Our partner

Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Autism message board, open discussion, and online support group.

Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby KitMcDaydream » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:08 pm

Hi

I have just discovered that my intense secret world I've had since childhood is called 'Maladaptive Daydreaming'.

Due to developmental delays from birth I was diagnosed with Autism because I lived in my world and paced and flapped my hands and could get completely lost in my own worlds.

They started innocent..I was bullied at school so most of my daydreams would be about being accepted, being an hero, have favourite pops stars in etc.

After my mum got diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 16 I started having hearing problems, it was found my thyroid was too low. I eventually got my hearing back but by then I'd been given hearing aids and had just been accepted into a specialist deaf school. I kept quiet because the hearing aids were great for blocking out sound when I didn't necessarily want a walkman on. (I had previously had acutely hypersensitive hearing, so even though I didn't get full hearing back, it may still have been considered better than most 'deaf' kids) I created a deaf character in my world that everyone would love when I started this deaf school, learned sign language, changed my name and became my character.. I lived as a 'deaf person' for many years until I later understood in my thirties that what I thought was 'hearing problems' was information processing disorder combined with Tinnitus. (the noises I was continually trying to shut out). It's possible as I didn't have the language to describe my world or explain my symptoms properly this went on for many years more than it would have done if I had not been autistic.

I later again due to my thyroid shutting down had major physical problems (incidentally my dad had passed from cancer just before this happened) and had to spend some time in a wheelchair, people treated me very differently..much better..I started to actively hide my autism and pass off as 'normal but with physical problems' the difference was amazing I got talked to like an adult the age I actually was! (in my 30's by then!).

I just wondered if anyone else with MD had actually gone as far as living in the real world AS the characters they had created? ..or is this what Psychosis is?

I still daydream excessively daily more so now than younger as I live alone and live totally isolated (due to 'Exposure Anxiety' part of my autism I find it really hard to do things in front of people ie can't speak in public when alot of people are watching me and waiting for me to speak (like in a queue) though at home with just my dog I can speak perfectly normally and constantly talk to myself during my 'imaginings' which are most of every day. I can also walk, pace, jump about and run when no-one is about but still have to use a wheelchair/scooter to go out in public where anyone will be around as my legs physically buckle and I can't get out of the door, if someone was passing when i tried to leave my house.

My current obsession is preparing for WW3 as I read in a newspaper it was 'imminent' so I'd start imagining how I'd survive, make lists and ACTUALLY buy what I'd need to survive if radiation came my way (but I wasn't any where near Ground zero - I'm NOT so deluded I think I could survive a nuclear bomb if I was a Ground Zero!) but from what I've been reading online if you're far enough away and it's only a chance of radiation heading your way in the wind, it is possible to survive it with the right shelter and supplies. I don't know whether it will happen and I don't believe it's happening right now when I'm daydreaming about it, but I figure at least IF it ever does and I'm far enough away I've got a several months supply of food and water, radiation detector, Hazmat suit etc. I stand more chance of surviving. ...some people may also call this 'Prepping' though they may not re-imagine the scenario in intricate detail daily.

Another 'imagining' (as I call them) is my dog reincarnating and how and where I'd find her when she does (she died 2 yrs ago) so that has been a daily imagining for the last 2 years. In my daydreams she's waiting until after the war to return so she can protect me and my other dog from above (like an angel using her wings to shield our house from too much radiation) and when it's safe to do so she'll be reborn and come back to me in the body of another dog. This a tricky one as our families religious beliefs on death are that we will rise from ashes (after cremation) and pass into the next life but I'd read dogs can reincarnate several times in their owners lifetime as they don't live as long as us so that's what triggered that imagining after reading stories of people's dog's who had 'returned'.

I just wondered if anyone else had intense fantasies like this? I'm nearly 50 and had this all my life but didn't know it had a name though I always suspected I was 'mentally ill' rather than 'learning disabled'. I've no wish for therapy or to tell a therapist about this incase they believe I should go into a unit as I would just totally shut down if my dog can't be by my side 24hrs a day (the one that's real! - had him from a pup so he's never known anyone else as his 'mum') and wouldn't want to lose the freedom I have to imagine so intensely daily.

so...just wondering????

was just wondering if my imaginings were 'normal for MD' I guess or whether it was bordering on Psychosis? I know autism used to be called Autistic Psychopathy and there's a link between Autism/Schzoid Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia (like their kind of on the same continuum) and wondered if thats what was happening with me?
KitMcDaydream
Consumer 5
Consumer 5
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:24 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)


ADVERTISEMENT

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby shock_the_monkey » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:44 am

of MD, the following article may be of interest ...

People with “Maladaptive Daydreaming” spend an average of four hours a day lost in their imagination

... however, when i read what you've written, it's very obvious to me that your daydreams, far from being maladaptive, have in fact been adaptive to a lack of appropriate social stimuli.

note the bit about serotonin, as there's a link between low serotonin level and tinnitus.

of psychosis, this clearly doesn't apply as you're fully able to differentiate between the daydream state and reality.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
shock_the_monkey
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 4915
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:36 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby KitMcDaydream » Fri Jun 29, 2018 7:27 am

shock_the_monkey wrote:of MD, the following article may be of interest ...

People with “Maladaptive Daydreaming” spend an average of four hours a day lost in their imagination

... however, when i read what you've written, it's very obvious to me that your daydreams, far from being maladaptive, have in fact been adaptive to a lack of appropriate social stimuli.

note the bit about serotonin, as there's a link between low serotonin level and tinnitus.

of psychosis, this clearly doesn't apply as you're fully able to differentiate between the daydream state and reality.


ok Thanks I'll read that. I just wasn't sure if the 'becoming the characters I'd created' part was crossing over from just daydreaming to psychosis as I've actually lived my entire live as those characters with those disabilities since I was about 16.

I'm wondering if its something similar to what Donna Williams did (famous autistic author) living as her characters Willie, Carol etc to cope with her life. Apparently autistic people can reach a state of dissociation easily because of the nature of their disability and social isolation especially when it's severe in childhood.

I tried to join the Wild Minds forum to ask but it seems its not active anymore as my membership has still not been approved and I found a post via google where someone mentioned they had applied one December and weren't approved until the following January or February.So I guess they're too lost in their daydreams to attend to the site! :D
KitMcDaydream
Consumer 5
Consumer 5
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:24 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby shock_the_monkey » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:54 am

i've actually read 'nobody nowhere' by donna williams. i've also got 'somebody somewhere', however, i'm less certain that i've read that. i guess the question is whether dissociation is maladaptive. i'd argue that it isn't. i'd argue that it's a healthy response to coping with unhealthy circumstances. sure, it isn't normal. but that's because such unhealthy circumstances aren't normal either. and so the medical profession get to call it a disorder. from what i've read, the test is whether such dissociation interferes with normal functioning. i used to daydream a lot when i was very young. i was severely under-stimulated at primary school. no doubt, from an external view point, those adults around me would have viewed this as a disorder. it went away when i got to secondary school. all of a sudden the adults around me stopped assuming that i was retarded. so, i guess my point here is, whatever someone else's view might be, it's yours that counts. be kind to yourself. don't burden yourself with those things that you don't have to. it seems to me that life hasn't been as kind to you as it might have been.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
shock_the_monkey
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 4915
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:36 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby KitMcDaydream » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:26 pm

shock_the_monkey wrote:i've actually read 'nobody nowhere' by donna williams. i've also got 'somebody somewhere', however, i'm less certain that i've read that. i guess the question is whether dissociation is maladaptive. i'd argue that it isn't. i'd argue that it's a healthy response to coping with unhealthy circumstances. sure, it isn't normal. but that's because such unhealthy circumstances aren't normal either. and so the medical profession get to call it a disorder. from what i've read, the test is whether such dissociation interferes with normal functioning. i used to daydream a lot when i was very young. i was severely under-stimulated at primary school. no doubt, from an external view point, those adults around me would have viewed this as a disorder. it went away when i got to secondary school. all of a sudden the adults around me stopped assuming that i was retarded. so, i guess my point here is, whatever someone else's view might be, it's yours that counts. be kind to yourself. don't burden yourself with those things that you don't have to. it seems to me that life hasn't been as kind to you as it might have been.


This is an interesting theory I'd never thought of it like that before! I have Donna's books too and read them a couple of times.

Even when I had a much 'fuller life' with things I had to do and places I had to go I would still reach a point I felt exhausted and I needed to go back to 'my world' for at least a couple of hours to feel refreshed and recharged to continue being able to 'get through life'. Usually back then though I'd be lucky to get more than a couple of hours so always had to return fairly quickly to the character I needed to be to be able to cope in the 'real world'.

After moving more rurally, I've been gradually more isolated and spending more time in my 'imaginings'
I would say it got significantly worse after the death of my dog who had been my support dog for 15 years and had got me through some very tough years. When I lost her I lost the link back to when I had happier times and still had a family. I got a phobia of bumping into people who were going to ask where my other dog was, As the clocks had gone back by then and it was light really early we'd go out 5-6am to avoid bumping into anyone who would ask as I didn't feel I'd be able to control my emotions. I'd spend most of the rest of the day researching reincarnation and lost in daydreams of her 'coming home' I'd manage to stay present for a couple of hours throughout the day to walk my other dog, feed train and play with him.

I feel the key to getting back to me maybe moving to somewhere nobody knows me, though I don't want to leave this last area that has all the memories of my last dog in the places we visit every day. But I dream of living somewhere even more isolated than where I am now so I had no immediate neighbours for miles!
KitMcDaydream
Consumer 5
Consumer 5
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:24 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby shock_the_monkey » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:07 pm

for what it's worth, my best friend was my cat. i think that autistic people are less discriminating where animals are concerned. NTs tend to treat animals as inferior and mere chattels.

i also think that as someone who's autistic, it's very natural to want to avoid people, as they're such enormous stressors in life. however, we really do need to balance that desire with being able to live in this world at all.

as for being you, obviously, when you're alone that isn't a problem. with other people, it's the fear that they will judge you in some way. this is something i've had to learn, as i don't feel certain emotions, and fear is one of them. i remember that my mother used to tell me how inappropriate it was to rock in public. so, this really comes down to how much you want to care about what other people think of you. obviously, you don't want everyone thinking that you're 'crazy'. however, the british, at least, are very tolerant of those that are 'eccentric'.

i'll just add that because those that are autistic have such weak relationships with other people, they have stronger relationships with everything else, including objects, places, roles, professions. i'd think very carefully before moving, if i were you, as you may fined that you sacrifice the very things that you do value for those that you don't and possibly aren't any better either.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
shock_the_monkey
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 4915
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:36 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby KitMcDaydream » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:54 pm

shock_the_monkey wrote:for what it's worth, my best friend was my cat. i think that autistic people are less discriminating where animals are concerned. NTs tend to treat animals as inferior and mere chattels.

i also think that as someone who's autistic, it's very natural to want to avoid people, as they're such enormous stressors in life. however, we really do need to balance that desire with being able to live in this world at all.

as for being you, obviously, when you're alone that isn't a problem. with other people, it's the fear that they will judge you in some way. this is something i've had to learn, as i don't feel certain emotions, and fear is one of them. i remember that my mother used to tell me how inappropriate it was to rock in public. so, this really comes down to how much you want to care about what other people think of you. obviously, you don't want everyone thinking that you're 'crazy'. however, the british, at least, are very tolerant of those that are 'eccentric'.


i'll just add that because those that are autistic have such weak relationships with other people, they have stronger relationships with everything else, including objects, places, roles, professions. i'd think very carefully before moving, if i were you, as you may fined that you sacrifice the very things that you do value for those that you don't and possibly aren't any better either.



I'm not talking about rocking and stuff in public I just feel like if I lived somewhere with say a back garden (that wasn't overlooked) with a gate straight into some woods. I would be able to get over my fear of walking in public (or even just for a few specific short walks) as I could go out in the dark or really early mornings (in summer) when I knew there was no-one around (probably go on scooter first make a note of who was there at what times and what times it was deserted etc) so I knew when setting off that ..a) it would be highly unlikely anyone else would be around b) if I did see someone I could go 'off the path if I was just walking and access areas I couldn't get the scooter up/down to get out of the way 3) as it was a new area and no one knew me anyway I'd be aware that they wouldn't know I was autistic so if I just kept going they probably weren't going to think anything.

That's not possible here as I have to use the scooter to go down roads and past houses (where anyone could potentially appear at any time) as quickly as possible to get to even the nearest fields Because of the weight of it to reach some more 'off road tracks' I can't just get off and pull or push it so I can walk for abit where it's quieter. Also as I was more severely mobility impaired when I originally moved here I know everyone is expecting me to be in a wheelchair or on a scooter when they see me, so I feel I compelled to be who they expect me to be to avoid a ton of questions I don't really want to answer!

Yes I'd miss this house (inside) where we've been over 10 yrs but for the right house fully private (don't have to keep blinds & curtains shut), high walls, solid electric gates, back garden straight into woods but the trade off maybe I relearn to walk outside again and be more able to relax outside where eventually gradually more people are about.

I might try and find such a house to rent first and try it for a month when I can still get back to this house at any time if I felt panicky in a strange house, just to see if the 'trade off' is worth it. (familiarity or complete privacy with the chance of regaining ability to walk outside - even if it was just in the private garden and woods, it's still an improvement on only in my house and only when alone) I think that's why I got obsessed with stories of people who've survived alone for years or live in very remote places (TV and books). Recently read 'The Stranger in the Woods' where a man with Asperger syndrome survived 27 years in the woods alone with no contact and constantly imagine post-war/post apocalyptic scenarios where only me and my dogs are alive so I'm totally free to move and just be me!
KitMcDaydream
Consumer 5
Consumer 5
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:24 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby shock_the_monkey » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:26 pm

my dream is to have 3 acres of land in which to grow fruit and live in a mobile home. i very nearly bought such a plot, however, the timing was wrong. i could then be almost self-sufficient and not have any contact with anyone, if i didn't want to. but, realistically, i don't see this happening.

now, regarding people, it's important to realise that you don't have to live up, or down, to their expectations. you can be just yourself. it's your choice. you just have to make that choice. one of the things about a weak theory of mind is that it's easy for us to imagine that other people see us as we see ourselves. they don't. they see what we allow them to see. as william shakespeare said: All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players [upon it]. and, indeed, isn't this exactly what your dreams are, a stage upon which you play the roles that you choose. so, choose who you want to be and be that person, and don't let others define you.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
shock_the_monkey
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 4915
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:36 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby iabsurdlyexist » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:30 pm

My house is country in the city living. I am 1 minute walking distance from a big QT gas station yet I sit on 3/4 of an acre and my yard has like 15 large trees, a pear tree and an apple tree. This year, I planted eight blue spruces, a nectarine tree, two dwarf cherries, 17 strawberries, a few raspberries, four more rhubarb and a vegetable garden. My wife gets a little irritated when I get carried away by something. That something this year is gardening. In comparison, last year, I transplanted a small maple.
Dx: SPD/AvPD/BP2
User avatar
iabsurdlyexist
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 734
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 4:07 am
Local time: Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:31 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Maladaptive Dreaming or Psychosis?

Postby shock_the_monkey » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:05 am

i don't want to sound too insistent, however, it worries me that you appear to be allowing how you think others perceive you to dictate your life. i think that people that are autistic tend not to be very assertive, and they tend to get pushed around by NTs. obviously, one way to avoid this is to anyone that might know you, however, that just cuts you off from the world. the other way is to make a stand and learn to be more assertive, when needs be. this doesn't have to be in any sort of confrontational way. it just means balancing your life more towards what you want, rather than the wants of those around you.
something knocked me out' the trees
now i'm on my knees
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

there is one thing you must be sure of
i can't take any more
... don't you know you're gonna shock the monkey

don't like it but i guess i'm learning

... shock the monkey to life
shock_the_monkey
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 4915
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:36 pm
Local time: Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:31 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Next

Return to Autism Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest