Living in an Imaginary World

Posted on August 22, 2014

When Rachel Stein (not her real name) was a small child, she would pace around in a circle shaking a string for hours at a time, mentally spinning intricate alternative plots for her favorite television shows. "Around the age of eight or nine, my older brother said, 'You're doing this on the front lawn, and the neighbors are looking at you. You just can't do it anymore,'" Stein recalls.

By the time she was 17, Stein was exhausted. "I loved the daydreams, but I just felt it was consuming my real life. I went to parties with friends, but I just couldn't wait to get home. There was nothing else that I wanted to do as much as daydreaming."

Convinced that she was crazy, she consulted six different therapists, none of whom could find anything wrong with her. The seventh prescribed Prozac, which had no effect. Eventually Stein began taking another antidepressant, Luvox, which, like Prozac, is also a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor but is usually prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Gradually she brought her daydreaming under control. Now age 39, she is a successful lawyer, still nervously guarding her secret world.

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Source material from Scientific American