Clinically speaking there is nothing wrong with a vivid imagination. The problem is another – the imagination clouds reality.
I have a super colourful imagination that is very detailed, which stands in stark contrast to my quite usual grey life like everyone else’s’. The thoughts are like stories or films and meticulously precise. I have started to realise that I love getting lost in my own rainbow, as it is so much more enticing. I have tried to recreate this excitement or dragging it into reality but that only works marginally. How do you not get lost in your own wonderland?
I fear that I am starting to like what is in my mind more than what is in the real world, as I can shape it and make it as colourful or bleak as I choose. I am the painter with a blank canvas.
I honestly fear this new behaviour is starting to consume me and if I surrender to it too much that I might start hating reality even more and with that it all getting its own dynamic.
OCD and imagination
For those of you that do not know. OCD and imagination go hand in hand. Take the ablutomania, the obsession with cleanliness. You have just touched the button in the bus; You start wondering: How many have touched that button? When was it cleaned the last time? Those that touched it, did they wash their hands after going to the toilet? How many junkies touched that button? Whilst having this feeling there is a see-through film on your fingers now that is contaminating them and everything else you touch will be contaminated too.
You know that the thought is irrational and mad, but you cannot shake it. You know nothing bad will happen, but you cannot shake it.
It is an imagination that takes over
A study from 2011 came to the conclusion that daydreaming should be considered a warning sign of mental illness. As healthy people that daydream a lot and rely on their memory also show symptoms of OCD. Dissociation being common in people with OCD and daydreaming is a form of dissociation. The researchers, however, need to look into to the link between the two before they can draw any more conclusions.
Daydreaming and Dissociation become a problem when you start questioning what you know and what reality is, which can happen with OCD and other mental illnesses.
The other side of the imagination
Reading up on this topic I have realised I can become a problem/illness. Is this another case of shifted OCD one can’t see oneself?
My psychologist said basically anything can become an OCD if it is in excess and starts hindering you in your daily life. OCD is not limited to the mainstream things like counting, cleaning, gaps, thoughts, orderliness.
Dr. Eli Somer (Maladaptive Daydreaming) who has studied daydreamers came to the conclusion they know very well that they are fantasising but spend vast amounts of their days with it. He did not find any signs of psychosis or schizophrenia, which he found unnerving. Especially given that the subjects all were aware that they are imagining it all. They all said they could not stop it is like an addiction.
Mental illnesses are so entwined it is hard to sometime differentiate. Then there is also the fact that some turn up a side effect of the actual illness, a bit like a runny nose when you have the flu. With all of mine, there is this simultaneousness throughout.
Which for me poses the question is the personality maybe the key and problem?