If you’re familiar with Maladaptive Daydreaming (or MD) this article will be very relatable. Otherwise, this will sound absolutely insane. However, bear with me. It’s very hard for a person with a Maladaptive Daydreaming disorder to explain it to others. Other people cannot begin to comprehend the complexities and intricacies of our imaginations. However, I will attempt to explain what Maladaptive Daydreaming is and how you know you might have it. Firstly, MD is not a diagnosable illness. Most health care professionals haven’t got a clue what it means. It’s a new phenomenon for both those experiencing it and those who are trying to treat it, but it’s becoming a more prevalent issue. At the moment it is considered a sub-set of anxiety or depression, and while that is mostly true, I believe that it deserves to be in a category of its own. We’ll define MD as an uncontrollable urge to produce very intricate daydreams or fantasies at often unpredictable times. It goes waayyy beyond your average daydreaming capabilities because it is much more vivid and real to those fabricating the daydreams. These daydreams have deep plots, characters, scenarios and emotions that interact with each other in incredibly unique ways. It’s much more in depth than, say, having a movie theater in your head. It’s more like having a virtual reality headset on all time. In terms of content, our daydreams could consist of anything under the sun. They don’t have to be about ourselves and they are sometimes not conceived intentionally at all. It just sort of happens! MD is definitely considered a blessing and a curse, but how do you know if you have it?
Your Fantasies are Vivid and Complex
When I say vivid, I mean vivid. I’m not just talking about daydreaming about someone you have a crush on. I mean you imagine whole other worlds. If I were to tell you picture yourself in a different landscape, you will be able to imagine some fictitious scenery without even having to close your eyes or think for more than a short period of time. Or if I were to ask you where you’re mind wanders off to the most lately, you’ll be able to paint me a picture of a new world. Whenever you think about the world you’ve created, it conjures up powerful emotions. The real world is just a platform to extrapolate ideas for your daydreams.
You Find Yourself Daydreaming All the Time
Not just when you’re bored, but whenever your brain can spare a moment you’re drifting off into another dimension. It may often be at inopportune times like when you’re supposed to be listening to instructions, waiting for your zone to get called so you don’t miss your flight, etc. The key issue you face as an MD is that you probably schedule time, or set time aside exclusively for daydreaming! You may prefer to do that instead of planning to go out or hang out with friends as a result.
You Feel Out of Control
If you’re like me, you feel like you have very little control over when you daydream heavily. You often can’t control when you’ll tumble into your fantasies and once you’re in, it’s hard to get out. Why? Because you love being there! Because of this, you may feel helplessness or lack of control. That feeling may be exacerbated because your daydreaming could bleed into other areas of your life and affect your ability to achieve your goals. It can feel like a losing battle, but don’t lose hope. There’s a way to cope.
So you have MD. Now what? Please know that you’re not alone. Having MD can be so incredibly fascinating, but most of the time it can be destructive. However, it doesn’t have to be a curse. Your mind is incredibly unique and the worlds you imagine are as well. You need to learn to channel these imaginings into something productive so that it’s easier to manage. I daydream OFTEN about stories and plots, so I like to write them down and create tons of short stories. I also fantasize about music (I imagine a melodies as they’re associated with scenery), so I write song lyrics and melodies that are similar to the ones I’ve imagined. For some reason, my daydreams are also very very specific about the clothing people wear. I so design clothing and outfits online. If you often see beautiful landscapes, try to draw them or find some way to describe what you’re seeing. You must learn to express your creative genius, because it truly is genius. You never know what beautiful art, music, stories, gifts, designs, etc. you can make until you try! Who knows where your talents may lead! How have you learned to cope with MD? How has it affected you?