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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.

Best wishes

Anna

I struggle with this question. There are times when my fantasy world that I have constructed in my mind is so good that I don’t want to stop it.  In a fantasy world anything you imagine that you want to happen, can. You can be supremely successful, confident, happy, beautiful/handsome, in a loving relationship, be popular, famous, the list is endless and as maladaptive daydreamers we feel all of this. Every trait that I’ve listed above, can be felt in our daydreams and lets face it they feel amazing. And if we’re not feeling these things now in reality then yes of course our fantasy world is better than reality. After all if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be going there.

Hello & Welcome to Maladaptive Daydreaming is Real

My name is Anna and I’m a compulsive daydreamer.  I’ve so far only been a maladaptive daydreamer for 5 months but it has substantially affected my life enough for me to create this blog. To be honest with you, sometimes I feel like I’m going a bit nuts, because i love the feeling I get from my daydreams but then hate it at the same time.  I hate the fact that I’m struggling to control these fantasies as they are now intruding upon my working life so I’m not as productive as I once was. I hate the fact that MD is now intruding on my home life so I’m not as present as I once was to my family.

I therefore created this website so we could all draw upon our experiences and help one another to combat this addiction, because I do believe that (MD) Maladaptive Daydreaming is an addiction, pretty much like alcohol is to alcoholics.

Anyway, why I think this is not all bad news is because people have beaten this fantasy compulsion, so this leads me to believe we can too. I am going to test out every single ‘treatment’ that maladaptive daydreamers have said has helped to rid them of this addiction and document it.  Because something will have to work.  It has to.

If you have anything you’d like to share please get in touch! Please leave a comment in the comment section or email: [email protected]

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