Fantasy Prone Personality

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.


12 thoughts on “Fantasy Prone Personality

  1. hi im so happy that other people have it too! I’m 12 and ive had it since I was a babh . I go in tyo a separate room by my self and just start dreaming. nobody in my family knows though but when I was little my mum would catch me and ask.

    • I used to do that a lot too when I was around 10-12 years old. Are you a write or an artist? I find it’s great to use your day dreaming and channel it toward creativity for art. 🙂 I still haven’t told my parents the extent to which I day dream.

    • Rachel,

      Whether you choose to keep it to yourself or share it with the world it’s a wonderful gift. It can be challenging to feel different then other people but there are many others like you who are blessed with a profound imagination and when you come across them they will totally and completely “get you”. You’ll find even more people out there who don’t share your gift but find it fascinating and beautiful. My wife has a mind for physics and calculus with limited imaginative abilities but she loves my “child-like” creativity. Just as I marvel at her ability to deal with the complexities of high level mathematics.

      Never stop being 12…it’s a wonderful thing 🙂

  2. The author’s experience is so similar to my own that it’s uncanny. Ever since I can remember I’ve had my “other worlds” with vivid landscapes, intricate storylines and characters who have existed in my mind for decades now. I would sit diwn to play with my toys but they always just ended up on the floor in front of me and I was gone, completely somewhere else. It must have looked very strange to an outsider watching me.

    I never thought of it as shameful or embarrassing but I never talked about either. It was my private thing and it felt completely normal. In fact I would start to feel antsy and grumpy if I didn’t get my alone time due to visiting house guests or a family vacation.

    I did however eventually realize that not everyone did this thing. I started to ask people what they did when they were alone. The question usually illicited a cocked eyebrow and a confused look. I knew there had to be others like me but as a confused teenager I didn’t want to come out and ask.

    Fast forward and I’m 39 years old. My career is in film and tv and I get to create any story I can imagine (with the right amount of money of course) and I couldn’t be happier. My imagination allows me to play and connect with my 1 & 3 year old girls in a profound way. My wife marvels watching the three of us get completely absorbed and lost in our make believe worlds. I would love to take her with us but she doesn’t know how to come along…her gift is being astounding at math. 🙂

    • That’s just so cool. 🙂 I’m happy to read your comment and learn of someone else’s fun with going into their imaginary worlds. I was like you where I’d spend a lot of time playing in my alternate reality rather than with my toys. You’re so lucky to be able to use that imagination in your daily life. I’m quite jealous. 🙂

      • Thanks Sara,

        I do feel very lucky and an enormous amount of gratitude for the way things turned out for me.

        I was terrible in school, my head was always in the clouds and I just didn’t care enough to put in the effort to do well. I was kicked out of high school so many times that I finally gave up on it altogether. Thank gawd I did. I quickly realized that people like us can do sooooo many other things that don’t require being chained to a desk while our creativity is slowly eroded out of us. We can write, paint, sculpt, sing and use our imaginative abilities in so many incredible ways to touch the lives of those around us.

        I don’t believe that being this way means one can’t enjoy school and take the normal path to a happy successful life. That just wasn’t for me and I often come across many others, who share this gift, who have had the same experience.

        As I mentioned I have two little girls of my own. I sometimes wonder if I really ant them to be like me or more like their logical, reasonable, scientific, mathematical mom. I don’t know. I guess I hope they get a little bit of both. I just want them to be happy 🙂

      • Upon re-reading my last reply I realized that it came across as a little anti-intellectual and anti-education. I just wanted to state unequivocally that it wasn’t my intention. I believe strongly in a good education and that the hyper creative can excel in the academic world. I just wasn’t able to do so.

        I believe that creativity can be a great equalizer. Under the right circumstances it can elevate the poor and disadvantaged to the level of the most elite intellectual and beyond. Weve all heard “the pen is mighter than the sword”…well I think that’s true of many artistic or creative disciplines.

        Anyhoo, that’s all I was trying to say.

      • Your reply actually settled with me as quite intelligent, so not to worry. 🙂 I agree that creativity blended with drive can actually take you to places that many with college diplomas could never reach. I’m one who is very creative, but I’m also academic – though of course my imagination will always trump the analytical areas of my mind. 🙂

  3. Hello, I’m not entirely sure if my post will get read as it has been months since the last comment on this particular page on ‘fantasy prone personality’. Let me start by telling you more about myself. My earliest memory encountering my fantasy prone personality was when i was a child playing with my pencils and pens whilst engaging in a hero/military fantasy. My passion to spend hours playing with these pencils/pens instead of my action man/ninja turtle figures briefly rubbed off on my younger brother 4 years my junior. As I grew up, I started this obsession to pace myself in circles engaging in all kinds of vivid day dreams with the theme of whatever action film/cartoon I just watched earlier. After being caught multiple times in the middle of my pacing, by my parents or siblings, I became very secretive about my obsession as i couldn’t answer to why I was doing it. For the longest time till recently, I thought I was the only person with this type of problem and has made me unable to connect with other people since coming to the self-realization that I was different at a young age. I went from being a rowdy and outgoing child to a quiet and secretive child engaging heavily in vivid day-dreams to escape the solitary life I was living. I found it easier engaging in my vivid day dreams through pacing myself in circles, however when i turned 16 i became more conscious about it all and started to force myself to quit this obsession. It took me 4 years to completely stop pacing myself in circles and now engage in my vivid day-dreams whilst listening to music and when I try to fall asleep at night. However I do not know how to apply my creativity other than in my fantasies. My parents discouraged me from studying arts at school even though it was the only subject i enjoyed and encouraged me to focus on the sciences and math. I did well with my science and math studies at high school however when I entered college at 16 in the UK, I found it difficult to follow the concepts taught at class and my grades reflected on my situation. Once again my parents convinced me to study Mathematics at university after repeating a year at college to get enough credit to get into a reasonable prestigious University with a first-class Mathematical department. After failing 2 years to pass the first year of my degree course I ended up being kicked out of the university. This lead to my current depression of feeling like a complete failure in everything I do. After a year of doing nothing at home my parents convinced me to give higher education another try but let me pick the subject matter this time. I choose a part-time business management degree since I couldn’t do an art-related subject due to not possessing an art portfolio, which was a necessary requirement. I’m now in my third year of my 4 and a half year course and have yet to fail a single module but do not have a passion for it. Having read your article and the comments below has made me feel for the first time in a long time that there might be some hope for me after all. What I considered for the longest time to be a weakness or a curse is seen as a ‘gift’ to others. I really hope my comment reaches someone as I could do with some advice or guidance.

    • Hi Max, I saw your post! 🙂 I honestly didn’t have the energy to reply to the other comment, since it was dissing being fantasy prone and I was already very depressed.

      I think it’s really interesting that you paced back and forth in order to start imagining things as you got older. I used to roll back and forth or swing on the swings, which would allow for me to get into the “fantasy zone”. At no point in my life have I ever felt bad or wrong for being fantasy prone, as it’s a large part of being a creative writer and I enjoy it as a hobby as well.
      I am sorry to hear that you experienced depression. I’m really happy to hear that you’ve found the right discipline for you to study. Your fantasy prone personality is a gift and I have yet to meet someone in “real life” who has this. So, it was nice to meet you on the blogosphere. I really appreciate you stopping by.

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