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Anxiety & Fatigue

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When Dr. Eli Somer lead a study with Maladaptive Daydreamers he noted that one MD sufferer was successfully treated by a drug called Fluvoxamine for ten years.  This drug Fluvoxamine helps to influence serotonergic tone, which he said: “implies neurochemical irregularity”.

So are we just low on serotonin?   Serotonin also known as the happy chemical is believed to:

  1. Help regulate mood and sleep.
  2. Some believe there is a link between depression and low Serotonin levels.
  3. Serotonin, in the brain impacts levels of mood, anxiety, and happiness.
  4. Some believe we can increase Serotonin levels by exercising, light, food and vitamin supplements.

Serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter can be found throughout the body, it can be found in our blood and central nervous system but is produced in the brain and intestines. Therefore its considered to influence a variety of body and psychological functions.

So how do we make sure  we have enough Serotonin?

Medication

As I’ve already mentioned in another post on treating maladaptive daydreaming, medication, namely selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been used since the 1980s to treat depression by boosting serotonin levels.

medication for maladaptive daydreamingHowever, what is interesting is that whilst Serotonin can be measured in the bloodstream it can’t be measured  in the brain.  Therefore does serotonin levels in the bloodstream reflect the serotonin levels in the brain? And if it is the serotonin in the brain that controls mood, as a maladaptive daydreamer is it then ever possible to know  if we have enough serotonin in us or not?

However, my doctor has prescribed a drug called Sertraline a (SSRI) selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor for me to take, as he thinks it will manage the constant daydreaming and anxiety. I have yet to take it.

 

Vitamins (Supplements)

Vitamins can help to boost Serotonin levelsVitamins can also help to boost your serotonin levels. I’m trying out 6 supplements at the moment!

Omega 3 Fish Oil


The body can’t make Omega 3 so you need to get it from your diet. Omega-3s are the basic building blocks of the brain and nervous system. Omega 3 is vital for brain health and we know serotonin is made in the brain. People with low serotonin levels often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. So take it!

Buy Omega 3 Fish Oil

Vitamin D


I did a blood test and I do have a vitamin D deficiency. We get vitamin D from the sun so a lot of people who live in countries with cold climates have a vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D regulates tryptophan into serotonin so too low a concentration can result in depression.

Buy Vitamin D Supplements

 

B Complex Vitamin


A study in 60 adults with depression showed that treatment with a B-complex vitamin for 60 days led to a substantial improvement in anxiety and depression.  Antidepressants often also include vitamin B6.

Buy Vitamin B-Complex Supplements

 

Green tea (L-theanine)


L-Theanine is an amino acid found nearly exclusively in green tea. L-theanine improves focus, reduces stress and promotes relaxation. A study conducted on rats showed that it provided anti-anxiety benefits. Well if it’s good enough for the rats…..

Buy L-Theanine Supplements

 

Your Diet

how to beat anxietyEating foods that contain tryptophan can help the body produce more serotonin. So what foods are high in the amino acid known as tryptophan?

  1. Salmon – As you know salmon is high is Omega 3 and is a source of vitamin D.
  2. Poultry
  3. Eggs
  4. Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach contain tryptophan.
  5. Seeds
  6. Nuts
  7. Carbohydrates – Foods that contain tryptophan are most effective if eaten alongside carbohydrates!!! Its time to ditch the Atkins and Keto diet and get out the pasta! About time!

Probiotics

Start drinking Probiotics in the morning as research suggests that this may increase tryptophan in your blood, helping more of it to reach your brain.

Exercise

exercise helps to beat anxietyWhen you exercise your body releases a surge of neurochemicals, including serotonin and dopamine. Since I started suffering from anxiety and maladaptive daydreaming I have started boxing twice a week.  It is one of the few times in a day where I’m not constantly maladaptive daydreaming as my mind is heavily focused on something else and again one of the few times that I’m not feeling anxious as obviously when exercising you’re burning off all that nervous energy.

Meditation

A study from John Hopkins university revealed that just 30 minutes of meditation a day can improve symptoms of depression. Meditation you see not only boosts serotonin levels but also reduces blood pressure.

 

So are we then as Maladaptive Daydreamers just low on serotonin?

I don’t see how we can ever know since serotonin in the brain can’t be measured and the serotonin made in the brain is what controls mood. However, I do think it makes sense to do small things like taking vitamins and exercising.

Do you have anything to add?

If you have found a way to reduce anxiety or control your maladaptive daydreaming in a way that I have not mentioned above, please let me know. Please leave a comment below or contact me so I can add it to the blog – [email protected]

Best wishes

Anna x

If you have maladaptive daydreaming, chances are you’re not sleeping very well. Waking up multiple times in the middle of the night? And every time you wake up you find yourself latching onto one of your daydreams? Sound familiar?  I have tried to stop daydreaming when I wake up at 2am but but I’m afraid my daydreaming addiction is so strong at the moment I don’t even want to stop it then. I find it comforting. So yes my Maladaptive daydreaming is making me feel constantly tired.

After living with maladaptive daydreaming for over 7 months, I feel as if I understand it a lot better and see it for what it is. Maladaptive daydreaming is a coping mechanism, a form of escapism to help you feel safe, less stressed, less anxious. MD stops you from thinking about the issues that are making you feel low or anxious so in a way you could look at it as a gift. It’s keeping you safe.  At the same time it’s masking the problems you’re facing, you’re not dealing with them, or trying to find out  a way to solve or cure them, so as you know MD at the same time as being a blessing is also a curse.

Mindfulness is all about staying in the present and being aware of everything that is going on in our surroundings in a non-reactive way. If we live our lives in the present moment we are supposed to attain true happiness.  For us maladaptive daydreamers learning how to be mindful is phenomenally important as it means trying to let go of our fantasy world and to live in the present.

A lot of us that suffer from maladaptive daydreaming suffer from poor sleep. It annoys me when I see articles written by people in the scientific community saying: ‘if you have MD and feel anxious then getting a good nights sleep is of the upmost importance’. Then these MD articles usually say something generic,  such as: “try and get a solid 8 hours a night, it will help you feel a lot better”. Without bothering to say how this is remotely achievable.  Obviously we would all LOVE to sleep throughout the night, we’re not choosing to wake up at 3am on purpose.

I’ve already tried sleeping pills. Nytol did not do anyanything for me and the sleeping pills prescribed from the doctor again didn’t stop me from waking up in the middle of the night either.

How to stop Maladaptive Daydreaming at Night

I think I’m suffering with poor sleep because my MD wakes me up so I can keep fantasising. Well that’s what happens. When I wake up during the middle of the night my mind latches on to a daydream, so for 14 days I’m going to try out this technique in the hope that it will get me to sleep throughout the night. And I’m documenting it so you can see the progress (if any).

Technique

When I go up to to bed in the evening whenever my mind wanders I’m going to take deep breaths and use the mantra, “Be Present” as I breathe. With each breath in, think to yourself “be” and with each breath out, focus on the word “present.” (it sounds simple but is surprisingly effective). I’ve then bought the CALM App and installed it on my iphone and am going to use a sleep story to try and help too.  Am hoping that once my mind realises that NO daydreaming/fantastising is allowed at this time of night, my mind will be able to shut down and sleep. Well that is the dream.

Night 1

It’s now midnight and I’ve been trying to get to sleep for the best part of 2 hours. My mind is begging me to start at the beginning of my favourite part of my daydream but I’m refusing. I keep using the mantra “Be Present’ whilst doing the breathing. I’ve listened to 2 sleep stories on the Calm app but to no avail, however I am exhausted. I must have fallen asleep but awake at 5am, which is better than 2 or 3am. I let myself daydream, too tired to care and don’t fall back asleep. Will try again tomorrow, hopefully with better results.

Nights 2 -5

OK I have dismally failed with this technique, my maladaptive daydreaming has taken over in the evenings and I’ve begun to really enjoy it. Yes I’m still waking up in the middle of the night but presently I don’t even mind. What does this mean?  If you’re strong enough to follow this technique please let me know how you get on.

 

 

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.

obsessive daydreaming and ocdBut 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 ocd obsessive daydreaming 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 .

3. Mindfulness

4. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

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. 

Best wishes

Anna

Anxiety is a horrible thing I’ve come to realise. I’ve never really ever experienced it, certainly not on this scale but if I stop my maladaptive day dreaming then I feel anxious and I can feel my heart start to pound. If I will myself to daydream again in order to escape these anxious feelings the anxiety vanishes as obviously I’m feeling all these wonderful emotions and feelings from my fantasy world that make me feel safe and happy. It really is a catch-22.