My journey in finding self-acceptance and inner peace

Discussion in 'Ages 25-29' started by Freedom from Servitude, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    Wednesday was a nice day. Spent the day with my Mum, enjoying a meal and looking around the local attractions of a sea side town. It reminded me that we don't spend enough time together. I would like that to change. I had typical symptoms of depression throughout most of the day including emptiness, lack of connection with others. I also just wanted to escape the present moment. I nevertheless valued the time I shared with my mum. My mood picked up when I went to the SA meeting. It helped that I hadn't seen my fellow addicts for about three weeks, and it was great to reestablish the connection we all share over this addiction.

    I was feeling apprehensive Thursday about working with my new boss. My fears were unfounded as I knew that they would be. It was a good day overall, and we had the chance to get to know each other a bit better, which I enjoyed.

    Today has been productive and on ballance quite a good one. It is good for my self esteem when I can get through some activities on my next action lists. I am still looking after the house so quite a few activities have been domestic work. I cooked myself a delicious curry earlier. All of these activities foster a sense of independence, which is really good for me. Have also been working on another speech and a job application. As a result, I am feeling quite positive today, but, of course, low level anxiety remains in the background. I have been practising EFT with regularity over the last few days, having finally got round to putting together my own tapping tree from 'The tapping solution' book. The plan is to work through clearing the traumatic memories on my tapping tree on a daily basis. This is a method that is recommended by practitioners. I really do think that there is something to EFT, although I don't have sufficient personal evidence to decide yet whether I agree with the whole narrative in the book. I just find that it is helpful for getting less caught up in my thoughts, particularly if there is a worry that I can't seem to let go of.
  2. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    "Day 33: This morning I woke up and deeply loved and accepted myself, regardless of my decision to use porn or not. I feel good with who I am. I don't base my identity anymore on being a virgin, I actually like it because it's my own inner nature and uniqueness. I love and accept totally who I am."

    Turn up the self-love, big time. Don't make it conditional on your choices of porn (or not)- selflove needs to be absolute.
  3. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks for posting Johnny. As I have indicated in my post to your success story, I haven't used porn in over two years now.

    I continue to try a lot to cultivate self love and acceptance including daily affirmations, EFT, have been on CAT and CBT and have looked at diet and exercise too. All of these have helped me manage my anxiety and depression, but you cannot simply 'choose' to make it go away. It doesn't respond to normal rational thinking. Sometimes, like today, it can be experienced with just a raw feeling of energy with no conscious thinking behind it at all.

    I will try hypnotherapy as you have recommended, as I am always looking for ways to cope with my mental health.
  4. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I enjoyed yesterday overall. I spent the entirety of it with members of my extended family who I don't see very often. After getting some shopping in the city on the way back, I came home early evening. I rounded off a few loose ends in the house and played a computer game with some friends of mine. Its not something I do very often these days, but its a good social opportunity. I had the usual feeling of social anxiety of wandering what my relatives were thinking about what I saying etc. I tapped on these feelings though, and this helped to clear them so that I could unwind in the evening. While waiting for my train, a lady started chatting to me (don't get excited, she wasn't my age!), she was experiencing some distress in her life, being in a foreign country away from her family compounded the issue. I tried to help her by listening. I felt good about helping a stranger.

    I didn't sleep well last night at all. I had strong cravings to act out and a nervous system that just wouldn't settle down. It seemed like the addiction was up to its usual tricks. The result is that I have been feeling quite low for most of the day. How I feel often is influenced by the quality of sleep that I have. The idea of working at a busy festival for work next weekend has been playing on my mind. I'm not looking forward to it, but I am trying to frame it in a positive way by seeing it as a growth opportunity and a challenge. I haven't allowed this to get in the way of making something of the day, and I have kept myself busy. I finished another job application this morning.
  5. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I had a porn dream last night that disrupted my sleep. It has been a while since I last dreamt of acting out. The dream finished with an ejaculation.

    I was watching a Spanish foreign language drama today. I knew that there would be some sexual content in there but decided that I would look away if any scenes came up. For the first couple I did, but there was quite a lot and eventually I couldn't resist the temptation to look. Like when this has happened on previous occasions, I didn't have the urges to watch porn. I felt the usual wave of anxiety that I always feel when I feel sexual pleasure in these situations. I took this as an opportunity to go for a long walk in the sun and contemplate what this was all about and I am glad that I did. I have conditioned myself to feel anxiety over the years by buying into the whole yourbrainonporn theory of this addiction. The problem is that there is a lot that we still don't understand about the brain science and this leaves some scope for uncertainty. when it comes to the details of the recovery process. And my anxiety thrives in uncertainty. I think there is also probably a limit to what I understand of the material available. I have developed then a hypochondria of the recovery process. Specifically, if any of the symptoms I continue to experience are in any way related to this addiction, then any prospect that I could have done something to slow down the process is alarming. Objectively looking at the situation, while there is a possibility that looking at those nude scenes in the drama may have done something to harm the recovery process, I have no clear evidence to prove that this is the case. Nor do I have a strong argument as of yet to claim that I am still being affected by PAWS. Worrying whether I may or may not have had the perfect recovery according to a particular narrative does nothing but wastes time and energy.

    However, I have two very tangible reasons to avoid those kind of triggers as much as possible. One is that they have addictive qualities. The image of a naked woman in the drama has been circulating in my head for most of the afternoon, however briefly it appeared on the computer screen. I also leaked some pre-cum and had a racing pulse for several hours solid way after the drama had finished. Now, that might be because my sexual appetite hasn't been fed in a very long time. Of course biologically speaking, I should be in my sexual prime at my age. My main and primary reason to do all that I can to avoid these sex scenes in dramas is because they usually lead to cravings to look at porn along the way. Porn is my enemy, and I cannot cross that line again. I need to follow the policy of always veering on the edge of caution again. Avoid all trigger situations as much as possible.

    Sobriety is not about numbers (I have been obsessed with my recovery streak) its about developing a practical vision. I have a sexuality and its thrown into a trap door in the hope that it doesn't cause trouble. I need to respect it and acknowledge that it exists. Those scenes were not a big deal and it is only natural that I would enjoy them, the problem is that they do make a porn relapse much more likely, which is why I have to avoid them. As part of my vision for sobriety, I need to carry on channelling this sexual energy into constructive activities and towards building a health relationship with a woman.
  6. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    It has been an incredibly tough week so far. I have experienced rampant anxiety and insomnia. Prior to last night i had barely slept at all 5 days in a row. The insomnia feeds into my anxiety and my anxiety feeds the insomnia. I have felt as though that I have been pushed to breaking point. So much so that a lot of my usual day to day activities have been pushed to the side while I focus solely on survival. I have been in regular contact with family members because I have noticed suicidal thoughts creeping in. I can handle the anxiety, it is the combination of both the insomnia and and the anxiety that is crippling. I spoke to my boss at work yesterday to explain the situation to them. We have a busy festival coming up and I was concerned that my current state of health means that working over the next few days full on may be too much. So, I feel as though I have been pushed to my limits this week.

    The insomnia has tended to improve gradually over the past few nights. I was also a lot calmer last night so that helped enormously. As it has been my day off today, I have been able to break from the usual routine and sleep in a bit to get the extra energy I need. On balance it has been quite a good day, I feel at least vaguely human again and I have had enough energy to do chores around the house and catch up on business.

    The question is why has it happened? I have three ideas. Simply it could be just anxiety. I have two triggering events this week. One was on Wednesday when I worked a type of shift for one of my jobs that I hadn't done before, another is the aforementioned busy festival coming up this weekend. Alternatively, I attempted to start a course of Sertraline ( an anti-depressant) this week to see if it would make a difference. I only took a half a tablet, but after I experienced chronic insomnia Monday evening, and I had learned that this was a common side effect, I decided it was prudent to avoid taking another one. This seems unlikely, however, as I only took half a tablet and I can't see the dosage really having a significant impact on the body in that time. I have always been hesitant about taking anti-depressants, though a few testimonials from people I know about how they have made a difference in their life now makes me feel its worth trying them at a less stressful time. Another more realistic possibility to explain how I have been feeling is that they are PAWS. When I watched that drama on Monday and couldn't resist the urge to have a look at the nude scenes, it was the day after I had a wet dream. Usually, being exposed to a trigger like that doesn't cause me to feel like this, but the timing of it may have poked the hornets nest. I have been very effective at avoiding triggers so far and have made the decision to avoid all dramas with scenes of a sexual nature in them.

    At the moment i am feeling much better about working at the festival over the weekend, and I think that candid conversation with my boss helped a lot with that, possibly because it helps ease those fears of rejection.
  7. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    You are doing so well with your persistence. Well done brother, this is amazing.

    At this stage I would re-ask what your intention of doing nofap is for? (Im not asking you directly).

    I found after i was able to go a few days, my conviction to do the nofap item permanently for a period of time became attractive. I wanted a real life girlfriend and i had a decision to make; either fap and be single forever or otherwise persevere with this new style of energy and self empowerment and self direction i had.

    Nofap gave me an edge to life. Obviously i am accustomed to this feeling now but i certainly recall some major decision moments, rather, RE-DECISION moments.

    Stengthen your self determination; what precisly do you want by doing nofap? Concentrate on this answer and you will be able to coast through this entire journey effortlessly

    If you cannot answer this question for yourself and own your desire for xyz then for myself i found i was just a time bomb....tick tock tick tock.......well now the options of fapping look more prosperous....maybe my desires arent important....maybe im not girls will like me....oh i cant give this up.....

    If you are honest and watchful with yourself you can discover some really fascinating things.
  8. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks for your support guys

    Good question. My initial motivation was simply to feel better within myself. By the time I woke up to the fact that I had an addiction to porn in 2012, I was in a bad place with my mental health. This wasn't solely due to porn but my addiction was a big contributory factor ever eroding my self-esteem and blinding me to what was really going on. The loose vision that kept me through numerous failed reboot attempts in the past and through this successful streak is to feel a peace within myself. As I have got further into recovery I realise that I may have had a unrealistic vision to begin with. It really is all about just feeling good enough. Life is imperfect, it will have its ups and downs and that is all part of the human experience. Feeling good, though, isn't a clear vision. I needed something more tangible, like goals to chase after, and a set of values by which I can live my life by, also a healthy balance of interests. I think a big part of that vision, which I have so far yet to go about doing is a relationship with someone.

    Thanks, Raskolnikov. It seemed like I was going through withdrawals, though I make that statement with no certainty. I experienced shear panic for no apparent reason. I had already worked the festival the previous year, so could not really understand what I was so anxious about.
  9. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    I have had a lazy day catching up on what has been an incredibly stressful week that has pushed me to my limits. This is also my only day off this week as well so I have been easy on myself. I had a bit of a dopamine gorge by watching several episodes of a TV show, but I deserved it. As predicted, the festival was nothing to worry about. Although the trend of insomnia continued, I remained relatively calm throughout the festival. I did extremely well even and was complimented on the level of sales I was able to reach by my colleagues. If I am being honest, part of me even enjoyed the weekend. I felt a sense of community with my work colleagues and the other stall holders at the festival. We had a good team dynamic and got on harmoniously. I also had the usual sense of accomplishment that comes when going beyond your comfort zone. I am nevertheless glad that it is over because I hadn't slept properly in a week by that point and felt utterly drained. I am a little intimidated by the prospect of doing a six day week, but this will be the final push before the calendar becomes quiet for both of my jobs. I will have more days off to recharge and do the things that I want to shortly.
  10. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    Significance of a Vision

    People who have a clear and tasty enough vision will feel motivated, enthused and fun/creative to their maximum. If you construct a good vision in respect to your relationships with women and sex, you will succeed.

    If you want to quit porn, then you need a strong vision. And you can write one up right now, it is simple. There is no necessity to overthink or get too analytical with your vision, all that matters is that it affects you emotionally when you picture it. I had a very determined and strong vision with my journey a while back and it was daily contemplation on this vision that lulled me effortlessly towards quitting porn.

    "Quitting porn" must be defined. Do not borrow what the professionals and expert say on what porn is and is not. You know well enough yourself. For me, my definition was "Saving all my sexual energy for real life women I felt drawn towards and never having an inkling or desire to look up pictures or videos ever again because I want all my sexual appetite for real life women of beauty."

    The way I got into my vision was that I first went into a nightmare vision. What would happen to me if I continued wanking for another 5 years? How has my life already been? What opportunities with women have I turned down due to a less-than-ideal sexual appetite or craving for real life women?....I thought of all the opportunities I had with women and turned down due to a lack of sexual excitement with them. Eventually one day as I was coming home from a date where I couldn't make any moves on a woman, I sat and just thought. I did not watch porn. I just went into an abyss for a few hours. I thought of every women who had ever invited me over to her house, had kissed me, had approached me, had made radical advances on me, had texted me sex messages......And how I seemingly didn't go for any of them bar the times I had not wanked for one week or so. (please note I was able to think about this from a place of self-love and acceptance, not shaming or guilting myself). I contemplated all the messages I was given in childhood from church and parents "Sex is bad, don't ever make women feel like you are an animal, don't be a sleaze, women don't want sex." I had a lot of brainwashing to undo.

    So I took a risk one day. I just decided that evening that I was going to be in control of myself and make my own choices and have my own autonomy. I was going to save up my sexual appetites so much with real life women, that I couldn't help but get them into bed and stop at nothing until I had intimacy with one. I was going to break every rule in my rulebook in respect to my early childhood messages etc...I listened to some hypnosis to reinforce I was in charge, I was in control, I could do whatever I wanted.

    And it really was effortless. It really was! I read so many testimonials of "withdrawal effects" and "oh it was so hard" and "another urge to fight" and on the list goes. Sadly for me, I did not. I was so fiercely, ferociously and viciously intent on meeting a real life women and having new sexual experiences that the urge to look at any porn (because that would put me into a downward spiral) or wank were forever out of my lexicon.

    I believe this was reinforced through my hypnosis; the 'high' I felt from being in control was way better than the high I got from looking at porn or wanking. And every time I considered wanking I considered all the opportunities I had blown and just went "enough is enough. No more." And I was reinforced with real life women because I actually felt pulled towards talking with them and seeing them and dating them. This time, when I went on dates, I was kissing them within 15 minutes. I was a Tarzan. Indeed I have picked JohnnBravo as a tongue-in-cheek character, but actually he is quite relevant. I was asking so many girls out, perhaps 3 a day in one week. I was so high texting and calling girls, going on dates, and these girls being SO IMPRESSED with how sexual and desiring I was about them. No need for any Viagra, I was Viagra, all you had to do was cut 3kg of me and sell it for $19.95 per kilo and you would be nuts to not be talking to women.

    That girl I had my eye on at the Café for more than one year at my university? Got her number, done. That girl in my university class who was half in and half out with me? Well I kissed her the following week. The university lecturer who I didn't get stiff for? Boned her mad (and then had to dump her cause she was needy). I could not imagine how even getting a girlfriend was considered hard/a challenge at this point. It was super easy. There was no need to learn pickup anymore (I was very good at opening girls) all I had to do was quit porn and abstain and save my sexual charges up for these real life babes.

    Sex was......amazing.

    I completely went against all the 'rules' I was given in childhood. Sex was bad? Well watch me. Dating is bad? Well watch me. Having a sexuality is bad? Well watch me save it up and score with 100s of girls.

    And that was when I met my lover turned girlfriend. The rest is history guys. The sex was unreal, it was so dream like and magically perfect that the option for wanking or watching porn just seemed secondary. But because the high was so good I recall I soon just stopped caring about watching porn/not watching porn. It was excting from my brain.

    As I have said, the only reason I managed to get back onto this forum was because a (real life) friend expressed he was going to quit porn because he couldn't get it up with his wife enough, which led me to consider how good it is to be off it.

    I am going to continue to write on this website probably for the rest of the year to help and offer any value to anyone. All I can state right now is that the need for a vision is huge. If you spend just one hour constructing a vision, and see yourself successful by your own definitions, I have ZERO DOUBT you will even want to watch porn again.

    And whilst I understand and appreciate everyone say "I want to feel better and improve my self confidence" please remind yourself that Nofap/ Quitting Porn is in respect to your own male sexuality. Your balls, your sexual seed, your ability to have a child son/daughter with a woman and meet a women who will be your spouse and mother of your children. If you want children, this is the means to go. Please think of your vision in terms of SEXUALITY first, then self esteem and life purpose. If you leave your sexuality out of your life vision, then you will probably just want to wank and watch porn. CONSTRUCT YOUR VISION AROUND YOUR SEX LIFE AND YOUR WOMEN DREAMS. Yes I give you permission to. Do it now and you can thank me later but posting a picture of you and your beautiful partner up on here in future.
  11. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thanks for sharing, Johnny. It is always uplifting to hear stories like yours, and it is nothing short of incredible. It is very good of you to stay around and help out others in this community. Although, I have been shaping my life vision for a while, I haven't put much thought into it from the point of view of sex. I shall think this over.
    Johhny Bravo likes this.
  12. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Thank you, my friend. It was a good weekend, and I left it feeling more confident and feeling a stronger bond with my colleagues.
    Raskolnikov likes this.
  13. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    The last few days have been pretty good on the whole. My mood has been relatively stable and I have even been feeling positive in places. Conversation with others seems to be easier and more enjoyable than usual. I was hit quite hard by cravings to act out yesterday which started the night before. I had another tough time sleeping last night due to cravings that interrupted my normal cycle. Overall though my sleeping routine is making a return to normality this week following the chronic stress of last week. I have bought some magnesium oil which I have heard is supposed to be quite good for sleeping difficulties. Actually my experience this week compared to last has been like night and day. I have been doing a six day work week and I haven't felt very daunted by it, as I normally would. Indeed, I have even been looking forward to going into work at times! This is really encouraging given that I only had one day off to recover from the demands of last week. I am looking forward to some time off though. I am going to spend one of my days off next week seeing a friend which I am looking forward to. Having some time off will also give me the opportunity to get on top of projects again.
  14. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    Alternative nostril breathing might help sleep:) takes practise but you can knock yourself out very rapidly if done correctly.
  15. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    The last few days have been alright. Not much to report. I had my first day off in a while yesterday and spent it chilling out for the most part. I also had an eye check up. I was at work again today. I was relatively calm and I was able to exchange some nice conversations with my colleagues and visitors which was great. For this particular job, I have traditionally found it difficult to make conversation with my colleagues. I am not entirely sure why. On the one hand, there is part of me that finds it difficult to open up around them. Yet, they can be what I call selfish conversationalists- and I mean that in the nicest possible way. They don't really ask questions about me or my interests and I feel slightly awkward talking about myself when it is inappropriate to do so. That doesn't stop me though from expressing an interest with what they do with their lives.We are also quite different personalities. The main avenue by which we communicate therefore is small talk, and this is something that I can struggle with, nor I am really that interested in it. I am a 'proper' conversation sort of guy. I think if I want to develop my relationship with my colleagues, I will have to continue to seek opportunities to make conversation out of the ordinariness of life. It is a skill like all things that I can only get better at.
  16. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    .."For this particular job, I have traditionally found it difficult to make conversation with my colleagues. I am not entirely sure why. On the one hand, there is part of me that finds it difficult to open up around them."

    I would say to trust yourself. It could be that these particular people are just not your type.

    For years when I used to work jobs or be in social groups of certain kinds, I found I was one of the least social people. And it didn't make sense to me, because naturally I am quite an open and talkative guy. If you met me, you'd probably think I was the most proactive person around in terms of making connections.

    Looking back in hindsight, it was because those people in these groups were just not for me. I never desired to hang out with them even beyond the social group interactions. I was there just by force due to work or a commitment of some type. However I used to feel bad/unworthy because many other colleages would be joking and having friendships, and it would seem like I was the only awkward one who didn't want to take part. It felt isolating at time.

    But the only reason it felt isolating was because there was a big part of me that wanted approval from others. If I didn't get approval from others, my intial question would be "what is wrong with me?" It was massive self-shaming and self attack. Instead of assuming that these people were just not sheep from my flock like I could have I took it personally.

    I have a challenge for you: Next time you feel weird around these particular people at work, check in to see if you secretly are looking for their approval. I have no doubt you seem to be a very decent human being and can communicate (and write) in a very articulate way over the internet with words. Possibly these colleages just aren't for you? Maybe that is the only lesson that needs be appreciated, that you are good enough as you are beyond the welcome or unaccepting vibe of others.

    A mentor I had once gave me an exercise which made me feel empowering. I once joined a gym, I don't think details matter which particular gym. I knew many people there from previous years of other gyms. This specific gym, whenever I went into it, I felt less-than-good. I was comparing myself with other people. Other people were talking, joking, socialising, seem to have all the friends in the world. It was very "cliquey" if you know what I mean. Because I wasn't with the in crowd, I always felt like a loser in there. My mentor was very kind with me and saw into the situation, "What are you going to the gym for? Are you there to exercise and enjoy, or are you there to compare yourself with others? Do you want to play this game with them all, or do you want to feel freedom, happiness and power?" And he said I should go to the gym, dressed very plainly, workout and go home, and acknowledge no-one if it felt forced or it felt like I needed to interact with them out of neediness or less-than-good feeling.

    After doing this over the course of 2 weeks, one of the very attractive girls there ended up going RIGHT UP TO ME and talking with me directly. After 3 weeks, I met friends who I GENUINLY gelled with easily. The socialising was easy and effortless.

    Not giving your power away is one of the most sexiest things (and most relieving things) you can learn and practise. Not sure if this helps your situation or not but it was the first thing that came to mind. Perhaps you can USE your work situation as a gifting opportunity to practise keeping your power to yourself?- have an attitude of, if I talk to these people or not, who cares. As long as you are respectful of yourself, you win.

    Well done on your progress also.
  17. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    Your example closely parallels my situation. I am almost certain that part of me looks for approval in my colleagues and cannot bear it when I don't get the outcome I am looking for. This might be a laugh at my joke, or simply an easy and free conversation which might be interpreted to mean that I am normal.

    It makes sense that this kind of behaviour props up low self-esteem. By seeking validation in others, I think that you are still sending a message to yourself that you are not enough in some way. My dilemma is that I am not sure what 'natural' conversation, as in the natural expression of my self, feels like amidst the social anxiety that I have. Socialising seems to require a lot of effort for me. I do wonder if I withhold from making conversation to look for the 'right' feeling, that nothing will be said at all. As always, this is excellent food for thought. Thanks so much for your support! :)
  18. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    I used to coach men in pickup. Because I dont work for a (very well reputed) companu any more I will give you the one takeaway *for free* that men would pay up to $6,000 to learn over a weekend. Beyond all the social skills and the talking to strangers study, yes, there is one single main point. If you learn this and ponder this enough you wont feel inferior ever again.

    Self worth must be valued and taken. Self importance must be significant. You must realise yes YOU are important! You are worthy! What you say and do and who you are as yourself is impactful and important. Learn to value who you are!

    Hint. You dont have to have your self value measured on doing nofap or not. Have self value and esteem by a choice.

    Why are you refusing to view yourself as important? What are you getting out of your decision to remain less-than to others?
  19. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member

    If I knew the answer to your first question, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion. I am conscious that I am not getting anything out of my 'decision to remain inferior to others'. Indeed, its not a conscious decision at all but something rooted in my sub-conscious mind. I have been trying a number of different approaches, covering both physical health and the psychological. While I have been able to take the edge off it, I haven't been able so far to resolve the problem. The anxiety I experience is irrational.I'm keeping with the daily hypnotherapy sessions to see what a difference this makes over the course of a month.
  20. Freedom from Servitude

    Freedom from Servitude Active Member


    The last 4 days have been a mixed experience. The first two generally were good and the trend of feeling relatively calm continued. The last two days have altogether been more challenging. Despite sleeping reasonably well the night before, I experienced a slump in my mood and my anxiety reached a higher baseline level all day. There could have been a number of explanations for this, but as far as my social environment goes, it was because a particular supervisor at work returned from her holiday. There seems to be a theme running for me in that women who are in a powerful position in relation to me are a major trigger for my anxiety. This was certainly the case with my old boss for my other job. I feel calmer if they act in a complimentary manner towards me, but if I am not getting praise, I generally feel self-conscious around them. It didn't help my anxiety yesterday that I made a mistake. It was a minor one, with no serious consequence, but my brain took it as the end of the world.

    I encountered a trigger in a German art documentary that I was watching Wednesday. Two black and white photos of naked women briefly appeared on the screen. Although I felt triggered to act out, I was able to stay in control. I was frustrated that no nudity warning was posted on the streaming service. It seems that, if its art, it doesn't count as mature content! Ultimately no harm was done, and if I knew I was going to run into trouble, I would have avoided the documentary outright.

    It has been an eventful week all in all and I have done well to keep trundling on despite the challenges I have faced. I participated in judging a club competition at TM, I also attended an SA meeting, and met with a friend. I am just looking forward to relaxing on my day off tomorrow so that I can recover a bit more from the demands of the last few weeks.

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