Often after I watch tv I would make up scenarios based on the story and live in them. I would pretend that I’m a character that I made up, and I would make up other characters and talk with them. When I’m bored or have nothing more to continue in that scenario I would make up a new one and starting pretending to live in that. Whenever I am alone or think that no one is looking at me I would pretend to be someone else and talk to people that doesn’t exists and whenever I realise that people notice me I would snap back to reality. However, I know that sometimes strangers do notice me talking to myself, therefore, I think that it’s starting to get out of control as I know that talking to myself is not normal and I tried to stop, but I just keep doing it. I am worried that if I continue this I might not be able to differentiate between reality and fantasy.
By pretending to be someone else I feel as if all my problems in real life cease to exist. I think by doing this, it provides me a escape from reality, but sometimes these scenarios that I make up are not scenarios that I would like to live in. One thing that is constant in my scenario is that I would always make up a men that cares about me. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years, but I do not remember when exactly I started. This behaviour sometimes make me think that I’m insane. I would like to know whether I should be concerned and how I can stop this behavior. Thank you. (age 16, from US)
I do not think that you are “insane,” but I do agree that if you don’t stop doing this there may come a time when you have trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy. The best advice I can give you is to take a look at what is so wrong with your life that you create these stories and characters to escape from it, then address the real problems.
If you are feeling lonely, try to put yourself in situations to meet new people. Sign up for extra-curricular activities or take a class outside of school, such as yoga or an art class. Volunteer at your local animal shelter or nursing home. If you are bored, find ways to make your life more interesting and exciting. The more engaged you are in the here and now, the less time you will have to be lost in daydreams. This may take some time and practice because daydreaming and fantasizing may be habitual for you by now. But you can change these habits by redirecting your attention to something else when you feel tempted to get lost in your mind. And if finding a man to care about you is important, you need to spend time meeting new guys and going on dates, rather than just daydreaming about it.
If changing these tendencies is too hard on your own, I suggest speaking to your school counselor or finding a therapist in your community to help you.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts
I Can’t Stop Pretending to Be Someone Else
Holly Counts, Psy.D.
Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.
APA Reference Counts, H. (2018). I Can’t Stop Pretending to Be Someone Else. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/10/23/i-cant-stop-pretending-to-be-someone-else/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.