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How to overcome intense daydreaming?

Jamison Orten

Active Member
I was diagnosed with high functioning autism when I was at least a toddler, and all my life I've had an unusually active imagination. A part of expressing this imagination for me has been retreating into the imaginary world inside of my head and re-enacting what was going on in there. I often do this as a way to cope with stress, boredom, or other complicated emotions I don't know how to respond to. However, this often results in me talking to myself out loud or being less attentive of myself and my surroundings. I find that it's constantly interfering with both my social and professional life. I want to find a way to stop or replace this behavior but I don't know how. Does anyone else here experience the same thing, and if so, what do you do about it? Ideas?
I do this a lot too,I am a massive daydreamer and will re enact what I am thinking about like when I am home I suddenly start walking fast or verbalise what I am thinking,on my year 4 report card my teacher wrote that I daydream too much in class and even now I still daydream a lot and I feel like sometimes I have no control over it,I think I also do this to cope with stress and I tend to do it a lot while I am out,maybe it’s a way for my brain to cope or to stop me from being too stressed or overwhelmed.
I have an active imagination too but not a problem controlling it. I don't allow myself to do it except at safe times however.
I have had a few jobs in my past that were very boring (like sewing at a factory) and to help pass the time I would incorporate day dreaming with what I was doing and it helped.
I had a serious daydream problem growing up. I spent more time daydreaming than in reality. When I was in middle school I recognized it was becoming more serious and I was afraid I would get lost in my daydreams (if that can happen). I made myself, literally forced myself to stop daydreaming and stay with the present. I really loved my alternate world. I wonder how dangerous that might be to just give in to it. Do y’all think it is dangerous or that I just panicked over nothing? Is excessive daydreaming an autistic thing?
I find daydreaming to be a very welcome respite for me. My life is challenging so my daydreams provide some sense of hope. Daydreaming is also relaxing.
It is a tremendous relaxation and respite from the aggravation of everyday interaction and stresses, but yes, it can get in the way in the wrong circumstances. I've had to learn to control it around other people, keep it in short bursts. I've found a few ways of covering it - striking a pose that suggests you're in deep thought often works - scratching the chin and looking distant for instance, twirling a pen or picking up a pad and pen and looking like you're poised to write something profound. I doesn't work for long but it allows for 20 or 30 seconds of peace.
Things that you can fidget and fiddle with can sometimes help me keep in the real world when I'm particularly stressed and the urge to withdraw becomes powerful.
I daydream to excess. It was my first "diagnosis" - innattentive ADD. I still do it a lot, it calms me, is more interesting than watching movies or shows, and can inspire creativity and problem solving. I do tend to zone out in social settings, which some people find weird or impolite.

I am able to control it while working, as I said, it helps me with problem solving, so it has gotten me through a lot of technical difficulties and inspired some novel solutions to problems.
For me, this kind of daydreaming was always a defensive mechanism. Later it turned for worse or better into depersonalisation/derealisation. I could go months without remembering what really happened during that time.

Although excessive daydreaming and DR/DP are different, I found that typical grounding methods help for both. If I want to wake up, I most often use the method o 5 Things. It goes like this. Find:
- 5 things with your eyes
- 4 textures with your fingers
- 3 sounds with your ears
- 2 smells with your nose
- 1 taste with your tongue

These can be mixed in any way. Eventually you can find 5 Blue things, 5 Red things, 5 Yellow things etc.

I find it easier to 'come back to reality' if I do this, so unless I want to daydream, I don't do it. There is nothing wrong with daydreaming, it's calming and pleasant after all, but it's also good to avoid getting lost in your head.
I do tend to daydream quite a lot - sometimes it is welcome or planned, sometimes not. I don't really have a solution to it, apart from trying to make myself stay on task, which doesn't always work.
You can't unhook your imagination, but you can develop focusing skills. I say "develop" because it takes training. I would always lose my place when reading, then I realized that I was allowing myself to be distracted. I can't read and absorb what I am reading because my ears gravitate toward voices and external sounds. The voice always wins, and I haven't a clue what I was reading because I was going through the motions without focusing on the messages. My enemy is external noise.

When needed, concentrate on the message being given - verbal instructions, written instructions, and internal "in your head" problem-solving discussions. Give all of your energy to the message. When you stray, pull back and connect with the message again. Keep your eyes on the speaker, or the text, and focus exclusively on understanding the message. You have a natural tendency to let your mind wander. That's a habit you have become accustomed to. Use your mind like a grip. Try to keep your mouth shut - no comments. Also, don't critique the message - listen for meaning only, and read for meaning only. If you have to read something more than once, read it more than once. This is training and practice. You are exercising focusing skills, so you must ignore anything that is not the message. This is my own method, not anything from a medical professional. The problem is all about combatting the external influences that command your attention and draw you away from focusing. I had to learn about all the things that draw my attention away. I was able to learn to tune them out by keeping all effort on the message. Even my unconscious body movement are a distraction. You eventually learn how to maintain focus without interference.
yeah I definitely have this issue. maybe not as extreme as you but it's there. I think some people at work notice that I talk to myself but they don't say anything about it.

sometimes i'll be reading something and won't absorb what i'm reading because my mind drifts off to something else. I can read pages and not remember a thing I've read because of mind drift.
As Peter said, I don't think you can rid yourself of the daydream tendency. But you can work to gain focus and control over the compulsion. For me it's not so much s compulsion, when I am given a break ie. when I don't have to give my full attention to something, my mind will wander to some technical problem to solve or just daydream about walking off into the present landscape.

Windows can be a big problem.
As Peter said, I don't think you can rid yourself of the daydream tendency. But you can work to gain focus and control over the compulsion. For me it's not so much s compulsion, when I am given a break ie. when I don't have to give my full attention to something, my mind will wander to some technical problem to solve or just daydream about walking off into the present landscape.

Windows can be a big problem.
I get the windows being a problem thing. LOL I know when I used to ride in cars I'd be picturing myself riding a motorcycle through the terrain with the wind in my face. :)
I do this a lot. It can be an ok thing to do occasionally, but it can start to take over. It actually can be a powerful thing if you use it to visualize positive outcomes whether it be for sports, life situations, etc. The only way I've combated it would be to practice mindfulness. This has worked for me, although I have not done a good job recently practicing being mindful.
I constantly daydream, too. To the point, like you, that my daydreams overlap with reality, and I end up talking out loud to myself. I especially daydream/fantasize when I’m stimming (rocking). My imagination is off the charts. I actually think it’s kind of cool, though.
My first thought is why would we tamper with intense daydreaming? It functions like a tranquilizer for me these days. In bad jobs, it's a boredom relief pill. And if someone makes me upset at job, l can think of totally ridiculous things happening to them. At one place l work at, when people do stupid things, chances are l am wrapped up in dreamland not really caring about their silliness! I enjoy replaying great times for the happiness points l collect as a result.

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