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I Suffer From Maladaptive Daydreaming


It was around twelve years old when I started to use music as an escape for when my parents were fighting.  My younger sister first told me about her daydreaming a "story" with characters. I do not remember if that was before or after I began to use music as an escape.  However, I do remember Dad locking himself up in the family room and playing Bob Dylan records loudly on ocasion.  (Maybe I got that from him?  He is a very social person however)

First, I used to make up stories for songs that I loved.  In  junior high and high school, I was very shy.  When I would come home, I would go in my room and listen to music. There I would make up stories of being the most popular girl in high school who always got the boy she wanted and variations of that story during those years.  I would fantasize about kissing, sex and marriage although I was almost too prudish to make out with my real life boyfriend in high school.  I daydreamed how I wanted to school to be for me, how I wished I would be.  Neither of my parents complained about my listening to music that I remember of. 

In college, my daydreams still revolved around men, sex, marriage and having babies.   I do not think it was until after I graduated I thought maybe something wasn't normal about daydreaming.

The most tramatic episode  in my life is my Mom passing away during my first semester of college.  Of course, that triggered an awful bout of depression for a year or so- one that I thought I could cure first with putting extra effort into my studies and then by making new friends and drinking large quantities of alcohol. Sadly, that just numbed me until the next depressive episode.  I remember telling my Mom I was depressed my last semester of high school and she said that I wasn't.  She didn't believe in it.

I had an major depressive episode my junior year in fall of '98.  I wanted to die. I dropped out of school. I was miserable. Somehow I shook myself out of it and pulled myself together.   In '02,  later I had another  episode that shared the same severity as the last one.  Luckily, a friend of mine convinced me to go see a doctor to get meds and start psychotherapy.  I have been in treatment on and off for several years now with a few different therapists.

A year and a half ago,  I told my therapist about my alterego, Paige, a drop dead gorgeous tall and lean woman with brown hair and green eyes. She was a writer just like I always had hoped to be, rich, sang in a band and successful.  Paige was perfect, the daughter of a famous guitarist, but grew up kind and giving  not snobby. I asked my therapist if that was strange and if I was schizoprenic.  The answer was a question.  "Do you dress up like her"   Of course, the answer was no.  She said not to worry then and that I should try to do some of the things that Paige does.  Since she plays the guitar, I should try it.  I actually did try guitar lessons at the end of last year.  I also began to paint which was not something Paige does so much as something that I always wanted to do.  I am curious to ask her about this maladaptive daydreaming when I next see her. 

I notice that when I am happy, I tend not to daydream as much.  When I was with my ex for several years, I didn't daydream as much.  I do tend to daydream before I go to sleep about a few diferent characters falling in love or being held or kissed by a bf  or  getting married and having babies.  If I get bored, I also tend to daydream and eventually it makes me sad after a while. 

When I was younger, I would day dream for most of the day on and off.  Now it is more like three to six hours (an average) during the weekend and at night.  Normally, when I get home from work, I am too tired.    My therapist says it might because I take on everyone's responsibility at work and in the day dream, all is well and I have no responsibility. 

Earlier today, I was journaling and realized that normally my daydreaming have to do with a few themes- falling in love,  being in a rock group, getting married, having kids and writing a successful novel.  I have been writing since I was twelve and still do so.  This summer I tried to write some of my fantasies down which was fine for a while until I got  bored. 

I also notice that I am somewhat relieved that when I am off for a long weekend or summer vacarion when I go back to work.   It is so weird, I know. I am glad I came across this website.

I am now 34.  I have researched this subject off and on for a few years and happy that I am not alone.  Thanks for reading.

paintergrl76 paintergrl76 31-35, F 4 Responses Jan 17, 2011

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Loved reading your post. And you are very right about not daydreaming excessively in times of happiness. Probably it's a feel good escape mechanism which is a gift when used in a balanced manner. :) When I was younger I used to wonder if I am schizophrenic or delusional but well..all of us are very much aware of what the imagination and the reality is, so it is not psychosis.It is just a nice thing ( having vivid imagination cannot be maladaptive :)) which is counterproductive if it becomes an addiction.

I was also very shy and tended to immerse myself in my own world. People thought that I was very quiet and reserved, hence, when my first report card came from a school I had just started attending in seventh grade, most of the teachers' comments were things like "she's so quiet, wish she would talk more." In my fantasy world I think about mostly the same things. Your story made me very happy, because it really does feel great to know you're not alone.

Great read. Well done for letting it out. I also tend to daydream before sleep and its mostly about romance, relationships, babies etc. Its my form of escape. If Im really honest I find reality and the people in it disappointing. In my fantasy world, the people are kind, loving and happy.

Thanks for sharing this. It has left me very reflective about the topic in question. You've shared some very personal things as an investment for those who may be too shy to discuss their own MD situations. I think Paige should be someone who honor and hold dear to your heart. You share a lot in common and have invested a lot of "thought energy" to each other... So in a whimsical sense, that's sweet. On a more practical level, it means she is a piece of you. A reflection of something deeper within you. So I'm glad you don't feel shame. Who knows, she might make you famous one day: if you draw her, or write about her, etc. She might be the link to that novel you can be famous for. :-)



Life can be funny like that.