Maladaptive daydreaming or excessive daydreaming is a psychological concept to describe an extensive fantasy activity that replaces human interaction and/or interferes with academic, interpersonal, or vocational functioning.
Maladaptive daydreamers may also experience trouble completing routine tasks or going to sleep, due to their desire to continue daydreaming. Oftentimes while maladaptive daydreamers are daydreaming, they will whisper, talk, make facial expressions, or do some sort of repetitive movement, such as pacing.
Maladaptive daydreamers can spend hours simply daydreaming. They may have elaborate fantasies within their minds, often comparable to a complete novel or movie. Many have more than one fantasy in their mind, each with its own characters, setting, plots, etc. Maladaptive daydreamers may become emotionally attached to their characters as well, though they know the characters are not real.
Now, until very recently I had no clue that this was actually considered as an actual psychological condition, so to speak. I thought this was something that people did. People who write. People like me.
I mean I’ve always worked that way when writing. I have a very precise mental image of the surroundings, the characters and dialogue. I tend to have conversations in my head that I go through, sometimes being one of the characters, and other times more than one. Like I switch roles all the time and go through the actual conversation that I’m later going to write. I make faces a lot when I write, or when I’m just thinking about writing. And yes there are many AU’s going on in my head at any given time, for many different storylines (i call them storylines, i guess they may as well be considered daydreams) and I do tend to get emotionally attached to my characters. Also the part about having trouble to complete routine tasks or going to sleep, because of wanting to continue the story (or fantasy)? All true.
I know there’s a difference between plotting and daydreaming in a very defining level, which is that one is more of a fantasy about oneself in an AU, and the other is basically making up characters and then sort of following their story arch. But it’s intriguing to think about the similarities. I sure spend a lot of time talking to my imaginary characters and prefer their company more often than actual people. And I sort of think that most writers add some of their own qualities to their characters, because why not, you know how a person that has this or that quality acts or thinks, because you have that in you. I don’t mean making a 2.0 (mary sue) version of you, but just putting in bits and pieces of yourself. Which kind of makes the story a personal fantasy of sorts.
So really, is there a difference between a maladaptive daydreamer and a writer such as myself?
We just don’t know.