• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

Wild imagination

V

vox9117

New member
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Messages
3
Not sure if something like this has been posted before... this is a long message here, because I want to properly explain my situation in order to get the best possible answer from anyone who reads this.

I'm 18, and I have had what I guess I could describe as "imaginary friends" for as long as I can remember. I distincly remember being 4 years old and talking to these imaginaries. They changed every year or so when I was little- sometimes they were celebrities that I liked or admired, sometimes they were my teachers. They're always based on a real person though. I just switched imaginaries again last November... I had the same ones from the age of 13-18, and they were not people that I actually knew. There were about 17 of them (I usually involve entire families and some their friends, so it's as if I have a group) and I didn't actually know them, but I would occasionally talk about them to people I didn't know very well as if they were real. Now, I have anywhere from 8-20 imaginaries- a few of them are acquaintances of mine in real life, and the rest are based on their friends or significant others, etc. They're male and female, but they range in age, and they are usually older than me (around late 20's-early 30's) because I feel more comfortable around adults than people my own age.

I don't think I'm normal, but I don't think I'm psychotic either. The thing is, I know rationally that they're not real. I don't hear voices, I just sort of... imagine what they would say. I don't see things either. I simply look at a space in my room and imagine them standing there. I don't talk out loud (I occasionally did when I was little, but embarassment soon took care of that)
but I do move my mouth, and I gesture and sometimes move around my room. I'm mortified whenever I get caught. I've never told anyone about them. In my car, I imagine that they are with me, and I occasionally use my cell phone to make it look like I am talking to someone. They're sort of "with me" whenever I'm lonely or whenever I need them. I joke around a lot with them.

It's always been a sort of obsession of mine to find out as much as possible about the person or people involved- so back in the day when it would be a celebrity, I would read interviews and such to get an idea of their personality and the things they would say. I'm ashamed to admit it but the last couple of years, because my imaginaries are based on real people, I have occasionally resorted to facebook or myspace stalking.

I know I'm not normal- but it doesn't bother me much. But I'm wondering if things in my past may have affected me in more ways than I realize. My mom once told me that when I was around a year old, I was physically and emotionally abused by a woman who was supposed to be taking care of me. An 8 year-old boy also under the woman's care told her that I was locked in dark closets for "time-out"... I'm not sure how long these "time outs" lasted. Apparently, the woman also let her daughters "play" with me, and they would try to pierce my ears and things like that. My mom quickly got me away from that woman, but took me to the pediatrician where they found cigarette burns in my mouth and adult handprints all over me. I had a lot of bruises. I don't really recall this, and I don't think it was a good idea for my mom to tell me. I do recall many instances in which I was molested by a mentally-retarded teenage neighbor. This happened from the ages of 4-6, until my family moved. My mom doesn't know I remember this. I have never told anyone else, and I act like I know nothing of the incidents.

I've moved states several times in my life, often across the country. I have struggled with social anxiety and depression since elementary school, and thought about suicide a lot when I was in high school. I have very few friends, although now that I am in college, people seem to like me more. I've been on medication for awhile, so I'm able to be a bit more like the person I am around close friends and family all the time. I think that especially in middle school and high school, my imaginaries were very important to me.

Obviously, since I am on meds, I have seen a psychiatrist, and I also talked to a counselor for a few months last year. I never told either of them about my imaginaries, partly because I think it's mainly a coping mechanism and they don't have a negative effect on my daily life (I have some real friends, I go out a lot now, and I have a really good GPA), and partly because I am so scared of what anyone will think if I tell them. I'm also scared that I may have scizophrenia or some kind of dissociative disorder, and I don't want to be put on more drugs. Because I know that my imaginaries aren't real, I feel stupid telling anyone that such a smart, outwardly-normal appearing girl has something weird like this in her life.

So I guess, my questions are: Anyone else heard of this or experienced this? What do you think it is? and should I risk being put on more prescriptions and more visits to the psychiatrist and tell her about it? I don't really want the imaginaries to go away; they used to help me a lot, but now they're just fun and save me from a lot of boredom.

Thanks to anyone who reads this!
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
Hi vox9117 and :welcome:

I don't really want the imaginaries to go away; they used to help me a lot, but now they're just fun and save me from a lot of boredom.

Thanks to anyone who reads this!
If they are not harming your life then why stop? Given all that you have been through what you describe, to me seems very understandable.

Tablets are not always the only or the best solution however if you are really worried and it is harming your life it might be worth speaking to your GP and looking at all the options.

I used to have full on conversations in my head when I was particularly anxious about a meeting or an appointment or some form of confrontation with someone. I would play it all out in my mind as a kind of rehearsal, it made me feel better about approaching it. I almost wonder if these scenarios with these friends is almost a rehearsal for those maybe :unsure: I don't know there could be many reasons.

I hope you find this forum helpful :)
 
lal10

lal10

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
133
Location
Cheshire
Hi Vox and welcome!!

I agree with Sapphire if they are not impacting on your life in a negative way then why stop?

I've never had an imaginary friend exactly but have lapsed into fantasy in order to help me cope with things I've found difficult. I've never admitted this to anyone but I think it may help you to see you are not alone; when out walking my dog (god rest her soul bless her she's now in heaven) I was very anxious to be out and about which is one of my constant symptoms even though I live in a very safe rural community, I would often walk her late at night after dark as I left less obvious to those around me and I would pretend that we were the guardians of the village, walking the perimeter to ensure that no harm would come to the residents. I would pretend that we could render ourselves invisible if we wanted and that we could blend in with the trees and nature and that nature was on our side so would protect us if we needed it. It helped me to get some exercise and to feel more comfortable when I was in a situation that could be highly stressful to me and it was fun to be honest!! I also used to turn a long journey to a job I hated into a voyage to another land, it passed the time and stopped me worrying about actually getting there!

So you are not alone and if it works for you go with it!! If things get out of hand and you cannot bring yourself fully into reality then that's when it becomes a problem, but I bet there are more people out there than you think that do something similar but would never admit it!

Enjoy your imagination and stay well!

Lal
xx
 
S

*Sapphire*

Guest
So you are not alone and if it works for you go with it!! If things get out of hand and you cannot bring yourself fully into reality then that's when it becomes a problem, but I bet there are more people out there than you think that do something similar but would never admit it!

Enjoy your imagination and stay well!

Lal
xx
I completely agree with Lal, 'enjoy your imagination', and if it helps you feel less anxious about approaching a situation then imagine away. But be wary if it is impeding your life.

I think there are alot of things that many people do that we are ashamed of in our culture but is celebrated or encouraged in other cultures! People don't tend to talk about these things, they may fear they are going mad. But as Lal says there are probably alot more people out there doing something similar and you would probably be surprised at who. :)
 
S

suki1066

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
105
hi vox
may i say your writing is lovely, for one so you quiet rare xx you are aware your friends arnt real, which is good, they help you through lonley times, and when your worried, its not a bad thing so dont be ashamed.
do you want them to go?
xx
 
C

coraline1664

Guest
Hi Vox

I have had people I have made up in my head before, especially when I was lonely and didn't feel I could find people I liked in real life. They had all the qualities that I like in people and I would just sit in my room and spend time in my head, seeing us out, travelling places, doing different things... I was very close to them but like you knew that they weren't real. It was like a private world, a world where I felt accepted and had people enjoy my company, like a dream family. I loved it and it got me through some tough times. Like people have said on this thread already- you know they're not real and it's something you enjoy, so keep enjoying it. I think it's a special thing.
 
H

harmsway

Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2010
Messages
5
Location
uk
There are a lot of 'normal' people out there who spend most of their working day in the imaginary world inside their head. Some of them even get paid for it. If it works for you and it's not hurting anyone enjoy the thing you have.
 
S

Sophie Starr

New member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
3
I am literally crying right now because there is someone out there who is experiencing the EXACT same symtoms as me. I really can't believe it. I was just going to post this exact same thread until I saw yours!

Like you said, I often base these people on famous celebrities that I adore, however I don't just imagine that they are with me I pretend that I am famous too. I will spend ages mentally preparing what I am wearing, how my hair is etc otherwise I can't step inside a room or outside the house where 'they will be'. Yet I know that they are not really there. Additionally I do not hear voices at all, I decide what the others are saying, when they speak, where they are sitting and who is with me. Sometimes I'll pretend I'm dating them :/ I even once had a husband and a son and got a plate out for myself and then a plate out for 'my son' and I was like, sheessh woman, what the hell are you doing? You are totally losing it!

I don't know why this started, but I've had this problem from about age 11. I'm now more discrete about it because initially it was almost like I had no control and I would burst out in to a conversation with myself infront of someone. Now I wait for everyone else to sleep and will be up chatting to myself all through the night!! Yes they do provide a sense of entertainment for me , a sense of feeling much better about myself as a human, however it's not a good reason to continue with them because (a) the amount of times you are caught sitting their laughing, conversing and making hand gestures alone is so degrading (b) so much time is being wasted doing this (c) I'm seperating myself from my family because I want to pretend to be someone else in my room surrounded by people I know very well aren't there and finally (d) all this is really messing up my self-esteem.

I sense that maybe I too created this world because of some traumatic experience I had as a child. However there has been none that I can recall. Yes, my home was not my favourite place in the world but I can't remember it being so bad that I wanted to escape it. I'm not sure.

But really I feel so relieved that I'm not alone. I really want a name and a cure for this. A name to start with, it's taking over my life and I fear one day I may not be able to distinguish from this world and reality..
 
Top