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HGl3ee's avatar

Can anyone relate to having an “over-active” and extremely vivid imagination to the point that it crosses into reality?

Asked by HGl3ee (3955points) October 20th, 2009

I have a very severe case of having a very vivid over-active imagination. I’m going to do my best to explain myself. Any and all questions to my question are welcome if you need more information or more detail in a certain area. Please take this very seriously, I’m completely mentally sound and have all my marbles. I have seen several specialists and they have no idea how to explain or treat this.

For as long as I can remember, I have suffered from nightmares. Now usually, a person would think that as someone gets older they will subside and calm down a bit, but that has not been the case with me. The dreams have actually evolved over the years and now I don’t have to be sleeping in order to feel the fear I would in my nightmares.

There are 5 “creatures” that my imagination has created. They did not come all at once and have all slowly developed over the years. They have also developed names for themselves. It’s almost as if there is a part of me that houses them that I am not in control of. They are just there, their names are attached to them, nothing I have chosen or made for them.

The “Fast One” was the first; “Gravity Deifier” second; “The Girl” third; “Him Tall” was fourth; and the fifth has just arrived a few months ago, I have no idea what it looks like and it has not found a name yet. I have drawn both the Fast One and Gravity Deifier for a few very close select people. They we’re described as hellish Tim Burton rejects, to “f**ked up” for anyone to see.

They all began in my dreams scaring me to the point I would be up for days on end, taking prescription medication just to numb it, waking up screaming or holding my breath. But then it started to shift.

It is to the point now; I see glimpses of them in the day. I know what they smell like, what they sound like. Every detail of their existence. They have all found their place in my home. The hallway, my bathroom, my closet, my ceiling and the fifth I believe under my bed.

The anxiety they/this has created has begun to affect my health. My heart to be exact. The doctors are not 100% sure what is wrong right now, it doesn’t seem to be anything to serious, but they are sure that it is escalating. More tests to come.

I have tried so many times to find another person who can relate to me, who I can talk to about this and know that they understand exactly what I’m going through.

I am VERY grateful for my boyfriend. He has stayed up with me countless nights, come to see me in the wee a.m. so I could sleep and even sat in the bathroom to keep me company while I showered.
I know that this is going to all seem completely crazy to most people, and trust me I have thought the same about myself a number of times. But you need to understand I’m a completely sane person with a “glitch” :D

Thanks in advance for any and all comments, questions and suggestions!
Much Love,

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35 Answers

janbb's avatar

This seems like such an obvious response, but have you been in therapy for this? You should not have to be suffering so much.

HGl3ee's avatar

@janbb I have been several times now, after I tell them what I have told you all they basically trip over their words and go off on a tangent, avoiding the issue completely. I had one doctor who told me that I was the most facinating person he had ever talked to and that he honestly had no idea how to help me. – LB

HGl3ee's avatar

@NewZen thanks for making me giggle <3 – LB

janbb's avatar

You probably want to find someone who is a specialist in dissociative disorders. I would contact the most expert psych hospital/clinic in your area and ask for a referral. There is definitely treatment for such disorders.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I understand what it is like to have an overactive imagination to the point where the line between reality and imagination is extremely blurred. This has caused serious anxiety and paranoia for myself. However, my experiences of this are very different to yours. There are no characters as such for me. My paranoia comes from situtions (that are fairly realistic) that scare me rather than characters but where you start to see and even smell your characters I experience certain sitiuations even when they aren’t happening in reality. Like your “issues” mine also started with nightmares. I have been on medication to try and prevent this happening but it didn’t really help. I know I should get therapy but I am too afraid to do so at the moment.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I used to wake up from my sleep and I would be underneath my bed. I also believed that there was a robot living in my room. I was perfectly sane and normal, but I would see him when I was awake just like I did when I was asleep. And he wasn’t very pleasant. I was sixteen and I also have always experienced very vivid dreams and nightmares. My parents brought me to a therapist who said that I had a problem distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

On my own, I learned how to manipulate my dreams and it put me in control of the situation. I haven’t had any problems since.

Maybe conventional therapy is not the answer. Maybe you should see some kind of dream specialist, if there is such a thing.

HGl3ee's avatar

@janbb Thank you for your great advice I will definitly have to try this route <3 – LB

@jamielynn2328 I never thought about that: “a problem distinguishing between fantasy and reality”. That’s fantastic that you have achieved the ability to manipulate your dreams. Sadly, my dreams are no longer the issue. I would much rather the nightmares over the realness of these creatures.. – LB

janbb's avatar

@ElleBee Please do get help – the sooner the better. This just sounds like too horrible a way to live.

warpling's avatar

The mind is a beautiful beast

HGl3ee's avatar

@janbb it is and it’s getting increasingly worse :| I will continue trying to find treatment; I’m terrified how bad it could possibly get! – LB

HGl3ee's avatar

@warpling You are so very right! Even though my imagination can scare the life out of me, it can also bring me beautiful bliss. I love reading very detailed happy books. I actually get to a point where I am no longer reading but “watching” the story unfold in my head. It’s can be wonderful when it wants to be <3 – LB

efritz's avatar

I used to see black shapes in the dark that would slowly move toward me . . . but fortunately they’ve gone away recently. I’m not sure what caused them or what made them go away, but I’m glad they’re gone.

NewZen's avatar

Sometimes less is more.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

I use the ‘beings’ that inhabit my mind as characters in fiction stories. This can get weird, an they start to tell me what they will or will not do in each particular story. Sounds like your over-active and vivid imagination has mine beat hands down.

NewZen's avatar

@Psychedelic_Zebra wrote:_I use the ‘beings’ that inhabit my mind as characters in fiction stories. This can get weird, an they start to tell me what they will or will not do in each particular story: Are you published? Can you link to a book online? Or are they private ideas and only book ideas…(like mine, sigh)?

_Sounds like your over-active and vivid imagination has mine beat hands down.__ Zebra man, no-one has you beat hands down. However, I’d tie you up and beat you down (or vice versa), if you’d like. PM me for more details.. lurve ~.


wundayatta's avatar

Have they tried meds, yet? Like Geodan, risperdal or seroquel? Something else?

HGl3ee's avatar

@daloon I refuse to take medication. It only masks what the real problem is. I have tried before and became completely numb. Not only that but nothing was resolved, it was all only “swept under the rug”.. – LB

davidk's avatar

When I’m writing there is a point when I start to ‘think the thoughts’ and even dream based on the ‘thoughts’ of the characters I’ve created and developed. There’s a point when the characters start ‘telling’ you what is next or how they would react given a particular situation or set of circumstances. I have actor friends who have the same experience when they are immersed in a character for a movie.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I will PM you with something I learned from my culture. It may not be helpful but perhaps it is. I’d post it here except it is something I wouldn’t want attacked by flutherites.

wundayatta's avatar

@ElleBee Do you actually know what the real problem is? I had the impression you didn’t.

Yes, meds can make you feel numb, and if they do, then that’s not the right med for you. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a med that will work for you. From what you describe, it sounds to me like things that happen to friends of mine. The real problem for them was that there was something quite different about their brain chemistry. These things went away when they found the right medication.

If you want to try to deal with these characters on your own, I have no right to tell you any different. What I’m afraid of is that they might start telling you to kill yourself, or kill someone else. They do not sound like very friendly characters to me. There are things you simply can’t get to go away without meds.

I’m sure your doctors must have ruled out schizophrenia, because if they had mentioned that, I’m sure you would have given us that information. I’m not a medical professional. I’m just mentally ill, and I hang out with a bunch of other mentally ill people, and your story reminds me of the stories my schizophrenic friends tell. All I’m saying is that I urge you to reconsider your mistrust of a medical approach.

Now I don’t know much about what it would feel like to have several malevolent characters living in my head. My instinct is that I would try to talk to them and see what they want, but I’d also be afraid that would give them more power than they already have. I trust you understand that these voices are ones that only you can hear?

I suspect that you will not be able to stop them, either by ordering them or pleading with them. I have had no ability to control my delusions, either. Mine were trickier, because they seemed like reasonable thoughts. My delusions felt like I was interpreting the data in the proper way.

Let me give you an example. I was sure that my wife hated me. She wanted to divorce me and she didn’t love me. I was certain that she found me ugly and undesirable. It all wasn’t true, and when we finally started talking about what was really going on, I found out that these things that I knew were actually delusions. I didn’t have any voices telling me this, but I was absolutely sure I was seeing the world with clear vision. It turned out that it was my brain telling me this story, and my brain was wrong. Once I had the proper meds, I realized this idea was a delusion.

I, too, am very grateful to my wife. It turns out she really does love me. It took a lot for me to realize that was true. She was the one who took me to the shrink, and helped me get treated.

I’ve also got a very vivid imagination, but mine is a lot more fun than your’s is. I can get lost in fantasies, and sometimes it feels more intense than a real world experience. But it’s under my control, unlike yours.

I think you have a lot of strong energy, and my intuitive sense is that it is bursting out. It makes me suspect that you’ve been trying to keep a lid on something that won’t be locked in. Your mind is finding other ways of letting some nightmare in your life out. The only thing I can think of is that you might try to channel that energy in another way. A way that allows you to investigate it on your terms, not theirs.

The other thing I think is that some people just can’t fight their thoughts. I am such a person. So I have learned how to let my thoughts go, but to become more aware that I am merely thinking them. They are only thoughts. I don’t have to pay so much attention to them. I don’t have to let them have such power.

There are exercises that can train these skills. If there’s a mindfulness program in your area, it might help. Yoga can also help. As can meditation. All of these techniques help you focus on the path in front of you, but getting attached to the scenery.

So, in other words, imagine you are driving a car down the highway. You have to focus on the road. So the scenery becomes a blur. It’s there, but you aren’t giving it a lot of attention. It’s not like you can do anything about it.

Your characters and nightmares are the scenery. Unpleasant scenery to be sure, but not scenery you have to look at directly. Instead, you need to focus on driving (living your life). The more you can do this, the less power your fantasies will have over you.

This is just my idea. I don’t have any training in this, and I’m not any kind of doctor. I’m just a guy who is trying to cope with his own abnormal brain chemistry. This is what I do—meds and coping techniques. A psychiatrist and a therapist (who knows a lot of different techniques).

I am very sympathetic, and I wish you peace with this problem.

HGl3ee's avatar

@daloon – your answer is absolutly amazing! I have so much to think about now with all the fantastic ideas you have given me :) I really appreciate you taking the time to respond and give me some sort of direction on this path. Much Lurve to you! – LB

HGl3ee's avatar

Sigh, I saw “The Fifth”, clear as day and my boyfriend was only feet away. (He was soooo mad!!) It’s has gotten so much worse since then, it’s been a week tonight. I’m seeing them during the day now, my heart hurts when I see them, I get all anxious..

The Fifth, to me feels like the final one.. I have no idea what that means though. He is the worst one of them all..

- 3–4 feet tall
– hunched over
– 1000’s of tine needle like teeth in a menicing grin
– blood tinted saliva, that drips (like a damn St. Bernard) from it’s teeth and mouth
– body looks like charred skin streached over bone
– eyes are large black orbs that protrude slightly from the sockets
– nose is just a hole, as if it’s been burnt off
– hair is just a few scraggily strands, black
– no ears again just holes where they should be

I’ve grown very worried.. seeing them in the day has never happened, seeing them around people has never happened..

I had a dream a few night after I saw The Fifth.. It was of my boyfriend, but my gut knew it wasn’t really him. He chased me, hunted me down, trying to kill me. Finally he trapped me, pointed a gun to my head and said “Gotcha.”, right as I heard the BANG!, in that split-second, his image pulled off and The Fifth was there.. then I woke up screaming and crying..

I need to write a book, write about this.. Reach out in hopes anyone will know what’s happening..

I have been searching for theapy but keep getting turned down and avoided..

I’m getting very scared..

dpworkin's avatar

I can only second what @janbb said., There appear to be some dissociative features to what you are describing, and these conditions are treatable. I would like to make the gentle suggestion that the people who tell you are fascinating and then don’t help you are insuffuciently competent.

If you would like some advice on how to find an effective therapist, PM me. I would tell you here, but people have seen my advice many times on this issue and are no doubt tiring of it.

It sounds to me as if you are in distress; the good news is that there is unquestionably a way to make the frightening part stop.

wundayatta's avatar

Another thing I’ve seen people do with this stuff is to draw or paint it. I wonder if they would be pleased if you were drawing their portraits? Probably not. They probably couldn’t sit still long enough.

DominicX's avatar

Is it schizophrenia? This really sounds like schizophrenia to me…

HGl3ee's avatar

No that was ruled out, but I was right there with you on that idea for awhile!

I’m currently being treated for Nyctophobia

DominicX's avatar

That’s really interesting. I’ve never heard of anything like this. It may be an entirely new disorder that has never been labeled before. I wonder if other people experience this and I wonder if this could explain more accounts of supposed paranormal activity.

janbb's avatar

@ElleBee I’m very happy that you got a diagnosis and are being treated! Hope it helps.

HGl3ee's avatar

@janbb Thank you so much!! Much lurve to you! (hugs)

janbb's avatar

@ElleBee And hugs back to you!

Just_Justine's avatar

It could be various forms of psychosis brought on by various factors. Extreme depression can bring about psychotic episodes. So can bipolar I for example. Psychotic means a loss of touch with reality. Either episodic or acute or other. Psychosis can present in different forms, my friend who is bipolar One for example is “haunted” by a friend, who turns up, when people are there and hurls abuse at her. This is very distressing for my friend and of course anyone around her. As we cannot see her friend. Aside from these episodes she is intelligent, stable and a great person.

Schizophrenia also has variants, if you are highly functional you could have one of the more organised schizophrenia. Severe depression can also cause, delusions, hallucinations and momentary loss of reality. The point I am trying to make is, everyone’s hallucinations or delusions are different and unique to themselves. So the thought of a “therapist” working with the hallucination in its singleness would be pointless. Also labelling you as interesting and unusual probably adds to your anxiety. I think you need a consultation with a Psychiatrist who can properly diagnose your issue and therefore assist with stopping the manifestations you are experiencing.

KeithWilson's avatar

I had a near death experience when I as eighteen. Immediately afterword I had a severe phycotic breakdown. You see while I was dead I talked with God and gave Him an account of my life. He didnt “speak” at all, but I knew He was listening and deeply interested in what I had to say to Him. During this time I knew on some level that I could be dead, but it felt more like a suggestion than a hard fact. As if I was inbetween life and death. At the end of our converstion I got the feeling that I may be headed back into the living world or I might not. But I knew that this part of my experience was over. I fell into a dreamless sleep and left the Presece of God. When I woke up I felt different in some profound, but unnamable way. I tried to go about my life in an ordinary day to day fashion, but I couldnt shake the feeling that I was dead and in Heaven. Everything looked the same, but it wasnt the same. It was a beautiful day and I knew, but I stayed inside and limited my activites to routine things like eating and corresponding online. As the day wore on I became increasingly uneasy because I knew that I was dead and that I was in uncharted waters not knowing what would come next. By the time it was getting dark outside I begun to be really scared. Contemplating Heaven and Hell. When night fell I was completely overcome by fear and I became sure that I was in fact in Hell. Then I met the devil. It was evil incarnate, and this time He wanted to talk to me. He told me, not by speaking but just by my suddenly knowing, that I was indeed in hell. I tried to escape Him, but outside the house was nothing but chaos. Which was somehow scarier. So I went to the doorway of the room and the hall where I could see them both and non-verbally communicated the challenge that if he really was Satan than he would disappear from the room in front of me and reappear down the hall. When I looked down the hall, there he was. And when I looked back into the room he had been in he was gone. This scared me to the core. I would not spend eternity locked in here with him. I ran from the house out into the world away from him away from death. I kept insisting to myself that I was not dead. I was fighting it. Ill spare you what I saw that night in the city streets and the feelings I had. I ran away from that place and over the next few months I saw things and felt things and knew things that you would never believe even if I told you. I was running from death. And it stalked me everywhere I went. Seeking to remind me that I was dead. But I searched for life where I could find it and stayed away from places that drew the noose of death tighter. The farther I got away from the place where I had died, in space and time, the closer I came to being back on the side of the living. But no matter what I did or where I went, death was close behind me. Trying to sink its teeth into me. After a couple of years I began to calm down a little bit. I had constant auditory hallucinations all the time, but visual hallucinations became rarer and rarer. I still had to avoid death, but it had less and less of a chance of convincing me that I was dead. At some point I must have crossed completely back over from death to life which gave death itself less power over my mind and the fear that I was dead finally went away. However the dark energies that persued me never left me alone. I could sense them in people, places and events. They did whatever they could, in their limited power to mess up my life. For a while things were mangageable. Then I started to sense the darkness closing in on me once agian. It was appearant. And it would kill me if I gave it the chance. I moved away from where I had been living for those first few years and started a new life of my own in a place where the forces had not yet gathered enough strength to close me in again. I lived pretty much unafraid of those dark energies for a couple more years. During this time life was difficult and dischord was all around me. I had to battle on the metaphysical plane in order to keep things under control and safe. But soon the dark energies built up around me again and events got faster and faster until I knew that if I didnt move again that I would surely die. About six months after my mom passed away I moved back to oregon to live with my older sister. Less than a year later my younger sister died. In the seven years that followed my near death experience life has thrown at me one disaster after another. Blood, death, violence. Insanity is all around me. And now it seems that agian death is marshalling its forces and closing in on me. This time, I cannot run. The circumstances are different this time, because this time I believe that I have the right to live and if not, i am no longer scared of death. This post is not the complete story at all and only minimally expresses some of my experiences and thier impact on me and those around me.

wundayatta's avatar

@KeithWilson Have you ever spoken to a medical professional about the way your life is going? I suspect that you don’t have to live with all kinds of hallucinations if you don’t want to. I’m sure they give you a very strong sense that you matter and that everything you do is incredibly important—if not to others, then certainly to you.

Anyway, should you choose, you can see what the medical profession can do for you. Personally, I would urge you to do so. I was dancing close to death at one point in my life, only a couple years ago. The shrink helped me. Although, for me, death would have been a release. There was no afterlife for me. Still, life is a curious thing. Sometimes it sucks bricks, but even so, it is interesting. I have a feeling I am soon going to be back in a major brick sucking moment, so we’ll see if I can keep it together.

Dale784's avatar

I have the same problem as you, so I know how you feel. And this is what I believe but this is my own opinion, the monsters are demonic spirits trying to destroy the soul. I turned to God and prayed which helped a lot but until the earth is pure again and the gates to hell are sealed Satan and the demons can still try to mess up you’re mind to try and bring you to hell.

ps. I will pray for you :)

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