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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Ettcatro Offline
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Creating false realities? - August 12th 2014, 07:01 AM

I think I've been doing this my whole life... It started out as four year old me prancing around pretending and wishing to be a horse. Meh, average childish roleplay.

At eleven, I left my imaginary friends behind. Instead I would "write" myself into books I've read or movies I've watched. When I wasn't doing that, awkward preteen me would be fantasizing about boys in my class or making out with pillows... Still pretty normal.

My imagination started to become a little heavier (?) two years ago, after my parents divorced. I was diagnosed with clinical depression a few years before, but I guess their divorce had a positive impact on me because my depression went away soon afterwards? I focused on my education and made absolutely no effort to make more friends. I created my own characters and little scenarios in my head to amuse myself. I started talking to my friends about my characters as if they were real people and as if the scenarios I pictured in my head actually happened. I stopped doing this, however I've lost all interest in reality. At this point I have whole universes, planets, creatures, kingdoms in my head that I absorb myself in 24/7. These characters have made me cry, laugh, and I've even mourned over some. My relatives think I'm depressed but really I'm just having a serious conversation with a king about how to kill dragons in my mind or some weird **** like that. But it's not just daydreams. I've completely engulfed myself in my mind and clouded myself from reality. I don't even have any motivation to go anywhere or do anything anymore. I just want to lay in my bed all day creating false realities (I dont even know what I'm doing is actually called, so I appologize if this isn't the correct term,) or rewatch or reread the same darn things over and over again, replacing the characters with my own?
I have spoken to people about this, but they encourage it and say I'm living through other peoples happiness and should continue to do so. I was happy for a while, but it's gotten in the way of my life and I'm becoming concerned about it. I keep thinking that this is just a phase and I'll grow up, but it really doesn't seem that way.

Quick extra information.. I've always been that creepy kid that looked like cousin it and always wore ugly knitted sweaters and sweat pants (not nearly as much anymore, praise the lord). My mother is an alcoholic (but also survivor of multiple cancers!) and my siblings all have different fathers. I never had any "real" friends and was sexually harassed and raped by whom I thought was a "good friend" when I was seven.. (I'll save that for another thread.) I never really made an effort to make new "real" friends after that. Instead I invented imaginary friends and sorta "rewrote" my past events so that I wouldn't have to think or talk about them? Now I take my past events almost humourously because I absolutely hate it when other people feel sorry for me. I like making people happy, and I just laugh at my problems and shrug them off because I don't want to bring them into other people's lives. I kinda hate myself for it. It's about time that I spoke to someone about my issues..

Another quick note on my depression... It feels as if my depression is gone, however I think it's still lurking around and I'm just too stubborn to accept it.

ANYWAY this whole post has become a jumbled autobiography. I'm not really asking WHY i'm creating false realities, (still pretty sure that isn't the correct term..) I'm asking if I'm normal and I don't have to worry or if I do have a mental disorder that I should be worried about, and what to do about it. I know immediately that most of the replies to this will be "omg you should get a therapist" or "omg talk to your parents," and I know that I should seek counselling, and I already have. Once. In grade six. But I just can't bring myself to actually talk to the counsellor without lieing and my social anxiety just wont let me do it again.

Thanks for the help~

Last edited by Ettcatro; August 12th 2014 at 07:05 AM. Reason: Oops, I dont grammar.
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
Philomath Offline
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Re: Creating false realities? - August 12th 2014, 10:51 PM


I am glad you realize the difference between reality and exaggerated reality/being lost in the world in your mind.
We are not able to tell you if you have a mental illness but I suggest that you talk to your parents about seeing a therapist or counselor again. Talking to a professional will be helpful to you.
I hope this helps and that things improve for you soon. I definitely know what you mean about feeling like the depression is gone but it still lingering. This is another reason you should talk to a counselor.

"i don't care your intentions. I just want you to know my self-hatred never took me where I wanted to go. At the end of the day...I can pick at the pain but I can't cut it away."
  (#3 (permalink)) Old
Ambedo. Offline
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Re: Creating false realities? - August 12th 2014, 11:24 PM

I'm glad that you're able to recognize the ways in which these "false realities" are starting to have a negative impact on your mind. I have my thoughts on why you have fallen so deeply into them, but please keep in mind that I am not a professional! I'm basing this off of the things that I have learned in my psychology classes and in my own experiences.

It's entirely possible that these false realities are your coping mechanism. Think about the kinds of characters that you create or the ones that you tend to like in your favorite books, movies, and TV shows. While the circumstances in the realities (slaying dragons, talking to kings, etc.) might be far from reality, the characters themselves may have some sort of a reality in your life. For example, do the female characters provide something for you that your mother has not as a result of her alcoholism? When we create false realities, it's often because we are craving something in our lives that we can't seem to find in anyone that we meet. So, we make them up or gravitate towards the ones that others have made up.

The fact that you have lost the motivation to go out, meet new people, and experience real life might very well have something to do with this. You seem to be quite happy in the realities you have created, as they have probably provided some sort of a safe place for you. They are, in a sense, your escape from the world. By putting that much weight on these different characters and situations, it might seem like you have everything that you need. When these realities provide you with the things that you have been looking for, it's easy to dismiss the possibility that there are people that can provide those things for you through real life interactions.

Have you considered seeing a counselor about this? By talking to someone about the realities you have created and examining them deeper, you might be able to get to the root of their beginnings. In other words, a counselor can help you figure out why you may have started building these realities and help you see why you have held onto them so tightly for so long. They will also be able to work with you to start branching away from them and start building real relationships with others that can give you the same happiness that you have found in these fantasies.

I hope this helped, even a little. I actually used to do something very similar so, if you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me a message. Take care!

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  (#4 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Creating false realities? - August 15th 2014, 01:46 PM

Hi and welcome to TH!

I agree with Sammi- as to why you may be creating these false realities. I can also assure you that this is normal, if it is your coping mechanism. I used to (and still do at times) do this. I created a new family and house for myself. My new mother was my favourite teacher. I was about 8. I met up with her last summer (I kept in contact with her) and the second I saw her, all my fantasies came back to me, including the new name I had given myself. My friend has also done exactly the same thing you described. Whilst my fantasies were about mother figures etc, his was more adventures, dragons, mythical creatures. He had a much more detailed world than me, and would get very emotionally involved in them. My friend also suffers from depression and anxiety, and whilst I haven't been diagnosed my last counsellor said I had symptoms of both. I too was also sexually abused as a child.

But I think counselling could help you. I know with social anxiety, that it could be really hard for you to open up, but I've found writing notes helps.

I know its just my experience, but hope I helped.
  (#5 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Creating false realities? - August 17th 2014, 07:26 PM

Thanks so much for the help guys, I'll try to find a counselor soon.

@Sammi: I've never actually thought about it, but now that I do, yes, lot of my own characters and the characters I like do provide something for me or have qualities that real people in my life do not. I also do feel that creating false realities is my coping mechanism.

The counselor I saw before only made me talk about things that were troubling me, and I feel that she didn't try to help me with them. After that, I just assumed that all counselors were like this and didn't bother finding a different one. Hearing that makes me feel more comfortable about seeing another counselor.
Thank you!

@Holly: Thank you for your kind welcome!
I'm glad I'm not the only one that does this. And yes, writing notes helps me a lot! I find it hard to talk to people in person, and it's a lot easier for me to write down my true thoughts and feelings instead of speaking to someone about them, but I will try to seek out counselling.
Thanks for the help!
  (#6 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Creating false realities? - August 21st 2014, 10:44 AM

This is known as "Maladaptive Daydreaming" I've looked this up once before as I was concerned over myself doing it. I wouldn't say I was "addicted" to it though, no was it interfering with my day-to-day life. Here's a tumblr which offers support/advice for people who experience it:


I don't do it very often now. When I was a kid/young teenager I would do it a LOT. I only really do it now just before I go to sleep. I sometimes fine it difficult to fall asleep because of it

Have you ever thought you writing these "stories" down? maybe that will help you control them.

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

Last edited by Make Believe; August 21st 2014 at 11:09 AM.
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Re: Creating false realities? - August 28th 2014, 07:40 AM

It's a coping mechanism. Why are you doing it? There could be a variety of reasons as to why. If it is taking place of social activities, I would consider seeking help to control it or at least achieve a balance.
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