Omega Man: Journal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by Omega Man, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Very good insights. :) Congratulation about having accomplished a better control of your life and your decisions.


    The seek for external validation is really a beast. It makes us vulnerable and weak and it often leads me to compare myself with others which causes low mood, despite if I´m coming out on top or bottom in the comparison.
     
  2. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    I am listening to the audiobook of "The Paradox of Choice" currently, and there is much discussion even before I've hit the chapter on depression, about how comparisons and "what if" thoughts can lead types prone to depression down that ruminating path. I see myself in every paragraph that discusses these types.
     
  3. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Great discussion here OM and Lib. I worry about the "that's it?" effect of making any changes in my life. When I chose this path a couple of years back, it did it out of shame, embarrassment, and frustration that I could not be "normal." Yet I had/have nothing, and nobody, who to help me gauge what "normal" is. We've all read the studies that point to the healthy benefits of masturbation, and for every one of those, there appears to be one that cautions against it. Like every other large decision we make in life, it's left to us to make the best choice under the circumstances; a metric that I'm never comfortable with.

    Lately, I've grown wary of speaking my mind on this forum too. I know I'd never intentionally say something here to cause hurt or stress, but with the decisions being made one here being so personal, with so many different motivations, and restrictions, I don't feel comfortable having my words taken as advice, or worse, as best practices. I think all of this became apparent to me when I separated masturbation from porn-viewing; one has never been much of a problem for me, the other had to stop.

    Two years ago, I was certain that this process would leave me a better, stronger, more sociable person. Some of those aspects have improved. Some profoundly, some marginally, and some not-so-much. I wonder how many of us here have reached this point, only to feel unfulfilled. The only thing that keeps me on this trajectory, is the knowledge that I've taken back at least some modicum of control over my life. You guys know that you've done the same too, and it's because of your ability to articulate what you're going through, that I am where I am today.
     
  4. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    Great to hear from you SOJ. Wise and well-written words as always!

    I hear you in the advice angle. While I stand behind the suggestions I've given to actually do what needs to be done (they seem applicable for many things), as you said, the results may not be the same for everyone. I've long suspected that "superpowers" experienced by many nothing more than a stifled extroverted self regaining prominence. In my case, I seem to have uncovered a stifled introverted self whose traits are less social, less extroverted than I'd ever imagined.

    In a way, I feel sometimes as if this self-discovery process turned me into the person I've been avoiding my entire life (through alcohol, self-delusion, porn escapism, etc) - and that was the real me. I think I wanted to be someone else the whole time. In a sense, the so-called superpowers were yet another claim to be that person, but in an ironic twist, I was brought face to face with accepting a deeper truth about myself. I'm just realizing a lot of this as I type this.

    But there is no doubt there is a better, much improved and healthier version of this self. It's just taking some time to adjust to, like new shoes or a new car.

    Some of these "Is That It?" thoughts are no doubt a desire to be more like the person one envisions when they read of the personality improvements of others (aka Superpowers). It seems we all have different ones.

    But yes, as you said anyone who has had some extended abstinence from the porn and/or the masturbation learns that they do have control over their actions. Or at least they can of they want it. This in itself is a worthy result. But like anything else, it's dangerous to place too much expectation on specific results, as you might end up with different outcomes.

    Lastly, much of the reports of these superpowers come from those 30, 60, 90 days in. And I think they are more salient at those stages. It's probably also easier to hype yourself up, which to some degree is a necessary tool for these hurdles.

    I was reading recently about how the guys who first walked on the moon came home and their lives were devastated. Armstrong was invited to a barbecue and just thought, "wait, that's it?" He sank into a deep depression and his marriage fell apart. And developed an alcohol problem. Interestingly, they did not get any massive fame and fortune, and had to rebuild their lives when they got home.

    I think the same is true here. A monumental goal reached leads one to the realization that you just go back to living your life.
     
  5. Libertad

    Libertad Well-Known Member

    Wow, very deep thoughts here, OM and SJ.
    Staying away from PMO and becoming our real self, which maybe we avoided to be with PMO and other drugs, could feel disapointing at first. Expecting to become a person we imagined to become and then experiencing that our real self is not as we thought it would be. To find a way to accept us as we are, our real self, that could be a key to avoid and solve the frustration in my case.
    Sorry for the gramatical mistakes.
     
  6. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    Exactly, well said. It's like we imagine taking away the things we thought would make us this imagined ideal would give us that same ideal, but instead we need to learn to accept ourselves as we really are.

    In a way, dropping porn can be just another way to run away from the real self within.

    Much of these explorations I have made over the years come back to self-esteem. It always seems to be about me not being happy with who I am. As if I "need" to "act like this" or "be like that". Earn X amount of money, live a certain way of life. Never is the current situation acceptable.

    There's always this underlying anxiety about accepting things as they are, which is interesting to notice. I wouldn't doubt the self-imporivment industry capitalizes on this persistent feeling.
     
  7. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    That there is a self-improvement industry says it all. From the time we're little, society ingrains us with the attitude that we can to better. Most of us experience improvements in various facets of our lives, but inevitably those steps up seem to just feed the fire, leaving us feeling unworthy, and in need of more improvements.

    Wait, maybe that isn't society, but just my wife urging me to try to step it up a notch.
     
  8. a short guy

    a short guy Well-Known Member

    Being porn-free doesn't cure anything, but it does open up a can of worms.

    Regarding the amino acid supplements, this sounds similar to eating cultured/fermented foods, partially pre-digested, broken down to be more easily assimilable… or bone broth, cooked for a couple days.

    2 years, nice!
     
  9. 19anon99

    19anon99 Guest

    Congarts on two years!
     
  10. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Good work passing the two year mark!
     
  11. PotentLife

    PotentLife There is enough infinity for everybody.

    Omega Man, I'm glad I came across your journal. I started reading it from the beginning so I don't know where you are at the moment emotionally, except that you have impressed me with your number of 737 days. I quoted a couple of paragraphs you wrote in 2013, mentioning George Leonard and your mastery of the blues scale, in my 40+ journal here and on Nofap.com. As a fairly new guitarist, and, having skimmed through Leonard's book a year or more ago, I immediately related and was inspired, given my recent plateau or flatline or depression or whatever's going on with me. For context, I'm on the brink of 60 days of no M with two middle-of-the-night slips of reaching for porn out of the depths of a sound sleep. This post of yours gave me a spark of hope to help build the fire of a happier mindset. I'd been feeling so stagnant despite a lot of effort to be productive.

    I hope that old post you may have forgotten having made has revived its value, like discovering a forgotten $50 bill in a pair of jeans.

    Also, since I'm widely engaged in art making, I'm grateful you introduced me to Stephen Pressfield.

    I look forward to reading more of your journal, Omega Man. I wish upon you all the benefits of your dedication. Keep up the excellent work!
     
  12. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    Howdy all, and thanks for those earlier kudos which I somehow missed the notifications on. @PotentLife: I'm very glad to hear my journal helped you out, thanks for letting me know.

    A Dm from a long-time friend here prompted me to post, as it was something I'd been considering for some time. I don't have time to get into depth or review what I posted last, but in general things have been going well and I am still on the porn-free path.

    I've been making some big progress with some personal hangups over the past 6 months as well, such as solo traveling, doing some vendor tables in new and unfamiliar cities (with the activity itself being alien to me). I've learned to interpret that anxious anticipatory feeling in the gut as a sign that I am about to grow as a persona, as opposed to a warning that I should avoid doing something uncomfortable. Changing the mind through changing the actions.

    I am maintaining my exercise, meditation and healthy eating. I feel all are essential to the management of my depression, my PMO urges, and growing as a man in general.

    I find the rituals and habits are a foundation I build so that I do them when I don't feel like it, which is THE most important time to have established those habits. My healthy self in service to the periods of being unwell.

    PMO urges spring up, and I have the occasional M session, but I feel in control of things. That said, I do not feel for one second that I am free of falling back into that cycle of destruction. I have to maintain vigilance, but as I have mentioned before many times, the longer I go the more skilled I get at doing so.

    I've learned to ignore my rambling mind for the most part, learned that I do not have to identify with all the nonsense that runs though it all day. Learned that it's filled with stuff I never put there consciously, and therefore isn't "me" and can be observed, acknowledged, and ignored.

    On a recent "Art Of Manilaness" podcast with an interview with the writer of "Braveheart", he made a mention of wanting to live a live where he wasn't a slave to his appetites. I really liked that phrasing.

    Been digging a few new blogs, "Raptutide" and "Mr. Money Mustache". Currently reading the surprisingly great "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".

    Gotta run, but will post more soon. Hope everyone is doing good!!!
     
  13. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    I haven't read your posts before but now that I have I see someone who is getting to where I want to be. I have my issues with depression and anxiety and I am learning how to move through the world with both of them but not allow them to contribute to taking me down the destructive roads I tended to go down. It is good to see someone who has insight like you do after so long, but you are not in denial that this could still come back if you are not aware enough.

    Thanks
    onesea
     
  14. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    PMO, like depression, is to me not something you just "fix". I think they are both symptoms of underlying issues that will rear up from time to time. I have found that my regular habits are tools to help me weather those storms. But one must establish them during the positive/up times so they are done without thinking when the negative/down times arise.

    I believe they will continue to arise. Fewer and far between, but it's more realistic to accept the fact that you may be dealing with this stuff for some time. Of course, everyone is different.

    What I can say, is that going down this path has been an incredibly wonderful experience and is worth every once of effort and recurring renewal to the path. It's a lot of work, and it's an ongoing dedication. You really need to become a new person to do it correctly, but I think this is where the power lies: by becoming a new person, you get to pick the traits that new identity has; eliminating PMO can be one of those choices.

    One of the big insights I've had over the past year is how we are all "addicted" to ourselves. Or perhaps addicted to our Self. That Self has certain traits, behaviors, strengths and weaknesses. It's easy to believe those are fixed, too ingrained or even genetic. I can tell you they are not, and the Self is a non-fixed aspect of your identity. I can tell you this because I've changed mine.

    That's the real power behind getting mastery over this PMO crap — you learn that you can choose to be who you are (or who you become), and it can spread out into all areas of your life.
     
  15. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Good to see that you've gone even further down that fine path OM! Leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the rest of us will ya'.
     
  16. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    Looks like you've been doing well yourself. Good to hear from you SOJ.
     
  17. onesea

    onesea Active Member

    Thanks for responding. To me what you are describing is the self that addicted to the reality we create for ourselves when go about fitting into the world around us. We become addicted to that idea of reality and thus ourselves. We forget to be our genuine selves without all the stuff we decide to carry inside. None of this is fixed like you say.

    I agree that when you get mastery of actions then it can spread into other areas of your life. I'm learning to live with this aspects of myself because they won't always go away. What I will do though is learn to act or not act on them and to understand their place in my life, which is hopefully a more minimal influence on my life.

    onesea
     
  18. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    When I say we are addicted to our Self, I mean we are addicted to this idea that we are this fixed identity. I have these opinions, I have these preferences, I like this kind of activity and dislike that kind of food, etc. But all these things are arbitrary. Most of it was just unconsciously accumulated over time.

    That accumulation of preferences likes to maintain it's existence (aka " the ego"). It's easy to identify with those preferences over time and assume they are "fixed" or unchangeable.

    But that's not the case. I thought I could never quit smoking, never give up porn, would always eat pizza and drink beer. The person I have become these days wouldn't even hang out with the me from 5 years ago. This current collection of preferences is that different. And equally as fictitious, but I don't want to get too metaphysical here :)

    My point is mostly to say that if you want to, you can change. What holds you back is a clinging to a certain group of traits you have come to identify with. Pick new traits, and identify with them.

    There may be some painful processes to go through, you may need to give up friends, family, and all sorts of behaviors you've become very attached to. But changing things on this deep level is like a clean slate that makes other changes much easier.

    When I quit smoking, it was difficult when I was trying to be a non-smoker in all the old haunts where I smoked the most. Then, I stopped going to those places, and quitting smoking was much easier. But not going to bars led to less time with the bar-hopper group of people I used to hang with, which meant finding new activities and social outlets, etc, etc, etc. These all led to a new identity, a new persona, a new self. But it was easier, once this new self was underway, to start adding in other new positive habits and behaviors and eliminate old and unwanted ones.

    The "clean slate" of identity freed me up from a long of interconnected clinging I was doing. For me at least, the PMO was entangled within all sorts of other undesirable behaviors, thought patterns, social relationships and dynamics, and self-perceptions. Again, PMO was a symptom of a unhealthy system. Clean u pthe system, and the symptoms clear up.

    That said, what I did was not easy, and I am not sure many people would be willing to do it. But I was determined to change, at any cost. I was at the end of my rope. I had no alternative. I was serious about making a change in my life.

    Anyways, hope that makes more sense.
     
  19. imout

    imout Active Member

    Great to hear how far youve developed into a healthier person. I agree with you wholeheartedly that we have to change fundamentally and that dearly held indulgences and beliefs have to go. To a degree I have managed that too, although there is a lot left to tackle. One big one for me was to let go of having to have an opinion all the time and sell it to others (Im german, say no more). Now im able to let people be even if things seem silly. The mens groups have told me to draw a distinct line between My story, and others' story. I have stopped making others story mine.

    Anyways, 900+ days , you are very successful in your recovery, unfortunately at 818 I slipped and had teh ocasional chaser after that. I hope Im ok now .

    Great to hear from you.
     
  20. Omega Man

    Omega Man Everything counts.

    Good to hear imout. Sorry to hear on the slip. Trust me, I've had and still have my moments where it is very tempting to give into some immediate gratification. But I just recall my life before, and how decades of that behavior never led me to anything that resulted in happiness or fulfillment.

    The toughest part of this process is that there is no magic rainbow of awesomeness at the end of the process. In fact, the process has no end. there's no finish line, nobody cheering your on. In reality, nobody really give a damn if you do it or not. One needs to learn the give that damn about themselves, which can be a tough road for many of us. Especially for those like me who for decades were so focused on obtaining external approval and validation.

    I know if I let myself slide, I'd end up in a downward binge spiral. I see that happen on small levels with other immediate gratification pleasures from time to time (food mostly these days). It's not like it hash't crossed my mind countless times about how much new content has accumulated on my favorite sites. I just know that there's no good that can come from any of that.

    I had my time of indulgence, and it left a hollow shell. I can't let that happen again. It's not always the easiest or most desirable choice, but as mentioned earlier, my goal is to cultivate that strength in other areas of my life when my resolve is strong, so it can maintain my ground in times of weakness.

    At any rate, glad to hear you made it 800+ days! Just knowing you can accomplish that is a great lesson. Remember back when we first started and going 3 days or 30 days was seemingly impossible?
     

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