Daydreaming To Avoid The Loneliness Of Reality

I've spent hours on hours dreaming of a life where I had everything I ever wanted only to snap back into reality to realize I have none of that.
How maladaptive dreaming can dangerous
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Ever since I was 11 or 12 years old I remember spending way too much dreaming of a "perfect" life in hopes that one day maybe, just maybe it would become real. Not to spoil an ending but to this day that life I dreamt of still doesn't exist.

Turns out excessive amounts of daydreaming is a form of escapism and this daydreaming has a name, it's called maladaptive daydreaming.

Maladaptive daydreaming (MD) is extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning.

All these years it had never occurred to me that how damaging and all-consuming constant daydreaming is, but it is even if you're unable to recognize it.

Here is a video about someone who deals with maladaptive daydreaming who goes into more details about it -

Here are the symptoms of maladaptively daydreaming:

1. Extremely vivid daydreams

You may mistake your daydreams for reality, they can be so vivid to the point of there being characters with their own storylines and there being a whole plot to the story with them.

2. Daydreams triggered by real-life events

Your daydreams can be triggered by everyday things, like something you see or hear that may be seemingly ordinary but they cause you to start daydreaming.

3. Difficulty completing everyday tasks

Your daydreams can become so all-consuming that you don't do the everyday things you need to do, you'd rather keep daydreaming instead.

4. Difficulty to sleep at night

You may find it difficult to fall asleep at night because of the want/need to daydream. To you, it may be more comforting to control what happens in your dreams than to fall asleep where you cannot control what happens.

5.  An overwhelming desire to continue daydreaming

Daydreaming may be how you spend the majority of your days because doing anything other than daydreaming may feel unbearable. You may also become irritated if someone interrupts you while daydreaming.

The thing is the older I got I thought I'd grow out of the need to escape reality, but I still haven't. I'm unable to control when I start daydreaming it gets triggered so easily, whether it be something that's said or something I see can make me instantly start daydreaming.

Sometimes it can become obsessive to the point where I can only stay in my bed daydreaming becoming untethered to any sort of reality. I can spend days stuck in my daydream and completely ignore everything in my life. 

When I started to become more self-aware of how detrimental my need to escape reality I had to ask myself why. What am I running away from? What am I trying to avoid feeling?

It's taken months for me to be able to finally be honest with myself as to why I feel the need to escape my own reality. It's quite simple, real-life isn't the cookie-cutter life I spend hours dreaming it could be. Real-life is messy, hard, unbearable, and it sinks its teeth into me leaving me immobile and unable to breathe sometimes.

When I daydream I can control who I am and what happens to me, but once I snap back into reality all of that artificial control goes right out the window. I'm thrown back into a world where all I can do is stare blankly into the abyss watching everything fall apart. 

A few months ago I had a big falling out with someone I really thought I cared about and that triggered a lot of daydreaming. Even now months later I still catch myself dreaming about them and all these unrealistic scenarios that likely won't ever happen.

When I daydream about them it always goes one of two ways. Either it's all about how it would be if everything had gone right with us, how happy we could've been. Or I dream about my life where I've healed and completely moved on, but it was all just to spite that person for leaving in hopes that they'll reach out and tell me how they regret losing me.

All of that daydreaming to ignore the fact that they left me and it was my fault. And there's no way to put wrap a bow around to make seem pretty. They got to walk away unscathed and I got to get stuck living in my daydreams to cope with all the trauma they gave me.

All these daydreams bring me more comfort and are a lot kinder to me than they ever were to me and maybe that's why I'll never give them up.

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