Have you sat in a boring class only to find yourself drifting into a daydream? In most cases, we daydream when we need to be elsewhere but can’t change the current setting or situation just yet. It sounds harmless, creative and fun right ?? But too much of anything is always bad.
I remember as a teenager intense daydreaming affected my daily functioning and productivity. It hindered my ability to focus. It was a constant struggle. I would create a complex imaginary world in my mind including fantasies that have elaborate plots and characters that I would feel emotionally connected to. I would talk to myself when I was daydreaming. It’s not hallucinations or schizophrenia because I’m aware that this is all make belief and just a dream, it’s a kind of coping mechanism to escape my past and current situation/trauma/abuse/loneliness (painful harsh reality). But I loved the characters in my head, I had such a close connection to them unlike in real life where I struggled to bond with my family especially my mother. I got absorbed in this fantasy world because, at a subconscious level, it met a need for me that couldn’t be met in my life. It allowed me to control a particular situation or people(People loved respected and appreciated me). It’s was a quick fix when I was feeling anxious or low.
So what exactly is Maladaptive Daydreaming ??
This term Maladaptive Daydreaming was first coined by Professor Eli Somer. It’s a psychiatric phenomenon that can interfere with your ability to carry out daily tasks. Until a few days back I didn’t even know it was a condition. I mean it’s not mentioned in the DSM handbook that psychologists refer to when diagnosing patients. However, some professionals believe it is a mental disorder that can severely affect the individual. Is there a treatment? No, there is no known treatment for it.
I’m still struggling with this – though now it is not that bad as it used to be. I, however, want to lessen my daydreaming as I tend to experience dissociation and the frequency of my dissociation creates deficits in my awareness.
According to the research I’ve done I need to give myself a specific time to daydream (like before bed). During the day when I get an urge, I need to focus on the present by using mindfulness and grounding techniques. If I subconsciously start daydreaming during the day, on realisation I need to slowly start to visualise what I am currently doing instead.
I’m I successful …. Some days yes…….. some days no…….. but maybe one day I will.
How many of you can relate to this ??
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