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Addiction: Is it possible?

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Addiction: Is it possible?
PostPosted: Sun 08 Aug, 2010  Reply with quote

This notion has been troubling me for the last couple of days. For years and years, I've had problems waking up in the morning, both mental and physical, to the point where I not only feel tired, but often also ill. It's bad enough that I've actually been to see several doctors about it, but none of them have had any ideas about what could be causing my difficulties. We've ruled out things like chronic fatigue syndrome, because as the day goes on I feel progressively better. I also regularly get lots of sleep. One way of putting it is that I have literal 'morning sickness'.

If anyone on this forum remembers my dream journal from way back, they might recall that I tend to have insanely intricate and detailed dreams, with a very good recall ability. Again, it's been like this for years and years. The other notable thing about my dreams is that they are overwhelmingly positive - I can count the number of nightmares I've ever had on the fingers of one hand. I often wake up feeling stunned to the core about the things I saw in that day's dream. To tell the truth, I hate waking up from them. I'm aware it's a significant contributor as to why I feel so bad when I wake up, although it doesn't account for the physical symptoms.

The idea occurred to me just a couple of days ago (I don't know why I didn't notice it sooner) that I might be addicted to my dreams. It sounds crazy, but I wonder if my morning exhaustion and sickness could be withdrawal symptoms? It's certainly true that I constantly find myself wishing that I never had to wake up. I don't hate life or anything - in fact, I love life! - but next to the things I dream, it just doesn't compare. It's like I'm forced back into mediocrity each day from the most amazing wonders and visions the imagination can produce. I honestly have no idea how my subconscious comes up with this stuff, but it does it on a daily basis. I am convinced that my subconscious is a genius. If I could come up with even half this stuff while I was awake, I would probably be the world's greatest artist, writer, architect, inventor and composer by now. It's just that amazing.

It looks like my 'morning sickness' began at about the same time as I started keeping a dream journal, which was when I was 11 or 12 and my dreams started becoming interesting enough to write down, which doesn't help reassure me. I haven't typed up any dreams for the last two years, but it hasn't stopped me having or remembering them, and it hasn't stopped them being intricate. I've tried to talk to several people about what I'm going through - but invariably they have no idea what I'm talking about, because they've never experienced the kinds of dreams I have.

Even when I'm awake, I feel like I'm drowning in (lesser) ideas. I'm a creative person and so I appreciate not having to worry about writer's block, but the opposite is just as bad! I can't focus on any single pursuit for very long, because it requires me to focus on a small group of ideas while I'm working on it, when meanwhile I have all these other ideas hammering away at me, demanding to be heard. I'm currently pursuing a multidisciplinary creative degree at university, which is great, but I'm constantly being distracted from it by other ideas that demand I also give them some time, NOW.

I'm surrounded by a million unfinished projects in a dozen different mediums that I know could each be great if I could just devote the time to getting them finished. It's driving me nuts that I can't stop the ideas coming, since I just want to be able to focus on my current projects. Every moment of my spare time is spent working on something creative, in an attempt to recreate the atmosphere of my dreams, or spent escaping into imaginary places through novels or TV shows, just to get away from reality. I can never get enough of it, and it seems like I'm never happy except when I'm asleep.

Isn't this the behaviour of an addict? It seems like it to me. It affects my daily life. It affects my relationships with friends and family. It affects all my creative pursuits, and I'm never satisfied with any of the work I create because it doesn't match up to my dreams. I do my best to distract myself during the day by keeping busy with work and study, and this works to some extent. But the longing never really goes away.

I have the best dreams in the world and I know it, but I wish they would just go away so that I would be able to enjoy real life. I wish I didn't know exactly what I was missing. I wish I didn't want to dream all the time. I wish I could just clear my head for a few days so that I could commit myself to a single project and not be thinking about a dozen others simultaneously. Yet how am I supposed to stop dreaming? Can it even be done? How can I stop wanting to dream? How can I learn to find happiness in real life after I've experienced everything in my dreams? It goes through phases every few months or so, but right now I seem to be in the middle of an unbearable one.

It's driving me crazy that there's nothing I can do about it. Geez, there's nobody I can even talk with about it. After all, whoever heard of a dream addiction? *sigh*

Well, my rant is over. I'd appreciate any thoughts and suggestions anyone has on the matter, because frankly, I am at a loss for what to do.

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PostPosted: Sun 08 Aug, 2010  Reply with quote

Hmm, it does sound as though you may be "addicted" to dreaming, but calling yourself an addict seems a bit harsh. sadblauw As for whether it's possible, I'm certain there are plenty of people out there with similar experiences. I have heard of some who have gotten addicted to certain activities in their dreams. For you, it merely sounds as if you're addicted to the whole experience.

Now, you could always try to control your dreams and "tone it down." It would work in a similar manner as quitting smoking, but that doesn't sound ideal. You could alternatively try to gradually change your dreams so they slowly approach a normal level of enjoyment. Whatever you try, know that your dreams are not like drugs or sex or other things people get addicted to. They can be altered at will, and will respond to how you feel. The best advice I think I can give you is to try and enjoy life; slow down once in a while and have fun. It may be that your dreams are acting out because you want something else out of life. (Dream interpretation may also be a good idea...)

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PostPosted: Sun 08 Aug, 2010  Reply with quote

I feel the same if I have to get up early. I always feel ill, and can't eat until like 11AM. I don't get detailed dreams very often though.

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PostPosted: Thu 02 Sep, 2010  Reply with quote

Have you thought of rebalancing your brain chemically? wink It even almosts reads like that you are ADHD - but the behaviour manifests itself through creativity rather than anti-social behaviour.

And a quick question - how many of these projects have you ever actually seen to total fruition? The reason I ask, is because you also (as another idea) seem to be comparing your waking life with your dream life, and they just of course dont compare. Two realities on the flip side of the same coin. Therefore, you are unconscioulsy begin working on the next idea to bring your two realities closer together..?!

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2010  Reply with quote

Carnun - sorry for the late response, I only just revisited this topic! Well, it's worth a try - at least ADHD is something a doctor can diagnose and treat, if it's there. I never would have suspected it, though, since I've always gotten excellent grades at school and university despite feeling distracted all the time.

My university projects get completed. (I have to complete them, or I'd do very poorly, and I'd feel terrible if I let my lecturers down.) However, because I've only got a limited timeframe in which to work, they're usually lesser versions of the ideas I originally came up with. For example, I had a great idea for a unique computer game for my current assignment, but I'm being forced to water it down in complexity by about three-quarters in order to meet the assignment deadline. In another case, I designed a community-based recreational project using some cutting-edge technology (I was quite proud of this one!) but was limited because I don't know computer or interaction programming, and I obviously can't learn complex/advanced skills like that in just a few weeks. So I ended up just handing in an interface design with a couple of short films and a detailed rundown of the underlying concept. If I did this for a job, of course, I'd be working with professional programmers who could do all the technical stuff for me and let me focus on conceptual design and idea generation. Unfortunately, being a uni student still, I can't afford to hire anyone to do it at this stage!

Pretty much anything I do as a hobby never gets completed, except for small projects like songs and one-off graphic design pieces. I tend to be better as a songwriter than anything else, because I can typically compose and record a song in just one day, and it doesn't involve any lengthy commitment. I'm sure you're right about the unconscious comparison between reality and dreams... but the question is, how to stop doing it?

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PostPosted: Tue 05 Oct, 2010  Reply with quote

Firstly, Hello to you friend. Please don't ever feel like you have no one to talk to, since I know how you feel. Firstly, it is very important for you to separate your physical symptoms from your mental/emotional ones because trust me, sometimes doctors have no idea what they are talking about. For your physical "morning sickness" I suggest you see a sleep doctor because it does sound to me like Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. That's something a lot of the younger generation are getting and they do have quiet a few ways to deal with it if sleeping for hours on end during the morning are interrupting your daily life.
As for addiction, yes an addiction is a state of constantly needing to do something that is harmful to you. Many people might not get it, but over sleeping is harmful. So is constantly daydreaming/living in dream worlds/wishing dream worlds were where you really lived. (And by constantly I mean 24/7 or how many hours you have in your day). With myself I went through a phase as such until someone showed me how living in this manor was just a way for me to escape from my thoughts instead of facing them. Though I don't daydream 24/7 anymore, I have found a balance between boredom daydreaming and real thought process. Where the daydreaming is no longer a hindrance to my daily life (though, an amazing comfort that helps me work out my problems and fall asleep at night).
As for your creativity issues, are you sure it's not related to a personality disorder? I know for me Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder hinders everything I do in daily life. I've had chronic depression in the past and sometimes get to points where I feel like doing anything is pointless as I never complete anything. But these are all parts of my over thinking processes.
The major issue here is not all these disorders and the labels that they bring but for your own peace of mind. For you to realise that there is nothing abnormal about you and that you really do have freedom over your own life. I know that if you're like me and have OCPD then trying to change anything in your life is like a major hell because it's a solid rockbed that you need to fundamentally function. But there are a few things you can do. Mostly find a creativity releasing hobby (you've already found songwriting), and realise that there is no wrong or right way to do art. A song can be really long or really short or really complex or not. The more you understand that art is purely creative and there is no wrong way to it, the more you will begin to realise that you shouldn't be upset about not "completing" anything. Also, if you feel you live in a dream world too much, then there are ways to manipulate this so that in your dream world you essentially figure out those problems you face in your own world, in a more creative way. I find that helps me work through things like tough or annoying assignments.
Just know, you're not alone in the world and you can always find someone to talk to. We are all here, regardless.

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PostPosted: Wed 06 Oct, 2010  Reply with quote

I used to have this, or at least something similar, when I was a kid. Some mornings just after waking up felt just weird, horrible and sick. Although I was perfectly fine health-wise. There was just a weird feeling, which you could percieve with almost all your senses, its hard to explain and describe...

Anyways, as I grew up these things stopped happening to a point where I haven't felt like that in a lot of years, possibly more than 10 years. I always asked myself ''why'' though...

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PostPosted: Thu 07 Oct, 2010  Reply with quote


I myself have ADD and I find your story TOTALLY recognizable!

The unending stream of idea's, one greater and bigger than the other. I have started uncountable projects, finished almost none.. There is alway a better idea, just around the corner.

Feel free to PM me..

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