Addicted to Escapism since I was a little kid and don't know what to do.

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DinoBoi

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Addicted to Escapism since I was a little kid and don't know what to do.

Just for context on my age and whatnot, I’m 22, have an associate’s degree in liberal arts and am going back to college this fall (living in a dorm) at a nearby university.

Over the last year or so, i have begun finally seeking help for some of my mental health problems. I’m a very anxious person, have a lot of problems in terms of my mood, have a poor sense of self, not the best at meeting new people and have very little actual sense of self. Many of these things I have realized came from me living with a very dysfunctional family, specifically from my father (who is clearly very mentally ill but believes getting help is for the weak. I’d get into the specifics of his issues, but, It would actually take all day). Over the last few days I have come to realize something I have tried being in denial of for years. I’m addicted to escapism.

Even when I was a little kid (and my family life was actually pretty normal and peaceful) I was very shy and lacked confidence, along with that, my mom worked a lot and my father was basically nocturnal, so, as a kid, I learned to entertain myself quite a bit. When I was 4 or 5, I still loved being outside and in the outdoors, but, I’d spend most of my time pacing around our old apartment making up stories and basically saying them aloud to entertain myself. Until I was like 20, I never really grew out of this. Whether it was watching a tv show or movie, playing a video game, or making up these stories in my head, I continued doing whatever I could to escape the world around me. I think it could be part of why my romantic relationships almost immediately fall apart… And why it’s hard for me to get to know people in general.

The last 2 years though, I’ve gotten insanely bored with having to rely on this escapism. I don’t enjoy gaming anymore. I can’t finish any tv shows, even if I really like them. Even my creativity is completely gone. After this began to happen, I started smoking pot. My brain and pot don’t seem to work together in the same way they do for others. It makes me anxious, makes it hard to sleep, gives me hangovers, can even exacerbate my depression at times… I smoke it because every once in awhile, I can get that feeling I used to. I can escape into a show or movie or game, if only for a few hours I feel my creativity come back as well. But I hate being a pothead and I hate being high. I hate being dependent on it.

The way my mind is wired makes it incredibly hard to connect with people. I’m frequently told I’m a very kind, funny, hard-working and easy going person, but, I can never focus on what is going on around me. No matter what I do. It’s so hard to make any friends. This combined with my poor sense of self, anxiety, depression, etc. make it basically impossible to have functioning romantic relationships. The worst part is that I know nobody around me even understands this feeling. I don’t know if I’m autistic or a weirdo or what the hell is wrong with me. If anybody could just offer some advice or at least tell me that they are this way too, I'd really appreciate it.
 
Drooo

Drooo

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Over the last year or so, i have begun finally seeking help for some of my mental health problems. I’m a very anxious person, have a lot of problems in terms of my mood, have a poor sense of self, not the best at meeting new people and have very little actual sense of self.
Hey. When you say that you've been seeking help, what stage are you at?
 
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DinoBoi

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I've been taking antidepressants for a year and have seen two different therapists.
 
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KG654

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It sounds to me like you are out of balance and in need of the following vitamins. They really helped me every time. I'd rather go natural if possible than scripts. Natural has good side effects! =) (But if you need, go to a Dr. and see what will help. )
I take B complex to help w my attention span and concentration. It also heals nerves. I take magnesium and ginseng to calm my body, mind and soul. They also get rid of those sticky negative thoughts and feelings that get me down. Yes, they really work. There are so many things to help us on this earth. Also, I get outside, breathe deep in creation, touch the earth and look at the stars. That helps me remember the bigness of life and the constant faithfulness of it all. Also I meditate on wise words and stretch myself thru learning, art and groups like meetups, studies and classes. Anxiety is so much more a problem than it used to be, some of spiritual, some of it physical. <3 Lifting you up to the Maker for peace and joy!
 
Anon_21

Anon_21

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You might look up maladaptive daydreaming and see if this applies to you. I thought I was losing my mind until I was introduced to this. Practising mindfulness is the only cure for me when I struggle to stay in my reality, practising being in the moment, accepting that I am here, even if I dont want to be.

I took antidepressants too and it helped some of the anxiety and a lot of the depression, but not the escapism. I would still use whatever means I could to get away from reality, like you describe. Meditation might be good too, though I struggle to calm my thoughts enough for this.
 
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DinoBoi

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It sounds to me like you are out of balance and in need of the following vitamins. They really helped me every time. I'd rather go natural if possible than scripts. Natural has good side effects! =) (But if you need, go to a Dr. and see what will help. )
I take B complex to help w my attention span and concentration. It also heals nerves. I take magnesium and ginseng to calm my body, mind and soul. They also get rid of those sticky negative thoughts and feelings that get me down. Yes, they really work. There are so many things to help us on this earth. Also, I get outside, breathe deep in creation, touch the earth and look at the stars. That helps me remember the bigness of life and the constant faithfulness of it all. Also I meditate on wise words and stretch myself thru learning, art and groups like meetups, studies and classes. Anxiety is so much more a problem than it used to be, some of spiritual, some of it physical. <3 Lifting you up to the Maker for peace and joy!
Maybe those vitamins could help. When I made this post I was basically having a complete panic attack, now I'm calmed down, but, I just feel really depressed and lethargic. I used to go on walks a lot (either around my neighborhood, or when I'm at my parents I walk my dogs) and it's nice, but, my mind tended to drift when I went on walks and they started reminding me of how lonely I feel so it's hard to get myself to do it anymore. I'm going back to school soon so I hope it helps but any hobbies I used to have I can't really enjoy anymore.
 
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DinoBoi

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You might look up maladaptive daydreaming and see if this applies to you. I thought I was losing my mind until I was introduced to this. Practising mindfulness is the only cure for me when I struggle to stay in my reality, practising being in the moment, accepting that I am here, even if I dont want to be.

I took antidepressants too and it helped some of the anxiety and a lot of the depression, but not the escapism. I would still use whatever means I could to get away from reality, like you describe. Meditation might be good too, though I struggle to calm my thoughts enough for this.
After looking it up, I'm pretty sure this is what the problem is. I've tried mediation in the past, but, I could not get it to work, I'd end up daydreaming instead of actually clearing my mind.It's very hard for me to stay in the moment and always has been. I've always been someone who stays motivated by having things to look forward to and someone who gets very bored if I don't have mental stimulation and my current full time job is a food service job at a hospital, which has zero mental stimulation at all.
 
Anon_21

Anon_21

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After looking it up, I'm pretty sure this is what the problem is. I've tried mediation in the past, but, I could not get it to work, I'd end up daydreaming instead of actually clearing my mind.It's very hard for me to stay in the moment and always has been. I've always been someone who stays motivated by having things to look forward to and someone who gets very bored if I don't have mental stimulation and my current full time job is a food service job at a hospital, which has zero mental stimulation at all.
Sounds a lot like me too...I do better when I have a lot of things to occupy my mind, like you said. Unfortunately one of those things involves reading/writing fiction, which often triggers episodes for me. And then if I have too many things my brain wants to escape just for the relief.

I thought I was going down earlier, could feel my mind pulling away in so many different directions. I think I'm ok now tho. Since realizing what maladaptive daydreaming was I've been able to catch it more. Still difficult to overcome though, especially when you dont really want to. I try to busy myself so I'll stop thinking about how I want to keep thinking...:rolleyes: It's nice talking to others who share the same problem since you dont really hear about it a lot.
 
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DinoBoi

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Since realizing what maladaptive daydreaming was I've been able to catch it more. Still difficult to overcome though, especially when you dont really want to. I try to busy myself so I'll stop thinking about how I want to keep thinking...:rolleyes: It's nice talking to others who share the same problem since you dont really hear about it a lot.
My entire life I've felt like a huge weirdo for it. I didn't even know it was a thing. My family has noticed it and I get teased a lot by them for it. Maybe this is why I've never felt like I fit in, even with my friends. Sorry I'm just rambling. What do you usually do to stop yourself from doing it? I know you said meditation. Is there anything else?
 
Anon_21

Anon_21

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Yes I thought I was crazy too. I joined this forum thinking I had some kind of duel personality or something that made me feel like someone else. When I read up about this daydreaming stuff (which seemed silly to me at the time), I realized that's all I was doing--making up fantasies/alternate story lines, and the more I was giving in to them, the harder it got to get out.

I spent the next couple of days paying attention to my thoughts. In a quick trip to the store I started two fantasies/daydreams before I even made it home. So I literally just had to start telling myself STOP when I felt another daydream coming on. It's an addiction, but after showing my brain I didn't like it anymore, it finally stopped occurring so much.

Like you, meditation didn't work well for me. I've discovered I have better luck filling my mind up than trying to clear it. So if I start feeling antsy, I can start a project I enjoy or engage in some heavy house cleaning to distract myself. I also learned the art of mindfulness from this site, and that helps me stay focused on the here and now.

I struggle with anxiety pretty constantly, so even if I'm not daydreaming, i like to escape by watching TV, video games, books, etc. This helps me destress, but it also works against the mindfulness thing. So I'm constantly having to find a balance between the two.

Today I felt an attack coming on so I took a xanax, which only partially helped, and I dove into the forum. Reaching out and responding to some threads helped ground me, make real connections with real people in the world, and I feel much better now. Like you, I struggle with real life relationships so the forum has become an excellent midway point for me.

So to make a very long story very short: distraction, mindfulness, forum lol
I just thought it might help if I elaborated a little more and gave more personal insight since we're still trying to figure this out ;)
 
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