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Escapism, daydreaming and MDD


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Hi!

About me (non-essential; you can skip this)

I'll be 90-day gaming-free next tuesday! :) Well, I do allow myself a gaming session on sunday afternoons now and then, because it's a way for me to reconnect with friends and have some form of social life during the pandemic. I'm happy to report that it's not problematic at all, and I don't have cravings during other times. Small nudges now and then, but they are very, very easily dismissed. Good! But something else is not good...

Escapism, daydreaming and MDD

Gaming = escapism, at least to some extent. So is daydreaming. I've always daydreamed quite a bit, but recently it has increased a lot. Like, from 15% of the time previously, to 45% now. Or at least it feels that way. This is a lot and it surely is interfering with my work and capabilities to get chores done. This condition seems to be 'known' (but not officially recognized; just google it, you will find lots of info) as maladaptive daydreaming disorder (MDD). It's been associated with other dissociative disorders, although I'm pretty sure I don't have any of those.

There is one confounder: the social isolation and lack of external validation for work, due to the pandemic. For sure this would stimulate daydreaming. So I'm not sure this can be entirely or even partially be attributable to quitting gaming, although it does make sense that quitting one form of escapism would create a need for developing/strengthening another one. This begs the question:

Have any of you game quitters experienced increases in daydreaming or similar 'escapist' behaviour?

I suppose other addictions (because basically, MDD is an addiction to thinking/dreaming) like alcoholism would also count, though I'm particularly interested in hearing about MDD for obvious personal reasons.

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I consider myself a solid daydreamer, but never thought of it as a disorder...at what point does daydreaming become maladaptive? The symptoms I read on healthline are extremely general ("lengthy periods" = many minutes to hours???).

I engaged in quite a heavy bit of roleplaying in the past, that I could say for sure was a clear issue. But now I work on novels so that part of me is channeled to something more constructive, I guess. *shrug*

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21 minutes ago, JSmith said:

I consider myself a solid daydreamer, but never thought of it as a disorder...at what point does daydreaming become maladaptive? The symptoms I read on healthline are extremely general ("lengthy periods" = many minutes to hours???).

I engaged in quite a heavy bit of roleplaying in the past, that I could say for sure was a clear issue. But now I work on novels so that part of me is channeled to something more constructive, I guess. *shrug*

I personally would define 'lengthy periods' as 'longer than a thought or two'. For example: daydreaming for a couple of minutes a day about how nice it would be to go on a holiday: quite normal. Fantasizing for 10 minutes or longer (some people do this for hours) about what you would do if you were president, for the 10th time this week, that's starting to become a problem. Because chances are you'll have many other fantasies/daydreams as well, which adds up to a lot. They aren't always repetitive, by the way.

I believe a good rule of thumb would be: does this interfere with the way you want to lead your life? Are there things you aren't able to get done because of this? If so, one might call that MDD.

A similar thing applies to gaming, doesn't it? Candy crush for 5mins while on the loo? No problem. Play <insert fav game> all night and now you'll be a zombie the next day? Not good.

Edited by PDiracDelta
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Well my daydreaming can certainly get "lengthy", by that definition. But it's never felt like "interference", not like gaming for example. Just something I did a lot.

Okay, except for maybe when I'm trying to sleep. But that's a whole different struggle for me.

I've certainly experienced spikes in other escapism-related activities after quitting gaming, which makes sense to me, because they're essentially the same kind of activity. Keeping you away from real life issues. No doubt if I was gaming I would probably daydream less, but again is there really a difference?

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