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Old 04-02-2019, 12:13 PM #1
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Default Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

I'm starting this thread because I have a unique MH condition and want to see if there's anyone in the community with it as well.

I have had maladaptive daydreaming for as long as I can remember. I often drift off into space when I'm at home, and will even pace back and forth for hours just imagining. Some articles say that it's a way for people to cope with a depressing reality, much like a kid who escapes into their own imaginary world. This is somewhat the case for me, as I tend to do it after a stressful day, or when my anxiety is at its boiling point. Only the people I live with know about this because I think that even my closest friends will find it bizarre, and might not want to hang out with me anymore. I almost feel like I should be on an episode of My Strange Addiction.

The only therapist I've ever told about this told me it's perfectly healthy to have a way to calm down.

Anyone else out there have weird coping mechanisms to deal with stress?
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:31 PM #2
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

It's interesting you brought this up because not long ago I came across a forum about this. What people were describing is something I've done since I was a kid, but I never realized it was a condition. When I was little, and as a teenager, I made up vivid continual stories in my mind, where I was one of the main characters. I still do it sometimes, especially when I'm really stressed. It's kind of like tuning into a favorite television show, or better yet, taking part in an alternate life that's more enjoyable. Is that what it's like for you?

Personally speaking, I don't think of it as an issue, at least as long as it's not having a negative impact. There were times when I'd become so immersed that a couple hours would go by, like dissociation. But in my opinion it's also the sign of a very creative mind. I once kept a diary, so to speak, of this ongoing story. Essentially it was told by the person I was in my imagination. I guess some would find that weird, but I enjoyed it.
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:20 PM #3
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

I've done Maladaptive daydreaming since I was really young. These days, I actually walk around my dining room table, earbuds in, just disappearing into my own world. Music is a huge trigger for it.


I have multiple worlds in my head, and I'm one of the main characters in all of them. It becomes a problem for me because I'd rather stay in those imaginary worlds than face this one.
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:21 PM #4
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNightWhistle View Post
I'm starting this thread because I have a unique MH condition and want to see if there's anyone in the community with it as well.

I have had maladaptive daydreaming for as long as I can remember. I often drift off into space when I'm at home, and will even pace back and forth for hours just imagining. Some articles say that it's a way for people to cope with a depressing reality, much like a kid who escapes into their own imaginary world. This is somewhat the case for me, as I tend to do it after a stressful day, or when my anxiety is at its boiling point. Only the people I live with know about this because I think that even my closest friends will find it bizarre, and might not want to hang out with me anymore. I almost feel like I should be on an episode of My Strange Addiction.

The only therapist I've ever told about this told me it's perfectly healthy to have a way to calm down.

Anyone else out there have weird coping mechanisms to deal with stress?
I completely understand how you feel! I do this myself!
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:25 PM #5
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

@TheNightWhistle , it's nice that you added this thread to PC. Maladaptive Daydreaming is definitely an issue for a small number of people out there, enough that Reddit has a whole subreddit for it. Have you ever checked that out?

I can't know the severity of your issue with daydreaming, but for some people it is far from being a good thing or simply a "perfectly healthy [way]... to calm down" like that one therapist told you. Some people daydream so much that they almost ignore reality and/or neglect important things in life. The daydreaming can even become dangerously distracting in some ways.

I had a period of maladaptive daydreaming in the past. I have always been a daydreamer, but there is a difference between frequent daydreaming and doing so maladaptively. At my worst, I spent all day long in my bed daydreaming, only getting up to eat and go to the bathroom, while still daydreaming. When my husband came home, I mostly ignored him in favor of my daydreaming. I stayed up late at night because I didn't want to stop my "stories" going on in my head. My daydreaming mostly had just a handful of characters and were like long mini series that when they seemed to end, I would start from the beginning with some modifications to the story. In real life, when I would see one of my daydreaming characters face to face, I often experienced dissociative symptoms, including hallucinations. At one point, it was suspected that I was having Simple Partial Seizures when in fact, it was likely associated with the dissociation related to the maladaptive daydreaming.

Why did I start to daydream maladaptively? Well, I think as a protection and escape for me mentally. I had had some traumatic experiences in years prior and had not yet found a healthier way to cope and eventually heal.

I wrote about my experience and recovery with maladaptive daydreaming in a blog post at Obsessive or maladaptive daydreaming easing back into grounded creative thinking – Bird Flight if you're interested.
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:41 PM #6
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

I have mentioned this over the years in my post as it is a way of escaping. I still constantly do it. I am in all sorts of scenarios in my day dreams from savior super hero type to being saved. Sometimes I am a beautiful amazonian type warrior that has mad skills. Sometimes I have weird powers like I can telepathically talk to animals and they protect me and do my biding. Sometimes I have powers of teleportation and teleport myself to beautiful isolated locations where I have a magnificent beach to myself. Sometimes I can breathe underwater and I explore the great barrier reef.

I replay out these daydreams depending on what part is activated. My T is in them a lot too.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:03 PM #7
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

I used to engage in maladaptive daydreaming for hours a day. I would sit in a rocking chair or on the couch, listen to music while rocking back and forth and daydreaming made up stories in my head. This was during the lower points of my life when things were not going well - it was an escape from reality.

I am in a much better place now and no longer use it as a maladaptive coping mechanism. There is nothing wrong with daydreaming in itself, but it used to interfere with more important things in my life and that is when there was an issue.
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:25 PM #8
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

I have avoidant personality disorder, and this is a repercussion. Both rumination and daydreaming. The daydreaming isn't immediately harmful in itself, except that I should be doing things and living life instead of being lost in my head. It's gotten better as I've tried to limit it and engaged in more activities.

Sorry, that's all I've got at the right now -- I'm sick at the moment and so awfully tired and fuzzy-brained.
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:48 PM #9
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

I'm so glad to see that I'm not the only one with this habit!

It's just always been a crutch I've leaned on in times of stress. No matter how bad things are, I have always been able to just check out of this world and go into my own for as long as I want. I imagine beautiful landscapes, architecture, decor, and incredible art pieces that I would never have the skill to create in real life.

I've made attempts to bring things from the inside of my mind into the real world but like I said, I would need years and years of practice and training to create the things I imagine.

Have any of you ever tried to write down some of the stories you think of, or do you also just prefer to keep them stored in your mind?
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:33 PM #10
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Default Re: Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

I didn't hear about this til much later in life, and I still haven't heard it talked about in a formal setting, such as by a mental health professional, but since having it myself I have heard many people say they relate. The the is there's a difference between this and daydreaming casually. Most people daydream when they'd got time to spare on occasion, but MDD is as stated obviously maladaptive. Meaning it hinders rather than helps. Though I have to say yeah, it probably is some kind of coping mechanism, or was meant to be in some way. A coping mechanism shouldn't really impair your day to functioning...Again that's kind of the meaning of maladaptive. I really don't think I can say much more about this without insulting someone, because it's only actually MDD if it gets in the way of everyday life, so I shall end there.
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