At first I was gonna be angry because I thought you were just shitting on maladaptive daydreaming/anyone with whom the word resonates (seen it before, unfortunately), but I think I agree with you. I spoke to my therapist about it and while I did not share all of my symptoms (namely the more embarrassing ones like movements or repeating voices), she remarked that it seemed perfectly adaptive rather than maladaptive...... (1/?)
Do you at least agree that the people who call themselves maladaptive daydreamer DO in fact have things in common with one another? If nothing else, we all daydream in a way and to a degree that most people do not. As someone who turned to daydreaming as my coping mechanism of choice for a shitshow of a childhood, I find interactions with other daydreamers to be really valuable. Whatever it should arguably be called, do you agree that this is some sort of identifiable phenomenon?
I’ve seen shitting on daydreaming myself, sadly. :/ I got onto the topic because I imagined a book to help daydreamers handle their shitty childhoods, and a few people assumed that my advice would obviously be “give up that daydreaming nonsense because it’s dangerous and wrong.” (Which is what I internalized when I was a child, much to my cost.)
I myself am an extensive and excessive daydreamer, and I would LOVE to see the phenomenon described and studied more extensively, and for people who share this experience to be able to talk to each other. I also have ADHD-PI, and I know how soul-rending it is to have a mind that just won’t pay attention.
Part of why I didn’t realize just how much the MADD community meant to people who were part of it is that I’ve been privileged to have had friends for nearly two decades who were also extensive daydreamers–it was just sublimated under identities like writers, artists, roleplayers, muse hosts, and paracosmists. I can’t imagine not having a community of people who understand what it is to have a head like this–so I’m very sorry for shitting on your community. It was inadvertent and entirely unmeant; I was aiming at someone else.
So yes, my entire problem with the phrase “maladaptive daydreaming” is the “maladaptive” part. Like I was saying last night, I think that extensive daydreaming is a coping mechanism for an emotional and physiological dysregulation that causes pain and distress, and I think the correct treatment for people whose daydreaming inhibits their functioning is to reduce the distress, instead of targeting the daydreaming.
A lot of my tendency to drift off and difficulty focusing on only one thing is because of a deficit of dopamine and norepinepherine and that’s best coped with by taking atomoxetine to treat my ADHD; I know others who have difficulty paying attention to life thanks to dissociative symptoms of trauma, who can be helped with things like EMDR, bilateral stimulation, or mindfulness practice. Still others have trouble regulating their emotions and can be helped by treating mood disorders or gaining stronger self-soothing methods so they can be emotionally present when they need to.
It’s just–I came across MADD as a psychology graduate student. I thought, “Daydreams are very important in how I handled my trauma. I wonder how other therapists have used daydreams in therapy?” and what fell onto me from the databases was a SLOUGH of MADD research that seemed to say that daydreaming was pathological and ought to be eradicated. What I developed was a deep instinctive hiss of “FUCK OFF AND LEAVE MY DAYDREAMS ALONE.”
I don’t know about an alternate name for the community. I have the anti-Gift of Names; almost any name I bestow is likely to be unwieldy and slightly off. But maybe it’s not my job anyway, since it’s not a community I’ve participated in.