From a teen in the U.S.: So I will often either when bored or stressed (from anxiety) or just for fun head out on a walk (or home) and there is a couple things i might do. Either play a trailer and pretend like im the director and people are reacting to it while i play out the characters in the trailer or play a rap song and be the rapper or me (and I often have a little backstory when I do). Or alot of times I might just pretend I’m me singing or playing guitar and being amazing at it while family members or school mates are watching.
I do this almost everyday and ive done something similiar like this when i was around 11,12 but the thing is i only do it when i have my eaphones on and im playing music.
And the thing is I honestly havent had any friends all my highschool years, maybe 1 or 2 but i would isolate myself alot in my room because of my social anxiety and never really would go out unless at night for a walk.
Now the thing is in all my times ive pretended like this im almost the center of attention or i did something great or have some talent. Similar to this I would also go on walk where I would play bits either from radio segments or podcast that were really funny and pretend i was that person being funny or in that group.
I also want to add when im doing any of this i can stop at any moment like if i have something to do i can just stop and I dont actually believe its real and i know its pretend. I just want to know why it brings me so much joy and relieves stress when I do it cause after not doing it for a while I start feelin the urge to do it again why is this?
You use your imagination because you are lonely and isolated. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
You told me that you have social anxiety, that you haven’t had friends, and that you’ve been doing this for a very long time. When you were a young child, you discovered that the world of imagination was much friendlier for you than the social world. You therefore spent more and more time developing it. That gave you a way out of your loneliness and it felt wonderful. A pretend world as complicated as yours usually is the mark of an exceptionally bright and imaginative kid.
I’m not worried about your delight in music or your pretend fame. It’s the stuff that great novels and songs are made of. What I am worried about is your continued isolation. If you continue to retreat to your imagination, you will not learn the skills you need to make friends, find a partner, or be successful in a job.
As painful as it will be at first, you do need to get out into the real world. For that, you may need the support, encouragement and guidance of a therapist — at least for a while. Please don’t put it off. A therapist can help you learn to use that intelligence and imagination of yours to find ways to get comfortable with other people.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
I Often Pretend to Be Someone Else
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Often Pretend to Be Someone Else. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/07/06/i-often-pretend-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.