Maladaptive Daydreaming- Treatments

Welcome Dreamers, to the Maladaptive Daydreamers discussion. Today we are talking about treatments.

What helps? What doesn’t? From anti psychotic drugs to meditation, let’s look at what people have tried and what has made a difference in their lives.

Since MD is not a recognized diagnosis, researching treatments was rather difficult. So I looked to other disorders that share some of the same symptoms as MD, anxiety, depression, bipolar, OCD, schizophrenia, and mental health in general.

PLAY CLIP

I went the medical route at first, but they had trouble figuring out what label to give me. They finally chose Bipolar. Even though I have almost no bipolar symptoms. Their reasoning was, maybe my moods swings are way more gradual and spaced out. O….K……. But they did try 3 different medications on me to try to control my “intrusive” thoughts. The third one did help some, but caused side effects that I just couldn’t live with. So I went off all meds and am now trying to go a more natural way, diet, supplements, and learning to avoid triggers or redirect my thoughts.

I think treatments can be broken down into the following categories;

Medication

Therapy

Naturopathy

Self control

Medication– they seem to group drugs by classifications of disorders. Like with me the physiatrist said that bipolar was in the  schizophrenia family of disorders. And that there were a certain number of drugs used for those disorders. Then we just started with one and then had a wait and see time.

I have read that some people have had success with OCD medications, and those for ADD.

Have you had any success with medications? I think the DD or default network on the brain is very powerful and will be difficult to control with medication. Because you can’t or don’t want to turn it off all together.

Therapy-I tried a local therapist. My insurance allowed me 6 visits. She spent the six visits trying to figure out how to classify me to file the ins. I even took in the articles and study on MD to show her. Then she just spent all that visit telling me how untrustworthy the study was. I never got to talk about what was bothering me, about the DDs, their meaning or anything that would have been helpful to me. But I am in a rural area so I have few options here.  

I have heard that some other people have found good therapist that have helped them.  Has it worked for you?

 Naturopathy- this could be meditation, nutritional supplements, Tai Chi, Yoga, diet. I am trying this route now. Trying to increase my consumption of natural foods,

healthy fats, According to FoodForTheBrain.org, people with schizophrenia have reduced amounts of these fatty acids in their brains, so adding foods that contain them can help treat the illness.

Taking supplements, Niacin deficiency can produce thought disorders, hallucinations and depression. I am going to try taking that to see if it helps.

Have you tried any of these things?

Self Control- here would be the avoidance of triggers, redirecting your thoughts, cognitive therapy maybe. A friend of mine on the MD yahoo group offered some suggestions for reducing MD episodes.  1: if there are books or TV shows that do not trigger your MD, then use them as a distraction. 2: Try to DD at appropriate times. I have heard others suggest this as well. By giving yourself a time to DD you may be able to put it off at inappropriate times.

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show notes- Daydream characters

Where do your characters come from? TV, movies, books, real life, made up? Are you one?
Do you think all the characters are some part of your own subconscious?
Has your characters changed over time?
But first:


Daydreaming in the news.
www.communityadvocate.com I was just thinking about…. reveling in reverie
www.webmd.com Why does daydreaming get such a bad rap?
www.cosmosmagazine.com Daydreaming improves thinking
www.bellaonline.com Daydreaming
A quote from blogspot- twistedXfantasies

life of a daydream addict.

“I looked deep into the water at my reflection, there was a face there, and it wasn’t mine. I made my character, I made the world, her emotions and her thoughts. I made myself.

We make our characters, even if there are based on celebrities, we still change them to suit our needs. Are they telling us what we need….. or showing us who we are? I’ve heard that characters in our night dreams are versions of ourselves, I don’t know that it holds true for DDs.
Our characters,
first off, are you one of your characters? When I first started suffering from MD I was not in them. They were about a book I was reading, I kept acting out different endings to the story. It didn’t seem so strange at first, but I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Not long after that I started being in the story. And I have been ever since.
Many MDers say that they are an idealized version of themselves in the DDs.
I am not an idealized version of myself, in fact I am quite flawed. Though I must admit I am younger looking, a little thinner.

Some things my friends say; list some comments from the forum.

Like authors identify with their characters, we also know our characters, personally. Some are parts of us, some are people we long to know, some are just random movie extras. Most we know by name, some we’ve known for a very long time. If we were suddenly cured from MDD and our DDs stopped, we’d miss them. Our lives may become more filling and joyous as we rejoin the human race and we could go on to be more successful and achieve great things. But we’d miss them.

Negative Daydreams Show notes

Show Notes

Negative daydreams

Intro music- Slot-pred; GooGoo Dolls-Iris; Three days grace-pain

Why do we put ourselves through it? Fear, anger, and grief woven into a daydream. We cry, fell fear, sadness, all in our dream world. Can we control it? Is it linked to depression? Do we want to feel pain? Lets discuss our negative daydreams and look for ways to get them under control.
Looking at why we daydream negative or traumatic events. I have noticed in lots of posts in the main forum that many of us seem to have little real emotions or feelings. Cold, empty, are some of the comments I’ve seen. I too have very little feelings or emotional response in real life. I think the drama we create in our daydreams is feeding the need for emotions we lack. A traumatic event in my daydream will make me cry, for real. I very seldom cry in real life .Same thing with love and joy, no matter how bad my DD gets I always bring it to a happy ending., sooner or later. It may take days to get there. The feelings I get through the DD are a high, that I can’t get in real life. Does anyone else feel this way?
The negative emotions that you experience in your dreams can reflect the feelings you have in waking life. When you dream, the part of your brain that processes emotions, that conditions you to fear certain things and that is responsible for your reaction to threatening situations – your “fight or flight response”- is active. At the same time, you don’t have the need to repress your emotions that you do in waking life. As a result, negative emotions can seem more intense when you dream than when you are awake.

In our dreams, we tend to experience more negative emotions than positive
emotions, even when we feel more positive in our waking lives.

Do you find that to be true? As far as quantity, are most of your DDs negative? Even those of mine that are not dealing with negative themes still don’t have a joyful feeling to them. I am always struggling to over come something, to fit in, to survive. When things work out, the DD seems to end. A different one will start. I have tried to stay in the “happy” place. Tried to keep DDing about the good life I finally achieved in the DD but I can’t keep it going. Then my brain will start skipping back to very emotional scenes from that DD or an older one. The I finally give up and a new challenge starts.  

According to the evolutionary theory of dreams, this is because our dreams
are designed to teach us how to deal with difficult, dangerous situations.
Dreams teach us what to do if we are being threatened by dangerous
creatures or if we have to fight to survive. Thus, it is common for us to
have dreams in which we experience fear or anxiety or dreams in which we
are so enraged that we become violent.

Jung would say that if you examine the negative emotions you have in your
dreams, you can identify emotions you have been repressing in your waking
life. Acknowledging and understanding these emotions can help to improve
your emotional well-being.

So your subconscious is constantly bringing up your emotional flaws. But what if it’s things you can’t fix? You can’t change the past or even control your own mind, at least for me that is. A broken vase can be glued back together but the cracks will always be there. So why does our mind insist on pointing them out?

Anger Dreams

A dream that you are angry can be a sign that you are angry about something
in waking life, but you are unable to express your anger fully when you are
awake.

Such a dream can also be a manifestation of your natural aggressive drive.
Freud believed that everyone has an aggressive drive, but we often repress
this drive so that we can function in society.

Alfred Adler thought that anger was the basic force that drove the mind. He
believed that your anger would be revealed in your dreams if you repressed
it in your waking life.

I think it is hard to pin point what emotion is most common in my negative DDs. At first I think anger, but when I think about it, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s mixed with other emotions. Like the response to betrayal, would that be anger? or sadness? both?

Fear Dreams
The waking nightmare. Do you feed on fear? As many people there are who love horror movies, there must be something to the need to feel fear.

Dreams in which you feel frightened can be expressions of the fears you
have in waking life. These dreams can teach you how to deal with your
fears. If you are able to have lucid dreams, you can make a conscious
effort to face the thing that is frightening you in your dream.
Is DDing somewhat like lucid dreaming? being awake you can try to control the DD. I very seldom have night dreams and have never had a lucid dream.

A common dream is one in which you are being chased. Such a dream can mean
that you are avoiding a conflict or a difficult situation in your waking
life.
Now I had a reoccurring DD about being chased. It was an incomplete scene, I never could finish it. It just kept jumping back to the beginning. Very bothersome. I tried writing it down on the WildMinds forum to see if that would help and it did. It went away. So maybe expressing a DD can get it out of your subconscious. I’ll share it with you and you can get a glimpse into my strange brain.
There is snow everywhere, no sound, silence, the way it is when there’s deep snow. No rustle of leaves or chirping of birds. All the earth watches in silence. I can hear my heavy breathing, and the pounding of my heart. With my head down I watch my feet in fuzzy boots, breaking through the snow disturbing the flat white surface of the field as I go.  
Then the silence is broken with the bellow of the bear. I look back, it’s closer, gaining ground. It’s fur ripples across the muscles as it thunders along with much longer strides then mine. I look forward, the cave, can I make it? The opening is too small for the bear, if only I can make it. My chest feels like it will burst, my leg muscles ache and are so tight, I expect to fall at any moment.
Out of the corner of my eye I see a figure. I look, it’s a man. A tall man draped in fur, running diagonally towards me, holding a spear. He yells something but I can’t understand him. I keep running, and running, I can barely breath. I hear the bear bellow again, I don’t look, just keep running, the cave is so close. I reach the cave and squeeze thru the opening. I collapse against the back wall.
The silence of the cave echoes my heart beat. It thunders in my ears, my head aches from the sound. I try to catch my breath. I strain to hear anything from outside. What happened? I wait to see if the bear’s face will appear at the cave’s opening. But instead, the man’s face appears. He has long sandy blond hair with war braids on each side of his face. He peers in with his ice blue eyes. He tries to enter but he is too broad. Then he reaches his hand thru, beckoning to me. He speaks but I can’t understand his language. I look at his hand, is he my rescuer? My miracle? Or another predator? Should I trust him?
I gently take his hand. He tries to pull me thru but I jerk my hand back. He presses his face into the opening. I reach up and touch his cheek. I look at his eyes, the windows of the soul. He has tender eyes. Maybe I can trust him. I can’t stay here. I have no food, no way to build a fire. I would not survive the night. He extends his hand again, I take it. I squeeze thru the opening and we look at each other. He turns and starts walking thru the snow. And I follow him in silence.

Frustration Dreams

If you dream that you are frustrated about something, it can be a sign that
you are having trouble coping with an issue in your waking life, or that
your life is not going the way you want it to go.
How do you know you’re frustrated in a DD? I think that is the same as anger.

So why do we have negative DDs? Is it a yearning to feel a strong emotion of any kind? To feel alive?  Some people say they feel their MD is a gift. I love the worlds and characters they have created. I consider it a curse, a sickness I want cured. Maybe due to the fact that most of my DDs are negative. If  my DDs were positive, happy, I might relish them.  Instead they are a constant torture.

wall flowers- I wish I felt nothing

Your Five Senses- show notes

Discussing maladaptive daydreaming disorder/compulsive fantasy and how your senses play into your daydreams. What you hear, touch, taste, or smell. Does it help you daydream? or pull you out of a daydream. Do you experience these things in your daydreams?

How does your senses effect your DDs? Being in nature. Do you ever imagine what things “feel-taste-smell” like in your DD?

Do you experience any in your daydreams? I think touch is one I have. To imagine someone taking your hand, grabbing you by the arm. I kind of feel that. Sounds, we all imagine sounds, dialog, music etc. Sight, yeah, we see the “movie” in our heads. But I don’t remember tasting or smelling. I have read that smell is the strongest memory but I don’t see how. I am going to be  trying to experience taste and smell in my daydreams and see what happens. It could make it a more vivid daydream if it works.

Sight

The things that you see in a dream can symbolize aspects of your waking life. Your unconscious is making you see something in your dream that represents something that you need to look at in waking life.

sight- mental images only? Focus on one thing? Or eyes closed

Hearing

A dream that focuses on hearing can be a sign that you need to hear what is happening around you or listen to what other people are telling you.

Smell

Smells are the most primitive form of communication, and provide a window into the emotional, primitive, non-rational parts of our brains. The smells in our dreams provide insight into our emotions. If you dream of a pleasant smell, you may be feeling happy and content. A repulsive smell can mean that you are troubled or have had a traumatic experience.

Smells in dreams can be triggered by memories. If you dream of a strong smell, ask yourself if that smell reminds you of anything. Did someone you once knew wear cologne or perfume with a similar scent? Does the smell remind you of a type of food that someone you once knew used to cook?

smell- strongest memory,

Taste

A dream about taste is often a message about your likes and dislikes – your “tastes.”

If you dream that you have a bad taste in your mouth, you may feel that your life is unsatisfying.

A dream that you sit down to a meal but find that you have lost your appetite can mean that something you once enjoyed no longer appeals to you.

taste- sweetness, bitterness

Touch

Dreams about touching or being touched usually have to do with intimacy and being connected to other people.

touch- grass on your feet, silk, velvet, holding an object while DDing

Sounds– music, nature sounds, animal sounds, ocean, rain