhibited about it. I wonder if it's inheritable....
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2012, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain cosmic View Post
Yeah, it'll be hard to find help until this is a better-known illness. Hopefully the few doctors that are researching it are informing other doctors and getting their work peer-reviewed.
At the very least through the internet we can pool together information too see patterns.


Quote:
Originally Posted by James of Maine View Post
Ha! I knew there was a term for what I do - and have done, since childhood, and never grew out of. About 90% of my inner thought life is imaginary dialogues and daydreams. I'm also a compulsive pacer/walker, talk to myself, gesticuate, and so forth. Funny thing is that my 10 year old son, who is much higher functioning (academically and socially) than I was at that age, exhibits a lot of the same characteristics. But it doesn't seem to otherwise cause him difficulty. If anything, he's even less self-conscious and/or inhibited about it. I wonder if it's inheritable....

That would be interesting if it's inheritable, although i'm not sure what that would mean.

Were you inhibited about it at that age and how do you feel about it now? Are you gonna do something about his daydreaming?
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 11:37 PM
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...Oh my god.. I literally just searched "I jump around the room while daydreaming" to find out what was wrong with me, and this post comes up. I'm always some kind of larger than life character that does amazing things. I've never understood it. A lot of times it will manifest itself in the games, movies, and/or activities I'm part of. Sometimes I'll play a video game for 20 minutes, then go do it, then come back to finish the game. My favorite fantasies are me as a superhero, victorian era nation leader (video game), or mainly as a business tycoon. I will go to a secluded area that won't rock the building when I jump around, and then I kind of skip/hop/jump/run/pace around while making little noises. I've done it since I was about 7, and at first my family thought it was kinda cute. They called it "bouncing" Whenever I did it then came out of a room, they would say "What, were ya bouncin haha" I soon got very self conscious and hid it. I was very secretive about it. Then when I was 15, I had a group of online friends I would talk to and play games with on the computer. One night me and one of them got into a long discussion about life and such, and I told him about what I did. He actually reacted better than I thought. Then a couple years later I was talking to my girlfriend of 1.5 years, and she asked "What's a big secret about you". I decided what the heck, and told her. Once again, recieved way better than I thought.. It's so amazing though to hear about someone else..
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 04:06 AM
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I think I have md,
I talk to myself when I am lone, if I want something to happen in my life, I dardream it eg
When I want to get married I would daydream about my dress and it feels real.
If I was bored at work, I worked as a cleaner, in a bar, I would pretend that the bar was in ww2 and I was cleaning it, and all this stuff would happen and before I new it, I was finished. I have tried to stop talking to myself, but find it really hard,
Do you think I have md, need help xxxxxxxxxx
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 04:14 AM
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All of my thoughts are imaginary conversations. Often they turn into vicious arguments. I don't know how to think any other way.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-13-2014, 05:03 PM
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OMG I HAVE THIS CHRONICALLY BAD AND I HATE IT!!!

Help
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 09:24 AM
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I have news for you all! It's NORMAL COPING MECHANISM for us who has anxiety disorders. VERY VERY normal… I have it for years. It wasn't till I met another fellow SAS guy in real life that we compared notes and I was like whoa he has the exact same thing I have been doing. So I researched and found that a lot of guys here on SAS has it. So I talked to my psychiatrist about this. His reply is:

"It's not normal but if THIS helps you feel better, do it anyway. It's a coping mechanism for people who has anxiety disorders when their anxieties are overwhelming. It's NATURAL for us to go into fantasy world when our anxieties are overwhelming.

So that made me feel a lot better now. Now I do it whenever I feel like doing it and it helps calm my anxiety. The big key, of course, is balance. Does it dominant your life? It doesn't.. I only do it when I have free time after work, after all obligations then I can do it.

I see NOTHING WRONG on this. It's normal for us.
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 03:25 PM
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Until today, I had no idea there was even a term for this...apparently more common than I thought...I've been doing this for decades, literally, it keeps my anxiety down. Like a wall between depressing reality and my perfect fantasy world. When some life event brings the wall down, I have a panic attack and want to retreat back into my daydreams...however, I just started working w/ an ACT therapist who's really big into being "in the moment" and "present". Sounds great but I feel like a fish on the sand and my anxiety and insomnia have really gotten worse. He says this will get better if I practice the ACT principles. This thread is very enlightening...
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2015, 10:25 PM
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It's so cool and relieving to see that others do this as well. I've been "Jumping" as me and my family call it since I can remember, doing little jumps,skips,hops,and little noises while inside vivid imaginary worlds that have, overtime, merged into two large detailed worlds in themselves. I have started writing about my worlds as I daydream about them and realize that, If expressed well, could be amazing movies,video games,ect.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-08-2015, 04:07 AM
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I got so excited when I saw your post! I found out about maladaptive daydreaming, when I Google searched some of my symptoms that I was having, to find out what exactly was causing them and up it pops. I pace back and forth in my room while whispering to myself for a long time, I also do facial expressions that I have to keep on a down low if I'm out in public. Anyway, I reckon it's somewhat of a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it's a way to escape from reality and a curse because if someone catches you than it could be pretty embarrassing.

Also, I told my mum about it a while ago, because it was kind of getting in the way of things, and she could hear me walking and jumping around in my room and she just blew it off and said I was just attention seeking. :/
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