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is intense daydreaming normal?
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is intense daydreaming normal?

i read this on another question concerning depression: "I'm always disconnecting myself from reality by daydreaming and literally playing out different situations in my head with conversations and everything. This is hard to explain and I understand daydreaming is good for you, however I feel I'm doing it too much, but it's uncontrollable." i have read extensively on depression and anxiety and i have never seen this as symptom of either. is this typical for someone suffering from these illnesses? my daydreaming is also uncontrollable and when alone i act out the situation as if it was happening. i never feel that what i'm imagining is independent of me like a hallucination. it always feels like daydreaming but is to the extent that it interferes with daily tasks and even treatment. when you're in the same room as your doctor or therapist all of their suggestions sound hopeful but is hard to put them into action when you're caught up talking to people that aren't there, so much you forget for that moment what you're suppossed to be doing. again, i don't hallucinate nor hear voices, i just daydream to an extreme. i always thought the depression was an effect of the anxiety and i thinkg maybe so is the daydreaming. i daydream automatically regardless of how i feel but i figure it started as a way of not thinking of whatever was making me anxious. also, i think our minds need regular interraction and since i isolate myself a lot due to the anxiety, i think maybe my mind had to fabricate interaction. is this typical or is this possibly something else. how can i reduce my daydreaming. it really interferes in my life. like i mentioned previously, none of the information i have found on depression and anxiety includes severe daydreaming as a typical symptom and all the dissociative disorders i have read about are much more extreme and include an array of other symptoms that i don't experience. i feel like i'm in this middle gray area that very few people know about. is more than the treatable depression/anxiety but not as extreme as the well-studied severe dissociative disorders. i really feel that if this aspect of my mental condition can be treated specifically, it would aid greatly in treating the depression/anxiety. i would greatly appreciate any information you can provide and direction to reading material on the subject. thank you.
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It is a gray area and I can't suggest any reading but you might go to psychologytoday.com and search their archives.

Daydreaming is a form of thinking, and that is good.  Too much is a way of escaping, which you already do in the form of avoidance because of your anxiety.

Mastering the contact with people without being anxious is the skill you need to learn to counteract this symptoms and put it in balance.  Therapy is one way.  Adding medications to reduce the anxiety so you can experiment more with "being Present" in conversations with real people is an additional approach.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm so glad you posted, i thought i was totally alone...disassociative descriptions did'nt seem to fit what i was going thru either. I used to daydream so much I would'nt sleep at night, i'd get into bed at midnight and stay awake until 7 am running over fantasy scenarios in my head, even when i wanted to stopand sleep, it was uncontrollable. i also started hving a need to try and find a place to be alone and finish the daydream uninteruppted. it did interfere with my life to the extent that I almost stopped functioning completeley. It was like some kind of fanatsy crack addiction. i even suffered withdrawls by becomng massivley depressed when i stopped, so i'd start right back up again, but it was more of a gut reaction to not wanting to face reality, i think, than a conscious descion.  I literally felt that it was running my life. I eventually stopped, but it was painful to say the least. It's not totally gone(i think a little daydreaming keeps us sane:))but it is manageable. i wish you luck...
G
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Avatar_n_tn
come on...you can do it....come bak to reality daydreamers.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi there...

You are probably a very creative person in a lot of ways. A  colorful imagination is wonderful; however, left unchecked, it can swirl you into another dimension.  When this happens, simply stated,

"You waste life."

~~~~ You also waste time, and time is precious. ~~~~

Thinking "what if" type thoughts and fabricating fanciful situations (too much),  causes undo stress and keeps you from living "real life."  

I have noticed that there is pleasure in letting your thoughts have their way with you, but the end result seems less than satisfying.  Is that so with you, too?



Now you have come to the point that you realize that you are daydreaming too much.   So, what do you do?

If I may submit my thoughts to you on this matter, I would tell you that you did not start daydreaming to this extent.  
It grew. and now it has grown quite large.

It started out little, and now it has become an automatic-type response because it was left unchecked.  As with all pleasures in life, pleasures that are left unchecked soon become out of balance.  (I love cheesecake!  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  However, the end result of allowing myself this endulgence, is this: I would be sick and weigh over 400lbs.)

You start by reigning in your thought life...when  you start daydreaming...just say no. (like pushing your cheesecake away...LOL! Oh, what pain it causes!)
~~~~~~ Make yourself stop and focus on real life. ~~~~~~

...and of course, your thoughts/daydreamings have had free reign for quite sometime; be prepared for a battle.  :)



Perhaps your life is boring right now and this is an escape?

Life is just too short to waste it.  
Figure out what you like to do and have the courage to do it.  

Perhaps your daydreaming stems from some sort of unrest within yourself?  We are all screwed up in ways...it is our lot in life to unscrew ourselves.  LOL!

Start small...figure out when you daydream and take a portion of that time and don't.  Just like training a muscle to grow big by exercise...you can train daydreaming to grow small.

Good luck...I hope that I did not offend you or step on your toes,  Please respond and let me know how you are doing.
Just my thoughts,
Shebee
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Avatar_n_tn
Finally someone with my problem. My daydreaming is a little different, I'll imagine an old friend and have long political discussions with him, and I usually cover same ground over and over. Its almost ocd-like but I derive certain pleasure from it.  I had terrible childhood, some weird version of post-traumatic stress disorder where I feel small and insignificant. (Yes Ive been through alot of psycho-therapies as well, and support groups.) So in short, daydreaming has helped me with surviving childhood and wards off the constant anxieties of insecurities I feel in adulthood. So I've done it for so long that I dont know if I can stop it; and it worsens when I'm lonely. Problem is, I do have a problem with social anxiety as well, and my thoughts are a reaction to it as well, so when Im in nightclubs or other places I can't meet people because the thoughts won't stop. If anybody has this problem and can offer their experiences with medications I would appreciate such kindness a lot. Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi after reading the posts about daydreaming I felt I should tell you that I had the same problems and they were eleminated by Paxil. However, I also had some side effects. One of the weirdiest was that Paxil seemed to work very quickly almost immediately for me. Far too quickly for an anti-depressant normally 2-4 weeks. I was actually  hypermanic, a rare side effect. A wonderful one, at least for me. It wasn't too severe so it just made me feel really good like a memory of a special day (christmas, easter etc) all warm and fuzzy. Another strange thing that happens when I try to decrease my dosage is that I begin to use curse words in regular conversations.
I'd also like to add that I refer to what I do as rehearsing, since I get so nervous talking to people I began playing out the scenario so I would be prepared. Then it just snowballed into an obbsession. Hope my experience with Paxil helps.  Good luck and remeber God made you and loves you and will be there no matter what you decide to do.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have the intense daydreaming that you describe but with the difference that I can control it, it doesn't happen when I don't want it to. But in every other respect it sounds the same.

The daydreaming I experience is because of the Avoidant Personality Disorder which I have, I don't know if that's what you have but you can read some information about it here:

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/3764/
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Avatar_n_tn
You should look up depersonalization disorder. It is considered a dissociative disorder. I have it and I constantly daydream to the point where i feel like i'm stuck in my own little world. if you want info try www.depersonlization.info
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have a severe case of daydreaming....semms like even more so as of late.  As you can tell by my name i am taking depakote and not doing so well.  At first i was taking carbamazapine..it was working fine and keeping me "normal" until i started breaking out in rashes and swelling.  Went to the dr. yesterday and he upped my dosage(on the depakote) ..i have been having the shakes pretty bad off of it and still having mood swings and all and daydreaming does seem to be an escape that i hadn't even thought that anything was wrong with it.  Oh yeah, i am diagnosed as being Bipolar II..rapid cycler.  I have had some pretty tough weeks as of late.  In my case though i think that daydreaming is another way of worrying too much and trying to make the situations seem better off than what they actually are and still not coping with things like i should.  I go to see my therapist this morning and will bring this up with her.
Thanks for the info/websites.  I will check those later out today.
If anyone would like to chat with me/or needs someone to talk with you can email me at ***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
Please hear me out. I don't think you need to go on meds right away, if at all. So many professionals will recomend you do, but you also have to realize that for some of these professionals, prescribing meds is a huge money maker. So you daydream, extensively. I don't think that is the end of the world. And of course I am not you, but I can say that chances are you just have a very overactive imagination, as I do.
Medication will only serve to supress this imagination of yours, and what a crime that would be. So I suggest trying to pick up some hobbies, like reading or whatever. Maybe you could try creatvive outlets, like writing or painting or something like that? I'll bet that would help somewhat with the constant daydreaming.
Other than that, if you do feel that meds is an option for you, then please RESEARCH what the doctor suggests, before taking it. I hate to say this, but way too many doctors do not make it a priority to tell their patients the WHOLE story about the drugs they are taking. I know about this all too well. So, do what you will, but allow yourself to become educated first.
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Hi ...
I not only suffer from exactly the same symptons that you do  but also feel equally miserable about not being able to do anything about it . As was suggested , it did not start of all of a sudden  but rather worsened gradually .
Though I find it almost impossible to snap out of that 'world' , it is much easier to restrain the impulse to indulge in such a fanatsy when it just begins to set in . When the daydream reigns over my senses it carries on through the sleep .
Any conscious attepmt to 'pull back ' is met with little or no success . Moreover , in my case , the return to normality is gradual & in some ways involuntary too .
Another thing that could possibly help is a change in the way we think .  Daydreaming is spurred from a desire for 'recognition & popularity ' . That stems from the fundamental human desire to prove oneself as being 'great ' amongst our friends & society in general .  If you temper those instints when you are 'normal' (this ,too, isnt very simple !)
it might help .

I am sorry I could not really give any concrete  suggestion
but I felt that sharing my opinons on this could benifit you
in some way .
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I agree with  Starla Grrrl because medicine is not always a cure all and to look into it would be best.

I daydream a lot also but it is controlled.  I have begun to write short stories and have written a manuscript and I think that has help keep my fantasies under control.

Try writing what you are daydreaming about each time you do and see what comes of it.  You never know.  It could be a great book ideal someday.
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I'm glad that there are other people like me.  I thought I was going crazy.  I have never told anyone about my extensive unreality world!  I was wondering if daydreaming could be a form of protection for the mind, if past traumatic experiences have occurred?  I've seen plenty of doctors for mental disorders that they feel I have, but I will not be a zombie.  I don't take any meds except nerve pills.  I can't stop.  I guess I'm wasting my life away in my head.  Maybe I should write a book about my daydreams.
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I'm glad that there are other people like me.  I thought I was going crazy.  I have never told anyone about my extensive unreality world!  I was wondering if daydreaming could be a form of protection for the mind, if past traumatic experiences have occurred?  I've seen plenty of doctors for mental disorders that they feel I have, but I will not be a zombie.  I don't take any meds except nerve pills.  I can't stop.  I guess I'm wasting my life away in my head.  Maybe I should write a book about my daydreams.
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Glad to see so many Day dreamers. Me too is a victim of this thing which makes me go crazy. Almost feel like killing myself. It affects my job, my personal life and my overall behaviour. I have lost my best friend, trust from my colleagues and driven my wife to a sense of insecurity.

People, i know how it feels like when you day dream, at that moment you do what you want to do, the way you want it to be done and when you want it. But once you are back in to reality ... its all over... And i think thats the main reason why day dreamers have a very common behavioural pattern (probably?) maybe like: Vertical thinking, insecurity, being helpful, confused, not so social, getting easily impressed by words, fear and likewise.

By the way do you people also have a short memory?

dream good!
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I have daydreamed to extreme from childhood. Am now in my 40's.

Through the years, I have gone through "cycles" where I used it to escape. I've had severe life traumas and an unhappy, sometimes abusive childhood by aloof (for lack of a better word) parents.

Lately, (over the past 10 years. That's lately to me :-) I've noticed an unwelcome side effect of my daydreaming. When I'm going through a daydreaming "cycle", I almost dread the after effects, because I know that after the daydreaming "cycle", there is a period of fairly intense depression. More like a feeling of an intense let down. You know... like when I was a kid and all excited about going to Disney, then afterward, instead of having warm happy feelings and memories I would feel very down, because it was over.

Despite knowing that I'll feel depressed after a daydreaming "cycle", I still look forward to when my daydreaming self is ripe to go on a fantasy spree. (Where daydreaming is so easy, I'm transported into fantasy land with a single thought)

I have forced myself to cut down, though. I resist the urge until I can hardly stand it before going through a fantasy spree. So, for me, it's affecting my life less. I hate it, however, when I'm forced by outside sources to interrupt one of my daydreaming sprees. Kind of like when one is having a "natural", sleeping dream and someone wakes you up before it's finished.

Now, with the kind of imagination I have to be able to create intricate fantasy worlds and if I had the writing skills of Stephen King, I'd have enough money to get decent mental health care for my more pressing and severe mental health concerns.
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i didn't expect so many people to respond and be able to relate to my experiences. it was comforting to know that i'm not the only one living this. however, it seems not only that others can relate to my daydreaming but also to my frustration at the lack of resources specifically dealing with daydreaming. i do  want to clarify something. daydreaming for me is a coping mechanism that has gotten completely out control and what i'm coping with is generalized and social anxiety. someone suggested i might just be living a boring life right now and need to find things to do. well, i love people, i love learning and i am very curious person. it is not a lack of interest in life nor a lack of desire to persue interesting activities. the anxiety paralyzes me to the point of dropping out of college and not having a job rigt now. so i sit at home and it hurts so much to be part of a reality in which i'm a failure and so i drift from daydream to daydream. so i daydream not only to relieve the constant anxiety but also so as not to think about the things i'm missing out because of the anxiety-- that can lead to depression. and though the daydraming started gradually, it is now up to par in severity with the anxiety and now i'm stuckk in this catch-22 in which the daydreaming hinders any treatment for anxiety and as long as i feel anxious i automatically cope with it by daydreaming. i apprecieate all of you sharing and please keep posting anything new.
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Avatar_n_tn
i didn't expect so many people to respond and be able to relate to my experiences. it was comforting to know that i'm not the only one living this. however, it seems not only that others can relate to my daydreaming but also to my frustration at the lack of resources specifically dealing with daydreaming. i do  want to clarify something. daydreaming for me is a coping mechanism that has gotten completely out control and what i'm coping with is generalized and social anxiety. someone suggested i might just be living a boring life right now and need to find things to do. well, i love people, i love learning and i am very curious person. it is not a lack of interest in life nor a lack of desire to persue interesting activities. the anxiety paralyzes me to the point of dropping out of college and not having a job rigt now. so i sit at home and it hurts so much to be part of a reality in which i'm a failure and so i drift from daydream to daydream. so i daydream not only to relieve the constant anxiety but also so as not to think about the things i'm missing out because of the anxiety-- that can lead to depression. and though the daydraming started gradually, it is now up to par in severity with the anxiety and now i'm stuckk in this catch-22 in which the daydreaming hinders any treatment for anxiety and as long as i feel anxious i automatically cope with it by daydreaming. i apprecieate all of you sharing and please keep posting anything new.
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