I really have a strong love/hate relationship with Maladaptive Daydreaming. There are times when your daydreams feel just so good, every wonderful feeling that your day dreaming makes you feel can make your body feel elation and wonderful sensations. You name it, confidence, love, happiness, fun, being admired, pleasure, all these feelings are instant, it’s instant gratification and so trying to tell yourself to stop and actually give up getting all these instant pleasurable feelings is phenomenally difficult. It’s near impossible I feel but I know it is achievable and that we can find away to rid ourselves of this as others have done.
And then there’s the big question, if you could stop, if you could take a drug that would make you stop MD FOREVER would you take it? Are you worried by the fact that if you do give up all these instant feelings you get from your fantasy world, then what on earth are you going to do to fill the void that will appear when your daydreams leave?
Why is Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) so difficult to give up?
1. It’s an addiction. A fantasy addiction.
Lets start with the easiest reason. MD is an addiction, it is like a drug. If the definition of addiction is a:
“psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm” then for me MD is an addiction. Presently, I am unable to stop this daydreaming activity even though it is causing me harm in the sense, it’s stopping me from being productive at work and at home. It’s stopping me from being present.
I’m not focusing on things that I really need to get done, so not only am I way behind with work but also simple chores and everyday life matters. When this happens and I’m being reprimanded by someone for not getting something in on time, I just want to shout: “I’m a Maladaptive Daydreamer, do you realise how hard it was for me to get this finished in the first place, even if I’m a few days late”! Obviously though I keep that to myself. In terms of MD, we are fantasy addicts. Addiction in general means a person cannot control how they partake in an activity or substance and so we become dependent on it to cope with our daily lives. Addictions, as we all know are notoriously hard to break. MD is no different.
2. It is a coping mechanism
It is my belief, that we all started Maladaptive Daydreaming because somewhere along the way we have experienced trauma or severe stress, and due to these unhealthy experiences we have started to MD as a way to alleviate the fact we have become broken. Our subconscious is trying to protect us from all the unpleasant aspects of reality that we have experienced. When I stop Maladaptive Daydreaming I have begun to feel anxious, I get palpitations and the massive questions in my life, which I’m clearly avoiding (as I don’t know what the answers are) then start building up. Being honest with you, I’d rather retreat back into the safety of my fantasy life then confront these massive issues head on without knowing how to solve them. But yes I realise until I sort these issues out, my Maladaptive daydreaming will not go away.
3. Reality can truly be awful
Sometimes life can truly be cruel and reality can truly be too much. Escapism therefore seems the only option. Maybe the situation you’re currently in is just too much to bare and so daydreaming and fantasizing seems the only way out. You’re hardly going to give up your fantasy world in this case, if it’s one of the only things that are keeping you going.
4. The highs are just so good
I’ll use myself as an example, I realise I have low confidence and self esteem due to childhood experiences. So presently, when I daydream, I fantasize that I’m a dancer on stage, obviously a performer requires confidence, which is why my subconscious created the character in the first place . The instant feelings I feel of confidence, love and admiration when my fantasy character is dancing on stage feels incredible. And I can experience this on tap, whenever I need and it feels absolutely amazing. Stopping these feelings therefore is a ridiculously hard thing to do.
Do you have something to add?
Do you have any useful tips to offer other maladaptive daydreamers? Why do you think it is so hard to give up? Please leave a comment below or contact me.