Thursday, October 12, 2006

DAYDREAMING

It seems I have a lot of work on lately, along with a snot virus and an overwhelming social life, so the blog's been taking a back seat. Ok, I lied about the social life, and the work would be done in very little time at all if only I had any time management skills, but the snot virus is true. So, while I've been busy with other stuff (lying in bed, watching TV, browsing message forums and occasionally doing a little work) I haven't been able to get my teeth into any serious SA issues. How lame is that? Maybe I should do an entry on time management next time. Anyway, whilst I'm filling in a few gaps (I will get onto some serious stuff eventually) I thought I'd add another random post to the blog. Whilst browsing an SA forum today I spotted a thread on daydreaming in relation to social anxiety. Something surprised me about that topic, the fact that I've been browsing SA forums for years yet I've never seen that issue raised in such a simple context. It's something I've thought about a lot, and it is a genuinely thought provoking topic because it holds insight into the nature of the introvert, but not once have I seen it spoken about thoroughly in relation to SA. So, I'm going to make a half-assed attempt at that right now. Enjoy.

Everyone daydreams from time to time, it's a perfectly natural part of our mental processes. I'm sure there are probably some really deep and meaningful reasons why we daydream studied by some of the world's greatest minds, delving all the way into the sub-conscious, but I don't want to talk about that. For a start, I'd probably get lost in my own sub-conscious and I like my sanity just as it is, and besides, I wouldn't have any idea what I was talking about, so I'm only going to be talking about daydreaming in relation to SA. But where exactly does this mental function tie in with social anxiety? The afore mentioned thread was titled I always dream about being a hero. The majority of people who replied also daydreamed about being heroic or important figures, significant to society, or more to the point, cherished by society. These people dream of the very things they find impossible to do in their own lives because of their fears and they dream that they are accepted, even loved, by society. This of course, isn't universal, people dream up all kinds of scenarios. Some may simply dream they are alone on a secluded beach, some may dream they are iconic figures, whilst others dream they are Gods. Each one tells you something about that person. Sitting on a beach appears to be a healthy dream to me. Becoming an iconic figure shows a need to be accepted and feel a sense of importance. Becoming a God would suggest that you have a controlling nature and wish to control your surroundings. I'm sure you're beginning to see where this begins to tie in with SA and self-esteem issues, but this only tells us how our negative self-image guides our imagination. The question of why we daydream in the first place leads us to some interesting answers. Sure, everyone daydreams, but not always to the extent of your average introvert. Why is that? The answer is so simple you'll probably send me death threats for so much as wasting your time with this, but bear with me. You daydream so much because you are an introvert. That's what you do. You spend your time focusing your mind internally, and while you're doing this you'll happen across many dreams. I know, that's not exactly a revelation, but have a think about it for a second. All this time spent daydreaming is strengthening your social anxiety. Daydreaming and introversion are synonymous with each other, you practice one and it inevitably influences the other.

Don't take my word for it, I don't have a PHD in daydreaming and neither do I even own a book on the subject. I base my knowledge almost entirely on my own experiences, but these experiences have always come up with consistent patterns. For example, and this is another important note to make, I always daydream more when I'm anxious. I'm not talking about being specifically socially anxious, just anxious. I daydream the most when my mind is restless and I daydream the least when my mind is calm and relaxed. Furthermore, if I find myself in a restless state and I'm continuously poking about in my imagination I only become more anxious and restless, which then provokes a deeper poking of my imagination, almost as if there is a pot of gold in there and I have to find it. If I am to consciously stop this destructive pattern, my mind immediately begins to relax and slow to a more satisfying pace. The anxiety fuels the dreams, and the dreams fuel the anxiety.

Daydreaming is an escapism from reality and it is often our efforts to protect ourselves from the realities of the world that hurt us the most. When we daydream, we are actually hiding. We are hiding from boredom, we are hiding from physical pain and we are hiding from social interaction. When we hide from social interaction, it eventually becomes habitual and we don't even notice we're doing it. The problem with hiding is that not only are you hiding from any problems you may have, you're also hiding from the solutions. In fact, you're hiding from your life. And it is the real world, out there, that holds the cure to social anxiety. You spend all day daydreaming then it soon becomes difficult to hold a conversation with someone. Why? Because you're suddenly shifting from your internal world to the external world and it's not quite as you imagined it. One thing I know for certain. If you want to be less introverted, then you must be prepared to become less focused on your inner-self, which means stepping away from your dreams and taking a look at your realities once in a while.

Not for one second am I saying you should never daydream, I don't think I could live without it myself. This is more like sex education. It's not that you shouldn't do it, just remember to play safe...


5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is really helpful. i've daydreamed practically half of my life away and really can't stand it anymore. your post made clear reasons for my daydreaming that i wasn't figuring out. thanks.

10:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, great post. I came to the same realization earlier today, and as luck would have it I stumbled onto your site. I'm curious if your social anxiety has decreased/increased/stayed the same since you tried to stop daydreaming? I'm assuming you tried to stop or at least decrease your daydreaming considering the nature of the post.

1:14 am  
Anonymous MW said...

mico its been a while since you've written anything..a new post or two would be welcome...
waiting...

10:46 am  
Anonymous Nathalie said...

Whaouh!! That's right!! ANd really, I have the same problem: I'm daydreaming like... well, i would say as often as possible, and this is a problem, sometimes, you just don't want to talk to people because you have to stop being with yourself, and yeah!! That's a problem.. Well, thanks for this post!!!

1:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks a lot for this. discussing such issues makes one realize that someone is there who can solve this problem. thanks. great

7:11 pm  

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