Maladaptive Dreaming (MD): What is It? – Vol. 413, May 11, 2017
When one gets into doing work in mental health, one gets to work with many types of issues. I had never heard of this condition until a client was referred to me who had this condition called maladaptive dreaming. It’s so new a diagnosis, that many people including myself have never heard of it. This is why I am writing a post on it. Because there may be other people who have this problem who need to know that they aren’t crazy, and that there are many others who suffer the inability to do those things they need and want to do because of the interference of maladaptive dreaming.
So, what exactly is it?
It is understood as a typical addiction in that it is an addictive coping mechanism. It is an addiction where you lose yourself to your fantasy. The daydreamer becomes the daydream. The focus of a person with MD focuses so hard on their inner thoughts that they lose their own ego. MD develops as a way to leave insecurities, problems and anything that may be interpreted as “bad” allowing you to feel free. This is why it feels so good. However, by cutting yourself off from the outside world, you can become completely cut off from reality.
The problem is that all those fantasies that have been created have nothing to do with the real person who has dreamed them up. Even if all those fantasies came true, the person who has MD would still feel empty and lonely, because the illness is all about you not wanting to be you. And this is what the addiction is all about – not wanting to be you.
The healing comes when the Fantasy world and the real world are merged into one.
Maladaptive Dreaming is created as a defense mechanism when you are unable to express yourself appropriately because you may be anxious, depressed, shy or lonely. Mental illness will change the way you perceive life, making everything seem more senseless then it is in reality. So, instead of seeing your world, you go inside to your fantasies creating an addiction to the great feelings they give you.
The dreams represent your subconscious mind, a testament to how hard your life has become, how hard you are struggling to not be dead. The interesting thing here is that because you do your MDing with passion, you are still capable of loving and caring about something, even other people.
The healing comes through giving up the false sense of comfort that your daydreams bring you.
You need to allow yourself to stop dissociating from painful situations, and instead allow yourself to feel the emotions.
If you acknowledge the urge to daydream and think of it as a false message, you will be able to stop the addictive cycle.
Of course because it is a dissociative process, hypnosis works well with it, hypnosis being done in a dissociative state. So, if you are having issues with maladaptive daydreaming, hypnosis may be a good way to end it.
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