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Adapative or maladaptive?  

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  1. 1. Adapative or maladaptive?

    • Adaptive
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    • Maladaptive
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Because of my depression, I like many people, have pitifully low self esteem.

Ever since Iast year I been having a tendency to daydream of having a better life and various other powerfantasies I make up. When daydreaming my self esteem skyrockets and I feel good. But I kinda resent it because I hate vanity and I'm worried that having super high self esteem will make me arrogant and vain and grandiose. I also begin to kinda lose touch with reality and think that I'm above the rules and stuff like that. I'm worried about becoming egotistic.

I had a debate about this 2 days ago with my therapist and she said that the daydreams aren't bad because it's better than having extremely low self esteem(paraphrased). I disagreed.

So with all this in mind, is it an adaptive or maladaptive coping mechanism?

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I've never really thought of it as a coping mechanism. I think of it as a way to entertain myself when I'm bored, such as when listening to a speaker.

There's nothing wrong with picturing yourself being in a better place. 

 

 

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I don't think becoming arrogant and vain are particularly big risks. If your self-esteem is currently very low then you are a long way off from overshooting healthy confidence. Your desire to not be egotistical will probably do a fine job of regulating your attitude as your self-esteem rises.

I think daydreaming is a normal and healthy thing, but from my experience I'd say that relying too much on power fantasies can end up being a bit maladaptive if it's a substitution for pursuing the things you want IRL. Picturing yourself accomplishing things is a really important part of having goals and aspirations, but starting to take steps toward some of them is also necessary. If your daydreams improve your self-esteem, you can use that as fuel to start working on various goals

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i generally view daydreaming as an adaptive coping mechanism. if imagining yourself as a powerful person gives you more self-confidence, i would encourage you to keep thinking that way. a proven way to hype yourself up before a presentation/performance is to tell yourself that you're the best ever, that you're going to nail this, and that everybody will love you/your work. i think what you're doing is just an extension of that. it's not vain or egotistical. the brain likes being complimented, and when you compliment yourself, your brain spits out feel-good chemicals, which makes you feel better about yourself.

vanity and egoism tend to have an element of "nobody else is as good as me". it's not only thinking you're a great person, but thinking that others are worse than you. hand in hand with that is not being receptive to criticism, help, or teamwork. if you can recognize your shortcomings and accept help in improving yourself, i don't think you need to worry about being egotistical.

i think your only concern is watching that it doesn't affect your day-to-day life. if you're having a hard time coming out of that daydream state, or find that you're daydreaming so much that you're missing things happening in the real world, you might want to bring that up with a tdoc/pdoc. daydreaming is on the mildest side of the dissociation spectrum, with DID being on the other end, and depersonalization, derealization, and OSDD being in between. dissociation generally comes from trauma, but also from anxiety, depression, and other fun stuff. if you think you might be dissociating, you should definitely bring that up with your care team, because that's where things gets maladaptive.

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