Social Anxiety Support Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I stummbled upon a Social anixtey blog a while ago and found an entry that suggests that daydreaming is directly related to Social anxitey.

Here it is here:

Thursday, October 12, 2006
DAYDREAMING

It seems I have a lot of work on lately, along with a snot virus and an overwhelming social life, so the blog's been taking a back seat. Ok, I lied about the social life, and the work would be done in very little time at all if only I had any time management skills, but the snot virus is true. So, while I've been busy with other stuff (lying in bed, watching TV, browsing message forums and occasionally doing a little work) I haven't been able to get my teeth into any serious SA issues. How lame is that? Maybe I should do an entry on time management next time. Anyway, whilst I'm filling in a few gaps (I will get onto some serious stuff eventually) I thought I'd add another random post to the blog. Whilst browsing an SA forum today I spotted a thread on daydreaming in relation to social anxiety. Something surprised me about that topic, the fact that I've been browsing SA forums for years yet I've never seen that issue raised in such a simple context. It's something I've thought about a lot, and it is a genuinely thought provoking topic because it holds insight into the nature of the introvert, but not once have I seen it spoken about thoroughly in relation to SA. So, I'm going to make a half-assed attempt at that right now. Enjoy.

Everyone daydreams from time to time, it's a perfectly natural part of our mental processes. I'm sure there are probably some really deep and meaningful reasons why we daydream studied by some of the world's greatest minds, delving all the way into the sub-conscious, but I don't want to talk about that. For a start, I'd probably get lost in my own sub-conscious and I like my sanity just as it is, and besides, I wouldn't have any idea what I was talking about, so I'm only going to be talking about daydreaming in relation to SA. But where exactly does this mental function tie in with social anxiety? The afore mentioned thread was titled I always dream about being a hero. The majority of people who replied also daydreamed about being heroic or important figures, significant to society, or more to the point, cherished by society. These people dream of the very things they find impossible to do in their own lives because of their fears and they dream that they are accepted, even loved, by society. This of course, isn't universal, people dream up all kinds of scenarios. Some may simply dream they are alone on a secluded beach, some may dream they are iconic figures, whilst others dream they are Gods. Each one tells you something about that person. Sitting on a beach appears to be a healthy dream to me. Becoming an iconic figure shows a need to be accepted and feel a sense of importance. Becoming a God would suggest that you have a controlling nature and wish to control your surroundings. I'm sure you're beginning to see where this begins to tie in with SA and self-esteem issues, but this only tells us how our negative self-image guides our imagination. The question of why we daydream in the first place leads us to some interesting answers. Sure, everyone daydreams, but not always to the extent of your average introvert. Why is that? The answer is so simple you'll probably send me death threats for so much as wasting your time with this, but bear with me. You daydream so much because you are an introvert. That's what you do. You spend your time focusing your mind internally, and while you're doing this you'll happen across many dreams. I know, that's not exactly a revelation, but have a think about it for a second. All this time spent daydreaming is strengthening your social anxiety. Daydreaming and introversion are synonymous with each other, you practice one and it inevitably influences the other.

Don't take my word for it, I don't have a PHD in daydreaming and neither do I even own a book on the subject. I base my knowledge almost entirely on my own experiences, but these experiences have always come up with consistent patterns. For example, and this is another important note to make, I always daydream more when I'm anxious. I'm not talking about being specifically socially anxious, just anxious. I daydream the most when my mind is restless and I daydream the least when my mind is calm and relaxed. Furthermore, if I find myself in a restless state and I'm continuously poking about in my imagination I only become more anxious and restless, which then provokes a deeper poking of my imagination, almost as if there is a pot of gold in there and I have to find it. If I am to consciously stop this destructive pattern, my mind immediately begins to relax and slow to a more satisfying pace. The anxiety fuels the dreams, and the dreams fuel the anxiety.

Daydreaming is an escapism from reality and it is often our efforts to protect ourselves from the realities of the world that hurt us the most. When we daydream, we are actually hiding. We are hiding from boredom, we are hiding from physical pain and we are hiding from social interaction. When we hide from social interaction, it eventually becomes habitual and we don't even notice we're doing it. The problem with hiding is that not only are you hiding from any problems you may have, you're also hiding from the solutions. In fact, you're hiding from your life. And it is the real world, out there, that holds the cure to social anxiety. You spend all day daydreaming then it soon becomes difficult to hold a conversation with someone. Why? Because you're suddenly shifting from your internal world to the external world and it's not quite as you imagined it. One thing I know for certain. If you want to be less introverted, then you must be prepared to become less focused on your inner-self, which means stepping away from your dreams and taking a look at your realities once in a while.

Not for one second am I saying you should never daydream, I don't think I could live without it myself. This is more like sex education. It's not that you shouldn't do it, just remember to play safe...

******************************************

What do you think about this? Have any of you out there found this to be true? Let me know what your opinon is! ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Everything in that post was pretty spot on. The thing is, acting on that knowledge is pretty difficult.

Once you've been internalized for years coming back to reality becomes more and more challenging as time goes on. It's difficult to maintain an interest in the present. Your daydreams become much better than reality can possibly be...

Everyday conversation doesn't hold your interest. No one ever really knows you. And the real world starts to seem like the dream world as the dream becomes the only reality.
 

·
Your Assumptions
Joined
·
7,027 Posts
I cannot relate to it contributing to my SA. Introversion itself does, which is pretty much hardwired.

[...] fact, you're hiding from your life. And it is the real world, out there, that holds the cure to social anxiety.
The real world is not "out there" and never has been. It's always been in me. It is my entire life, even when I am "out there", and is just as valid as the extrovert experience of reality. Denying that would in fact be hiding from my life.
 

·
herp derp
Joined
·
2,347 Posts
Everything in that post was pretty spot on. The thing is, acting on that knowledge is pretty difficult.

Once you've been internalized for years coming back to reality becomes more and more challenging as time goes on. It's difficult to maintain an interest in the present. Your daydreams become much better than reality can possibly be...

Everyday conversation doesn't hold your interest. No one ever really knows you. And the real world starts to seem like the dream world as the dream becomes the only reality.
Ditto this.
Day dreaming was almost like a temporary way out of what ever situation you're in.
For example, I sometimes day dream when I'm walking down the road and someone's staring at me - I guess it helps me feel less anxious in a way as it temporarily allowed me to "ignore" the situation.
When I was younger, I used to spend my entire time hiding and just day dreaming because I hated being at home so much (I still do in fact).

So I wouldn't say it was the "cause" of my SA - it was something I did BECAUSE of SA. However, I would still say that it might still play a part in making my SA worse since you have delusions of things that you could never be and that makes the gap between imagination and reality wider and wider.

Even nowadays, I would spend sometimes several hours, just walking back and forth in a room and just day dreaming - it becomes like a drug almost - it's addictive, feels good, allows you to temporarily forget the reality and gives you wild delusions. It became a reason to stay at home instead.

Although, sometimes, I've used day dreaming as a way of fighting SA as it makes you feel "brave" as you can day dream out how you would like to do something and then since you've "seen it", you have a slight courage to do it. (However, bare in mind that my SA isn't that bad so someone with the disorder might find this impossible)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
203 Posts
Anxious people spend a lot of time in their head...
Ruminating thoughts can contribute to psychotic-like symptoms...
I was diagnosed with psychotic depression as a result of incessant ruminations caused by my anxiety.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,245 Posts
I day dream alot. Mostly when I listen to music. It's usually pretty cathardic for me, I feel like it puts my anxiety and negative energy to use, or resolves it. If my mind just wanders into a daydream without listening to music, it's usually more realistic and specific to my real world experiences with anxiety.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
728 Posts
I agree its an escape from constantly facing reality, that's why its called daydreaming. SA folks just have more time to daydream.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
It's funny. When I daydream sometimes I forget I have SA. I get really carried away with it. When I'm thinking about somethign particularly intriguing I physically get riled up. Sometimes, I don't know if I'm only moving inside my head or if my limbs are actually swinging around.

ALSO, I sometimes mouth my daydreams without realizing it. Like, mouth what I'm saying in my daydream.

But I agree, I don't think day dreaming causes it. It only exacerbates the anxiety because you live in a fake world.
 

·
Time Lord
Joined
·
178 Posts
wow....I guess now I can't even daydream
i know i spend a lot of time in my own head
and i know it isn't very good for me
but in my head I am really quite extroverted
...i almost think of it as practice for social interation
however...I also over-practice situations in my head too
:stu
o well
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
The thing about me is that I also daydream when I am calmed and relaxed. I can feel great and I'll just go off in to my own world. I actually do this the most when listening to music. I also do this the most when I'm bored or if there is a lecture in class that does not keep my attention. Usually when I'm anxious, I don't daydream as much, but instead I mostly focus on fear and keep dwelling/worrying about whatever it is that is causing the anxiety.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your responses. I honestly dont know if daydreaming causes SA, but I will eventually find out because I have stopped my life long obsession with daydreaming. (And by obsession, I mean exactly that, ex. spending hours a day daydreaming, I even had to be admitted into a hosipital because of it.)
I have just stopped daydreaming about a week ago and as of yet have not noticed any changes in my anxitey levels when interacting with people. But its only been a week, right?
I know some of you disagree with the notation that quitting daydreaming can stop social anxitey- and I see where your coming from. Not everyone that has social anixety has a problem with daydreaming. So why do I still think quitting escessive daydreaming will help with SA? Well, people are different. People have a varity reasons for having SA. Maybe when those causes are dealt with the probelm (SA) will go away.
 

·
SAS Member
Joined
·
939 Posts
It's funny. When I daydream sometimes I forget I have SA. I get really carried away with it. When I'm thinking about somethign particularly intriguing I physically get riled up. Sometimes, I don't know if I'm only moving inside my head or if my limbs are actually swinging around.

ALSO, I sometimes mouth my daydreams without realizing it. Like, mouth what I'm saying in my daydream.

But I agree, I don't think day dreaming causes it. It only exacerbates the anxiety because you live in a fake world.
I act the same way!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
768 Posts
Yes I can relate. I do it to escape reality. I've been doing that since I was a kid. While the author seems to see it as detrimental to recovery, I'm not so sure. I think it can also be motivating. Dreaming about being a stronger more extroverted person can also be a motivational tool. My daydreams often motivate me to try harder. But I also understand what he's saying, too much of a good thing can have very bad consequences.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
12,147 Posts
The problem with that postulation is that a person probably wouldn't want an escape in the first place if they weren't already experiencing some pretty unpleasant stuff. Which means the daydreaming isn't the root cause any more than rubbing your temples is the root of a headache. You're rubbing your temples because you have a headache and it hurts. Nine times out of ten, the headache isn't going to go away if you just ignore it. Rubbing your temples probably won't offer more than momentary relief either but it's not going to really hurt anything. Unless you can find a method of relieving the pain that actually works, you're just stuck with a headache.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hmm... interesting comments!

But to answer Banzai's question, I was admitted because I couldnt stop daydreaming because I was so addicted to it. I couldnt do my school work (This was my freshman year in college) I was even feeling suidcial. I know it got that bad because of my SA- it was during the first few weeks of school and I wasnt making many friends or socializing because of how socially anxious I was, so I used daydreaming as an escape. It just turned out I used it too much, causing me to be admitted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
728 Posts
Hmm... interesting comments!

But to answer Banzai's question, I was admitted because I couldnt stop daydreaming because I was so addicted to it. I couldnt do my school work (This was my freshman year in college) I was even feeling suidcial. I know it got that bad because of my SA- it was during the first few weeks of school and I wasnt making many friends or socializing because of how socially anxious I was, so I used daydreaming as an escape. It just turned out I used it too much, causing me to be admitted.
So you got admitted to hospital for being addicted to daydreaming. I can understand that. It seem like the only relief and you just cant live without it. very hard to just stop cold turkey though isn't it.

daydream addiction would still be better than drug or alcohol addiction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Actuallly, its not hard to stop cold turkey. I know, I know, your thinking that you have tried before and it hasnt worked. I had the very same belief. Its a very deep stated belief isnt it?
But I'm here now, telling you that you can. Why? Because I have. And believe me, if I can do it you can as well. I recently stopped daydreaming and havent started again in over a week. And for me, thats like climbing Mt. Evest or sumthing....
I had the daydreaming problem for over 6 years. What finnaly got me to stop was REALLY REALLY wanting to stop-not just partially. I meant, you have to be determined, and deicated. You have to observe your thoughts to see when the daydreaming comes up and what triggers it. Then you must be hyper vilgant to catch and stop the daydreaming as it begins. If you want more into or tips, just message me, ok?
But yeah, so far thats what is really working for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,049 Posts
I respect all viewpoints and I'm no expert but...sorry...nope.

Quite a lot of the idea that daydreaming causing social anxiety is based on false principles. The idea that there are certain types of people who are "introverts". This is the type of thinking behind personality tests, the idea that something that is constantly in flux can be accurately measured and assessed by answering a series of vague questions. Personality tests do often work the same way as cold reading works. The person doing the test says: "you tend to be more introverted" and, if that statement chimes with your understanding of yourself, you agree with the statement and then say: "wow, that test really knows me". I'm not saying that talking things over with a qualified mental health professional and doing tests in that environment is a waste of time. That's essential if you're in any doubt about your mental health. But pop psychology these days thrives on the notion that you can go online, answer a few vague questions about whether you occasionally don't like going out on Tuesday and, all of a sudden, you're an introvert.

We're a mixed, complicated bag of so many things constantly in a state of flux. We change and circumstance changes us. Entertaining Freud and his successors is a fun job but you could drive a truck through the plot holes in most of the thinking.

Daydreaming means you lose contact with the real world? Erm...what exactly is the "real world". For a start, a lot of the things that exist in the real world started off inside the heads of people. In other words, if people hadn't day dreamed, stuff that is now in the real world would not be in the real world. Focusing on the internal is not about escapism. Withdrawing into a fantasy world is very different from daydreaming and reflecting on the inner reality of the individual. Indeed, SA distorts the inner reality of the person so it is a good thing for people with SA to focus on their internal reality. The solution is, so often, inside the person with SA. Yes, one seeks therapy in the outside world and social interactions in the outside world. But, if in your internal reality you don't think you're worth fighting for, you're not going to seek therapy and or move on to social inter actions in the "real world".
I like what the OP has written and I empathize with what it says. Daydreaming does seem to cause some issue with my SA.
However on the whole I think I agree with you. Under the myer-briggs test I think it described me pretty bloody well, but ultimately I see people are too individualistic to be put under such a blanket.
It's definitely one of the issues, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
728 Posts
Actuallly, its not hard to stop cold turkey. I know, I know, your thinking that you have tried before and it hasnt worked. I had the very same belief. Its a very deep stated belief isnt it?
But I'm here now, telling you that you can. Why? Because I have. And believe me, if I can do it you can as well. I recently stopped daydreaming and havent started again in over a week. And for me, thats like climbing Mt. Evest or sumthing....
I had the daydreaming problem for over 6 years. What finnaly got me to stop was REALLY REALLY wanting to stop-not just partially. I meant, you have to be determined, and deicated. You have to observe your thoughts to see when the daydreaming comes up and what triggers it. Then you must be hyper vilgant to catch and stop the daydreaming as it begins. If you want more into or tips, just message me, ok?
But yeah, so far thats what is really working for me.
i admit I daydream a lot. If i had to stop though i would probably end up addicted to something else. It's not disabling for me, and i'm more analytical in my daydreams, i like to think about things that are often not so related to me, very practical stuff like calculating something or wondering how something works. maybe i go overboard with it.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top