Fantasy Prone Personality – Can It Be Linked to Mood Disorders?
One large section of my personality is fantasy prone. This means that I am subject to vivid day dreams and imaginings, several times throughout the day. Of course, most writers and artists possess this characteristic in varying degrees. This is certainly not to be considered a disorder if you value creative works of any sort.
Fantasy prone people can certainly operate under logic when necessary, but when you are on the extreme part of the spectrum of imaginative thinking, logic takes the back seat most of the time.
I have been thinking about something that my therapist told me. It is regarding my tendency to escape to other worlds. Yes, I have a few different worlds that I am a part of. To clarify, I am in full control of what I think and do in these worlds and I can snap out of them at any time. I can go to Narnia through the wardrobe, yet I can vanish and reappear on Earth at will. 😉
My therapist, who has been using cognitive psychotherapy to help me heal from depression and past emotional wounds, said that she finds it interesting how most people who day dream to the extent that I do often do so to escape from their problems. She probed for bad childhood memories, since I told her I have been day dreaming since I’ve been around three years old, and I remember doing so to this day.
I have no negative memories as a small child that made me want to leave to another reality. I honestly did it just for fun, because, well, it’s another form of creation. I write stories, draw and sketch characters or animals, I’ve even written a musical piece. So, creating a setting that I can escape to is yet another realm that I can make use of.
Now, I am not going to lie and say that I haven’t run away to my other world because things have gone wrong. I would often paint over embarrassing or sad situations by re-imagining them or by going to a different place with different people to make myself feel better. I still do that.
Once I became a teenager, I did often use my day dreams as a way of escapism. I imagined myself to be a braver, more exciting person than I was to the people I went to school with. I was always physically strong as well, with super hero qualities. I wrote relatively little, but I drew a lot. Still, I would have daydreamed whether I had a flourishing social life or not.
In my young adult years, the day dreams become a little more “realistic”. I no longer have super powers and I stick to two worlds (For now). I exercise a lot of my intellect rather than pretending to inflict violence on the antagonists. I don’t know if this can be thought of his self-inflicted therapy or not, but I am happy with how I’ve handled my fantasising. It is not something I can really “turn off” when I am working, walking, running, swinging on the swings, dancing, or even in a room full of people. It’s a part of me, it is something I do… I’m an introvert who writes stories and imagines how they would appear in a film. To me, it makes sense that I would be highly imaginative. Perhaps it can make me appear aloof or “out of it” to certain people, or even unintelligent to the uninformed observer.
The bottom line is, I have been fantasy prone since I’ve been a baby. It develops my imagination when I day dream, and since I’ve matured, I can use the process to envision stories that I wish to write or edit.
My therapist did not confirm that it is healthy or normal for me to be doing this, but she interestingly just nodded when I explained to her that it’s something that I do for inspiration, whether my current life situation is good or bad. It is yet another tool used by the writer mind. She seemed sort of fascinated, actually.
I wonder how accurate it is to link creativity/fantasy prone-ness with depression and other mood disorders. Depression is something I have had for quite a while, and I finally recognized it a couple of years ago. It took me another two years to get professional help.
But, are creative types more susceptible to becoming depressed, or suffering from something like bipolar disorder or anxiety?
Some people say that the media and pop culture fuel the stereotype of the crazy or bipolar writer, but, seriously, is there some truth to it? Maybe. There are different types of creative writers out there, and some score very low on the fantasy prone scale. (Yes, there really is a test that confirms this).
I know that this blog is not very well-travelled in comparison with my writing blog, but if you happened to stop by, and you are also fantasy prone, do tell me about your experience in the comments if you wish to. I would love to hear from another person who takes part in vivid day dreaming.