Daydreaming: My Saving Grace

Growing up, daydreaming was my favourite escape. It was my way of coping. Of surviving.

In my daydreams I could enter a world where everything made sense. Where bad things didn’t happen, or even if they did, it was over quickly, I would be comforted, and everything turned out well.

I would sometimes daydream about a specific person. Most of the time it was a character on TV that would be my mother-figure or loving person in my life. It felt so safe. And you know why? Because in my fantasy world that person would never abandon me. They didn’t hurt me. If I saw a movie or read a book that involved a loving parental figure, I would play that story line out in my mind, inserting myself as the character that had that relationship with that person.

The downside of all of this was that sometimes when I would snap out of daydreaming mode, I would feel an incredible sadness because I knew it would/could never be real. But for me, the good side of daydreaming far outweighed the negative.

These days I don’t daydream nearly as much. Not because I’ve grown out of it (I don’t think we ever really do), but because I just don’t have the time anymore. Sometimes though the only way to calm myself down and stop feelings overwhelming me completely is to escape. Back into daydream mode. Where no one ever purposely hurts me. Where there’s plenty of love, genuine acceptance and affection. Where rejection and abandonment don’t exist. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been tuning into my own world a lot more often.

They say we need to be mindful. Be connected to reality. But sometimes, reality sucks, and the only way through it is to lose yourself in a world of your own making. Personally, I don’t think that being in a constant state of mindful awareness is even healthy. When I’m out in the world my nervous system is on high alert and I’m zoomed in on everything around me (unless I’m in a dissociative state) and it’s exhausting. So I see it as a form of self-care to allow myself to just drift a little bit when I’m at home and in need of some rest. Daydreaming helped me the most through my childhood and teen years, and it’s still a valuable coping tool today.

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5 thoughts on “Daydreaming: My Saving Grace

  1. The therapeutic use of mindfulness is a bit different than what you describe. It encourages you to notice it, but not focus on it, not wish it were different, not worry about its continuation, etc. Such an approach is thought to lighten the oppressive nature of whatever is your unhappiness. None of us are in the habit of taking this perspective, but it is worth investigating.

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    1. That’s a good point. I think the concept of mindfulness is a good one overall, but all the different messages out there about what constitutes mindfulness can make it a bit confusing.

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      1. Mindfulness has entered the popular culture, which is enough to confuse just about everyone! To achieve the kinds of results that the masters of mindfulness meditation do — the people considered the happiest ones on the planet — you have to take lots of time and practice. And probably be temperamentally fit for the task. Thanks, Rayne.

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  2. I agree with you on being in a constant state of mindfulness. If I keep myself present in the moment he’ll it depresses me. I know it’s good and my therapist pushes it a lot but like you sometimes I have to let my mind wander and be happy

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