I'm trapped in a fantasy.
Hi, I'm a bit unfamiliar with online support but I'll try my best to communicate.
For the past couple of months I've been having trouble staying in the real world. It's like I'm there but my mind is somewhere so far away. I go to work and school and try to balance my social life but things are getting a little bit more difficult to concentrate on them as the days pass by. I daydream a lot and often find myself sucked in for several minutes to hours even. It used to be a little thing that would distract me from the struggles I would face in my life but it soon became something I didn't want to let go. I distract myself a lot by writing stories, music and sleeping. When I'm alone with no distractions, I daydream. I've tried sitting down and actually listening to myself but all that brings is sadness and loneliness.
Daydreaming and distracting myself are the only things keeping me going but I've become so dependent on them that I've started to neglect my actual life. It's like escaping to a different world where everything is all that I've ever wanted it to be. My current daydream has lasted four months. I have friends, family and even someone I love in that place. They all have personalities, lives and stories to tell. I know they're all fabricated and fake but they seem so real when I'm there. In four months, I was able to create an intricate world with things I love. The dream me there faces struggles and problems but at least she has friends, family and people who care that always help through them. I'm addicted to what I've created and I can't seem to let go of all those people I've met in that place. I genuinely love them all.
I used to be in a really dark place a year or so back and I didn't have anyone to support me. I found myself a job and it helped me distract myself from everything I was going through. I had tried talking to my parents about what I was struggling with but they brushed it off and blamed it on my laziness. They said it was the video games, the phone and the internet that caused me to be like that. In truth, I was using those as crutches so I wouldn't have to think about my life but I also heard some truth from what they said. So I stopped gaming, got a job and slept all the time. It worked for a while but I was so detached from myself that I don't even know who I am. I guess that's why I'm still like this.
I would appreciate any advice. I hope it wasn't too lengthy, thank you so much for your time.
Entering into daydreaming is like entering in through an amazing gateway. It is a fantastic place to be as long as it doesn't create disorder in our life.
Myself, I'm a passionate daydreamer. I use this state in a number of positive ways. It's strange to fathom but daydreaming is the state of not thinking. It's where things simply come to you. Example: You can be thinking 'What would life look like in a perfect world?' and then, bamm, through that gateway you enter, where suddenly an image comes to you without you actually thinking. It makes sense that some inventors are typically natural daydreamers. Inspiration comes to them. Einstein was said to be a great daydreamer. He would wonder about things and then allow inspiration to enter. Back into the thinking brain he would go again, theorising, making sense of what he imagined.
Read an amazing article some months ago about the power of daydreaming. fMRI scans revealed that the brain is more active while in a daydreaming state than it is outside of it. A lot more of the brain lights up.
Managing daydreaming is definitely hard at times. If we're an expert at easily zoning out, it can be pretty challenging to remain zoned into the physical world around us. My 14yo son is naturally creative and has a lot of trouble when it comes to not daydreaming. We're working on tips and tricks in managing. Personally, I find rubbing my hands together helps at times. Feeling your hands and hearing them rub together is a physical experience, so will therefor snap you back into the physical world. Stamping my feet up and down while I'm sitting in a chair is another trick.
Personally, I consciously daydream at times for a reason. Sounds strange but if I'm feeling challenged by something, I will pose a valid question and then daydream (zone out of my thinking brain). Typically, in such a relaxed state, the solution will naturally come to me. I'll either hear it or see it in my imagination. Example (doing this now by the way): 'What do I need to do today?' What comes to me is 'You need to start organising yourself a lot better than you have been'. I can see myself going to the supermarket as well as cleaning out a room that's been needing serious attention. Okay, now back into the thinking state, where I plan how the day will go. If I imagine tasks I don't want to undertake, this is seriously challenging and will need good planning, with little distraction.
Daydreaming is an ability to be mastered 🙂
Thank you so much for replying!
I'll try out the tips and tricks that you recommended. I want to balance my life but I also don't want to completely let go of my daydreams. They're a big chunk of my everyday life and I'm hesitant to let them go. I struggle with staying in control of my actual life so I like to retreat to daydreaming. What you've said about organising my thoughts is something I should get a hold of better. I've realise that just because there are problems, I shouldn't just avoid them because they usually come back to me but worse. It's just hard to find the right motivation to tackle them. I'll try nonetheless though.
In my eyes, life is not that interesting to me. I find it repetitive and boring. I constantly want to go out and never come back, even if I'll never see my friends and family for a while. Is there a way I could fix that mindset? I don't want to keep looking at my life like that, yet there's no way I can't. I've tried hobbies, making new friends and exploring things that could help me out. Fortunately I've been able to find some things I love and want to persue. However, I'm honestly just scared of growing up. I don't see a future that I want.
I want to be happier but it's like I'm scared of letting go of my sadness. It's comforting to know that the one thing that's been here is sadness. It's hard to explain but I feel safe being sad. I know I need to grow out of it though. I'm just scared I'll be someone worse if I do.
Sorry for making this so depressing. I really do appreciate any advice that's given though. Thank you again for helping me out 🙂
It is nice to meet you.
I used to be a big daydreamer as well and I'm actually quite sad that I've lost it. I think I've just become more mentally busy that I don't have the mental energy left to create.
I hope you don't mind if I make a quick observation, and please tell me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you've reached a comfortable mental place in your daydreams and, even though there are other hobbies and things you've found interesting, they would take you out of this comfortable place.
I think it's very normal to be concerned about the future and change - you've mentioned growing up, growing out of sadness and letting go of your daydreams. It is scary to 'move on' and unfortunately I don't think there's really a right way to do it. The best advice I can really give is that what you're saying now makes a lot of sense and I don't think you should ignore any of your feelings. As you've pointed out yourself, the daydreaming has been to help you distract from some of those really uncomfortable feelings and it sounds like it has been really helpful for that.
So as you now ponder some of those bigger questions about your future and changing your habits, I think the solution will lie in being able to understand and accept all these conflicting feelings. You are interested in new things, but you are scared of growing up. You are not interested in the life you have experienced, finding it repetitive and boring, but you don't like having this mindset. You feel safe being sad, but you feel like you need to grow out of that. I am hearing a lot of desire for both change and security. Perhaps this is a good time to practice being kind to yourself and accepting a lot of these feelings for what they are, rather than feeling like you need to fix them, or feeling like you need to retreat into a daydream.
Change is hard, especially when it involves leaving a secure place like your fantasy. But if you do feel trapped there, and you feel like you need to stop, then taking things one step at a time, at a pace you are comfortable with, is a really good start.
I do get the comfort in sadness aspect. I recall during my days in depression this feeling, sometimes actually being curled up in the fetal position, comfortable in a strange way, blocking out the rest of the world. Crying would often be so exhausting too so, like a baby, I would find my safe place and sometimes cry myself to sleep. It's strange how we can revert back to what was so natural in the beginning.
I'll pose a question: 'Is life boring/not that interesting or is it that the people around you are not that exciting?' Don't feel guilty for saying 'It's the people', if this is the case. Personally, I'm lucky that I have a few 'go to' people in my life who are happy to share my kind of excitement and inspire it. My 14yo son is the only person I know who'd jump in the water at the beach with me on a 12 degree morning (last year). Talk about coming to life! Lot's of screaming and laughter, I tell you. He also got me out kayaking last year, an activity I was fearful of. My 17yo daughter has me interested in the vibrancy of K-pop and life in general and my mum, who's 80, is actually 10 times more adventurous than my husband. It's tough when you've got people in your life who don't want to do much or make any significant changes, when they're not interested in rising with you, as you long to raise yourself in some way. My husband's a 'that's just me' person. I insist he believes this because he doesn't know any better. He's hard work at times 🙂 I look back on all the things I used to enjoy and they just don't do it for me anymore. Sometimes this happens. Instead of saying 'What's wrong with me, why don't I like the things I used to?', we can be best saying 'I've outgrown them in search of greater excitement!'
I'm glad you've found some things you want to pursue. Let those things lead you like stepping stones into a life you will gradually and naturally come to know and love. I know, hard to imagine but I've found life pretty much ticks this way. We graduate through the new, not the old. With the old we tend to stagnate and not truly feel life in an energetic sort of way.
If there's one thing about challenges, they'll always come back 'round if we haven't yet mastered them. As mentioned, I find daydreaming helps me a lot when it comes to mastering challenges. Daydreaming invites intuition. I like to look at this as 'inner tuition' to life's schooling, where you are required simply to pay attention to what naturally comes to you.
Hi therising and james1,
Thank you both for replying and giving me advice!
With what you suggested, james1, I'm worried about not being able to find what I want when I do take it easy on myself. I'm afraid that when I do give myself a break, I'll just be wasting my time. I don't want to be someone worse than I already am if I fail at opening myself up. I've tried accepting that things just may be like this for a short while and that everything gets better but it seems that this 'short while' is so long. Everything feels exhausting when I'm here. I'm not suicidal but there are times where I just want to take a long break from everything and go to sleep for a long time. Is there a way I can just get myself together faster? Without all the disappointment?
I do want to get better. I really do. I want to get away from being tired all the time and find something that really lights me up. I don't have many people in my life who I'm willing to talk to about mental issues but if I can find someone or a group of people, will that make me happier? I'm worried I'll burden them with my things if they really know what I think about and what's happening. I'm scared of losing the people around me. But if that's what it takes to get better, I'll find a way.
I'm grateful for all that has happened in my life. I'm still here and I've been blessed to have so many good things happen to me. I've grown from some things that I used to enjoy and I've never really thought about it the way you have, therising. Your words make sense and I see how it would be much better to focus my mindset on the things that await me after I've grown from doing the things I used to do.
Thank you both for all that you've written. I really apprecite all the things that you've said. I'll try my hardest to overcome my fears and anxiety with this type of stuff. Thank you.