The downside of Walter Mitty (Mental Health Awareness #4)

We have all come to know and love the harrowed, milequetoast of a man by the name of Walter Mitty. Be it through Ben Stiller’s portrayal of him in the movie or through the written word of James Thurber, we have all taken an unusual amount of delight in his escapades from the real world, especially from the browbeating of his overbearing wife.
For the uninitiated, Walter Mitty was an avid daydreamer to the extent that he hallucinationed about his daydreams. From a war-time pilot, to a world renowned surgeon, to a roguishly carefree murderer, Walter Mitty became all, albeit in his own mind. He  took no time in creating an Imaginary, idealized, heroic persona of his meek self at the slightest of emotional triggers.

We have all laughed at his antics. We have also sympathised with the poor chap when he invariably got pulled out of his reveries just seconds before his moment of glory. Yet, behind this obsessive facet of the character lurks a deeper, important issue.

It is imperative to not overlook the fact that his daydreams were vivid with great detailing, idealized, to the extent that in them he became the exact opposite of himself, and, lastly, lengthy. Furthermore, on reading between the lines, it becomes quite easy to see that he was a depressed, lonely soul, isolated from most wordly and social interactions.

This isolation and substitution of social interactions with daydreams portraying a glorified sense of self is what I want to bring to your attention today. Coined as Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD), this mental illness has highly debilitating effects on sufferers. Spending hours at a stretch inside a dream, while real life continues, people ailing from MD lose their grasp on reality. While inside a dream, they are oblivious to the passage of time in the real world. They might also not be able to identify their emotional triggers and not be prepared to face them, thereby spiralling into dreams at the most unexpected of times. There have been instances of patients who’ve kept on walking till their feet bled because they’d started daydreaming and did not realise how long it had been. Thus, in effect, it is quite easy to lose oneself if you’re suffering from MD.

This is precisely why it is necessary to spread awareness about this Mental Health issue so that affected persons or their well-wishers can get the required help. I believe every person is beautiful in his or her own right and no one should have to feel so down in the dumps that they have to end up imagining a better version of themselves, a better life for themselves, better friends, better job, better everything rather than actually working towards it. Let us make sure no one gets subjected to such abject misery.

(This is post is a part of my regular feature on Mental Health Awareness. I have previously written on the importance of disseminating awareness on mental health issues here, on depression here, on anxiety here and on self doubt here. If you like and support my efforts in this venture, please share and spread the word. I shall be eternally grateful for this act of kindness on your part. Thank you 🙂 )

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Look! Do you see? (Mental Health Awareness #3)

“Look! Do you see?”
He asked as he turned her to face the mirror and removed his hand from over her eyes.

Perplexed, she gazed up and down. It was just her, as she usually was.

“Do you see how beautiful you are?”

He asked her while holding her from behind.
That’s when she realised what he was trying to do.

Every time he called her beautiful, she’d smile a condescending smile. Of course, she knew better. He was blinded with love, but she, she could see. All her imperfections, all of her flaws.

Every time he admired her confidence, she could only manage a smirk. Pfft, it’s all a facade. She’s always a nervous wreck inside.

Every time he complimented her intelligence, she’d just absently nod along. Second guessing her every decision, thought and action was second nature to her by now.

Every time he’d be left flummoxed. Wondering how an amazing person could be so crippled with self doubt.
He’d call her resplendent, radiant, ethereal and hoped that she’d believe. She’d only hug him back and hoped he’d stop speaking.

Every word of praise just made her feel like an imposter. She knew of all her failings. She was never worthy enough, she could never deserve enough, she was not bold enough, she was not smart enough, what she did wasn’t enough, she was just never enough. She was never enough.
“Look!” She cried, as she turned away from the mirror. “Don’t you see?”
(This post is a part of my regular feature on Mental Health Awareness. Self doubt, coupled with anxiety, eats away at the very core of a person. They may look confident and poised and, yet, be riddled with the worst of fears, with the least of confidence and the most of undeservedness. I am trying to do my best in spreading the word about mental health issues to break the taboo surrounding them. The aim is to help people recognise warning bells and seek proper help for themselves or their loved ones. If my efforts strike a chord with you, please spread awareness around you as well.

I’m also providing links to my previous posts hereinbelow:

  1. The importance of spreading Mental Health Awareness 
  2. My personal experience with depression – In all things beautiful
  3. My perspective on anxiety – Where do you go to, my lovely?

Thank you)

 

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