Let's rebalance and grow

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by balance3, Oct 5, 2023.

  1. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    I've started more serious attempts at rebooting and stopping PMO for about the last six months or so. One thing that really got me more motivated, compared to previously failed attempts to stop PMO , was learning about the detrimental effects on the brain: how this addiction actually made you dumber, less able to focus and more sensitive to stress. Lack of motivation, sexualization of just about everyone and a lack of pleasure from ordinary things is also no way to live. I desperately felt the need to improve my state.

    I know that PMO isn't the only cause of issues in my life. I've definitely been impacted by traumas growing up, perfectionistic tendencies and a stressful life without balance. Even though I used to be a high performer in my academic life, stress and anxiety gradually became worse and worse to the point of crashing and burning out completely. It's been a very long recovery journey ever since. I'm not yet where I want to be, but I've made progress.

    Looking back, I can't help wonder how things would have looked like without PMO. PMO definitely became my drug of choice for many years. Doing it on a daily basis sure must have had its impact. From what I've now learned about the impact of PMO, it definitely made my life worse. Likely, anxiety got way worse because of it (just not in the moment). The oversexualization of women causing even more stress. The gradual numbing of the brain so that the ability to focus got worse and worse. Using PMO as a substitute for actual connection or other meaningful things. Loss of pleasure in other things. The list goes on... It's so easy to use this as a drug to escape whatever pain is in your life.

    I'm starting this journal now to have some more discipline, to remind myself of why we want stop PMO and to share my experiences. My longest streak without PMO has been around 7 weeks, these past six months of doing nofap. It was not easy. The addiction became clear given how extremely hard it was to stop. I have had some relapses and semi-relapses recently. Now it's time to get back on track. To get back into the mindset of growth and of meaning. To stop living in fear or in a state of 'meh'. To be more of our genuine selves. Cheers.
  2. OldMillenial

    OldMillenial Member

    Hey, you seem well on your way. Good luck.
  3. Crichton

    Crichton Member

    "I just started to act like the man I wanted to be and eventually after taking those actions I became that man"

    Until you turn over and let the sun burn out the stuff under those repressed memories it's gonna come back.

    Until you get where you wanna be or are getting there then it's gonna come back.

    And not for one moment say oh it's just one jerk off.

    But you know that with 7+ weeks
  4. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    Thanks. I know there are benefits of stopping PMO. Experienced some of them these past months. The hard part is remembering that in the really dark moments.

    Wise words. Getting some momentum in "getting there" is really beneficial. Or at least a sense that things are going in the right direction. No matter how big or small.
    Boxer17 and Crichton like this.
  5. OldMillenial

    OldMillenial Member

    In my case I knew the detrimental effects but they were still to vague to make my numb, depressed mind do anything about it. Like many others here my real wake up call was not being able to perform the one thing we humans and most species are designed from the ground up to do. What we find fulfillment, pleasure and satisfaction from. Laying beside amazing women and not being able to make love to them is just pure pain. I became so disgusted with what porn had done to me I never been close to relapsing. I had to masturbate here and there, after 40+ days the benefits started morphing into anxiety and cravings for intimacy/girlfriend that was just on a level that was distracting, unhealthy and detrimental for my goals. I am trying to find a good middle ground still regarding this. I still have trouble falling asleep without jerking off every evening too, it used to be my way to wind down after the day apparently
    balance3 likes this.
  6. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Well-Known Member

    Yes. I know exactly what you mean
    balance3 likes this.
  7. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    Yes, that's painful. Combined with an awful sense of shame, surely. Good thing though that your reaction was so strong that it kept you from porn since. I had a somewhat similar reaction when I really decided to stop PMO. But I must admit, that initial motivation and clearness can easily fade and I needed to sort of remind myself a lot of the bad consequences of it to hold off the temptation. So easy to fall back into the old habits.

    I'm not sure yet of how to treat masturbation without P. For now, my I aim to stop all. One benefit I felt after a while without PMO was that my mind got less preoccupied with sex and sexual thoughts. As someone put it, the world becomes annoyingly sexual after we've had orgasm. Maybe not right afterwards, but in the days and week following. On the other hand, the cravings can also come back a bit later on, hard. That's when I relapsed after my first long streak I think. Something got me into sexual thoughts a lot more and then it was on. And if I have one release I'm very likely going to do it several times more in the days or weeks that follow. I think masturbating once in a while can be ok, but it very easily turns into more than I want, which in turn drains energy. So I'm not really sure yet with M. That said, I totally get you trying to find a middle ground. It's a lot of trial and error in this.
  8. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    I've been feeling quite exhausted and anxious, alternating between the two, these past days. Low dopamine state I would guess. I found myself starting to go look for images online just now. Something to kick that dopamine up. Not really porn, but a close substitute. I've been down that road before during this. Let's not do it this time... stopping now. It's not what we want. We want our minds clear and balanced. Let's do something else now.
  9. I’ve definitely let myself do the “it’s not porn, just a better substitute” before. Something instagram models or the onlyfans girls you see when you scroll TikTok that make suggestive videos. It’s a total trap and slippery slope. Before you know it, you’ll be right back to the P you were trying to avoid. At least, I would be.

    Good for you for recognizing that and avoiding it. Stay strong!
  10. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    Thanks, you're definitely right! It starts with just looking at some arousing pictures, but easily leads to M or P sooner or later.

    This morning I actually felt pretty good, with quite good focus. Came out of the fatigue and low state I felt stuck in lately. Then, when I felt it was time for a break from what I was doing, I almost fell into the same thing again of starting to search for "just some images". I stopped once more before going into it again.

    My point is this: the habit of resorting to PMO is something I have used in the past both when I felt really low and wanted to escape, as well as when I felt I had been doing something good, like working on a task or problem, and sort of deserved a reward for it. You could make an analogy with alcohol. It's something people use both to escape pain and to celebrate with.

    Anyway, thanks. Keep up the good work!
  11. I think that’s the “real” challenge for us. Avoiding P while you’re busy is much easier than during downtime when you aren’t sacrificing anything else. It’s easier to justify. I find that my urges swell during those down periods.

    I’ve also done it as a reward. “I’ll do X and then look at one video” kind of thing. It always spirals into a full blown session. Never works for me so I’m going to stop that too.
    balance3 likes this.
  12. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    Just a reminder to myself and anyone else that a shift to a better state is sometimes just around the corner. Being stuck in a low state is temporary. It might not feel like it, and it may drag on for much longer than we want. And the shift may not be 100% when it happens. Still, it can be just around the corner and enough to give us a little more courage and inspiration to carry on. Then an even bigger shift can come. Let's be disciplined and those shifts will come more often. And remember, the low states are part of the journey. Don't beat yourself up.
    Finally getting help likes this.
  13. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    I gotta say I've had urges to do that "image search" that I mentioned just above, usually once a day at least, these past days. I have stopped before it lead anywhere further than typing in the browser and getting the first page of results. Let's try to not even go that far. Don't even go there is better! Winning in those critical moments is key. When the urge comes, stop before even opening that new tab. Do something else. Urges come and go. The hard part is that nothing is quite as stimulating as that, in that moment. But I know that, given some resetting, other things are much better and rewarding. Empty rewards vs. genuine rewards and satisfaction. And empty rewards like PMO takes away from genuine ones.

    On a positive note, stopping before continuing down that road is also a victory. Let's not relapse this time.
  14. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    It's so stupid to fall into those sneak peak behaviors (as mentioned above). I know it, yet I've done it recently. And the more you do it, the harder it becomes not to get the urge again. It's been too much of that these past days. Had like a half-relapse. Gotta stop and not engage in those things.

    Lately I have felt both positive shifts as well as lows. Retention and discipline gives a boost to energy and ability to focus. Started to feel a little of the benefits I experienced in previous months during my nofap. After a relapse that energy is kind of drained and your mental state shifts. It becomes hard to even imagine that other more energized state and clear state.

    Not every day is a good day. Sometimes you might need to recharge. Can't just go in a straight line. Despite the benefits, there's also been plenty of stress lately in my life. I was able to handle some of that stress better than usual though. I should try to remember that benefit. And that it's ok to have lows and ups and downs. Intellectually I know all this, but emotionally and in my self-talk I tend to be very all or nothing towards myself.

    Well well. Let's carry on.
  15. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    Man, yesterday was a rather shitty day. I got quite off-balance in the morning and then that semi-relapse mentioned made me feel both like failing and filled with urges. Emotional roller coaster a large part of the day. Harder to focus, sadness, frustration, anxiety. And kind of all aspects that I feel lacking in came crashing in on me, emotionally. Part of me was like, everything feels shit right now, might as well go full PMO, another part of me was like, remember the progress, PMO is not what you want, it takes away from all things we want to improve. It was a real battle. I did open some inappropriate tabs on my phone, but then stopped before going further.


    I know I feel lacking in many parts of my life. Heck, probably most parts. On the other hand, shaming myself for my "flaws" is not what motivates me to try to grow and improve. I want to be driven more by positive wants, rather than fear of things. I was able to step more into a constructive mindset in the previous months of doing nofap. This is what I am trying to get back to. I am on the way there, but also I am where I am. Don't compare with others, just compare with yourself yesterday, is a better way. Compared to my own state a few years back after crashing -- when I was stuck in a downward spiral of chronic fatigue, constantly overwhelmed, filled with constant anxiety, shame, brain fog that was out of this world, and ever more physical health issues, you name it -- I have made a lot of progress. Things aren't perfect now, but it's a huge difference looking back. Back then, PMO was my drug to escape everything for just a few minutes. Now I know better. I tend to forget that progress, and just focus on what I am lacking in right now. I want to shift from this criticizing way of being. I am not as bad as I think I am.
  16. BackOnTrack

    BackOnTrack Active Member

    I also tend to think most of the day about the things I believe to have messed up in the past or problems I need to solve ahead.
    This causes depression & anxiety but also is caused by them.
    What can be helpful is to write it down, as in a journal.
    When you write down those things you often realize things aren't as bad as they seem.
    Also if it is about an event in the future when you look back on what the expectations were afterwards.
    It is often that these worst case scenarios never happened and everything worked out fine.
  17. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    Yes, it certainly goes both directions. When in a stress response you get more anxious thoughts about everything, and anxious thoughts create more of a stress response (if it's not already there). It really wears you down when it goes on for too long.

    I do journal in some ways. But maybe I should be more direct about these things, as you suggest, when doing it. Thanks for commenting.


    I have not relapsed since last post and for the past days the urges have not been too bad. I think my mind has been a lot clearer and more capable the past days (not much brain fog at all), which in turn has been good for motivating me not to go towards PMO. Stress and anxiety has been there, but I handled it better.

    Late last night I got some comments that were really hurtful though, from a family member. The kind of comment that goes right to some of your most sensitive issues with yourself. Without going into detail, let's just say it touched upon some core toxic shame. Really threw me off for the rest of the night. First just numbness. Then anger. Then depressed. Today I've been really low for most of the day. Typically this would have been a 'perfect' time to go to PMO, in my previous years. Not doing it this time. As painful as it is, I really have made an effort not to let these things drag me down as they have in the past. However, I'm not immune from them. Things really hurt sometimes.

    Time to regather some strength.
    BackOnTrack likes this.
  18. BackOnTrack

    BackOnTrack Active Member

    Sounds like progress, man.
    Porn is the easy way out but it doesn't solve anything.
    It takes time to learn to deal with negative emotions in a healthy way, all addicts need to go through it.
    balance3 likes this.
  19. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    Thanks, really appreciate your comment. It definitely takes time to learn.
  20. balance3

    balance3 New Member

    I've come through the very low state I was in the other day. What has followed today and a bit yesterday was a return of some cravings and urges, which had more or less disappeared for some days. At least this kind of urge, which is more sudden. Typical scenario would be sitting by the computer working on something and then just a sudden craving. Could be both when feeling low and feeling better. In my past I often indulged in it when that urge came. Even though I probably have reduced this behavior by 90% these past months, there are a lot of old patterns that can be triggered I guess. As I have eluded to in earlier posts I find it challenging right now not to do these sneak peaks. And when you do, it sort of sticks in the mind a lot and hard to let go of, even if you don't go through with it so to speak. So I really need to try to improve this and not even go there.

    On the bright side my brain has been clearer and more capable of mental tasks. Overall energy has also been quite good, despite the lows previously this week. Sometimes when that energy is a more nervous kind of energy, as in a stress response, it can be challenging to handle. While PMO was probably a way for me to numb it out oftentimes in the past, I have tried to use exercise a bit more to get that pent up energy out the past week or so. Nothing fancy, but I do feel I have more energy than in a long time. What would be an improvement from here would be feeling more stable from day to day and during the day, both energy wise and emotionally. It's a bit too much of a rollercoaster still. Many things go into that of course, but something I want to strive for. Improvements have surely occurred at least.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2023

Share This Page