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Kate Dranfield thinks she is 120 different people

 

A teenager who claims she has a daydreaming disorder has revealed how she goes into trances where 120 characters play out storylines in her mind.

Kate Dranfield, 17, from Buxton, Derbyshire, can zone out for hours during the daydreams, which has left her unable to make friends in the real world.

The bizarre episodes, which can cause trance-like states up to three times a day, can be triggered at any point, especially when she is tired or stressed.  

The characters in her imagination range from young to old, female to male, heterosexual to transgender and, oddly, most of them have American accents. 

During the daydreams, Kate paces around and her facial expressions change involuntarily. At times she has burst out crying, or into fits of laughter. 

The student, who also feels ill if her characters are unwell, suffers from maladaptive daydreaming (MDD) – which she has self-diagnosed.

But because the disorder isn’t medically recognised, Kate, whose characters have influenced her in real life, is unable to get help for the disorder. 

Kate Dranfield, 17, of Buxton, Derbyshire, pictured as herself today

Kate Dranfield, 17, of Buxton, Derbyshire, pictured as herself today

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Lisa, who is a sweet girly-girl

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Lisa, who is a sweet girly-girl

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Ellie, who has OCD

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Ellie, who has OCD

Kate Dranfield, 17, from Buxton, Derbyshire, goes into trances where 120 characters play out storylines in her mind

She said: ‘When I fall into a daydream it’s like entering another world that I see from third person.

‘It’s hard to know who is thinking, whether it’s me or the characters. I cannot control when the episodes come on. It’s really frustrating.’ 

‘One of my favourite characters, Jess, dyed her hair red and as I really liked it I decided to do mine too. Another character Cathryn influenced me to get my nose pierced.’

Kate has even taken up acting classes, jewellery making and story writing because the characters in her mind have.

Self-diagnosis 

Although it hasn’t yet been recognised as a condition, Kate diagnosed herself with MDD – a disorder she has discovered others talking about online.

She said: ‘Some people have severe daydreams as an escapism from real life. Others suffer because they lack a social life.

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Claire, who has a drug problem

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Claire, who has a drug problem

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Natasha, who  is the twin sister of Ellie

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Natasha, who  is the twin sister of Ellie

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Katlyn, who influenced her to start wearing dresses in real life

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Katlyn, who influenced her to start wearing dresses in real life

The characters in her imagination range from young to old, female to male, heterosexual to transgender and, oddly, most of them have American accents

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Amy, who has had a baby

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Amy, who has had a baby

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Ryan, who has had a baby with another character called Jess

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Ryan, who has had a baby with another character called Jess

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by gothic girl Cathryn

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by gothic girl Cathryn

The episodes, which can cause trance-like states up to three times a day, can be triggered at any point, especially when she is tired or stressed

‘I think I’m in the middle. Although I enjoy the fantasy world, I do worry how it impacts my real life.’ 

When did the condition start? 

Kate first started having daydreams aged six. She is able to remember all of the individual character names and their personalities.

She admits that she struggles to make friends in the real world because the storylines in her mind are incredibly detailed.

Kate said: ‘One of the characters, Jade, is a transgender woman who used to be a boy called Jason. She had quite a dysfunctional life and discovered that her uncle is actually her dad.

‘When it came out that Jade’s mum had slept with her own brother, Jade’s mum committed suicide. It left me crying when I came around from the daydream.

‘Another figure is Claire. She is currently in rehab for a drug problem, after witnessing someone get shot. Some storylines are very dramatic.’ 

Not medically recognised

During her GCSEs in 2015, Kate was experiencing three trances a day which caused her to be late for school, and even some exams.

As MDD is not medically recognised, she can’t get support in college for the loss of learning time due to her lack of ability to concentrate in classes.

Kate said: ‘I get very upset when I daydream and push people away because they think I’m moody when I’m in a trance.

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Jade, a transgender girl

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Jade, a transgender girl

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Jannie, who is a two-faced character that makes nasty comments

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Jannie, who is a two-faced character that makes nasty comments

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Lisa, a sweet, girly-girl

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Lisa, a sweet, girly-girl

The student, who also feels ill if her characters are unwell, suffers from maladaptive daydreaming (MDD) – which she has self-diagnosed

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Archie, one of Kate's longest characters and a good friend to Jess

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Archie, one of Kate's longest characters and a good friend to Jess

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Christina, who always wears turtle necks and is quick-witted

Pictured wearing clothes inspired by Christina, who always wears turtle necks and is quick-witted

But because the disorder isn’t medically recognised, Kate, whose characters have influenced her in real life, is unable to get help for the disorder

Kate has even taken up acting classes, jewellery making and story writing because the characters in her mind have (pictured in her t-shirt made in dedication to her disorder)

Kate has even taken up acting classes, jewellery making and story writing because the characters in her mind have (pictured in her t-shirt made in dedication to her disorder)

Kate has even taken up acting classes, jewellery making and story writing because the characters in her mind have (pictured in her t-shirt made in dedication to her disorder)

‘Once, during an exercise lesson in college they played music – a big trigger for my daydream episodes – and while talking to a girl, I got sucked into a trance.

‘She thought she’d said something wrong, but I had just zoned into the other world. It’s hard to talk to people or make friends.’

Due to her lack of real-life interactions, Kate connects with fake dolls. She has six reborn dolls; Reggie, Timothy, Pandora, Alfie, Max and toddler, Samantha.

WHAT IS MDD?

Maladaptive daydreaming (MDD) is a psychiatric condition – however, it isn’t recognised as an official disorder.

Professor Eliezer Somer, a psychiatrist at the University of Haifa in Israel, first identified the condition in 2002.

His discovery helped create support groups, Facebook pages and YouTube channels to help sufferers come together.

The disorder, which isn’t regarded as an official condition, is treated as a chemical imbalance, despite links suggesting it to be from a void in someone’s life.

In December, the British Psychological Society said in its magazine that ‘maladaptive daydreamers are not taken seriously’.

Sufferers are distracted from their real-life, experiencing vivid day dreams that affect them each day.

Kate’s parents work full-time so she spends a lot of time alone.

‘I get very lonely’ 

She added: ‘I get very lonely and go into deep trances, so the dolls are there when I need a hug and to distract me from daydreaming.’ 

Kate’s mother Sheila, 56, a nurse, worries about the affects the condition has on her daughter’s life.

She says: ‘Kate used to listen to pop music as a child and I thought she was dancing, but she was actually in a daydream.

‘I have always worried about Kate not having many friends and I worry about her not finding anyone to settle down with in the future.

‘Her characters influence her life so when she tells me about them having drug problems or sinister storylines then it panics me. I’m just glad she knows they’re not real.’ 

Not like schizophrenia 

Jayne Bigelsen, an MDD investigator from New York, said: ‘The condition is in the very early stages of research so we don’t know how many people have it, the causes or preventions.

‘MDD is not even close to schizophrenia – which some confuse it with – as they are not hallucinations but intentionally created daydreams.

‘We have seen sufferers who have either experienced childhood trauma or abuse, or experience one of social anxiety, loneliness, depression or high functioning autism. 

‘However we have also seen those with MDD who have not experienced any of these things and who are socially outgoing and have plenty of friends.’ 

Kate's mother Sheila, 56, a nurse, worries about the affects the condition has on her daughter's life (pictured together)

Kate's mother Sheila, 56, a nurse, worries about the affects the condition has on her daughter's life (pictured together)

Kate’s mother Sheila, 56, a nurse, worries about the affects the condition has on her daughter’s life (pictured together)

Kate first started having daydreams aged six. She is able to remember all of the individual character names and their personalities

Kate first started having daydreams aged six. She is able to remember all of the individual character names and their personalities

Kate first started having daydreams aged six. She is able to remember all of the individual character names and their personalities

She admits that she struggles to make friends in the real world because the storylines in her mind are incredibly detailed

She admits that she struggles to make friends in the real world because the storylines in her mind are incredibly detailed

She admits that she struggles to make friends in the real world because the storylines in her mind are incredibly detailed

 

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