I think there are some things you should know about my avoidant personality disorder (APD) and maladaptive daydreaming (MD), so you know with whom or “what” you’re dealing with, especially when communicating with me.

Personality disorders in general are developed in childhood or adolescence and have long-lasting, disruptive effects on your thinking, behaviour, mood and how you relate to others. There are actually quite a few of them, if you want to learn more, then here seems to be a good website: Personality Disorders Overview

Now, the logic behind an APD specifically is essentialy that you have very little confidence in yourself, so you are dependent on getting approval and reassurance from others. But since you depent on it so much, you’re also very afraid of getting the opposite, which of course intensifies if you do get negative reactions indeed (being criticized also counts as that). So over time you seclude yourself more and more.

On a website I found the following description: “A pattern of extreme shyness, feelings of inadequacy and extreme sensitivity to criticism. People with APD may be unwilling to get involved with people unless they are certain of being liked, be preoccupied with being criticized or rejected and may view themselves as not being good enough or socially inept.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

You’re for example afraid to talk to others – even your friends – because you’re worried to say something wrong or weird or to embarrass yourself. Every kind of situation or social interaction you’re not used to is a challenge.

It’s also really hard for me to just be myself – e.g. wearing the clothes that I like (that look a bit different than what most people wear) because I constantly ask myself how others will perceive me with them, if I’ll get weird looks etc. Theoretically I’d feel the most comfortable in the most casual clothes there could ever be: blue jeans and a t-shirt – because they attract the least amount of attention. But that’s also absolutely not my style. Moreover I’m naturally a very thin person, so I’m always sticking out anyway and that doesn’t make it any better.

The same thing also happens when I post on here or Mastodon – I constantly ask myself how others will see me when they read it, how it will come off if I post this or that, if I should rewrite certain parts, if I do everything right, … It’s really hard for me to “just post” whatever comes to my mind.

And it’s also partly the reason why I see myself unable to do a normal job – having a job interview alone seems like horror to me. But I think that’s better explained in another post.

And well, to cope with all that I developed my MD. Sadly MD isn’t an official diagnosis (yet) and there’s also not a lot of research on it. But it basically is very excessive daydreaming – like an addiction – that interferes with your daily life.

Also – in contrast to normal daydreaming – the dreams are more story-like with characters, plots and settings (there are often characters and storylines that reappear in your dreams for years) and they are very vivid, so that you often make facial expressions or repetitive movements or even talk while daydreaming.

There are also certain triggers that make you dreaming, for me personally it’s mostly music, animes and movies. But I rather call them “entrypoints” because (for me at least) they serve as an entry for a new story – basically like a blueprint you can base your own story on.

One can also daydream for a really long time – sometimes hours and I call these longer periods “sessions”. – But it’s important to note that you’re always aware that you’re dreaming, so it’s not like a psychosis.

Now obviously maladaptive daydreaming is something you rather do when you’re alone in your room at home. In fact, for most of my life I had a habit of walking back and forth in my room while listening to music when I had a session, and I still do sometimes in the woods, so far I can be shure that other people won’t see me. But it can also happen without you doing it on purpose, for example when I walk in the woods and there are only a few people passing by I often automatically drift off into MD.

I also often have real difficulties to concentrate – even on stuff that I actually find interesting. At some point I even thought that I might have ADHD, but the criteria never really seemed to fit me. Then I came across this article and it confirmed a lot of the stuff I had already assumed: Maladaptive Daydreaming May Be Better Diagnosis Than ADHD for Some – So yeah, my inattentiveness probably correlates with my MD.

And MD consumes a huge part of my life – if I would have to guess I would say I spent about 70% of my life in a dream. – Still, it’s so baked into it that it’s impossible for me to live without it.

That’s also the reason why it’s getting really hard for me now since I became homeless because I rarely have the chance to do a session. In the beginning it was surprisingly easy to go on without it, but now, after several months, it feels like I’m constantly on edge, like everything is too much. I guess in that regard MD really acts like an addiction and I’m currently going through a withdrawal – gosh, you can’t imagine how much I yearn for having my own private space again. And it’s not only that – the constant fear of the next thunderstorm (I already had to sit through two of them) or that someone might discover my camp in the woods really kills me. But that’s another story.

Well, now I finally managed to put out this text that I wanted to write for quite some time. I hope you have a better picture now of what’s “wrong” with me and can understand me better, especially when I might come off as weird.