Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.
Maladaptive daydreaming(19 Posts)
I'm not the OP in this article but I do the same. I function in life the way everyone expects me to, being mum, wife etc, but when I'm alone (not just home alone, so alone in whatever room of the house) I do this. I am someone else, different husband etc. On the one hand I believe I'm mentally ill and on the other hand I think it's the only thing keeping me sane.
It started as young as five. I grew up in a very violent and abusive home. The only emotion I remember having as a child is pure and utter fear. This was how I coped. I am an only child so in the privacy of my bedroom, or during the many times I was home alone(they would go out and tell me to lock the door and don't let anyone in, even when I was 5) I became someone else. Prettier, smarter, more talented and very much loved by my pretend parents.
I have never grown out of it. I'm in my forties now. There have been times when it has been alot less prevalent but it's increasing again. I have a decent husband and a lovely daughter. Very few friends and no other family about. My dh parents are very elderly and he has no living siblings so there are no bil or sil or cousins for my daughter.
And I have several chronic illnesses which make it impossible to hold down a job. I feel maybe 60% ok about 2 or 3 days a week and that's the best it has been for 8 years. Problem is I never know which days will be ok ish and which ones I'll be flat in bed barely able to move about. And since employers need people who can be at work in a schedule I can't work.
We have money issues as well. DH is earning just enough that we're not entitled to any benefits but only just. So some people who are on benefits actually have more income per month than we do.
All of this leads me to my escapism and I prefer that 1 million times more than my life.
Anyway just wanted to vent and see if anyone else has same. Do you try to get mental help for it? I wouldn't even know how to start vocalising this face to face with anyone.
It's ok! Wanted to let you know, this is more normal than you think. I get it, too, for pretty much the same reasons. I think it's a form of dissociation. As you say, it's hard to know if it is the problem, or if it is a coping strategy. I like to believe the latter, as long as there is a grip on reality - which, in your case, there is (you recognise why you can't hold down a job, and that there are money issues, etc).
I've recently come to terms with doing this, and have identified a few coping strategies that work for me. These include emailing or texting a friend, no matter how 'loose' or distant they are, loosing myself in music or a good book instead of my daydreams, and 'allowing' myself certain amounts of time to do it in (it's 3pm, I can loose myself until 3.15 and then I have to mop the floor).
Then tackle the rest of your life. I sense that you are unhappy or unfulfilled. Could you have a couple of counselling sessions for that? Is there any way you could take on some sort of flexible work: dog walking, sewing, proof reading? Obv. hard to know without knowing the rest, but you are doing the right thing by just 'being nice' to yourself (I believe it is called self-compassion) and recognising what you can and can't do.
I was pretty relieved to read your post, tbh!
PS- Had a quick scan of the link, but I don't think it is particularly helpful. This is not schizophrenia, and more 'healthy' people do this than we realise - just that it is not talked about so much. It is very common in people who have endured abusive childhoods. I would put it in the same bracket as having imaginary friends and having nightmares, being imaginative and creative. It's part of those personality traits.
*loosing myself - OMG cannot believe I wrote that! 'LOSING myself'..
*I can loose myself = I can lose myself.
ARFGH! Stupid phone!
Thank you for your lovely and well thought out reply. I'm relieved I'm not the only one. I totally accepted it in my childhood but, facing my bday next week and realising I still do it has been a bit emotional for me. I feel like I'm ill or some sort of freak. B ut I do think it saved me and serves a purpose.
It was only after googling "pretending I'm someone else" that I came across the article and it is the closest result to what I'm actually experiencing, and it has a name so definitely more common than I thought.
I love listening to music but when I do I start pretending I'm in the studio recording or onstage performing it 🙁
Not sure about dog walking and sewing but proofreading would be interesting. Where and how do I find that kind of job?
I've recently signed up to do audiobooks with Librivox. It's voluntary but I'm a great reader with a nice voice and I'd like to think it's helpful to someone somewhere. I've done my test recordings and passed so just waiting for dd to go back to school tomorrow so I can start.
I really could do with some paid work though. Not looking for much, an extra £200 per month would make a massive difference.
Want to do paid audiobook reading but they hire voice actors and professional readers for that.
Thank you for being brave enough to post about your experience of this.
OP, there was a long thread about fantasy lives here on MN.
It ran for many pages with the most outrageous scenarios.
Have you applied for PIP? It sounds like you should be entitled to it. It's for people with disabilities or health problems, and isn't means tested.
Trini that's made me pissed off on your behalf. How fucking dare he make you feel bad. I've just applied for PIP myself, after being advised to by my GP, for exactly the same reasons, I've got several chronic illnesses. It's sounds like your DH needs to brush up on his knowledge of PIP, and stop acting like a judgey arsehole. Is he generally nice to you?
Maybe not quite, it was long time ago, it makes for great reading though. at least it will make you laugh.
Mary He is generally nice to me but he's one of these who feels like because he works in DWP he knows it all. It's also a pride issue for him. But I'm the one suffering and there are situations where I need extra financial help to deal with things that arise from my illnesses. My illnesses are considered "invisible" but they are chronic and have a combined debilitating effect. I feel so oet down that he's not on my side with this. I'm beginning to think all those years of 'I understand' were just lip service. I'm royally pissed off about it.
I understand. You may have a job on your hands getting him to see your point of view, but be strong, don't give up. Chronic illness, particularly, I think, invisible chronic illness, requires strength and resolve that I didnt know I had. My take on my situation, after years of justifying myself, is that if you don't believe me and support me, you can fuck off, whoever you are. I used to keep quiet, not anymore. Good luck!
I've done this since I was a child. It was a coping strategy. I had to dissociate from the abuse and neglect I was suffering. I haven't done it for many years now, since I've been in recovery.
I'm diagnosed with PTSD, and avoidant and dependent personality disorders, some traits of BPD.
You're not alone
MaryI'm still going through with the claim. He will have to live with that and with the fact that I now see him as a judgey twat and won't be telling him anything about my personal health etc from now on.
peace how did you get a formal diagnosis? I have had some talk therapy on nhs but they only gave me 6 sessions of actual therapy which hardly even scrached the surface. I didn't talk about this particular issue as it was more about coping strategies for long term illness but ptsd was mentioned when I talked about my childhood and that I go into near breakdown if dh has a cross tone with dd.
I've been in mental health services since I was 13 (I'm 30 now), numerous therapies and different psychiatrists with different ideas. One suggested BPD and eventually I was referred to a specialist PD clinic (lucky to have one in my trust) and had an in-depth diagnosis, then ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy).
Oh and I receive PIP myself. Your DH should know that you wouldn't be awarded anything unless you deserved it (even some of those who do deserve them struggle to get them ). Grrr.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.