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Daydreaming Versus Escapism

Why we daydream, and how to come back to the reality of our life, even when it is painful.

“Imagination should be used, not to escape reality, but to create it.” Colin Wilson

Do you daydream?

As a kid, I would stare out of my bedroom window for what seemed like hours sometimes.

Most of us introverts spend a lot of time on the ‘inside’. We quietly mull over all kinds of things without uttering a word. It can be a superpower. One that helps us process, create and find clarity.

There was a time, however, when daydreaming – or getting lost in my imagination – became a coping mechanism for me. It was a way of escaping some difficult realities that were in my life at the time. I remember having a bad case of the flu one winter and being stuck on the couch for 3 days. I used the downtime to get lost in a new book series. The concentrated time enveloped me in that imaginary world completely. Long after the books were closed, I stayed with the words on their pages, thinking about the characters and wondering what it would be like to live in their world.

Imagination is a gift, and sometimes an effective coping mechanism when we have experienced trauma.

There is a point, however, at which our imaging’s tip us into the realm of escapism. Instead of facing a reality that is painful or scary, we avoid it by dreaming and getting stuck in another.

Daydreaming is good when we are dreaming and imagining for our real lives. Getting lost in fantasy or imaginary worlds that will never be reality, though, may be an indicator that our real lives have pain and need something from us that we are trying avoid.

Pain, to be resolved, must be experienced.

Having a good quality support system can give us the strength we need to come back to our own reality, and give our life the attention it is asking of us.

Healing our pain and unpleasant realities frees us to dream dreams for our lives that can actually come true.

Find a good therapist, safe friends and healthy communities that will help you keep coming back to your reality. 

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