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Is This Maladaptive Daydreaming Or Something Else?

I'm struggling to truly diagnose myself with this, because I have suspicions that i'm just weird. It doesn't necessarily affect my real life, and i don't have hardly any of the extreme symptoms ive seen on the internet. Here's my story.

Ever since I was a young teenager i've had "Imaginary Presences". I don't think of them as imaginary friends really, because they do not directly interact or talk with me. If they speak, I speak for them (sometimes out loud but often in my head) and I am very aware that I am saying "what i think they would say". Sometimes these people don't even take a physical form. I do not see them, I simply feel their presence. For example, when I was a teenager and I was having a fight with my parents, i'd feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up because it was like I was feeling my "imaginary person" put their hand on my knee and support me. Or when i was lonely at night i felt like I was being hugged by them and they were assuring me it would all be okay. Little things like that.

As I grew up, these "people" would take various forms, but were almost always people from my favourite bands and music groups. Music was my escape, and when times got rough, i would imagine hanging out with them. Sometimes just imagining they were there with me was enough, and sometimes I would cry to them and tell them my problems. I was very aware that they were not actually there, I was not delusional. Sometimes I would say to them things like "I know you can't give me any advice and all you can do is listen" and in my head they were mostly just holding my hand and promising me things would get better. They were just support and a comfort, a direct metaphor of what their music was doing for me; holding my hand and getting me through, only I was imagining they were there. High school was tough for me, I was bullied a lot and home life wasn't perfect. I would often be getting teased in class and I would pretend that my favourite musician was sat in the corner of the room silently saying "don't worry, you're better than this and karma will bite them in the ***" type thing. they would never directly interact with me, it was just like "hey, dont worry, we're always watching over you" and it helped me to stay strong. I would have my "favourites" which would change as my favourite bands changed, so they would swap and change. But I began to get to know the better, and soon i'd call upon different people for different situations. This also ran alongside the fact that I have been roleplaying online as some of these people since i was a young teenager, and still do now. It's my escape; like some people play fantasy roleplays or second life, or write harry potter fanfiction. I roleplay as these musicians and that gives me yet another world to escape in. As a teenager I would feel anxious when I was away from a computer, because that world was much more important to me than the real one and i would spend all my time on the computer. But when I went to college I kicked the habit and now i roleplay for fun only and on a less intense schedule. I actually have a normal social life and good friends so i dont think this impacts my life at all anymore (proud of myself for fixing that before it came a problem and i couldnt function without roleplay) but this daydreaming continues.

I still have a handful of musicians who "visit" me when I need them. But I also spend a lot of time in random fantasy situations. Now, a lot of people talk about MDD as it being complex like a movie or novel, and theres different characters and they're fully emerged and sometimes can't even control when they slip into their fantasy world. Mine is nothing like that. Mine is actually very controllable and very simple. I often, if I find myself home alone, will write down a little biography for "who i want to be" that day, and will just spend the day pretending i am that person. For example "I'm Musician X's wife and we have two children named Y and Z" and then i'll just go about what im doing that weekend, but in my head im married to this guy and ive got these kids. I really enjoy it, but it doesn't affect my life. If a friend called and asked to hang out id drop my fantasy easily and just go. It's almost just like a pastime. But I still do find it comforting in a way. Is this really MDD or do I just have a childish imagination? Its EXACTLY the same feeling of what I would do when I was 8 years old and playing pretend. I remember i used to be out for a walk with my parents and id pretend i was pushing a push chair, or holding the lead of an imaginary dog. And I still do that in my head if im playing in my fantasy. The weird thing is, I don't want to stop. As I said, it doesnt affect my life at all and I wouldnt ever let it. I'm completely in control and i choose when I want to pretend. Is that okay? Is that normal to do? The only thing that makes me want tostop is that im embarrassed that im 22 and i still play make believe games and talk to imaginary people sometimes. What do you think?
curveandcompass curveandcompass 22-25, F 1 Response Feb 9, 2013

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I can't tell you how comforting it is to know that others have had this experience. I grew up with a storyline that grew up with me, and though I now tend to watch more TV than read or daydream, when I'm alone or very unhappy, my favorite characters from my other life are there for company.

I used to choose which character I would be every day too. It wasn't that being myself was awful, but getting to be HER in my life gave me confidence I didn't have. My parents fought a lot when I was little; I wonder if this was some kind of distancing technique.

Thinking about it, I stopped daydreaming as much when I started dating a guy. Always before, it was easy to just merge my brain's version of my crush into the daydreams, but when I started going out with a real live person, I left the fantasy behind (despite their protests and promises that he was no good for me). Now, I am single again, but my world still seems far away.

Anyway, thanks for sharing. This is comforting.