Coming Out Of The Maladaptive Daydreaming "Closet"

This is absolutely nerve-wracking. I'm at the 4 decade mark, and I've NEVER discussed this with anybody before. I know I put some "safe" questions out when I was much younger just to get a feel for what others thought about daydreams, but ... this isn't something that I was ever able to safely admit to, so please forgive me. I remember how much my peers made fun of "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" when we read it in school. I can't even believe I am doing this! Nobody EVER talks about this ... ever.

So I am supposed to give a "story?" I don't know how this works, but I might as well try. I don't ever recall a time where I haven't daydreamed a great deal. My earliest memory is when I was around 3 years old and sitting on my bed (my first bedroom) imagining myself on the set of Mr. Rogers and having him explain something to me (I can't remember what exactly).

I was really skeptical when I started reading online about Maladaptive Daydreaming (I'm skeptical...I don't like automatically jumping to the conclusion that I "have something." However, when it mentioned things like trying to keep my facial expressions from giving me away to others while daydreaming (like my expression changing, or worse...silently TALKING to thin air....or much worse than that would be actually letting a word or two actually slip out...that's humiliating)....It also mentioned pacing around in a room over and over and over and over while allowing the current story to play out in my also mentioned abuse as a child, and that one made me even more nervous.....Let's just say that reading over the symptoms of Maladaptive Daydreaming made me very VERY nervous! It just hit way too close to home.

Television...heavens. There hasn't been a single movie or television show that I didn't end up "modifying" (over and over) and always including myself in there somewhere. You know how uncomfortable it is when you have to explain to someone that you need to "go and stretch" just so you can walk away and have a partial daydream play out in your head? I've been doing it for decades.

I noticed that some movies broached the subject of daydreaming a lot. The Neverending Story was always a very important movie to me on a personal level for that reason alone. I understood the character of Bastion pretty well. I've never been able to keep my head out of the clouds. Then there was that movie Sidekicks where that kid was constantly daydreaming... and of course I would end up daydreaming about MYSELF in these films...over and over and over and over.

Reading books gives me the same problem....I read, and then I feel compelled to stop reading so that I could let MY story play out in my head...and then return back to the story and continue reading until the next daydream interruption....rinse, repeat.

The only time in my life where the daydreaming wasn't about 70-80 percent of each waking day was during the high school years. Looking back on it, I have NO idea how I managed to do so much in so little time. I was involved with choir, show choir, solo work, plays and musicals, thespian club, two part time jobs, lifting weights each day....I have NO idea how I still had time to read fantasy novels and play video games to the point of completion....I'd even make home movies with the camcorder. That was a very happy and healthy time for me.

Unfortunately, college bored the heck out of me, and I kept daydreaming. I couldn't sleep well, so I would walk and eventually come out of whatever daydreams just to find myself out in the city somewhere. Once I even got LOST...I had to find a payphone and call a classmate to help locate me! ...very humiliating.

It just doesn't stop. It simply NEVER stops. For some reason, it has never interfered with my work (but I have been daydreaming like this while working) ... I never talk about it, and my work has never been so challenging that I can't do it while working (dealing high-stress and high-volume call centers hasn't been an issue for years....I don't feel comforted by that thought. I don't know what to make of it).

It's ridiculous. This entire time while writing this, I have been dreaming about being on the stage singing along with Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion when they sang "Beauty and the Beast" at the music awards back in 1991...I mean, I'm a grown man. I'm not young anymore. I'm married, and I wouldnt' even think about telling my wife about this! I've never shared this, friends, nobody.

I'm hoping this group understands. If any of this sounds all too familiar to you, I understand your situation. I understand and feel your anguish all too well.
LostInThought4Yrs LostInThought4Yrs
6 Responses Feb 1, 2013

WOW. im in the same boat bud. in fact yesterday imagined myself singing with peabo bryson singing beauty and the beast on stage in front of people who have regected me in the past to make them feel stupid for having walked out of my life. i understand your pain. DX

I do it too... but funny I never really thought it was bad or embarrassing. My problem is I notice my daydreams can become sad... like too many years of stress and now even my own little escape is tainted.

I don't think it is bad at all... I wouldn't even be embarrassed. It is actually kind of amazing. Somehow I connected music with my deep imaginative world and I zone out.... All of a sudden I am playing these deep intrinsic songs that sound like classical music. But the odd thing is everyone I share it with doesn't think it is just one instrument. It sounds like many instruments all at once. It is weird. The first time I recorded it I cried...When I heard the sound while not in my meditative ethereal zone. I think if you find a link to the real world like writing or acting or something you could be the next gifted artist who knows.

I understand. Finally someone who passes my limit of endangerment. You are right to be cautious when it comes to strangers and almost any kind of doctor sadly. Most of us who have told parents or doctors have been accused of lying, although I have yet to hear of anyone being made fun of when they came out. age doesn't matter, this IS a condition though it has yet to recorded officially as one. I don't just pace I skip and run which has caused minor injuries several times. You do sound pretty typical for this.
I am one of the few who had luck with my parents believing me. Of course the fact that I finally drew blood from it helped, but so would you getting lost like that. I found out about something called neurofeedback therapy. So far it seems promising and this kind of neurologist is the first doctor to take this seriously. You can fall more in love with characters than real people so it is important to let anyone you can know. Also don't worry so much. we are all in the same boat and no one is going to digitally yell at, pick on, get offended, or correct you. by the way I based my name on it to gaara is a character I'm in love with. My boyfriend is mad at the character but he understand and helps me. If your wife loves you I am sure she will help and understand too.

I have MD also. I'll never see myself telling someone, mostly because I wouldn't know how to explain it. My experience with MD is a little different from other stores I've heard. I was never abuse as a child but I did have dramatic experiences in my family growing up, my mom had mental illness, and would often retrieve to day dreaming as a coping mechanism. In that respect I would say that DM was a good thing it helped me cope with things I never turned to drugs or alcohol. However it has prevented me from building deep meaningful relationship with people. It's hard to make connection with people when you live inside your head.

I'm right there with you. Kids from the 60's and 70's like us couldn't come out and say what was happening. We'd a been ridiculed to death. And yes, this was something that was kept a taboo secret and not talked out. I found out about this about a year ago. Before then, I didn't know what it was called or what was happening.

It's been a taboo secret since at least the year 1915. I am planning on changing that. Keeping it a secret keeps away real life and real help. 95 years is waiting too long

Hey, at least you dont have to live a consistent separate life, and girlfriend lol! Good-luck out there.