Do you have intermissions? A time between the end of one daydream and the beginning of another. Or do your daydreams flow continually? Mine start and stop and the time in between is very disturbing, full of anxiety. Like someone changing the channels while you’re watching tv. Scenes will flash through my mind, some from the daydream that just ended, some from past daydreams, all with strong emotional events. Sometimes the same one will repeat changing some details.
Even though this is a time of mental upheaval and confusion I try to prolong it as much as I can. Due to the simple fact that I am not controlled by a daydream in that time. I try to keep myself distracted much like you do a fussy toddler. Even talking out load to myself, “look, at that, isn’t that interesting” But like a fussy toddler it only works for a short time. Sooner or later a new image will lock in and take off. I will be left mentally exhausted. Strange, my mind will then quiet some, allowing me some use of the leftover attention and consciousness. As the new daydream runs along in the background. Is there a way to grasp our sanity in this space of time and shut down the default network? I think I will try using the mindfulness meditation during the down time to see what happens.
There are some who do not have this down time or intermissions. They have a whole other life that runs along the same time line as their current one, sometimes for years. Their characters age along with them. The founder of Wild minds network was mentioned in a Yahoo article that described her fantasy world as being decades long.
“Cordellia Amethyste Rose leads a double life. There’s the version we can see: Cordellia the withdrawn, anxious 32-year-old with two cats. And there’s the version only Cordellia sees, a decades-long fantasy of her idealized self, who is also named Cordellia (but goes by Baby) and is a successful musician/actress with a husband and eight children.”
I also have a friend who is a writer and he says his daydreams continually run. He has written a book based on the daydream characters and says the story didn’t end where he ended the book. It continues day to day. I find this fascinating and very foreign to my experience. Maybe I am the one who is the odd one in this matter. I’m glad mine have not continued, since they are mostly disturbing and depressing. More like reoccurring nightmares then pleasant fantasy retreats.
Recovering from Chronic Mental Illness: Reconciling With Relapse
“The word remission is different than the word recovered. Remission implies, in the context of chronic mental illness, an abating of symptoms, a period of stability. A time in which life moves as smoothly as it can. It’s lovely, but you ask yourself, will it last? Will I relapse? In my life, this question bothers me immensely. But it’s something I try not to think about, and you might want to do the same. If we are focused on the possibility of relapse when in remission, the stress of that can, in fact, trigger an episode.
That is the most difficult part: forgetting that a chronic mental illness is, in fact, chronic. Remission is often determined to be recovered. When the symptoms of mental illness are gone, when you are stable, you are in recovery. The symptoms of the mental illness have lessened. But if you cannot accept the reality of relapse, that it might happen or it might not, recovery is fruitless. You cannot enjoy it. Recovery, remission, hard fought, should be cherished but it’s difficult, to say the least, to ignore the word relapse. To live without it dwelling in the back of your psyche.
Learning to Embrace the Reality of Relapse
This is a tall order. Is it possible to embrace the notion that we might not always be well? I argue that in order to become well, to stay well, we must.
You cannot walk through life full of fear. Well, you can, but that isn’t living at all. It is simply existing. The body is not properly connected to the mind. In order to recover, to achieve remission, you must understand that you might relapse. Your life will probably not be entirely smooth. It might be a bit harder than those who do not have a chronic mental illness, it probably will be, but your life is worth fighting for.”
I went into remission. Recently during an intermission, the struggle to prevent a new story from kicking in got easier. I continued to distract myself and kept busy. Trying to keep my mind focused on work. After a few hours I was really confused by the weakening of the changing pictures in my mind. My mood was more upbeat as well. It would seem the depression was going into remission as well. One day, one night, two days, two nights, I couldn’t believe my mind was clear. I felt normal again. No more depression, or coldness. I didn’t need to be away from people. I was actually enjoying other people’s company. But I was very fearful about it coming back. How long would I have? After a year and 8 months struggling with MD, I tried to accept this time as a gift and live it to the fullest. Take it day by day and see how it went.
Now I did not just get stronger will or something like that. I fought just as hard every time a DD ended, and during. Trying to stop it. This remission had nothing to do with my will power or efforts. It is just my mind or chemistry or something outside of my control. It stopped as quickly as it began and just as uncontrollably. After 5 days it came back. The sadness of it returned as well. I wish I knew why it stopped, so I could repeat it. But I haven’t a clue. I can only hope and pray it will stop again. Until then I guess I should go back and relisten to the shows on coping and accepting. 🙂