I am sharing a session I had with a client yesterday.
Client is a microbiologist who worked at the Jabalpur Medical Research center, as a research scientist until recently.
The client’s primary complaint is a condition called Maladaptive Daydream Disorder (MDD) This is not classified in DSM IV or ICD 10. Client self diagnosed the condition when she was referred to me in October. I’d never heard of MDD until she told me about it. People who have this condition appear to go to an alternate reality sometimes spontaneously and sometimes deliberately. It becomes a disorder when it starts interfering with normal functioning. In the case of Suma (name changed) she has been doing it since she was 3 years old. According to her, her parents often neglected her and her father beat her very often. Ordinal (order of birth) 3/4.
So, she used to go to an alternate world where her parents were loving and kind to her and always good to her. This is maladaptive because, she was using daydreaming to escape reality.
At the time she first came to me, I suggested she maintain a journal to document her moods and the daydreams. The idea was to discover patterns and the trigger. This helped her become more aware and consciously refrain from indulge in the daydreaming. But she sometimes just indulged to escape her negative thoughts and problems.
One of the many problems - her father has been deliberately discarding all the good marriage alliances that came for her. Her elder brother is an irresponsible guy, no job, married and a father. She has an elder sister and a younger sister. The elder one is married, widowed and has 2 kids. The younger one is married, divorced and has a single kid. The father is a retired govt servant who also had a business. The brother destroyed the business. Now the family is entirely dependent on the father’s pension and Suma’s salary. So, you can see where this is going…
When her sister overheard her father deliberately refusing a good proposal, she confronted him and realised the reason and informed Suma. She lost what little faith she had in him.
The client’s general attitude is a classic case of negative self-fulfilling prophecy.
This seemed an Ideal case for PLRT.
Session commenced at 12.30 PM
- Where did you grow up? Bhilai, Chhattisgarh
- Where do you stay? Bhilai
- Family and siblings – parents, elder brother, elder sister and younger sister
- Spouse and kids? Not married
- Lifestyle, where do you work? Until Nov 2019 working with Medical Research lab, Jabalpur, right now, looking for a job
- What do you do in your free time? Maladaptive Day Dreaming (MDD) or online shopping
Hooks – fear of people ditching her
Point of entry – trust issues
Pain points – maladaptive daydreams (about herself being more than a good person)
Fear of deep and dangerous water bodies
What is important to her – happiness
Theme – fear of people ditching me
Stages 1-9 ended at 2.41P.M.
Regression started at 2.49 P.M.
S: Flooded with unpleasant memories. I don’t want to go there.
T: That’s okay. Remember, you are always in control… you are back in the garden…
S: Here in the garden, I am seeing my friend Kalpana’s face continuously. Her face is not going away.
S: I am lying on the grass, there are butterflies… very comfortable… feeling light…
There is a white broken Buddha statue in the garden… it is attracting me so much… but it is broken… I am feeling intense love for the Buddha…
T: Buddha standing or sitting?
S: Only a face… broken from eye to nose…
T: Are you touching the Buddha?
S: White colour paint… it’s a very old statue…
T: Is it buried in the ground?
S: It’s somewhere but no one is taking care of that thing… I am just observing the surroundings… there are all white… looks like they have not been cleaned for a long time…
T: Are you relaxed?
S: Yes… but I feel the continuous need to clean the statue… nobody is there to clean it….
T: Go ahead and allow yourself to clean the statue…
S: It will take too long and I will be tired….
T: Do you like this place with the Buddha?
S: Yeah… I want to sit with the Buddha… be near… My friend Kalpana is now in the garden with me… I’ve asked her to help me clean the Buddha… But I feel, she will ditch me halfway through the work so it is better to start on my own…
T: What is your friend doing?
S: She is siting and I have started cleaning… I have poured water on Buddha’s face and it has turned into Shiv Ling. One time it’s buddha and one time its’ Shiv Ling… it is interchanging… but I am feeling, though Buddha is broken… I love to see it…
T: Is it very beautiful?
S: It’s faded. But there’s something…
T: What’s that something?
S: I feel that it’s my statue or I belong to that…
T: Are you done cleaning the Buddha?
S: Yeah and the surrounding floor… Buddha face is placed on the base of Shiva Ling… But it is shiv ling but on the above it is Buddha only.
T: Now… this is your safe place…
S: Yes… very safe… I are so happy that after very many years I am seeing my Buddha…. This moment is very beautiful.
Abreactions – tears and jaws and cheeks quivering…
S: It has been repaired… the statue… it looks smaller than before. Fully painted in white. The birds and the butterflies have disappeared. Fresh water is flowing around. Size was reduced.
T: How old are you?
S: I am 32…
T: The surrounding are getting better and better more and more beautiful….
S: Is it because you cleaned it?
T: I don’t know but it is becoming more comfortable to be there… I think there’s a hut in the garden… very old and made of wood… feel there are Buddhist monks near this garden…
I have visited so many births but I did not realise where I belonged. … But I belong to this Buddha… (there was a living form in the statute that was so calm and attracting me. I was not getting any positive thoughts or negative thoughts from that statue… it was neutral)
Now, no one is in the garden… but I am feeling very safe and very at peace…
Can I meditate here for some time?
T: Please go ahead
S: when I am into imaginary world, I can feel…. When I am into reality and into meditation, I can feel… I can differentiate…I can feel… the essence of that meditation… how important… how important is it…the purpose, the main purpose is that. Even though I have been told… from past life… the purpose is to… it’s a nature… that I must understand my goal… I must not hurt people… I must not create samskara… I must focus on my goal…
Though when I was born, I was innocent… but seeing people cunningness… I also tried to be cunning to get better and better…but, I am not born for that. My aim is to… is something else… like… all these all things are… but I am blessed with that energy… I can do… I can get out of it… I can reach my goal…
But to… if I don’t have miseries in my life, if my father is good, if my mother is good… if all things are good… I would never been in this path…I would have never understood what is purpose…I would be totally into my life… But somehow these all things are helping me…
T: Is someone telling you all these things?
S: When I sat in front of Buddha statue, I was meditating and this message has come… and I was like… I was listening in my inner self… what it is telling… so, these all messages have come…I have been thinking that I have been cursed with so many problems… everywhere I find… like, if I get good thing, then why I will think for progression… like what is my main aim…
T: Any more messages? Are you getting anymore messages?
S: Like… I do back bitching… which is inherited from my mother… I have been seeing her doing this thing… and it was inculted me… (pause) I didn’t want…. But it was inculted…at my home, I was calm… I did not do… But when I come out of home and stayed in a hostel, whenever I got opportunity, I started doing…. I engaged myself in this all stuff… back bitching others… but I must understand that this will create roadblocks in my path. Because they are very joyful, back bitching someone is very joyful, I enjoy. But they are not good for my aim… my goal… I want… I always wanted a smooth life… when I see a people who are lucky… who have good life… those things haunted me… like, why I am having this life… they are happy… But these all things are for my betterment… like with luxury life, I can’t do… I am not the one who can go ahead to my goal with all luxuries… I have to go through all these thing… then only, I can understand… my goal bit by bit… step by step… so I must… I must be thankful to all these miseries… whatever happen. Like, whenever I start friendship with anyone, from my side I don’t start anything wrong with a person. But with time, that person start hating me, that person is start torturing me… and I stop talking with them… then I though why this thing is happening with me… why… because my intention was so pure and why that person is behaving… there were some fault in me as well… I could not understand that… I have some expectation from that people… but I could not really understand that I have this expectation… that are hurting them… They are hurting, but I am not knowing that this thing is hurting them. But, I feel like, why this person is behaving like this… I haven’t done anything wrong… like… but… my inner something expectation that hurted them… and leads to end the any relationship. And then, I feel very bad. Why this is happening. But that is ultimately teaching me… don’t get attached with anybody or anyone… because all are temporary… just I have to do my job selflessly… But… I am having many many selfish purpose. I am not knowing… but I am having…
T: What does all this have to do with people ditching you all the time and your fear of getting into relationships because people will ditch you?
S: I am a person, who attaches like a magnet. It is my tendency… I love a person, I expect the other person to love me that extent and I do thing and I expect the person to do for me the same… and in that web… in all the complexity, I am going far away from my goal…that is not good for me.
S: so… I must understand to maintain relation in a natural way…that should not hamper… attaining my goal… When I will understand this thing, then it will be too easy for me, very easier because it is nature urge… that I must attain my goal… so, once I’ll understand this thing, then things will be very easy for me. But I have wasted more than 30 years to understand… like I was childish in behaviour… I have tortured… unintentionally, I have tortured people… My behaviour… I took me too long to understand… I always wanted to have a luxury life…that expectation make me sad…
T: So, what do you plan to do now?
S: I must pray… for understanding what are my limitations…like … if I don’t pray and I feel let it be natural… let them come natural…it will take more life…I should pray… like… I should pray that whatever thing, teach me… through people… through incidents… and I must also… if bad thing is happening…I think it like… why this bad thing is happening… But I should understand in a different perspective… that it has some purpose… that I should move forward… should not stand there by thinking over and over again why
S: It took me so many months to accept my guru. Because I had heavy samskara, very heavy samskara which was not allowing me to accept guru… I could not accept surrender… the term surrender… I used to feel like how? How can I surrender myself? But with time, I could able to accept him as my guru. But my inner self initially…I had the same feeling that this person is not good… so many things, so many thoughts used to come and… now all those samskara went away and I am okay.
T: So, do you think that you can integrate whatever you learnt now in your life and lead a better and happier, more peaceful life?
S: Yeah. I can. I need to pray. I am stubborn made… my habits… like… things which have been inculted in me… they are very stubborn… and I need prayers… they are not easy to go away… they don’t allow me.
T: Were you more accepting of your limitations before?
S: no. before I was so arrogant… I used to think like… I am a perfect person… I… by scoring Ist rank… by doing things… I used to think I am the perfect one… and all these things… but they stopping me… they were stopping me… they were only road blockers…
T: So, what do you need to do to progress further?
S: I need to pray. But that prayer should not have any selfish purpose… it should be very pure… then only I can… that prayer will help me…
T: What insights about your relationships?
S: If someone is in my life, it is good… if someone is not in my life… it is (for)the best… Externally I am broken… but internally, I am being repaired… it is inner progress… Externally I may feel that nothing is good… But internally everything is going for my betterment.
T: Now I am going to wake you from trance. Always remember that anytime in your life you feel upset or have the need to be safe, you can bring yourself back into this garden and feel the same peace… allow yourself to feel the same peace, same relaxation you feel now… same calm… let all these things fill your heart…and also remember that you are always connected to the divine…and your Buddha. Wherever you go, they go with you… they are in your heart…
So, now I’ll start counting from 1 to 10….
Regression ended at 4.40
Integration – in S’s words…
When I was near Buddha statue and felt an immense and deep love for him. It was so pure feeling. I could not take my heart and mind from that face. The broken part was making me feel very bad. I found myself to regret over my all ignorance/unawareness carried since my childhood or many births to not recognize him.
That statue was so simple and completely full of love. My feeling being around him was so grateful. I was filled with peace and a true sense of happiness (very neutral condition but I loved that).
I was feeling like the session is going fast and will end soon but what I thought was 30 minutes turned out to be 2 hours. I wanted to be in that serene environment around Buddha statue for a little more. Air was so pure and that area had so many trees and green grasses around. It was like retreat centre. There were no expectation feelings nothing even for spiritual progression. It was a just love!
My intense feelings for the Buddha was shocking to me.
“I used to curse people and wish them ill when they did something to hurt me. For instance, I used to think about my colleague, that only if something happens to his child he will understand my problems, etc. Now, after the session, I feel, if something bad happens to his child how will it benefit me? That was wrong thinking. Now I am realising that.”
Session ended at 6.30 P.M.