We offer these “15 Signs” as an informal, unscientific tool for self-reflection, based on some of our own experiences as escapism and fantasy addicts.
1. You are distracted throughout the day by fantasies or escapist thoughts.
2. Your escapes give you a feeling of comfort, fulfillment, excitement or pleasure that you rarely experience otherwise.
3. You have tried to control how much time you spend on daydreams or self-distractions.
4. You have canceled plans, turned down invitations, or entirely given up certain real-life activities to spend more time escaping.
5. You don’t just randomly daydream during moments of downtime; you intentionally make time for your fantasy life.
6. You know the difference between your real life and the lives or stories you escape to — but sometimes you don’t really care.
7. The pursuit of fantasy or distraction significantly disrupts your normal patterns of sleeping, eating, or basic self-care.
8. You try to hide the extent of your fantasizing or escapist behavior.
9. You will put up with inconvenience, discomfort,or even hardship to attain escape.
10. You have strong feelings of sadness, anxiety or deprivation when you move on to a real-life activity after spending time escaping.
11. You find yourself “getting through” your real life so you can “reward” yourself later with escape-time.
12. While fantasizing, you may forget where you are or what you are doing.
13. You have done or said things while seeking escape that you would otherwise never do.
14. The good feeling you get while escaping diminishes over time, so that you have to work harder for the same effect.
15. You can hardly imagine living life without your escapes and fantasies.