Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by -Luke-, Jan 17, 2019.
Was this what you described a trigger to relapse?
My social anxiety is pretty dependent on how I feel and how I think others feel about me. I have a low level of social anxiety, someone looks at me in strange way, all of a sudden I'm constantly in my own head and my social anxiety increases. And since PMO makes me feel bad, there's definitely a connection between PMO and social anxiety. But even when I was free of PMO for over a year, my social anxiety was very high on some days. So while there is a connection, absence from porn is no wonder drug for me. Porn definitely amplifies bad feelings I already have.
The story with the drunk woman? That would have been a trigger to make me vomit and doubt humanity, but not for PMO.
Since the day before yesterday and until this week on Sunday, I have set my Pluckeye blocker so that I only have access to the internet for one hour in the morning and then no more for the rest of the day. Need to get the ball rolling somehow to think straight again. The last two days I had some pretty bad headaches. Today I feel better. Sleep could be better, though.
Understood. To me, sometimes unrelated to P, it had an ebb and flow. Exposing myself (desensitization) helped a lot (besides not using P, of course).
I tend to over-analyze both good feedback from others, as well as (what I perceive as) bad. However - and this is just a suggestion, it may help? - since I'm a friendly dude, most of the feedback I get is positive. This builds me up. Most people tend to be friendly in everyday life. They respond to my own positive "vibes".
After my divorce, I forced myself to get out and start talking with people - especially women. Lo and behold, it seemed the only thing that could hold me back it was...me. I assure you, once you're exposed to some low-key flirting from two or three cute girls you'll suddenly feel good about yourself.
It also helps that I always dress nicely, people react, and you get a sudden boost of confidence. I've even been called "handsome" (whaaat?). Very good experience, as post-divorce, that was something I sorely missed. It all changed when I started minding my style.
Heck, man. Even that 40 year-old hitting on you...take it as a compliment. I don't want to sound insensitive. I understand you felt uncomfortable, I would've too, and would've been extremely BLUNT about it...but still. She found you attractive. Plenty of small, "round" women find me attractive, too, and I take it as something good. (Yeah, they didn't put hands on me...they were more subtle with the touches even if they kinda looked for a pretext. Nothing of the uncomfortable sort; again, sorry for your experience.) Now when that cute wasp-waisted 15 years my junior smiles at me...that's 10 times the boost of confidence I get from someone at the other end of the spectrum.
How have you found the past few days with an hour of internet?
Is that just for your computer, or your phone too.
I'm mega impressed - it's very inspiring/encouraging to hear, so I'm curious to find out more from you!
Thanks for your reply. I know what you mean and I know the feeling of confidence when a cute girl smiles at you. I don't even have particularly high standards as far as appearance is concerned. I like a lot of woman and I find women attractive that other guys wouldn't even look at. Some men tend to have a certain type that they like. That's not really the case for me.
But it's very tough for me to get out of my own head. I always make up stories out of nothing. Like at my sister's and brother-in-law's party. Some woman I didn't know asked me how I know the two. I told her I was my sister's brother. Her first reaction was "What? You don't even look alike." That's a pretty neutral reaction and actually nothing to worry about. But I started to make up stories in my mind that she meant "She looks okay, you look like shit." And then my social anxiety increases.
I ditched my smartphone a while ago and have an old Nokia dumb phone again, so no access to the internet anyway. While my laptop is pretty safe now, I always found ways to watch porn on my phone. At one point I just had to be honest to myself and admit, that it caused me more harm than good.
I was almost always someone who constantly sought distraction. When I had to wait, I always got my phone out to browse the web or play sudoku or something like that. When I was at home and felt bored, I browsed the internet for hours. With only one hour of internet a day, there is no mindless browsing, first of all. I have to somehow fit all the things I want to do on the internet into that time frame and the hour is over faster than you think (I now have 23 minutes left, as I write this). It also gives you some new perspective about boredom. Yesterday I sat there and just accepted that boredom is part of life and only bad, if you make a bad thing out of it in your head. I was outside for 4 hours or so yesterday, just walking around, sitting on a bench on the river.
I'm far from all those self-improvement gurus. I acknowledge that there are things one can improve, and some not.
I went from being told as a teenager, by another random (unknown) teen girl passing by with her friends, that my dog looks better than I, to having a gorgeous 16 years my junior hitting on me. I was 36, she was 20.
So I can relate to what you are saying. And I tell you: never underestimate your potential. Work to correct the things that are obviously lacking and you can fix. More positive experiences will "exorcise" the bad over-thinking from your mind.
Yes, it's experiences that shape our self-image. When I was in my teens I had acne and some female classmates made fun of me, especially one girl, who was attractive but dumber than an empty rain barrel. Some people also made fun of the way I walked. I have a bit of a "bouncing" step (no idea how to describe it) and for a while my nickname for some people was "Flummi" (German for bouncy ball or rubber ball). All of that made me really self-conscious and I guess it partially lasts until this day. If I just go for a walk and someone comes towards me, I often feel inhibited and tense. It was better for a while in my twenties, but it's worse again nowadays.
The last few days weren't easy. A lot of interrupted sleep and when I get up it feels like the sleep wasn't refreshing at all. Throughout the day I often feel exhausted. I do some relaxing stuff like yoga, stretching, listening to relaxing music or going for a walk. I hope it helps soon. Right now I feel like I'm an old man.
1. Did you look into therapy for your past experiences...if I may ask? I know it helped to ease a little bit my divorce trauma, while I was going through it. I remain a little bit skeptical about its value, but I am sure it could work better for others.
2. Has your sleep been bad for a long time? You could have restless leg syndrome or apnea. Not familiar with the first, but for the second I know you can test.
Lack of sleep can make us more emotional, more sensible...yes, even of strangers coming our ways. Sometimes I experienced that.
I tried it at the beginning of last year and didn't find it helpful. It was quite shallow to be honest. The thing is, I'm well aware of my issues, I'm well aware of my past, I'm well aware of possible solutions, I just don't act on it (long term).
It's an on/off thing. It lasts for a couple of days, two or three weeks at most. Last night I slept quite good.
Yeah, gone through that myself. The only thing that helped was consistency: going to bed and either trying to silence all the thoughts, or let them "hum" in my brain (for a lack of a better word) but don't mind them.
Today is the last day of my one hour of internet per day (and PMO free) week. I decided to keep going with it less extreme form. For the next week I'll give myself 2 hours in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon. Going with one hours for an extended time isn't possible as I need to do at least some work online. It has been really nice and sunny the last days and it should remain this way for while. So I don't miss the internet too much. In my habit tracker excel sheet I have only green color for this week.
Excellent! A one month Internet "fast" (nothing else but work, to be more specific; making sure I'm not becoming addicted to it at the same time...) was one of the best things I've ever done.
I admire your discipline!
Thanks for the encouragement. When I first moved to another city to study, I didn't have internet or TV at home for the first month and a half to two months. And it was before I bought my first smartphone. I used the internet at the university for maybe 30 minutes a day to check some emails and stuff. This time was probably the most productive in my entire life. Good times.
Totally feel you, man, totally feel you...
You doing good?
Sometimes when I'm on YBR I check out the "current visitors" list to see what other people are reading. Or maybe I should put "people" in quotation marks, since most of them seem to be bots. Anyway, sometimes a really old and interesting thread shows up. Yesterday I stumbled on an old thread that I remembered from back in the day, where people listed their lowest points. I won't share a link since some of it can be triggering and some stories are really shocking. Everybody who thinks that "porn shows you your real desires" should read that thread. I'm kind of thankful that the porn I watched never escalated into really extreme and shocking stuff, like with many other guys. Sure, I saw some shocking stuff "by accident", but I never went down that road. Nevertheless, I thought about what my lowest points with this addiction were, so I list three that I remember best. I'm not doing this to shame myself, I'm just doing it to remind myself (and others) that we are not the persons we want to be and could be if we engage in this addiction.
1.) When I had my first girlfriend I often chose porn over her. This went so far that I feigned exhaustion or tiredness when we lay in bed in the evening and she sought intimacy. After she fell asleep, I would get my laptop and watch porn for 2-3 hours, with her lying next to me. I turned the laptop at an angle that she wouldn't have been able to see it if she had woken up. Sometimes at the end of this I would go to the bathroom to masturbate. I didn't think it was crazy at that time. PMO was just way easier than having sex (which was often not particularly great for either of us). I thought it was just normal because everybody was watching porn. I didn't realize until years later what it meant to have a beautiful girl lying right next to me, but instead to prefer some pixels on a screen and my right hand.
2.) One time after I found YBOP and YBR I had some filters on my laptop that I didn't find a way around (I realized later that it was actually pretty easy). One day I wanted to watch porn so bad that I went to a store to buy a new one, so that I could PMO. I still remember the price. It was exactly 444 Euros. I went home and had a marathon binge. After I finished I was so disgusted with myself that I installed filters on that laptop, too. So I spend 444 Euros for one(!) hour-long PMO binge. The laptop was better than my old one and I actually used it, but the reason I spent that money was one PMO session. Probably not the best investment of my life, now that I think about it...
3.) In the village I come from, there is a big festival once a year (well, as big as it can be for a village of 2000 inhabitants) that goes from Friday to Monday. I went home that weekend (like basically everybody. That saturday I had an hour-long PMO binge. After I finished I felt like zombie. I was so ashamed that there was no way I could go to the festival and look other people in the eyes. In the evening my mother asked me "Are you not going?" I didn't want to go, but I couldn't sit alone in my room either, because I had only come home for this festival. So I got my MP3 Player, told my mother I was going and just walked around and sat in a few lonely spots, listening to some music or podcasts. I did that for around 7 hours. A few times I watched other people at the festival from afar, all having fun, while I wasn't able to join them after a PMO binge. That was one of the most depressing nights in my life. I once did almost exactly the same thing (It might have been the same year) on New Year's Eve, which was probably even more depressing because it was cold as hell (well, I guess it's not that cold in hell?) outside.
Nothing to gain with PMO, only to lose.
It's quite sad to read those, Luke.
But motivating too - we've all got our lowest points, and thank you for sharing yours.
They're really contrasting contexts, even if the emotions underlying all three are very similar.
How do you feel about shame in particular? It's in all three stories.
Does your experiences of shame change when you're on a reboot (and you relapse)?
I feel bad for your shame in the last one especially, as it feels like there's a chance from my perspective that it was the shame, as much as the hour PMO session, that turned you into the zombie and kept you away from the festival.
So as much as these are good reminders about why you're rebooting and abstaining, I hope you feel as though you can be kind to yourself too!
As far as I see these things, it just shows that there's we can dwell into depths that we never thought we could visit. This demented passion dehumanizes us.
Your stories are not the worst I read, as sad as they are. I am glad you didn't go as far down the rabbit hole as others. But yes, they are shocking and today you are perceiving them from the proper perspective. You are a changed man. And you like so much more today's Luke than yesterday's, that this will motivate and carry you through some hard times ahead.
P can and always will rewire our sexual preferences. They always reset back to what they always were, when I stay clean. And it also broadens my "horizon", allowing me to appreciate beauty that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. It's a paradigmatic shift. A parallel universe teleportation.
Thanks for your replies guys. Much appreciated.
First of all, I PMOd yesterday during my 30 minute internet stretch in the afternoon. I found some search engine that wasn't blocked and looked up some pictures and MOd to it. Since the time was limited, it didn't last for more than 10 minutes until the connection was gone. But it's still PMO. I felt really stressed and tired yesterday and I didn't "stumble on" some pictures, I actively looked for them. In the last two weeks I felt some self-control coming back almost every day, but when I felt really stressed, I still did it. I don't feel that bad today. Actually way better than the last few days. Probably short-term relief from withdrawal symptoms.
Yes, shame is a big component here. There's a big correlation between shame and my perception of what other people could think about me. I the last few years I didn't care as much about what other people think about me and cared more about what I think about myself. That helps. What also helps is having a few positive habits and tracking them every day. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. And why should I feel ashamed if I accomplish something.
All these stories were years ago. And while some things still hurt I don't feel too bad about it anymore. At least with these three stories. In the first one I just didn't know any better. I laugh about the second one these days. It was a lot of money for one session, but I did not go bankrupt. The third one hurts a bit, but I'm more of a lone wolf anyway and I don't mind being alone.
"And it also broadens my "horizon", allowing me to appreciate beauty that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. It's a paradigmatic shift. A parallel universe teleportation."
Very well said. I feel the same way.
Hey man. Back on the horse!
Getting back on the horse wasn't so easy. Once you open that door it's hard to close it again. But I'm back on the horse (in my case, Jolly Jumper of course) now.
Separate names with a comma.