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Bipolar Disorder and Daydreaming


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Yes, I know the cliche about bipolar disorder being the domain of artists and writers and I hate it because bipolar disorder is most definitely not glamourous.

I was reading on Ask Metafilter about a person who has vivid daydreams that sometimes interfere with his life and that he was having difficulty controlling his daydreaming. Some of the replies were from people who also are bipolar and have daydreams that start interfering with their lives.

I have always had extremely vivid daydreams. I was an only child and I had five or six imaginary friends. When I was in elementary school, I started to create my alternative world. I still have daydreams about this world and I will slide into this world frequently. The difference is now that I am an aspring writer and I am attempting to integrate my characters and world into a story.

I can relate to this guy because when I am in my more depressed mode, my daydreams will tend to be darker and bad things will start happening in the world and I will try to imagine positive things happening but they will seem "fake" as well as the fact that I will tend to get stuck in a daydreaming mode.

I guess my question is, does this sound familiar to you? Do people with bipolar disorder also have a tendency to have really vivid daydreams?

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I don't have really vivid daydreams, but I have them a *lot*. It gets particularly bad when I am more energized, especially because my thoughts go faster, but it happens at other times as well. I'll play out 1-2 scenarios in my mind, over and over and over, with minor variations. After a few days my interest in them will fade. Later, it will start up again with different scenarios.

They don't really go anywhere, and I wish I could use the processing cycles for something else.

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I can relate.

With me i find when i am in my manic moments and way up there ... thats when i see things that arent realy there i hear voices people talkin to me like your sittin at the coffee shop... and yes there very vivid.. and almost real to the touch like you can reach your hand out and touch them...

I wouldnt say they come and go there always there but more intense when my mood is way out there and extremly hard to find the off switch !

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As VE said, the daydreams can be a sign of ADD, and ADD comes bundled with BP quite often. You may want to look into it. I have ADD as well.

Helena also has ADHD and has reported having many imaginary friends. This could be a trend.

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I'm daydreamer #1.

One of my main memories of First Grade is being sat down by my father to find out why I didn't pay attention in class. I was promised anything I wanted (an airplane ride) if I would be more attentive. (My me-too brother listening in begged for and was promised a train ride). Neither of us got that ride. Grrrr. One look out the window and I'm off fascinated with some tidbit, or following some stream of conciousness, eyes unfocused and the world tuned out, to this day.

I love my dictionary, but open it, and a half hour has gone by chasing one word after another and I still haven't looked up my original intention.

A key survival skill for school through college was to sit in the very front of the class so I could focus on the teacher. The further back I sit the harder it becomes to even follow the lecture. For me too study requires significant effort to calm down, turn off any emotion, attempt to limit all distractions. Its hard to even sit still, and I'm filled with dread and anxiey.

I've always considered myself lazy for not doing what seems so simple, but it is always a real fight to pay attention to the books. University was only difficult because I had to work so hard just to get the material into my head. There is no way I could ever do correspondence courses or internet based clases. No way.

A year and a half ago, I discovered the ADD dx, and found a website that had an expanation that seemed to fit. I think I was hypomanic at the time and have been reluctant to even broach the subject with my Pdoc. She is very cautious about diagnosing anything. I have no dx for my anxiety even though she says in a puzzled tone that it is one of my largest daily struggles!?

I feel that since every ADD symptom doesn't apply to me all the time, that I have made it through college and 20 years of work that obviously it isn't really significant, if I even had it, and that many of the symptoms can be attributed to know Bipolar overlapping symptoms, my meds, and my sleep apnea. But my concentration has degraded so much over the last 5 years that I'm at the point where even being able to hold any detailed job is of significant concern.

Any thoughts? Am I just creating patterns out of my personal laziness, or can be attributed to my BP dx?

a.m.

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am-

i was just DXed with ADD this year, and it was such a relief. like what a lot of people with ADD say, it was great to hear that i'm not lazy or stupid or crazy (well, i am, but that's a different story). i finally had an explaination for all those problems i had with focus and attention.

my problems sound exactly like yours. my pdocs also have tried to lump my attention issues into bipolar disorder. nope. it stands alone for me. none of my bp treatments have ever touched the attention problems. i'm on wellbutrin, a drug that supposedly will help ADD sufferers, and it doesn't touch it. Strattera didn't touch it. i think only stims would, and they're afraid to do that with my bp cocktail. so i'm living with it much the same way you are. we've learned over the years how to cope with it and make up for our limitations.

i think it wouldn't be too hard to tell your pdoc that you think it is its own disorder, and ask to try a short run of adderall or whatever to see if it will help. you can always play with it and see if treating the symptoms helps at all.

i have a friend who had the same problems we have, and all his life he thought he was just stupid. he was seeing the pdoc for depression when the pdoc suggested she thought he had ADD. they tried adderall and he felt so much better, and his mind worked correctly for the first time ever. he stopped struggling with all that "easy" stuff and could concentrate.

that's my dream, and probably yours too. tell him or her about your suspicions and see if you can convince him or her to experiment a bit. you can probably at least get tested for it. my pdoc tested me quite a bit, and also reviewed his notes from the past year before giving me my DX.

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I have REALLY vivid day dreams.. and then I have really vivid hallucinations.. sometimes its hard to tell teh difference... when i'm totally caught up in them.. and sometimes I daydream while i hallucinate.. and its just a mess... but I'm bipolar and ADD... so... the ADD is probably whats causing the daydreams...

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My tdoc has discussed ADD with me as one reason that I have a tendency to daydream so much. Both she and my pdoc have always been hesitent to say that I have ADD is that I have always done well in school (I'm in grad school now) and they seem to think that I wouldn't have made it this far if I had ADD to any major extent. My personal opinion is that I'm good at taking notes on autopilot and I have a near photographic memory and so can just read the notes before the test and remember them. My personal best study time for any test is two hours and that is excluding the four hours in between where I daydreamed, snacked, listened to music, and surfed the internet. I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging about my intelligence- I'm just lucky to have a good memory for random facts.

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  • 1 month later...

I don't have really vivid daydreams, but I have them a *lot*. It gets particularly bad when I am more energized, especially because my thoughts go faster, but it happens at other times as well. I'll play out 1-2 scenarios in my mind, over and over and over, with minor variations. After a few days my interest in them will fade. Later, it will start up again with different scenarios.

They don't really go anywhere, and I wish I could use the processing cycles for something else.

Wow - that sounds just like me. I also get obsessed with things for a while, (particularly comedy series) and they are almost constantly in my thoughts for days or even weeks. It gets very waring sometimes.

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As VE pointed out, the ADD/BP connection is well-known. I wouldn't be surprised if Asperger disorder had a part in it also, given that many ADDers have sensory dysfunction (aversion or preferences for unusual tastes, textures, or sounds). And I think we had a discussion about BPs having this issue, also.

I think they're already doing studies on that cluster, anyways. Well, they'd better be, but don't get me into the discussion of how much sense some researchers tend to make.

My teachers in elementary school always gave me high marks for everything except attention. HMM. I wonder why.

"Reasonably bright student, should just pay more attention in class... and not try to correct the teacher so much."

Hey, it's not my fault I don't like authority. ;) And hate people in general, but anyways.

I do tend to come up with useful ideas while daydreaming. Now that I'm out in the professional world, where I can make myself look constructive with a stack of orders to process, I can glance at a stack of journal articles beside it to daydream what I want to do next in lab.

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I was reading on Ask Metafilter about a person who has vivid daydreams that sometimes interfere with his life and that he was having difficulty controlling his daydreaming. Some of the replies were from people who also are bipolar and have daydreams that start interfering with their lives.

I have always had extremely vivid daydreams. I was an only child and I had five or six imaginary friends. When I was in elementary school, I started to create my alternative world. I still have daydreams about this world and I will slide into this world frequently. The difference is now that I am an aspring writer and I am attempting to integrate my characters and world into a story.

I guess my question is, does this sound familiar to you? Do people with bipolar disorder also have a tendency to have really vivid daydreams?

I'm not bipolar, but I am very very ADD. I have the whole "alternative world" thing going on, and have as long as I can remember. I get so totally encompassed with it hours go by and I don't notice. It keeps me from sleeping. The more control my meds have over my other ADD symptoms, the less daydreaming I do.

My tdoc has discussed ADD with me as one reason that I have a tendency to daydream so much. Both she and my pdoc have always been hesitent to say that I have ADD is that I have always done well in school (I'm in grad school now) and they seem to think that I wouldn't have made it this far if I had ADD to any major extent. My personal opinion is that I'm good at taking notes on autopilot and I have a near photographic memory and so can just read the notes before the test and remember them. My personal best study time for any test is two hours and that is excluding the four hours in between where I daydreamed, snacked, listened to music, and surfed the internet. I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging about my intelligence- I'm just lucky to have a good memory for random facts.

No need to brag. It's been discussed here before that a lot of smart kids who have ADD don't get diagnosed when they are younger, especially the ADD'ers who are more on the 'distracted' side than the 'hyperactive' side. The brains can compensate for the ADD. I didn't get diagnosed until I was out of grad school and in the "real world", 26 years old. I totally get the being on auto pilot thing.

When I was getting diagnosed there seemed to be a fine line was I just very ADD with depression or did I

have BP...I have never really had any manic episodes so thats why I am just very ADD with occasional depression.

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