Fantasy Prone Personality & Creativity

Flying-Umbrella

One very large section of my personality is fantasy prone. This means that I am subject to vivid day dreams and imaginings several times throughout each day. It is not an occasional occurrence. Of course, most writers and artists possess this characteristic in varying degrees. There is actually a test you can take to confirm if you have a fantasy prone personality. The thing is, some psychologists consider this to be a “disorder.”

Fantasy prone people can certainly operate under logic when necessary, but when one is on the extreme end of the spectrum of imaginative thinking, logic takes the back seat most of the time. It is wonderful for creating, but perhaps challenging in many day to day life situations. It’s a balancing act for a creative writer or artist to be able to function in the real world, while being able to embrace their highly imaginative side. They often need to be left alone with their thoughts, and distractions that tear them away from their musings can frustrate them or stress them out.

imagesCAJJ02MT

I have been thinking about something that my therapist from last year told me. It is regarding my tendency to escape to other worlds created by my own mind. I have a couple of different worlds that I am a part of. To clarify that I am not totally crazy, I am in full control of what I think and do in these worlds. 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. πŸ˜‰

My therapist 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 current circumstances. 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 bad memories as a small child that made me want to leave to another reality. In fact, my upbringing was peaceful and loving. My parents allowed me to create stories, pictures, and play with toys without ever interfering with it. I did the day dreaming just for fun, because, well, it’s another form of creation. I write stories, draw and sketch characters or animals. I have also written a musical piece. So, creating a setting that I can escape to is yet another realm that I can make use of – for future stories, for self discovery.

Daydreaming-daydreaming-32448204-554-806

Now, I am not going to lie and say that I haven’t run away to my other worlds when 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. But the thing is, no matter what I am going through at the time, I day dream regardless.

When I was a teenager, I often used my day dreams as a way of escapism. I imagined myself to be a braver, more exciting person than I was to the people that I went to school with. I was always physically strong in these made up world as well, with super hero qualities.

imagesCAPLZZJV

I wrote relatively little as a teen, but I drew a lot.

In my young adult years, the day dreams become a little more β€œrealistic”. That probably sounds a little crazy.

But I no longer have “super powers” and I stick to just two worlds. I exercise a lot of my intellect rather than resorting to a sword duel or a Matrix-style fight with the antagonists. I don’t know if this can be thought of as self-inflicted therapy or not, but I am happy with how I’ve handled my fantasising.

Oh, to be fantasy prone. It is not something people of this personality type can β€œturn off” when they are working, walking, running, swinging on the swings, dancing, or even in a room full of people. It’s a part of who we are. Perhaps we can appear aloof or β€œout of it” to certain people, or even unintelligent to the uninformed observer.

The bottom line is, we are born with being fantasy prone in the same way that we are born as an introvert or extrovert, or as a boy or girl.

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. She seemed sort of fascinated, actually.

I look at it as yet another tool used by the writer mind.

**Readers: Have you taken the fantasy prone personality test? What are your thoughts on this highly imaginative personality type? Did you always notice that there was something very different about the way that you saw the world, compared to less creative people?

Advertisements

33 thoughts on “Fantasy Prone Personality & Creativity

  1. This made me smile. Especially in reading that your parents encouraged you to create, rather than trying to keep you harnessed to only this world. I fantasize constantly. I see, smell or hear something and suddenly there is a story or a poem weaving in my head. It’s unstoppable!

  2. So, first born Sara. Something else interesting; your other worlds, do they ignore the rules of this world or do you remake the rules in those worlds? Do you do so because the rules in this world are not to your liking? I’m at gmail.com

    1. Hey! I’m sorry for dropping off last night. I got swept away in formatting that turned into hours of work lol but I’ve finally got it all sorted. πŸ™‚
      That is a very cool question. My other worlds are sort of alternate history worlds. I imagine myself going back in time, mostly. Now, these are just the worlds that I place myself in. I also immerse myself in the alternate worlds that my characters come from. I keep the rules the same as I imagine history would have been, but the people that I interact with are usually very memorable and evocative. There are definitely rules in this world that are not to my liking haha. I wonder if that’s why I put myself back into “history” and I do things that challenge and overcome even more suppressive rules of the time. If that makes sense.
      Do you have other worlds that you go to often?

      1. I do have worlds… well, one. I see all the ‘real’ world as a game or many games. The real world is when I’m outside of these worlds. I suspect that you are the same, that your visions are simply attempts to make your real world fit somewhere. Yeah, I know. I bit deep or crazy. Maybe you understand or don’t. I’m more interested than you can know about how you came to be who and how you are.. why you can have alternate worlds and how you use them. It can’t simply be for your writing.

      2. Oh, but it’s a good sort of deep. Definitely not crazy at all! Genius is a better word. πŸ˜€
        I think it might almost be healthier for those who are more fantasy prone to accept it and go into these worlds. This could sound weird, but I usually don’t consciously do it; it’s a natural progression when I’m walking or swinging on the swings, or just doing stuff around the house. Whether I want it or not, it’s there. I’ve gone there for as far back as I could remember – 4 years old. Maybe a lot of children do this, but I remember being more “out of it” than other kids my age. I had a world where I befriended cartoons and fought crime or did other cool things, and I actually said good-bye to all of the characters when I turned 11. It was very real and sad. And then my worlds became more complex and epic starting in my 20’s. It is sort of cool to imagine that this “cartoon world” I was in as kid was actually real. I would like to think that it was. I want all of the “imaginary” worlds to be somewhat real. It isn’t just for writing – being able to write stories is a side effect of having this type of “personality”. It is cool that you have one world. I like your view on the ‘real’ world as we know it. I am fascinated that you also experience the phenomena of going to another world. Sorry, this was long. Lol maybe emailing would be easier?

      3. I think that the way you see the world’s you create is the way I see the ‘real’ world we live in. Its a place that I go but I don’t live there really. Its not escapism, I just see that world like a game and all the games people play there. All the pain they cause and suffer. Its a game. It keeps us from making the world the way it ought to be.

      4. Very interesting way to view the real world. I suppose it really is like a game! I wouldn’t call that escapism either. I don’t day dream to escape either, it just happens naturally as a result of me moving. And it’s just very fun!

      5. When you really think about all we know and experience is no more real than your worlds…. It’s all in our minds. Politics, religion, money… All invented by a mind. We are making the rules up as we go

      6. I agree! You’re right, really. I perceive so many things differently than others, you can see how differently everyone sees things – or doesn’t see things. We are all really in our own worlds created by our unique heads. But some of us have multiple worlds! πŸ˜€ Yay!

  3. My Fantasies are not fun; they are painful because I wish just a portion of them could be real. They interrupt my work, my play and everything in between

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your dreams are not fun, and that they can cause you great pain. I can feel your pain a little… I often wish I could meet the people in my world for real, but overall, I find it enriching. I think that if it affects your work and daily life in a negative way, that you could perhaps seek ways to reduce how often you day dream. I think a good therapy session could help with that. If my fantasies ever begin to make me shut down, I’ll be seeking help myself.
      Thank you so much for commenting. ❀

  4. It was nice to read this. It made me feel a bit better about myself in a sense. I’ve been searching for so long for people who are like me. I’ve never really had any friends or people who I could relate to, and in honesty, my family life was chaos as a child. I don’t know why I picked up this coping mechanism of sorts, but I’m flustered with myself. It gets so bad sometimes that I have panic attacks. I have always had my head in a vivid fantasy, but somewhere along the line as a child (I can’t even remember when or how), I started to hold my fantasy on the outside in a way. All my life since then, pictures of fictional characters have been like a security blanket to me. I know they aren’t real at all but I feel like they can see me. I can’t believe I’m even writing this because I am so embarrassed by it. I can’t turn it off and when I don’t have them, I feel exposed and alone. I thought I was losing my mind and I’ve talked to a psychologist and they told me that I’m not crazy at all, but I still feel crazy. I wish I could just go on with my life and let this security blanket go, but it’s so wired into my personality now that I can’t. Do you know anyone who does this? Do you ever doubt yourself and find discomfort in it? I still have vivid fantasies every day, but I enjoy them very much. It’s the inability to function without the pictures that bothers me so deeply. In honesty, I’m glad to get this off my chest. What do you do when something eats away at you like this?

    1. I am sorry to hear that you have found it difficult to relate to people. I often feel the same way, it can be hard to make friends. A lot of people want to be my friend, but I’m picky about who I want to hang around with. Sometimes, it’s the people who I want to be friends with the most who get all weirded out by me. O.o Odd. But enough about me! πŸ™‚
      Hm it could be a coping mechanism, but some people are just highly imaginative naturally and don;t grow out of it. Even as children, we’re more imaginative than the others and prefer to play alone/independently. I am sorry to hear about your panic attacks. Those are never fun and can be very scary. Hm, well, I think it’s awesome you have seen a psychiatrist and that they told you you’re not crazy. Even though it might feel that way, just because we’re not “normal” or we tend to do things a little differently doesn’t mean we’re insane. I think all of are unique. For you, you find pictures of fictional characters grounding. You must be pretty involved with creative writing, then?
      I don’t ever feel uncomfortable with being fantasy prone, honestly. It’s always been a part of what I do for fun. They are enjoyable, aren’t they? That is the main thing – if you feel they’re a hindrance, then there are probably therapies to help you be more in the moment as they say, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
      Please don’t feel embarrassed for sharing your thoughts. Thank you for commenting and for sharing! If it’s eating away at you, perhaps you could see another counsellor to see if there is a way to find acceptance or to perhaps wean yourself off of what’s making you feel the most unsettled?

      1. Thank you! I think in the back of my mind I really like having this coping mechanism. It makes life more comfortable. I just wish it didn’t cause so much fear about my sanity. I really appreciate your answer. It does settle my mind. I think sometimes I just need a little reassurance when I doubt myself. I don’t want to change. I really do enjoy my fantasies and the comfort that I find in them. And yes, I want to be a writer. It makes me feel better to put my fears and fantasies into words. Writing is an outlet for me. Even when my anxiety hits me. I actually keep an anxiety diary and write down what my fears are and how I feel in the midst of a panic attack and after writing it down, I feel relieved. Once again, thank you πŸ™‚

      2. That is a really good idea to write down what makes you feel anxious. I should try that! Haha. πŸ™‚ I’m glad that it helps you relieve some of the anxiety symptoms and that’s really important. I can relate a little in feeling either very unique or very weird. Some people even try to convince me that they’re oh-so-similar to me, but in reality, that’s just not the case. I haven’t met anyone in real life who escapes to a fully fleshed out fantasy world every day. It’s nice to connect with people like you online who can truly relate. πŸ™‚ I am glad you don’t want to change.

      3. Yea it is really nice πŸ™‚ Sometimes I lose myself in my own fantasy world so deeply that it takes a couple minutes for people to snap me back. It’s like I totally zone out haha. But sometimes the fantasies just get so intense that I don’t wanna get out of bed. And yea, writing your anxieties is extremely helpful!

  5. Wow this is definitely me haha Except, I was just told by my psychiatrist that I had mixed type ADHD and they tried to shove drugs in my face to rid myself of it (drugs which I did not and have not ever taken). I do claim the disorder, but as a cognitive But I had basically the same experience as you. A “normal” and healthy childhood.. I have always been introverted, but I’ve always had a few friends who would join in on playing dress up and barbies and hot wheels, cops and robbers or hide and seek. I played by myself a lot too, on purpose. I loved to construct stories with my toys and act them out, like most children do, but on my own without anyone to add to it. I would also draw ALL THE TIME. Due to what I’ve learned is called “a retained STNR reflex” as a child and Tourette’s, I had trouble writing growing up (and still do), so I would draw out stories instead (until I learned how to type). I have been creating characters for as long as I can remember, and when I was younger I would dress up as them when I was supposed to be sleep and act out scenes from my stories (I still do that but like…sans dress up and in the shower lol). There was something so alluring to a young girl living in southwest Ohio, about fantastic worlds with huge oceans and magical creatures and stories of romance, comedy, and action/adventure riddled with fun. In school, I would keep blank computer paper or sketchbooks with me at all times during classes and constantly draw, not just characters from my stories, but characters reacting to the situations I was currently in (eg, If a guy I was crushing on is in my class and happens to be visibly flirting with another girl, I’d draw a girl who vaguely looked like me, with an over-exaggerated expression and some sort of dialog to passive aggressively hint at how I felt at that moment). I used the art and stories as a way to not so much escape my reality, but reinterpret and understand it in a way that gave me hope. I always felt like I don’t fit in and it’s clear that no matter how hard I try to explain my internal world and its workings, even to people who do the same thing, people just don’t seem to understand. Still, in any case, it’s really reassuring to see other people who are just like us and to know that we are not alone!

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your comment! πŸ™‚ I can relate to playing alone on purpose, and acting out characters of the toys alone. I made “movies” alone, pretending that I was directing animated movies. Some of them were so good, I regretted not writing them down. I did not get into novel writing until after college, but I did always write shorter stories. Like you, I drew more in my childhood and teen years since it was an easier way to get the story out for me then. I am sorry to hear that the doctors actually prescribed drugs to you over that. I am glad that you did not cave in to that. I HATE how some parts of our society disallow what I consider to be gifted behaviours…
      I love how you processed your emotions and feelings back then by drawing them out. I agree that fantasy prone personalities often use these scenarios not to escape, but to process what goes on in our world.
      I am also sorry to hear that you still feel misunderstood even after speaking with people who have similar tendencies to you.
      I love how our minds work this way, however, I am beginning to want to be loved for who I am *aside* from that now.
      What I find to be so lonely, at times, is how many people find me fascinating because of my imagination/ writing, but not in a romantic way. They like me in this, like, morbid way. Because, so far, no one has stayed longer than a couple of months after meeting me.
      Though I have faith in a couple of new friends. πŸ™‚ It’s really hard to keep friends when you’re so extreme in any way. I hope that you can find connections & friendships our your way in due time. Because we all deserve love and support from people who show us that we are worth it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s