Maladaptive daydreaming (MD)- fantasy stories in your head - Social Anxiety Forum
Thread Tools
post #1 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
SAS Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Romania
Gender: Female
Posts: 19

Maladaptive daydreaming (MD)- fantasy stories in your head

Maybe if I didn't see a video I casually bumped onto on Youtube today, I would've spent my whole life not knowing what's wrong with me besides SA and depression. I thought I was the only one doing this, because no one speaks about it out of shame and it's still researched by psychologists, although you can still find some documentation online. I'm hoping I can bring this to your attention, who knows if someone has it and doesn't know, and if you have it, we can talk about it.
Excessive daydreaming may begin as an outlet for creativity or as a method of escaping trauma or abuse. The daydreamers experience very vivid and intricate fantasies and may become emotionally attached to the characters in their fantasies or express emotions they are feeling through vocal utterances or changing facial expressions, although most keep such behavior hidden from others. People with Maladaptive Daydreaming are different from schizophrenics, they know the difference between reality and fantasy; they realize that everything they are dreaming about is a fantasy. [They simply have trouble stopping daydreaming and focusing on regular tasks.] Some also exhibit symptoms similar to Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD or OCD.

Many people have social anxiety and/or depression along with maladaptive daydreaming. A large number also find their social lives are negatively impacted by this disorder. 79% of those self-identified as having excessive daydreams had a kinesthetic repetitive movement accompany their daydreaming, such as pacing, rocking, tapping, or shaking an object. Many others also move their hands around and make facial expressions: laughing, crying, whispering, and gesturing with hands [because they are trying to impersonate the characters themselves]. Listening to music while daydreaming is common and hearing music may trigger a fantasy. A repetitive movement may be articulated to music while daydreaming. Watching a movie or reading a book, can also trigger a fantasy.

Many people have novel or movie type fantasies. They create their own world [sometimes more than one] , with characters, settings, plots, heroes, villains, friends, etc. -- they also may imagine storylines using the characters or settings from already existing works of fiction.

Some people have reported dizziness, headaches and other physical symptoms after daydreaming. [Source:].

Now I've been having this from when I was about 5 or 6. I would rock in bed, while imagining being someone else, like impersonating the different characters my "stories" have. I would often imagine myself as being a succesful person, like a rockstar or a motivational speaker (I know right, ironically I'm the exact opposite) etc. I have episodes mostly when I go to sleep or wake up or trying to have a nap in the afternoon. That would often left me drained of energy or steal me precious sleep.

I use it as an escape for reality, as a way to cope with the fact that I have no friends and my life sucks. But it's dangerous because it steals you time energy and motivation (you would rather daydream instead of actually do something for your benefit) and can make you more depressed and isolated. It's an addiction, it can be treated like that.

A site to know more about it and find people like us:
human after all is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-06-2013, 12:24 PM
SAS Member
WarriorGamer's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: The wonderful world of video games
Gender: Male
Age: 24
Posts: 40
I have MD as a result of my ADHD and also to escape this world
WarriorGamer is offline  
post #3 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 11:12 AM
Caught Somewhere in Time
sir robbins's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: On the Sea of Madness
Gender: Male
Age: 30
Posts: 64
I've been in that boat for years.... I came across the term last year. Thought I was crazy but I seem strangely happy with it

I'm a slave to the power of death!
sir robbins is offline  
post #4 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 11:59 AM
Permanently Banned
Join Date: Jan 2012
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,224
I also have it because of ADHD. I don't do impersonations though.
inerameia is offline  
post #5 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 12:32 PM
SAS Member
Frosty345's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: England!
Gender: Male
Age: 26
Posts: 10
I can relate to all this. I've been doing it for years. It's actually a great way to combat boredom most of the time but it has proved to be a massive hinderance when I'm trying to concentrate on something.
It's why I make sure that I'm always around other people when trying to get some work done. It prevents me from randomly pacing around and into another room every 5 minutes.
Frosty345 is offline  
post #6 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 12:39 PM
Charming but Insane
melodielemon's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: UK
Gender: Female
Age: 25
Posts: 113
Oh wow, this sounds exactly like me. I do this all the time.

Maybe this is the explanation for all of this:

"Dispute not with her. She is a lunatic"
- William Shakespeare

melodielemon is offline  
post #7 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 12:50 PM
Charming but Insane
melodielemon's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: UK
Gender: Female
Age: 25
Posts: 113
Although I do underplay it on that thread ^

"Dispute not with her. She is a lunatic"
- William Shakespeare

melodielemon is offline  
post #8 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 01:06 PM
SAS Member
AngelClare's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: New York City
Gender: Male
Posts: 10,841
I sometimes ask people about their daydreams. You would be surprised by how many people daydream. I used to think I was a little crazy because my daydreams seemed like an escape from reality.

I have daydreams about being at press conference about some great scientific discovery I made.

I had a neighbor who was crazy and would tell me that he's really a billionaire. I used to worry that when I got old I would become like him. I still worry about that a little so I try to cut down on the daydreaming.
AngelClare is offline  
post #9 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-07-2013, 04:07 PM
♎Mackinac Island Fanatic
tehuti88's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: At the bottom of Lake Algonquin (Michigan)
Language: English
Gender: Female
Age: 43
Posts: 27,035
My Mood: Crappy
I daydream throughout much of the day--mentally roleplaying my characters (I write) going about their daily lives and dramas, like a movie in my head. I used to literally/physically play out their actions myself, while listening to loud music, but I stopped doing that long ago and now just do it mentally, though I like to sometimes walk around while listening to music and all this stuff goes on in my head. I used to be able to put myself in the head of certain characters to deal with daily difficulties, but told myself this was an avoidance behavior and unlearned how to do it...I wish I'd never done that since I have no other coping mechanisms to take its place.

I don't consider it "maladaptive" in my case since 1. I have no obligations for it to interfere with, and 2. I have no chances of acquiring a social life or IRL friendships for it to interfere with. Plus sometimes I do some actual writing based on it all.

If I don't reply to you, it's NOTHING PERSONAL. It's my ANXIETY.


(Devetko's boyfriend Stan Brooks & Det. Reichert are horsing around.)

Det. Kristeva: "If it were legal you'd marry me, right?"
Det. Devetko: "Definitely."

(It's legal now!! But Kristeva's already married. ;_; )


"No maple sugar...this place is horribly uncivilized."--Manabozho, Escape From Manitou Island
tehuti88 is offline  
post #10 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-08-2013, 09:04 PM
cozynights's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2013
Age: 25
Posts: 299
Wow I never thought my fantasies had a medical name. The definition of the condition describes them perfectly! I am constantly daydreaming - I have a whole self-created world inside my head where I imagine characters' lives all the time, moving along with mine, and those are characters that I truly like and care about. I am always doing faces/movements/voices while daydreaming and sometimes I create situations that leave me with headaches and a fever.
But to be honest, I don't enjoy knowing that it is an addiction. I don't wanna get rid of it at all. I'd be nothing without my fantasy world. My current one has been in my head for almost a year and it is with me in bad and good moments

"You know the typical crowd, "Wow, it's Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?" Well, yeah. Because there's nothing out there. It's stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves." Charles Bukowski
cozynights is offline  
post #11 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 10:20 AM
Eco warrior vegan.. :)
KeiraA's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Cornwall, UK
Gender: Female
Age: 27
Posts: 175
Wow i didn't think that anyone else did this, to the extent that I do. Sometimes my little fantasy, daydreaming land is just SO MUCH better than reality, that I'll stay there for hours and hours. It's quite sad really.

With the birds I'll share this lonely view..

~ PM me if you'd like to chat or need a rant. I'll help anyone that I can. ~
KeiraA is offline  
post #12 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 06:05 PM
SAS Member
flames25's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Windsor, ON
Gender: Male
Posts: 27
I never knew there was a term for this.. It explains a lot. It's fun sometimes but other times it can be such a massive distraction.
flames25 is offline  
post #13 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-09-2013, 06:38 PM
purplefruit's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: The sheraton hotel in canada
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,590
This is so weird, I didn't know there was a name for it.

I have been doing this since I was really young. Using both fictional and IRL people and creating elaborate storylines with them in my head. Following their lives for years. Usually the people became famous in music or sport industry. They were always perfect.

Unfortunately it was a huge distraction because my daydreams popped up whenever my mind went idle, eg. when I was studying something boring, or if I was in class. Sometimes the daydreaming would last over an hour.

I also used to expand on thier stories when I went to bed. I still had 'organic' dreams too, but when I hit the pillow I would force myself to see my characters and continue their story.

After I graduated university I forcefully tried to stop myself and I'm mostly done with it. I have a group of characters in my head but their story has mostly disintigrated. I don't want to keep daydreaming because unfortunately it makes me feel like a weirdo.

Originally Posted by tehuti88 View Post
I don't consider it "maladaptive" in my case since 1. I have no obligations for it to interfere with, and 2. I have no chances of acquiring a social life or IRL friendships for it to interfere with. Plus sometimes I do some actual writing based on it all.
Sometimes I wish I did write, because I could create such intricate stories. But I felt too ashamed for anyone to know I was having these thoughts about other people, whether they were fictional or real
purplefruit is offline  
post #14 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-10-2013, 02:48 AM
Permanently Banned
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Melbourne
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,708
It started in early childhood for me and it was definitely maladaptive / an addiction. I'd be thoroughly engrossed and it seemed to be the center of my life though I never used it as a coping mechanism. It was just something I couldn't help but think about and music triggered and enhanced it too. I also have strong ADHD traits and to a lesser degree OCD ones. I gradually outgrew MD in my late teens / early 20s I think due to brain development. My daydreaming has been dramatically curtailed now (with no effort), I practically have to force myself. It doesn't occur to me. It's still enjoyable but I guess not as much, and certainly isn't as entrancing or addictive as it used to be. I wonder if people with MD tend to be not very driven by external reward and are stimulated most by their mental life, therefore appearing lazy, spacey and unmotivated to others?
wrongnumber is offline  
post #15 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 07:14 PM
SAS Member
girlshateme's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: under a bridge
Posts: 43
I've done this since I was 7. I used to bounce a ball against the wall for hours and make up characters and pretend to be them. I could probably fantasize all day. It is best when I have an iPod and am doing some sort of movement, like running or basketball.

I hate it though. It makes me feel like I'm secretly insane and if someone saw me doing this they'd probably think I had multiple personalities or something. It definitely messes up my schedule and sense of time too, once I start sometimes I just don't stop and I end up staying up all night or wasting an entire day. Plus certain things trigger it out. I don't know what this means though, because they can be really random but they just always set me off.
girlshateme is offline  
post #16 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 07:19 PM
herp derp
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,347
I have this problem real bad, mostly in the form of pacing for hours and hours. I probably have ADD or something. I've been trying desperately hard to quit it but I think I only cut down a bit during the latest exam season. Now it's the holidays, I have some vague idea of cutting down significantly/stopping completely (for the next academic year) but so far that's not happening
Banzai is offline  
post #17 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 07:23 PM
The Comfort Inn
SpyNumber403's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Notre Dame
Gender: Male
Posts: 843
I don't know if I have it.. I do Day dream a lot. I think it did negatively affect me because it allowed me to just have so much emotionally intense experiences doing nothing. Like last night I had to clean up some garbage and I put on some latex gloves and I pretended I was some sort of assassin cleaning up a murder scene or something. I felt all the emotions of doing something intense (pride, adrenaline, intellectual stimulation, etc) but I actually have very little real experience to go w/ those emotions. This tendency has probably kept me far too happy doing nothing with my time.

SpyNumber403 is offline  
post #18 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 07:27 PM
SAS Member
Tink76's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Sydney, Australia
Gender: Female
Age: 43
Posts: 73
Okay this definately applies to me. For me it's the pacing not rocking. And yes it starte for me in pre-school. Also while listening to music, yes.

As with SA, I am very glad to give a name to this behaviour. Thanks for the link I'll look at it.

"I wish outer space guys would conquer the Earth and make people their pets, because I'd like to have one of those little beds with my name on it." - Jack Handy
Tink76 is offline  
post #19 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-13-2013, 10:19 PM
Everything's adding up
Parasitichipotlewrap's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: FLAW-DUH
Gender: Male
Posts: 44
WHOA! I thought this was normal...well, fack! something new added to the equation, eh?

I would lay in my bed and I would always need to have something in my hand. I would create movie like themes. There would always have to be explosions and for some reason I just couldn't wrap my head around as to how much explosions I should add. Really weird. I would also do this after a movie and I would go lay in my bed, with a pen preferably, and give it my own ending or twist.

I would also do this while sitting in class. I would take my surroundings and create a sort of film in my head. All I needed was a writing utensil of some sort in order to engage into this "world" 100%.

I was placed in special ed type classes and my teachers warned my parents of "ADHD". Although, I've always begged to differ with the teachers on the matter, since I voluntarily didn't pay close attention. Maybe my "imaginative" world would take over from me being able to learn, I am not sure.

I don't this very often anymore. If I do, I can manage without something like a pen or pencil being in my hand.

Music is incredible when it comes paring these two together! Especially when I am driving! ugh! it's sort of like a natural high and a quick getaway. BUT! it has to be the right song.

I toke every now and then. I can really enhance the "fantasies" with it.

The earliest age I can probably remember doing this would be about 7-8 years of age.

Damn, so here I am, years later. A little crushed actually, because this whole time I was thinking, and so were others, that I had such an incredible imagination. No, Harold. No it's not. It's just all part of your disease.


"FAR! away, I DON'T CARE WHERE, JUST FAR!" -Deftones
Parasitichipotlewrap is offline  
post #20 of 336 (permalink) Old 06-14-2013, 09:12 AM
inactive user
Join Date: Jan 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,058
I dealt with this more as a child. I'm not sure if I'd call it "maladaptive daydreaming" or "plan-making" because I was the main character. Sometimes real-life wasn't fulfilling enough, so I'd fantasize about going on adventures (such as exploring rain forests looking for plants with medicinal properties, etc.) or living in a different type of society (medieval) or interacting with someone I was too shy to speak to or how my future would be (moving from country to country, holding different careers [surgeon, fashion designer, professor, physicist]), etc. The possibilities were endless. They really messed with my view of and contentment with reality because nothing will probably ever match up to my imagination. Also, the line between reality and fantasy would blur. I used to think that perhaps my fantasies could become a reality one day, but that was impractical, foolish, childish, idealized thinking.

I remember, I'd try to daydream about specific events before bed, especially, so that I could get myself to continue those fantasies in my dreams (they'd feel real).

I am still triggered by watching action-adventure/fantasy films (most recently, The Hobbit) or reading science-fiction/fantasy novels.. Reality is so boring and empty in comparison. I don't know why those things resonate with me. I find that most other people are capable of watching/reading and moving on, but my mind lingers and overdoses on wistfulness.
cafune is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Maladaptive Daydreaming kismetie Secondary Disorders 41 03-15-2016 06:53 AM
Maladaptive Daydreaming captain cosmic Secondary Disorders 17 07-08-2015 04:07 AM
Maladaptive daydreaming ilovejehovah777 Frustration 3 04-20-2013 07:42 PM
Maladaptive Daydreaming Foh_Teej Secondary Disorders 3 10-04-2012 07:14 PM
Maladaptive Daydreaming quietmusicman Secondary Disorders 4 04-05-2012 01:20 AM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome