Top 5 tips from r/maladaptivedreaming
The Maladaptive Daydreaming subReddit, r/maladaptivedreaming, keeps an ongoing thread of community generated comments that members can add to. These are methods which other MDers have found success with in their own lives and are left for others who may find them helpful. Below are the top five most upvoted comments from the original archived post.
Recently I found out that if I film myself doing something, I can combat the habit of just pacing around daydreaming about things instead. I’ve basically started having a pretend YouTube channel where I build my projects. The thought that I’m going to be watched later really makes me be productive. Maybe I’ll actually post the video I’m making.
Identify triggers and what caused you to have MD and why you have certain daydreams and attachments. For me, it was trauma and grief and loss. I so desperately want happy endings for people and life after death and peace and that leeches into every part of my life. I’m still working on how to deal with these emotions and wounds, but I know for a fact that identifying and really deeply analyzing why we do these things is the most important first step. You have to treat the root of the problem, not just the side effects. One suggestion I have is to set aside some time to daydream each day, and instead of it just being internal, write it all out. Turn it into a positive healthy hobby you can work on and even create into a novel. Or even to post on fan fiction sites. I think getting things out through writing helps you stop focusing so much about it all day long. It’s a release. And if you’re tempted to go back to daydreaming again, try to tell yourself “ok, I need to save this for my next writing session instead.”
I quit MDD cold turkey 3 days ago. These have been the longest and most painful 72 hours I remember. I feel weird and empty, it’s a strange feeling. Every now and then I have the urge to get back into my imaginary worlds but so far I’ve been able to not do it. I believe that resisting these moments of weakness are the most important thing when it comes to overcoming any addiction. Before I used to listen to music and be online (especially on social media) every minute of the day, right now I barely go online and I don’t listen to music at all because those are my main 2 triggers. Life feels pretty boring and bland without those 2 things but it is what it is. I know I still have a long way to go and it will require a lot of strenght and willpower, but I’m commited to it. I’m proud of myself for going this long without giving into the temptation. MDD has stolen the last 5 years of my life from me, I know 3 days is nothing but it’s a step forward nonetheless. A week without daydreaming is my next short term goal, wish me luck.
So my therapist told me a few things:
– Everyone day dreams and to not stop it completely. Set a specific time to do it everyday and then do it during that time slot.
– Grounding. I do a body scan or look at the the 4 corners of a room. At each corner I notice one thing and then move on to the next.
– Feel your feet, in your shoes, walking, running, etc.
– I try to identify the themes in my day dreams. If a majority have the same theme then I look at my life and see if that theme (a.k.a. Need) is being met. I try to meet that need.
I know someone already mentioned this but stay away from triggers!
I also just learned that I have this, I thought it was normal behavior for me and that other people did it. I saw a movie called (the secret life of Walter Mitty) which is based on a book, and throughout the movie I related to the character so much that it saddened me, because I also felt bad for him. After seeing it in someone else, I began to see it more in me. After that, I was adamant on finding ways to help stop it or at least lessen the intensity or decrease the frequency. Because it became too distressing, and took too many hours off my days. This is what I found helpful from my search:
1) The number one thing a lot of psychologists advice to do is talk therapy. Because according to them MMD usually stems from unresolved feelings and/or trauma from the past, usually childhood (not all studies support the trauma point). Try to know the root of it. Are you unsatisfied with your current life situation? Are you using daydreaming to escape reality? Notice what your thoughts say, and also be aware of physical sensations. You can also choose to learn about your core beliefs (which primarily form during our childhood). These beliefs control a lot of our thoughts and behaviors, it’s as if they are different selves living within us (Ex. I’m worthless, I’ve never been loved, I’ll never be good enough, I can’t trust anyone, etc.). Knowing where they come from helps tremendously. Of course ideally you would want to talk to a psychologist/psychotherapist, since they would be of great help. You can also use an app that offers online therapy. Psychologists believe that talk therapy is the most significant thing to consider doing if you experience MDD.
2) Tell someone about your MDD, they don’t have to relate or even understand, just tell them anyway. And notice how you feel after doing so.
3) Write a list of your triggers (ex. Being alone, showers, movies, music, after waking up, etc.). Chances are you’ll keep returning to the list to add more triggers throughout days. Keep the list close to you. When I did this, I was able to notice my daydreams in their beginnings because I pointed out the trigger quickly. And the moment you point it out it stops. You may go and forth from day dreams to reality. But you’ll get better at it with time.
4) Write down your interests. You can cheat from your day dreams. the day dreams usually involve idealized versions of ourselves, what we want to be or how we want to feel. Let’s say you imagine being a millionaire. Something you can do right now is learn more about business. You imagine being someone people look up too, start to notice those small kind gestures you do to others and appreciate them.
5) You can try setting a specific time every day to do nothing but day dream.
6) Be involved in activities that shift your focus from your thinking mind (ex. Exercise or sports). Yoga is really helpful because it teaches you to focus on your breath during movements and stillness. Though it may take time getting used to.