When hearing the word “daydreaming”, I imagine getting briefly distracted in math class before snapping myself out of it. That may not necessarily align with how you imagine daydreaming, but in the end, it can be harmless. Daydreaming is defined as separating oneself from external reality and immersing oneself in their head. It is surprisingly very common among people. A study conducted by Harvard in 2010 found that people spend about 47% of their waking hours daydreaming. Upon hearing that statistic, you might panic and think that is too much time to spend daydreaming; however, a wandering mind can be beneficial as it can motivate you.
If daydreaming can be harmless, why am I writing this article? In my case, I am not just daydreaming, but I am maladaptive daydreaming. Maladaptation is defined as the inability to adequately adjust in an environment or situation. Maladaptive daydreaming are daydreams that are so intense, they can interfere with daily life. I have suffered from these for years, they became the most prominent when I was in middle school. I knew that I had an issue when I started to feel genuine emotions from my daydreams.
If you are hoping that I somehow overcame these intense daydreams and am sharing my advice, I am sorry to inform you that is not the case. Writing this article allowed me to learn more about this condition and explore the possible causes and solutions for my problem. I spend a significant amount of my waking hours daydreaming, a lot more than the common 47%. The content of my daydreams are intense as well. In my head, I have created a whole new life, the only thing I have kept is my name. I will not be going into details about what these daydreams hold, due to sheer embarrassment, but at least I can recognize this is not normal.
Anyone who suffers from maladaptive daydreaming can agree that we have had issues arrive from our inability to live outside of our heads. The list I have provided below are issues I have because of my maladaptive daydreaming.
Along with the issues I have from maladaptive daydreaming, it is important to target the causes for my refusal to face reality. Facing these and figuring out healthier ways to cope is vital in the process of stopping my maladaptive daydreaming.
The good thing about this situation is my awareness that I am daydreaming too vividly and too much. Unfortunately, it is not officially recognized as an illness, but it is much rather seen as a symptom of other illnesses. Maladaptive daydreaming is the most present in people with anxiety, depression, and OCD. While I am not clinically diagnosed with any of these conditions, I know that I suffer from maladaptive daydreaming and I hope to eventually overcome it.
Maladaptive daydreaming is an addiction for me. My fantasy world constantly entices me, even when I am in the middle of a social interaction. I hope that my experiences with this condition has helped other people realize they need help, or even educate people who may not suffer from this. Maladaptive daydreaming is an issue that needs to be talked about more, and I hope that it becomes a stronger talking point when it comes to mental health.