Ten myths about maladaptive daydreaming that could be increasing your suffering

Having maladaptive daydreaming disorder is tough. But it’s often made harder by the misinformation that surrounds what it still a new and little-known mental-health condition. The following are just some of the unhelpful myths about immersive and maladaptive daydreaming that could be causing you unnecessary anxiety. 1. All fantastical daydreaming is maladaptive daydreaming Maladaptive daydreamingContinue reading “Ten myths about maladaptive daydreaming that could be increasing your suffering”

Does your name matter? And why I felt I had to change mine.

When I was a child, I used to daydream in third person. Back then, I didn’t like myself much, and I’ve often wondered whether I felt I didn’t deserve to be in my daydreams. In both real-life and the daydream world, I was an observer, not a participant. But even then, my daydreams always includedContinue reading “Does your name matter? And why I felt I had to change mine.”

The negative emotions your daydreaming is trying to protect you from

There are some experiences and emotions that immersive and maladaptive daydreamers don’t experience as often as most people, if at all. Sometimes this is a good thing – it’s great to have a range of tools for dealing with negative emotions. But it can also be damaging. We feel emotions for a reason, and ifContinue reading “The negative emotions your daydreaming is trying to protect you from”

Why daydreaming is bad for our emotional intelligence

I struggle to feel emotions physically. My mind will tell me I’m feeling joy or frustration or disappointment, but it’s difficult for me to connect that emotion to physical sensations in my body. I don’t experience anger as a rush of heat or energy, I don’t experience fear as a tightness in my stomach, IContinue reading “Why daydreaming is bad for our emotional intelligence”

Three ways to overcome the shame you feel about your daydreaming

Maladaptive daydreaming disorder was first described in 2002. But even 20 years later, awareness of the condition among mental health professionals and the general public remains low. One of the reasons for this is that most daydreamers are very reluctant to open up to friends and family about their daydreaming due to a deeply rootedContinue reading “Three ways to overcome the shame you feel about your daydreaming”

Learning to tolerate discomfort

We daydreamers tend to have difficulty tolerating unwanted feelings and emotions. I think it’s because we never have to. When real life becomes uncomfortable, we can disappear to a better place in an instant; and while we’re there, our real-life problems seem comfortably far away. But the problem with doing this is that we don’tContinue reading “Learning to tolerate discomfort”

Negative daydreams, part 2. Using DBT to create a calm alternative to distressing themes

Last week, I explored some possible reasons why we might daydream about things that upset us. Here, I’m going to look at how a technique from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) can help us break out of a cycle of distressing daydreams. This technique, called “IMPROVE the moment”, is a crisis-management technique. That means it doesn’tContinue reading “Negative daydreams, part 2. Using DBT to create a calm alternative to distressing themes”

Immersive daydreaming and flow – distinctions and similarities

Professor Eli Somer describes immersive and maladaptive daydreaming as states of dissociative absorption. Let’s break down what that means. Absorption is the process of becoming absorbed, focussing or concentrating intently on one thing and ignoring any distractions. Dissociation means a disconnection or separation. When we become dissociated, we become detached from reality and lose ourContinue reading “Immersive daydreaming and flow – distinctions and similarities”

Healing my inner child – a daydreaming experiment

In the last few weeks, I’ve realised that many of my negative thoughts and emotions come to me in the voice of a traumatised yet defiant seven-year-old stamping her foot and shouting that life isn’t fair. I’ve been asking myself why my wounded inner child shows up as a seven-year-old, and I think it’s becauseContinue reading “Healing my inner child – a daydreaming experiment”

Guilt and shame

Guilt and shame are two emotions that are familiar to many of us, but if you’ve been feeling guilty or ashamed of your daydreaming, it’s worth considering the difference between them and what you can do to reduce the suffering they all-too-often cause.  Guilt We feel guilt when we’ve behaved in a way that goesContinue reading “Guilt and shame”