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Daydreaming, Escapism, and PTSD

by Mike on August 13, 2008 · 23 comments

daydreaming gentleman sm3 Daydreaming, Escapism, and PTSDWhat is daydreaming? What is escapism? And are these symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

These are questions set for me by Spark, one of the readers of this blog.

The words “escapism” and “daydreaming” have strong moral overtones, especially “escapism.” Our society, based on Puritanism, frowns on all things that can’t be termed “productive.” To waste time in escapism and daydreaming are looked down upon as “lazy” or “sinful,” whether the terms are used in a secular or religious sense.

What exactly is escapism? Is it always a bad thing? And similarly, daydreaming: Is it mere escapism? Does it provide something useful to humans? Is it laziness? What is the nature of the flashbacks experienced with PTSD? Are they a type of daydreaming, or just escapism?

These are the important issues explored in this post.

This is the first post of a series in which I answer readers’ questions. If you would like to ask a question, please feel free to leave your question in a comment or use the Contact tab to email me. I answer all questions, whether or not you agree to have it be the subject of a post. If you do agree, you will not be identified by name.

Spark’s questions

Spark asked the following questions:

I’ve lived with daydreaming/escapism ever since I was four. My escape mechanisms work in daydreams. It’s mostly fantasy, or the life I want to live. I believed my life wasn’t exciting, so my daydreams would reflect what’s lacking. They showed the opposite of my life. If I felt unsuccessful, I was über-successful in my fantasies.

I do see a recurring theme of my sadness there. I always dreamed of becoming a dancer, and my daydreams show my dance success, but the sadness of my reality somehow seeps into those daydreams. 

I am a creative person, and quite a few people told me my daydreaming/escapism is a gift  of many writers and storytellers. 

I’ve had traumatic events happen in my life that intensified this behavior. I’d like to know if daydreaming/escapism has any relation to  Post Traumatic  Stress Disorder. In addition to traumatic events, I didn’t have much of a social life and many friends.  Could this contribute to that condition?

Actually, Spark has asked are several questions:

  • Is my daydreaming escapism or merely daydreaming?
  • Is my daydreaming a bad thing?
  • Is my daydreaming/escapism related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
  • Can my social life contribute to PTSD?

What is escapism and is it bad?

The Oxford dictionary defines escapism as “the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.” 

Almost all leisure activities are escapism

Broadly speaking, then, almost all forms of leisure activities could be termed escapism. They take our minds off the problems and stresses of the workaday world. In previous times, this could have been dancing, singing and storytelling. In modern times, escapism can take the form of vacations, sports, tv, video games, books, hobbies, and playing with the kids.

So escapism is not a bad thing in itself. Despite the pejorative tone cast put upon it in recent times, it is a necessary recreation that restores us so that we can once again go out into the big, bad world.

But like anything, escapism taken past moderation can become a problem. It can become addictive, excessive and injurious. For example, playing video games for days on end, or getting so immersed in the internet that you have no time for your family.

So the morally wrong sense of the  term “escapism” should be reserved for those who take excessive time away from real life to the point at which they seem to be trying to escape from it. 

Answer to Spark’s question: Your daydreaming is the bad form of escapism only if it interferes with the other activities of your life. If moderate escapism is one of your “recreations,” like watching tv, then I see nothing wrong with it.

What is daydreaming and is it bad?

Another definition from the Oxford dictionary: Daydreaming is ” a series of pleasant thoughts that distract one’s attention from the present.” 

Daydreaming was long held in disrepute in society and was associated with laziness. Sigmund Freud felt that only unfulfilled individuals created fantasies, and that daydreaming and fantasy were early signs of mental illness. In the 1950′s some educational psychologists warned parents not to let their children daydream, for fear that the children may be sucked into “neurosis and even psychosis.” In the 1960′s, textbooks used for training teachers provided strategies for combating daydreaming, using language similar to that used in describing drug use. 

Everybody daydreams

Everybody daydreams, whether they admit it or not — or are even aware of it. Psychologists estimate that one-third to one-half of a person’s thoughts while awake are daydreams. Most psychologists consider daydreams a natural component of the mental process for most individuals.

A recent study, set up by Malia Mason of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, found that when people are busy on a task, one part of their brain lights up in brain scans. As soon as the task is completed, another part of the brain lights up: the daydreaming part. Mason said, 

There is a network of regions [of the brain] that always seems to be active when you don’t give people something to do. … It’s daydreaming. … In the absence of a task that requires deliberative processing, the mind generally tends to wander, flitting from one thought to the next with fluidity and ease.

[This] kind of spontaneous mental time travel lends a sense of coherence to ones’ past, present and future experiences. Although the thoughts the mind produces when wandering are at times useful, such instances do not prove that the mind wanders because these thoughts are adaptive; on the contrary the mind may wander simply because it can.

So, daydreaming is a natural, normal thing that happens to all of us all the time.

Daydreaming in childhood

Daydreaming first occurs for most people during childhood, sometime before age three. These early daydreams set the pattern for adult daydreaming. 

Daydreaming starts in childhood

Children who have positive, happy daydreams of success and achievement generally continue these types of mental images into adulthood. These daydreamers are most likely to benefit from the positive aspects of mental imagery. Daydreams become the impetus for problem-solving, creativity, or accomplishment. 

On the other hand, children whose daydreams are negative, scary, or visualize disasters are likely to experience anxiety, and this pattern will carry over into adulthood as well. A child’s daydreams may take a visible or public form: the daydreaming child talks about his mental images while he is experiencing them, and may even act out the scenario he is imagining. After age ten, however, the process of internalizing daydreaming, rather than acting them out, begins.

Daydreaming as a creative activity

Daydreaming can be a creative activityIt is not unusual for a daydream, or series of daydreams, to precede an episode of creative writing or invention. Athletes, musicians, and other performers use a form of daydreaming known as visualization. As the individual prepares for a competition or performance, she forms a mental picture of herself executing and completing the task with the desired successful outcome.

There are numerous examples of people in creative or artistic careers, such as composers, novelists, and filmmakers, developing new ideas through daydreaming. Similarly, research scientists, mathematicians, and physicists have developed new ideas by daydreaming about their subject areas.

The bottom line is the same as it is for escapism: Do the daydreams take over your life, do they go beyond the bounds of moderation? Do the daydreams interfere with your normal functioning to the point where you are impaired?

Answer to Spark’s question: Daydreaming is not bad in itself, if done in moderation. It can lead to creative ideas and actions. They can become the impetus for problem-solving and accomplishment. They are not mere escapism or laziness; they are a positive, entirely normal human activity that can be “productive.”

Daydreaming, escapism and PTSD

Flashbacks are not daydreams

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is unique among psychiatric disorders in that it is identified not only by symptoms, but also by the precursor of the illness — the traumatic event. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which they were threatened with death or serious physical injury, and the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Some of the diagnostic criteria for PTSD go far beyond daydreaming. The traumatic event is re-experienced over and over by:

  • Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions.
  • Recurrent distressing dreams of the event.
  • Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring

The social life of a person with PTSD can be severely hampered by other symptoms caused by the trauma:

  • Efforts to avoid conversations associated with the trauma 
  • Efforts to avoid people that arouse recollections of the trauma 
  • Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  • Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others 
  • Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
  • Sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

Answer to Spark’s question: Daydreaming cannot be a symptom of PTSD, nor can escapism. The flashbacks of PTSD are always of a traumatic event, and never daydreams of simple fantasies. A restricted social life may be a symptom of some other Anxiety Disorder, but as a symptom of PTSD, it must be related to the traumatic event. Remember that PTSD always has a precursor to its development: the traumatic event. Remember also that restrictions to a person with PTSD’s social life are always a result of that traumatic event.

What do you think?

Despite the facts, society still frowns upon daydreaming and escapism. I consider it a product of denial and non-thinking! 

It is important to note that this post constitutes my opinion and should not be considered as a qualified medical diagnosis.  Please read my disclaimer!

  • What do you think of daydreaming and escapism? Can they be positive, or are they always negative?
  • What is the role of daydreaming in your life?
  • Have you ever experienced going beyond moderation in daydreaming or escapism?

As always, your comments are welcome!

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to this blog, either via RSS or email at the top of your screen. I would also appreciate your sharing it using your favorite social media, such as StumbleUpon or Digg. Just click the little green “ShareThis” button at the bottom of this post.

Resources used in this post:

BNet: Health Care Industry. (2008). Daydreaming. Retrieved August 1, 2008 from BNet Web site: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2699/is_0000/ai_2699000083

The Neurocritic, (2007, January 23). Daydreaming and Thought-Sampling. Retrieved x from The Neurocritic Web site: http://neurocritic.blogspot.com/2007/01/daydreaming-and-thought-sampling.html

Mason, Malia; Norton, Michael L.; Van Horn, John D.; Wegner, Daniel M.; Grafton, Scott T.; Macrae, C. Neil. (2007, January 19). Wandering Minds: The Default Network and Stimulus-Independent Thought. Retrieved August 1, 2008 from Science Magazine Web site: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/315/5810/393

MSNBC. (2007, January 19). Caught Daydreaming? Blame Brain’s Settings. Retrieved August 1, 2008 from MSNBC Web site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16709755/

wiseGEEK. (2008). What is Escapism?. Retrieved August 1, 2008 from wiseGEEK Web site: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-escapism.htm

Further reading:

A Head in the Clouds: Daydreaming could bring benefits – LSU Daily Reveille  

Daydreaming improves thinking -  Cosmos  

Escape from the Insipid: Our Brains May Be Wired for Daydreaming – Scientific American  

Why Does Daydreaming Get Such a Bad Rap? – WebMd  

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Webmaster March 29, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I’m really thinking that this person could have Maladaptive Daydreaming. It’s a little understood condition that causes obsessive daydreaming. She sounds like she has some of the symptoms, including early onset on this problem. I have Maladaptive Daydreaming. It’s like an daydreaming addiction and mental illness all wrapping up into one, and is very hard for me to stop. This problem is currently the subject of a clinical study. Take a look at this website to learn more:

http://daydreamingdisorder.webs.com/

I really feel that as more research is done on Maladaptive Daydreaming, that we will discover the problem is far more common than anyone would have guessed. I think it is possible that many people who are labeled “fantasy prone” may have this problem. There is also a theory that trauma and abuse can create this problem or make it worse.

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Tiffany October 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I believe that I have a serious problem with daydreaming. I imagine myself in scenarios all of the time with a better life. For example as I walk through a parking lot I imagine that people I want to know are looking at me. I am not crazy and I know that they are not there but I find myself being drawn to live in a fantasy world because I do not like my life at all. I know that people talk about me as though I am not smart but I do not think that anyone so far has caught on to the fact that I am daydreaming a lot. I think they think that I just do not learn things very easily. I have always wanted to be “known” but no matter how physically attractive I make myself look I just never got the attention that I wanted. So instead I daydream about important people knowing me. I do admit that I have an enormous self esteem problem and I do come across as dumb to people sometimes. People do comment on that, so to escape I do daydream. I am different I suppose. I feel as though I never fit in. I am told that I am very attractive though all of the time. I guess although I may not be bad to look at, I just don’t have “it”. Whatever that is. Because I have always been told attractive but not very “bright” I daydream to escape life. I am tired of doing this. Is this a disorder that can be helped? I “escape” life through daydreaming almost 90% of my day. Please help, and email me back

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Webmaster at Daydreamingdisorder October 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Hi Tiffany,

It’s hard to say what is exactly going on with you. You could have Maladaptive Daydreaming (but please realize that this disorder is not yet recognized by the medical community.) Here is my site about MD:

http://www.daydreamingdisorder.webs.com/

You might want to join the Yahoo forum for this problem and compare your symptoms to others:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/maladaptivedaydreamers/

You could also write Dr. Cynthia Schupak, who just finished the first clinical study on this problem (cschupak@aol.com)

However, your best bet might be to go to a good therapist, tell them everything, and see what they think. Good luck, hon.

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Jane Long December 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm

My son is 30 years old and has had two marriages that ended in divorces,he has a son from each marriage. He has nothing to do with them. He can not hold a job, he says that he is looking but he has a lot of excuses when we ask him if he has been looking.
in July he went into the air force and went through boot camp, he is (was) in the reserves and is now getting kicked out of that due to bills, and his driving record, I think that his lack of paying child also did not help.
He is a twin his brother was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder,I have it besides ptsd. My husband is a viet nam vet he has sever ptsd, depression,and serious health problems. Dad would go into temper session yell,cuss and sometimes hit the boys. Charles was the one who was upset the most. He got to where he would not ask dad for help on homework. Charles graduated second to last in high school, he went to college to become a cop. He took a course to become a prison guard, that did not work. He entered another college in there police school and got kicked out of that. He is a very smart man he was when he was younger.
He is living with his soon to be wife. He called us and wanted to borrow are car “so he could look for a job” dad told him that he had it for a couple of months and did not look for a job.
I know that being bi-polar is not easy. Something is wrong with him.

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james March 12, 2011 at 6:15 am

hi tiffany can i have your email address. Im sure i can help you.

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Fabio March 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Tiffany, I doubt you aren’t smart. You certainly sound like a very clever and interesting person! Maybe it is because you daydream a lot that people think that you aren’t able to concentrate on what they expect you to understand. I don’t really know you personally, but I also doubt that no one has ever shown interest on getting to know you! Actually, I feel the same way as you do, I worry quite a lot about improving my appearance, but that never seems to suffice to catch people’s attention. Though I’ve heard that people often show interest on me and I never notice it, maybe because I daydream too much. I’m not sure if it’s true for me, but it may be the case for you!

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Barbara March 27, 2011 at 7:46 am

I daydream a lot too. I have never heard of Maladaptive daydreaming but I am going to check into it. I believe there are a few reasons why I day dream so much. It did start when I was little. I did not have a good childhood and I think it was my way of dealing with that. It carried over into adulthood. Because of the childhood I had, I have self-esteem issues. I can talk to people but I have never been the social butterfly. Often I feel akward, even though I know no one is better than anyone else. I’m not a recluse. I have a good job and I get along well with everyone there and I have two children but I feel this has held me back in many other areas of life. I think I’m going to take the advise you gave Tiffany and talk to someone about it.

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gena December 9, 2011 at 1:13 am

My daughter died Dec. 29, 2009..she was four months old. i have three other daughters and my husband. Since this happened i have what i call “uncontrollable daydreams. Example, my husband and daughters will be leaving to go somewhere and as they pull away I see them getting into a horrible accident and its very graphic. my daughter can be walking down stairs and i see her falling and breaking her bones. Please help me figure out something to do to stop this.

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Anon E. Mouse December 18, 2011 at 7:19 am

I daydream all the time and create intricate fantasies of a life I wished I lived. My mom thinks that I have this magnificent creative ability, which points towards a writing profession, but really I’d rather function fictitiously in my head than associate with people in reality. I spend hours, sometimes the whole day in bed with my thoughts. I have everything I could ever want, and there is no one there to stand in my way or hinder my ability to gt it. It’s my reality.

I stopped going to classes, interacting with my peers, family, friends, and have let my responsibilities slide. I realize that this is probably detrimental to my health, but I don’t know what to do. I have undiagnosed social phobia and often feel like an outcast amongst my peers. I also struggle with depressive episodes and have since I was 13 (20 now). I went to seek counseling for a situation-related, stress inducing event and was told that I may have dsythmia.

I just feel like I have a bunch of mental disorders and am probably the most f*cked up person in the world. It’s this cyclical behaviour that often brings me into depressive episodes in the first place. Anyways, sorry about the essay…daydreams are my escape; there where I feel free, happy, and fulfilled.

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Anonymous January 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Such a pity how so many of you view yourselves as “f*cked up” and “mentally ill” for doing something as innocent as daydreaming. There is no shame in what you’re doing… we all have our own ways of coping with the world we live in, and with the experiences we’ve had in life. You obviously derive a kind of peace and enjoyment in daydreaming that you can’t salvage from reality… so you should revel in your daydreaming, rather than let the judgments of a cold, overly rational society dictate what is “best” for you and how you live from day-to-day.

It’s ironic, how we live in a society so fixated on peoples’ “rights”… yet we’re branded “maladapted” and “mentally ill” when we seek mere respite from the numerous stresses and burdens it places upon us from the cradle to the grave. It’s well within your rights to “escape” if that’s what you desire… and any who would question you, or shame you for your “laziness” and “unproductivity” are full of themselves. Remember… you’re a human being, not a worker in a bee colony! Set the petty judgments of others aside and live by your own rules.

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Abby Normal April 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm

This can be a very frustrating thing to have going on in one’s life. I have PTSD and panic disorder. I’ve recently begun working again, in a busy office and it is such a struggle for me to stay present and focused on what’s going on. I space out and “go somewhere” and I know my co-workers notice it. It’s like most of my conscious time is spent in some spacey dissassociative state, and I’m annoyed to have to exercise my brain to focus up on the task at hand, or I simply struggle to do so. It drains tremendous energy to keep having to bring myself back from these daydreams/fantasies/analysis paralysis whatever you want to call them. I hope anyone else suffering with this knows they are not alone and I also wish that we could all let go of judging people who seem “stupid” sometimes, like me, I am in another place inside my head where at some level I think it’s safer.

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Marsh May 9, 2012 at 12:10 am

Spark:

I know exactly what you mean. I have been daydreaming excessively since I was a child and I never realized that it was a problem since it was never pointed out to me. I do not consider this to be healthy myself; it is certainly at odds with responsibility and productivity. I am skeptical of mental disorders since I realize that after all they are social constructs and labels; at the same time, I realize that a social construct is not necessarily bad – it is what we make of it that matters. I find that the best description for my daydreaming comes from research into “Borderline Personality Disorder”. If you find that you alternately idealize/demonize close friends or relatives you might want to look into this disorder. I personally do not see a psychiatrist; I have bad experiences with every one of them that I have seen. However, I do self-medicate, using Nicorette chewing gum to relieve me of anxiety, daydreaming, mood swings and intrusive thoughts. Nicotine is an interesting drug that seems to be helpful across the whole board of mental disorders. I used to smoke but gave it up since I want to live a long life – hence the substitute that I am using. But the fact I have learned from all of this, and which I will try to drive home in this lengthy response, is that as much as we self-reflect and understand our own problems, nothing helps us like a drug. Whether you choose to self-medicate (Nicorette, Nicotine patches, but never take up smoking) or resort to psychiatric medications, is up to you. But if you feel like it is interfering with your social life, professional life, and/or personal relationships, it is best to find something that works, whether it be medication, self-medication, meditation, or exercise. My personal choice is Nicorette and exercise. See what works for you.

I hope this response reaches you. Best of luck to your dancing. A fellow sympathizer, Marsh.

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Lazydaze October 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

I fully understand Tiffany. She basically described my life. Im the pretty but stupid blonde. Except that I’m married and have children. I’m always daydreaming. I hate it because I always lose out on things. If I’m in a meeting, I only hear half of it and then I’m lost looking stupid. Maybe I just have ADD. I don’t understand myself. I wish there was a solution. I just want to be able to concentrate and not lose focus and feel stupid. Can anyone help?

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Person November 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm

My experiences with daydreaming and dreaming go back to early childhood. I was tricked into having sexual relations at an early age despite saying no several times and then being forced and groomed. I kept it secret, I thought I’d be punished-as being raised in a particularly strict religious family at the time. So I chose to daydream and live a secret double life. In early childhood I attempted to act out sexually which in turn ended up turning into a daily secretive thing-and led to several other violently traumatic memories. In a way they are my fault but not-it depends on how you feel about the ability of a 6-7 year old making those decisions. I’ll tell you this-I knew it was wrong-but wrong was normal. I was seeking attention and acknowledgement I wasn’t getting elsewhere.

Secrecy was the cornerstone of my lessons taught by my parents. Don’t be, just fit in. Part of the reason that I feel so pissed off when people tell me how much they love my parents. It makes my stomach churn.

By that point I made a total false reality that I truly believed in. I had a fantasy world-a safe zone for when violent or bad things happen. I had a close family member with a recurrent health issue I had to monitor, a sexually abusive friend (only friend due to a profound shyness and inability to connect), and violent family members with violent and destructive acquaintances. I didn’t fit in at school- because I would disconnect and delve into art. Being abused by a woman made me shut out possible female friends and lean towards male friendships only.

I thank that ability for keeping me safe- But now it’s time to bid farewell with it.

My struggle is that I’ve never known myself. I fantasize about who and what I am- a splitting that occurred when I started school and dealt with bullying and cruelty. I started working on an image for myself after being ridiculed for my likes, dislikes, and clothing. I couldn’t possibly take any more shit from people- so I conformed. I just became an agree-r. Whatever you like, yeah, I like that. It always made me the background member of the crowd because people knew I was full of crap. It’s not hard to put your finger on.

So here I am now, in my early twenties, stuggling to make a grip on sanity. Struggling to find out who I am, and struggling to stay on top of negativity and maladaptive daydreaming.

The even bigger complication is that my family and their friends are large followers of occult and metaphysics- I have ‘proclaimed’ psychics in my lineage. Being as though I was raised to believe those things exist, make me intrinsically question my reality. Being as though diagnosis of shizophrenia and bi-polar running in my lineage-It makes me question whether I experience either of those disorders- but in the many years of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, and several others-I have yet to be diagnosed even having discussed that openly.

I have a diagnosis of chronic PTSD-I’m not sure that will ever fade. But at least I am regaining some normalcy by seeking faith and focusing on the now and what matters. I have to simply refrain from getting away from the uncomfortable feeling of being me. That’s hard.

To date, there’s not a single person who believes my life story, I think. Nobody who wants to be close, nobody who enjoys what I do, and nobody I can relate to. I feel like I have led a solitary life and am embarking on an even more solitary one. I still have to lie about faith and metaphysics. That’s why I won’t use my name here.

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Person November 2, 2012 at 11:15 pm

“Anonymous” -I doubt you’ll see this (You posted in January) but if you do, my only disagreement with your thinking is that you forget to acknowledge and exist in an objective and rational reality. To each his own-BUT, reality can be a cold reminder when it hits in the midst of a daydream. It’s like when a drug user comes down off a high and his/her mom or dad tells them “Hey, you’re messing up! You are brilliant, you can be someone” and then they go back to either their high or fantasy. Daydreaming is more destructive than drugs, because it’s free and can be used at any time.

Why die having given nothing back to the world? Floating through life I call it. If you live like a ghost-you’re probably only a ghost in your relations with others in the now.

Give it up!-take the blows of reality. Feel angry now, feel dissapointed now, surrender your ego, feel worthless, and then you can work your way up to feel love, feel great, and feel meaningful. Besides-it means so much more to earn than to receive.

Much respect. I like comments that make me think.

I suggest to anyone reading-simply…WAKE UP. It reminds me of a film called Waking Life.

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spiritual awakening December 11, 2012 at 6:55 am

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Riverwatch January 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

This was an extremely helpful article.
I am blogging on aging and my current post-in-progress is about daydreaming….and Reality Therapy, NOT! in the elderly.
Thanks
“Riverwatch”

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yoga332 March 6, 2013 at 3:33 am

i can relate to tiffany ,i have alot of day dreams they started in my childhood , and they continue now in my twenties but unlike my experinces in my childhood “big happy lucky time “now i seem to have fantasies daydreams, associated with very negative emotions of fear guilt, sensing that something bad will happen , even though i hate it when i’m having those fantasies i cant help it ,i experincing them all the time and i hate my self for it, i have gone through therapy for years but not continiously i been diagnosed with PTSD ,wish has caused a lot of social anxiety to me,so even though my therapist doesnt agree with me completly i think that those daydreams i’m having have a direct link with my PTSD; to my traumatic event i have been writing endlessly in my journal !so here what i discovered ;when i pay attention at those scenarios i’m having in my head i can see that they are thoughts emotions,images they are the exact opposit of the thoughts and feeling i had in my traumatic event like example ( worthless/becomes very popular and loved by everyone :a rock star!) !those intrusions are unwelcome uninvited and painful i dont wont them i dont i’m scared to death to even hear them. so basically if you wont those fantasies to stop interupting your life you need to go back and remember u need to heal…

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Mireya March 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm

It’s hard to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

Thanks

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nick July 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

have any of you tried medication? it appears that you are asleep. and meditation is the thing to awaken you hence enlightenment – where it is stopping daydreaming… that’s what being awakened means, being totally ‘aware’ of your surroundings and present moment.

thanks
namaste
nick

p.s. i’ve had schizophrenia and ptsd, and am curing with raw food and meditation, and it works…

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ariel February 8, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Daydreaming is a much healthier alternative to substance abuse, the diversion of choice for an increasingly higher number of Americans. What might look like daydreaming to the Neuro-Typical Adult is a total body-mind requirement for those of us on the spectrum (autism). Yes, the habit of daydreaming in front of a screen can accelerate unhealthy brain changes; but consider the educational value of online learning. Human Beings are increasingly isolating themselves; seeing images of one another around the Planet is also a powerful healing force, and doesn’t it take on a dreamy quality to see our faces in one another? I say daydreaming is more good than bad if it helps us keep the fire burning for the Human Race.

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ali September 17, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Hi, Im a psychology student and this is my dissertation.
Im afraid all the other comments are on the right track, you might want to read more on Maladaptive Daydreaming – that seems to be the case of your reader.

I am more concerned about your claim on PTSD – daydreaming – escapism relationships though. In the DSM V, you will see that MD is actually a symptom of PTSD, dissociative disorder, etc.

It /might/ (because i am not done proving it yet on my paper) be because daydreaming becomes a form of escapism for a ptsd patient. Daydreaming is a pleasure seeking activity, just think that if you are suffering from ptsd means that there are some scenarios that are too painful for you to remember. Thus, your brain protects you and you daydream something positive, and you obsess over that daydream because you dont want to remember or even you dont want to acknowledge that “painful scenario” happened. This results to impaired reality. A form of escapism. There are also researches that suggest that daydreaming can be more apparent and obsessive for children who suffered traumatic events.

It can also be that you daydreams about that exact painful memory because it haunts you, so you daydream about it over and over again. because some daydreams cannot be actually controlled.

For spark and the others: read the seminal work of Eli Somer. its a qualitative research about maladaptive daydreaming. You can contact me, just reply to this comment. :) goodluck.

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