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Maladaptive daydreaming

Permanent Linkby Ada on Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:30 pm

Apologies for yesterday's passive-aggressive blog post. It hasn't been approved yet, but I can't edit it anyway. To be fair to the officially-diagnosed, if I were them, I would be far more cross about wannabes than they are. So, I'll shut up. :)

Last night I dreamed that I was daydreaming! I woke up confused about that, but over the morning the memories and dreams sorted themselves out. This is the strongest sign yet that I'm on the right track in quitting, and my general foul mood and the fact that I haven't yet gone longer than 6 hours without lapsing are supporting evidence. I can't talk about this to anyone in real life, and I'm very unlikely to mention it elsewhere in the forum, because it sounds so bloody stupid in comparison to the real problems people have to cope with. I'll just go on about it here.

The problem: Excessive fantasising. I tend to call it daydreaming because fantasy sounds like it's sexual and most of the time it isn't.

How long has it been going on: Possibly since I was 7. I have a "school essay" from that time that strongly implies it. But that I can remember for sure, from 15.

Why do it: Because it's fun! Because it's always interesting, stimulating, entertaining. Because it's a way to cope with hard situations. Or boring ones. Because I like my fantasy-self more than I like my real-self [and I like my real self a lot, honestly no self esteem issues here or inferiority complexes! I mean by this how very much I love that imagined perfect me.]

Why is it a problem: Because I want to do it in preference to anything else. Because I can spend 15+ hours a day doing it. Because sometimes I get confused between something I've imagined and something that happened. Because I suspect it saps my motivation to do anything in the real world. Because I'm afraid I'll suddenly start regretting all the time I've spent doing it. Because it doesn't feel like it's under control.

How am I stopping: By avoiding or stopping all daydreams that involve people. Either directly or their voices. I'm keeping on with talking to myself, imaginary blog posts [LOL], anything that's solo. I'm not trying to rid myself of all thought, it's just one very specific branch of thought I'm trying to saw off. I've cut way down on listening to the music which i associate with it. Then it's just a question of repetition. 'No, I decided not to think like that. Let's think about something else.' Or 'Ooops, I have been fantasizing, now I will stop and refocus.' Some breathing exercises, and some looking intently at any object near me. 'This is real and what I am thinking about now, not the imagined stuff. Real. Here. Now.' I don't know if there is such a thing as a cure and what it might look like, but taking control is important.

How is it going: For a 25 year old habit, very well! I'm on Day 3. There were a few lapses on Thursday and Friday, and three today where I realised I had been imagining monologues at someone I'm angry with. Each time I was able to recognise that I was doing it before it went from an intellectual to an emotional activity. [Those aren't quite the right words, but I hope you know what I mean, I don't know any jargon to more accurately describe thought-states.] I'm much more aware of time passing, and although I didn't expect this to change my outward life much, I have been more productive by my own definition.

Downsides: General bad temper. Fierce boredom. Anger at being bored. Embarrassment at seeing this as a problem when everyone else seems to handle it just fine.

We think too much and feel too little.
 More than machinery, we need humanity.
 More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

Charlie Chaplain in The Great Dictator
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