When I started reading online articles on Maladaptive Daydreaming and peoples comments on it, I noticed people kept saying (notably people who do not suffer from MD) that maladaptive daydreaming is nothing more than a form of OCD. This got me annoyed as it just seems like it’s another thing Maladaptive daydreamers have to worry about. But I thought since in a way I do obsessively have to go through the ritual of having to go through my daydream template in order, maybe there was something in it? So I did a bit of research.
What is OCD?
OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and is characterized by extreme perfectionism and order. The NHS (The National Health Service in the UK) defines OCD as:
“a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.“
But it goes onto say that an obsession “is an unwanted and unpleasant thought”…But I have to say there is nothing unpleasant about my daydreams, in fact the opposite is true, I find them so pleasant that I do not want to stop.
The NHS then goes onto say that “A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to carry out to try to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought”.
In a way this rings true for me, the repetitive nature of the daydreams and the fact that I feel I’m probably using daydreams to relieve my anxiousness or avoid thinking about serious issues. Sometimes, If I don’t daydream, then I start thinking about what on earth am I doing with my life, which then gets me feeling anxious, which then makes me want to start daydreaming again . So it is all a bit of a vicious cycle, However, sometimes it has nothing to do with anxiety, sometimes I’m just bored and not mentally stimulated, on these instances i make a conscious decision to go back into daydreaming. What that means though, I have no idea.
Whilst I’m not a doctor or an expert on OCD. I can however say, I know quite a bit about MD and even though there are certain aspects of OCD that I can relate to, such as the repetitiveness and a compulsion to keep daydreaming because they so enjoyable. I don’t think we suffer from OCD, I just think we share certain traits.
I read in an article online that many people who suffer from OCD just do things on auto pilot whilst maladaptive daydreamers make a conscious choice to carry on daydreaming and this was cited as a difference between the two disorders. Although this is true to an extent, there are many times I don’t consciously choose to obsessively daydream, my mind just takes me there without realising it. It then takes a phenomenal amount of effort to try and pull myself out of it.
Does it matter?
Well, I looked into treatments for OCD and interestingly they are pretty much the same advice give to maladaptive daydreamers. These are:
1. Therapy – in order to get to the root of the real cause
2. Medication – usually a type of antidepressant medication that can help by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain .
I guess at the end of the day whether you believe we have OCD or not the advice that suffers of OCD and MDer’s get to rid ourselves of our afflictions are similar if not the same.
Do you have something to say?
If you have any advice, help or experiences that you’d like to share, please get in touch. If you suffer from OCD and also obsessively daydream it would be great to get your perspective. Please leave a comment below or contact me.