A complicated case

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by changemylife, Oct 29, 2023.

  1. changemylife

    changemylife New Member

    I've done journals on here before and thought it would be a good time to start another one.

    I'm 37 and have been addicted to porn since I was 13. I first realised it wasn't a good idea when I was 26, when I discovered Gary Wilson's work. Before then I took any and every opportunity to binge. I gave up for 18 months a few years ago then relapsed during the pandemic and haven't been able to maintain a lengthy streak since.

    I now believe I have found a way to bullet proof my computer and phone using software called Canopy. It controls the phone remotely, cannot be uninstalled from either device and if I trust the password to a friend I have no way of disengaging it.

    My guess would be that ED started when I was around 16. I've hardly ever been in relationships and have never had a normal sex life. A few years ago I started getting pelvic floor issues and have now lost penile sensitivity and flaccid size. ED is very severe. I also have urinary issues and semen dribbles out rather than shooting. Oh and constipation. In addition to this, my nervous system has become dysregulated (possible vagus nerve dysfunction). When I looked at porn in my teens, I would be able to function as normal afterwards, albeit I would be a bit sluggish. Nowadays it causes me to feel weird for days and disturbs my sleep and appetite. I find no joy in life and sometimes feel like I'm not really here. I've had periods where I have been very depressed and demotivated.

    I've had some horrendous binges lately sometimes lasting up to 12 hours and consisting of taking pictures of myself to send/swap with other men (I'm bi) on Reddit - a whole new kind of novelty. Needless to say Reddit is one of the sites I have blocked via Canopy.

    In addition to the pelvic floor issues I've developed muscular tension throughout my body, am visibly twisted in my core/pelvis region and have weird issues like heart palpitations, unexplained anxiety, and weak voice. It's likely that this is a combination of the physical issues and nervous system issues. The physical issues were triggered when I did heavy weightlifting despite being quite weak, but I believe there was a vulnerability environment already there (probably in the pelvic floor) which was triggered by the weights and then spiralled.

    Today is day 1, and the protections I have in place with the Canopy software should prevent any imminent relapse. However I also know that I when I abstain from porn I seek artificial dopamine in other ways. So I know I need to make an effort to live well, get into nature, connect with people rather than hiding myself away.

    I'm going to get treatment for my physical health issues soon via myofascial release (using the John F Barnes model) which is a 2 week intensive treatment plan. I'm also looking into somatic experiencing for the strange bodily symptoms and unexplained anxiety. Part of me thinks none of this would have happened if I hadn't had porn addiction, I'm a sensitive individual and it was way more than my caveman brain could handle.

    Looking forward to posting updates with progress on here.
  2. tig

    tig Active Member

    Good luck on your journey changemylife. As you'll know from your 18 months clean, quitting porn is so worth it.
  3. changemylife

    changemylife New Member

    Watched some interesting videos from a porn recovery coach on Youtube explaining how porn fries the central nervous system but also the peripheral nervous system including the penis, which would explain a lot. It's made me realise that I need a full break not only porn but also from masturbation, for a very long period. The longest I've managed so far was about 120 days in 2016. Maybe a year or more will be required for any real impact.

    I believe the hard flaccid-type symptoms that I and many others experience, generally characterised as ED, changes in penile appearance, loss of sensitivity, anxiety and muscle tension can all be laid at the door of porn, specifically the kind that involves edging. What I indulged in was so unnatural, there's no way the brain and body can maintain homeostasis.

    I've also realised that I need to quit other sources of quick dopamine fixes. The 18 month period where I didn't look at porn would have been filled with masturbation and artificial dopamine sources like compulsive internet browsing, dating apps and so on. So it probably didn't achieve a great deal. Also need to get out into nature, connect with people and build healthy habits.
  4. BackOnTrack

    BackOnTrack Active Member

    All the best to you.

    18 months is pretty impressive, I believe you can have a good streak again when you find good reasons that matter for you.
    Also as addicts it's best to only go 1 day a time, everything else is too much to ask for.
    After porn my porn use I also started to heavily use dating apps.
    On one hand I've met my wife there on other side I was kinda addicted to it and did some very stupid stuff there.
  5. changemylife

    changemylife New Member

    Thanks, yeah, I think I got to a point in the 18 months where I was no longer a porn addict, but it crept back in, I was planning on quitting the job I didn't enjoy to go travelling, but then the pandemic happened and all hope of escape was lost, so I turned to a familiar refuge. Ironically the 18 month period was where things started going downhill with my pelvic floor and ED, as it was just after I did that weightlifting which seems to have triggered everything.

    But there's no doubt that throughout that 18 months I would have been finding alternative sources of dopamine emitted by screens (albeit none as strong as porn).

    I'm starting my myofascial release treatment on Monday, it lasts two weeks and I'm going to use it as an opportunity to try dopamine resetting - no screens, only reading, writing, meditating and so on.

    I firmly believe that porn and dopamine addiction has fried my nervous system which has led to all of the current health issues I face.

    And yes, you're right about taking one day at a time, I do have a tendency to set highly ambitious goals then fail to reach them. It's weird, when I'm on a good, solid abstinence streak I'm totally anti-porn, it's not like I'm fighting urges at all. But then when it slips, there is literally no fighting it. The porn filter I'm using should take care of that - the password is saved in my locker in work, so I can't access it during weak moments when I'm at home.

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