Pre-existing Depression? Quick questions for those depressives more that 6 months clean.

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by Billy B., Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Hey Fellas,

    I'm at 120 days and strugglin' big-time. I know I haven't done all I could to recover (nutrition, exercise, analysis, etc). Before I began rebooting I was on a reasonably good roll with that stuff but the last couple months I've been (up and down but) mostly so depressed I'm hard pressed just to look after myself minimally, day to day. I almost can't imagine getting back to a space where I have the energy to exercise, for example. Though I've made a date with a friend for the pool next week. Hopefully having made that commitment to someone else will get me there and if I can get me heart and lungs goin' that's got to help with energy levels and mood.

    So, anyhow. It is said that our symptoms can often worsen before they improve. I need to know, did any of you have the experience (like me) where you became so fucked up that all you could manage was abstinence (no energy for active recovery) and did you still notice an improvement eventually? In your experience how long did that take? Or did you have to somehow find the energy to get back to an active recovery program before your mood improved?

    I know, everyone is different but... I feel so lost and alone (despite the support I have here). I'm committed to staying off the PMO. I'm on a hard Reboot with no M, no O, no Fantasy, no Subs (but unfortunately no opportunity for reboot sex, either. Not cuddles, even.). I'm just... frightened. I have been having stronger suicidal thoughts than I have in a long time.

    I feel so hopeless.

    I guess, I just need to feel like there's some light at the end of this long dark tunnel even if I can't find the energy to put towards active recovery... that this might pass.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  2. DemBrainsTho

    DemBrainsTho Member

    My longest streak was right around 6 months. It will lift and you will feel good again.. That I can promise you. Just need to stay CLEAN. Are you avoiding MO? That can further sensitize your brain.

    I'll tell you this though.. I found that changes did happen.. but it's very gradual. It's not at all unrealistic to think it could take longer than 6 months. I didn't get morning wood again until 5 months.. just think about that.. 5 MONTHS... just for regular morning wood again. And like I've raved about in other posts.. weird moments for like 15 minutes at a time.. fear and anxiety completely left me. I mean almost in a dangerous way.. Like I felt like I could do anything. It went away after 15 minutes though... Definitely changes were happening in the brain.

    If you want a detailed list of various benefits.. Google NoFap changes/benefits or whatever. There are all kinds of testimonials of guys who had their lives completely changed by quitting PMO.

    It seems like lots of NoFap people get benefits sooner and less flatline. So don't get dismayed when your not seeing anything much at 5 months. It seems like the most hardcore PMO addicts end up here. It's a whole different game with us.. We have to completely rewire our brains before we can even start seeing benefits like those guys do so early.

    Stay clean and your life will sort itself out. All you have to worry about.
  3. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Really? Really and for true?

    I don’t need magic powers, I just need to be not chronically depressed, that will do for now.

    I haven't been chronically depressed (so deep and so low) for a long, long time (excepting a period grieving my best friend's suicide: which was understandable).

    Since Reboot, but….


    I very much appreciate yr words, DBT.

    I do.

    Yes, to no MO, btw.

    Good question. (I've edited to make clearer).

    No ED either, thankfully (gawd bless you fellas). Couple times I had DE but could easily have been as much a side effects of medication, those moments.

    It’s good to be reminded of this. Thank you.

    I was a reasonably heavy user, I’d say, off and on. Especially in the 9 months or so leading up to Reboot. 20-40hrs a week easily, if I wasn’t on a break (tryna git clean). Often split over a couple sessions a day, more often than not with an O (and a crash) at the end.

    Changes in the brain (dopamine, pleasure-centre stuff), not to mention a lifelong psycho-pathology messin’ with my sex-life (with romance, with connection blah, blah, blah).

    I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s thrown me.

    I’m not.

    But faaaaaaaark, what a drag!

    When yr only logical course of action seeeeems to be suicide, it’s lucky that you’re too fucking depressed to actually do anything about it.

    I’ll see my psychologist, Tuesdee.


    Thanks again, DBT.
  4. Michael84

    Michael84 Member

    I'm in the same boat. More than 2 months clean but from time to time I suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and the feeling of hopelessness. I have to make huge efforts to do something productive, even my job. No contacts with other people for several months. Sometimes I lose faith that I will ever be cured even if I never pmo again. Speaking about depression... hm.. it has been a part of my life for so long already that I perceive it as my normal condition.
    But to answer your question when it will go away, I think it all depends on you and your lifestyle. And my opinion is that depression is not dependent on pmo. It's a psychological issue and a topic for another forum.
  5. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Perhaps you're right. On the other hand, recovery doesn't occur in a vacuum. Think about diet, nutrition, exercise, faith, relationships... all of these things come into play, psychology perhaps most of all.

    I hope you can feel better soon, Michael. I especially hope you can get some contact with other people happening. As much as I value my personal space (and fantasise about being a hermit) I know for a fact that humans are social creatures and that social isolation can be extremely detrimental.

    Listen: I don't expect getting clean will cure me of depression (I know it won't). I'm also not surprised that rebooting has aggravated things but.... I don't know if I was quite prepared for this intensity, this consistency. Okay, it has been up and down but down deeper and for much longer than I've had to deal with for a long time.

    So I'm still, I dunno, wondering if I am likely to feel even marginally better with time, regardless of whether I can find the energy to participate in active recovery.

    As we know, Abstinence is not Recovery and my AA friends have spoke about this. There's a particular sub-set of ex-drinkers who have got sober but haven't done any work to recover and they are miserable. Call 'em dry-drunks. Sometimes even their friends and family say they almost prefer them on the grog because, despite all of the down-sides, they were at least happy half the time!

    Now, these buggers are probably lamenting that they can't drink, they probably miss it terribly. I don't miss PMO except for rarely... most often the thought of going back to it makes me feel ill. So maybe I'll be okay. I expect my brain is still rewiring (more dreams about former lovers last night and) with my pleasure responses having been so hyper-stimulated for so long I can imagine it takes time to right itself.

    I'm spending a lot of time considering suicide, though. I've been in and out of this space many times over the last 20 years and, more often than not, it's just where the mind goes when it can't cope. I'm often able to acknowledge that and still put one foot in front of the other (or at least just lay there and ride it out, knowing it will pass). I'm gonna have to keep an eye on it this time, though, as I've started kind of making plans... I haven't taken any action, but....

    I'm going to email my psychologist and see what she thinks.

    Cheers for your thoughts, man. Good best of luck with your own journey. With only a couple months clean please do be wary of the potential for further psychological turmoil.
  6. My longest streak was around a year and a half, and then had about a half dozen relapeses and am now back on a good streak.

    Meditation helped me. I chose one nigth a week and I just laid in my bed and let my brain free, I just accepted everything that came into my head. Holyshit was that scary!!!! But after awhile the tank empties and peaceful thoughts come.

    I accepted my emotions, including my depression. Depression has a certain feel and a certain way of dealing with it. You need to both balance those days when you are exersizing, healthy and outgoing, and you also have to have days when you just crash and sleep and lie in bed all day and rest. If you try to go beast mode and fire all cylinders and go hard everyday you will burn out.

    Best of luck, it gets better.
  7. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Thanks, man. That's kind of helpful, I think. I appreciate it anyway. Ta.
  8. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    Billy B, you say you understand that recovery doesn't happen in a vacuum...

    What does your diet look like?
    Do you exercise?
    Do you meditate (or do something "equivalent")?
    Take supplements?

    I'd say those four elements won't cure anything for 90% of the population (what will cure is healthy socialising, dealing with internal issues, etc), but they will make everything else much easier to deal with. They can speed up the process, and help you go farther. Hence my second series of questions:

    Do you force yourself to socialise, at least when it's possible?
    Do you get outside of your comfort zone?
    Have some introspective activities?
    Maybe see a therapist?

    Your problem seems to be half neurochemical, half psychological (and there's a lot of interplay between the two). I recognize this forum isn't specialised in depression, but I strongly disagree that we should avoid the topic. Focusing on the science of porn addiction won't get us anywhere if we don't connect it to psychology, biochemistry, neurophysiology, and biology in general to find solutions. I see stopping PMO only as a first step.
  9. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Right you are. Right you are, are you a psychology student, Newnes?

    All of the things you asked about self-care I was more or less onto before reboot. Problem is the bastard wore me down (too many tough days in a row and I now I can't seem to find the grit to take further action). Obviously I have to, eventually. I just hope that time spent abstinent has some value vaguely approximating that of time spent taking action. It's never gonna match equivalent but if these Reboot-related discombobutaions will abate... periodically, I might be able to get some beans in the bank and find the balls to step up and start lookin' after myself again.

    I'll call a friend tomorrow. Booked in for laps at the pool, Monday, with a different friend (I hope I can get there). Psychologist Tuesday.

    Keep moving forward. Could always be better at nutrition (plenty suppliments, not enough fresh stuff, perhaps), meditation, exercise, socialise. Like I said, I was doin' okay with that until the madness of withdrawal eroded my capacity to maintain healthy habits or to challenge myself.

    So… the best I can hope for, I reckon, is that, as the affects of abstinence morph from negative to less so, I can then find it easier to self-care more often. I desperately hope that the smooth times will eventually, gradually (through ups and downs) come into balance again, with the not so smooth.

    Yin and bloody Yang.

    “Normal” for me, over the last few years (so, in the absence of outside stressors like grief or withdrawal or whatever), is like that. I’d have a good couple weeks (energised, positive) followed by some less than ideal times (low energy, sad/depressed), like that. Because I was managing my depression quite well (by keepin’ up health n’ wellbeing during the good times; doin’ the best that I could when the going got tough and; bombing out for a short spell if I needed to, no dramas), because of that, the dark times never got so deep and wide. Wherever I was at (feelin’ good, bad or in-betweens), I knew it would eventually pass and that’s what Mindfulness and Acceptance can do for us.

    So I appreciate your kind words, Newnes. And yr pertinent questions.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  10. Garga2

    Garga2 Member

    I am in the same state now. 58 days and most days I am overwhelmed by this fear and feeling of worthlessness. Makes it very hard to do work when I feel like that.
    Michael84 likes this.
  11. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Dude! I hope we can feel better soon. I suspect that, if all we can manage most of the time is to stay sober and, if at least some of the time we can find the energy for active recovery, we will eventually find that things get easier. I surely hope so. Posi-vibes to ya.
    Garga2 likes this.
  12. Garga2

    Garga2 Member

    Thanks man! I truly hope so too. Actually, it has been 180 degrees today for me. I am in a great mood and I was super productive and motivated to do work and did a great work out. This change makes me feel sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel for us and its bright!

    I gotta tell you though - for me exercising (especially if I move a lot, like basketball or football) and working on something meaningful, really helps. I am also taking vit D, ginko biloba and omega 3-6-9 and a piece of dark chocolate every morning. Sometimes, if mood is really down and things are unbearable I make myself St John's Worth tea. Someone suggested a glass of warm milk with honey before bed and it worked wonders, I tried it last night. Today I woke up at 5 am full of ideas, ready to work. Hope from now those days are more than what i had to go through before today.

    I also have to be very careful not to ogle at women, because this can destroy not only my day but my whole progress. The extent to which porn has deformed and distorted my mindset when it comes to relations between the opposite sexes is humongous. But I have to be careful not to give free reign to anger! Both of these require diligent and systemic discipline of the mind. My dick is dead now and the only thing that has the subversive potential of sabotaging me is my brain. So discipline is crucial.

    The change is so huge that I have the creeping fear that I might be bipolar. I haven't been diagnosed with this and sure hope this is not the case. Remains to be seen but from the hundreds of accounts I have read it looks like lots of folks document these changes and they are the sign of recovery. Stay strong man! The porn-poisoned mind is a very treacherous thing, we have to learn to control it.
  13. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    Thanks :) I'm no psychologist, but I'm really interested in the subject (primarily through the lenses of meditation).

    If you want to (re)build those habits, some free iOS/Android trackers exist that can help. You can often track up to 5 habits, and add some reminders. I won't make it for you, but it can be a nudge in the right direction.

    Also, start small. Build the habit and then increase its content. No exercise? Walk daily. No meditation? Five minutes of deep, diaphragmatic breathing is great too! As a matter of fact, 20mn of such breathing a day resets the cortisol levels for the next 24 hours. But 5 minutes is enough to make a difference, to make a habit and to get used to breath deeper too. And so on.

    Garga2's comments and ideas are great as well.
  14. Mik2

    Mik2 Aka NwaltRed

    I think it is all to easy to blame all mental health issue on porn use. I have been on and off rebooting for 6 months now, and until I addressed other things that were causing me to feel depressed and anxious, streaks away from pmo didn't rid me of said mental health issues. Right now I have been clean from alcohol for weeks, clean from porn for a week, clean from caffeine addiction for a month, and getting the vitamin D/nutrients I need for good mental health. I have honestly felt better than ever and it only took a few days after ditching porn this time to feel great again.

    I still masturbate quite often, hasn't really affected my progress this time.
    Porn can certainly cause mental health issues, but don't be so quick to blame all of your mental health issues on porn. If you are several weeks or even several months clean from porn and not feeling much better it is likely that you aren't addressing other things in your life.
  15. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Garga2, that's a great post, thankyou. I'm so glad to hear you having a good day, at least for now. Like you, I understand that there are lots of small things I can do to improve my mood and I do work on tickin' those things off when I can. I think you know what it's like when we get this low, though? I'm lucky if I can get out of bed somedays. Only will feed myself when I become totally ravenous.

    Ogling! Fuck me. Just a glance when I'm in the wrong head space can bring me down. That's cause of pre-existing issues more so than Reboot, though, I reckon.

    Yeah, I think you're right about psychological upsets being a sign of recovery. Or at least, they are a common enough symptom of withdrawal even amongst those with no diagnosed conditions, prior. I am expecting it to abate (didn't expect it to get this bad) and hopefully, when the worst of reboot is over, I'll be back to more or less 'standard' levels of psychological... ups and downs.

    You other blokes, I'll get back to respond proper, after.
  16. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    All good stuff, Newnes. I really appreciate the encouragement. And the advice to take it slow, brilliant. Exactly what I would say to someone in my shoes.

    Tryna fight the black dog (or accept the black dog) and get on with lookin' after meself is what's thrown me side-ways, but.

    I'm sittin' here thinkin', it's obvious (and I kinda knew this from the start) that what's required is daily effort, even just a lil' bit goes a long way. So I've got to talk to my psych about this.... phenomenon where... I can't be the only one to have experienced this (in fact, I know I'm not)... I just... don't... seem... to... be... able to... make it... happen.

    I feel filthy but you'd just about have to draaaaag me into the shower (for example).

    Whassthatallabout, then?

    I've been here before... dark times.

    And I'm not blamin' Reboot. I mean, it doesn't help, withdrawal, rewiring... couple that with the other subtle (but collectively significant) of life's troubles that need to be addressed.

    Listen, I'm not cryin' poor me (first world problems, right?) but here's the thing: you take and average bloke, even a bloke with a good bit of baggage (and some addictions) and he's having some trouble in one or two areas of his life. His marriage, say. And his health, for example. He can prolly cope reasonably well. Nobody who works in mental health would be surprised to see him drop the ball when half a dozen things go skewiff at once; marriage/relationship, health, employment security/environment, social networks, fitness, finances... whatever (even if those wobbles are the result of a bunch of dumb choices he's made). It's gonna be when the going gets tough.

    Now give our imaginary friend a history of diagnosed mental disorders aaaand have him, challenge one of his major addictions...

    Everyone's different, but would you be surprised if he came a lil' unstuck? Let things slide?

    Me neither.

    And while I acknowledge the terrible truth that only our hero can save himself...

    Hang on...


    I just spoke with my psych.

    I'm going to have a shower in a minute, and try to eat something healthy.

    Suffice to say, if you've never been in this space it might be difficult for you to conceive of not wanting to help yrself. Wanting to hurt yourself, in fact. Sure, it's pointless and destructive self loathing... almost like an extreme form of self pity, or the 'logical' extension of, perhaps.

    I never said it made sense.

    I have some deep, life-long issues to address.

    PMO was helping me hide from them and now... not.

    That's the connection, I reckon.

    I've stayed clean... but it's been a rocky-road so far.

    I'll have to step-up, I guess.

    Lil' bit, just gently, at a time.

    I appreciate your considered words, men.

    I live to play another day.

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  17. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    I've been doing a dance with depression all my life. I've never been diagnosed, nor sought professional help. . . perhaps I should have, but I've had an aversion to being medicated so I've been steadily changing different things in my life to see what made me feel better.

    I fell apart when I was 27. That was the last time I seriously thought about killing myself, so things have been going up hill since then. I quit drink, quit drugs and, through recognizing my porn addiction, I've been learning how to make myself happy. Which is why I come here.

    From what I've read, I understand that every addict has some kind of excessive sensitivity to the world, they just feel social embarrassment more deeply than other people (or perhaps just fear it more; with me it's not pain, it's fear of pain). That's why I think addiction is somehow genetic, there's this gene that makes us want to be poets, which is fucking useless in an industrial society. So we medicate our fears away, and just get caught in a bigger trap.

    I think people with depression have a similar, and probably deeper, sensitivity. They feel the lows far more, but also when things are good they get a sense of the sublime. (It's a long read, but take a look at For Gethard.)

    So many of us here are depressive/overly sensitive - what to do?

    I think in the first instance, we have to continue rebooting. Life with porn addiction is no life - I can function for a time on porn, just like I can with alcohol, but I end up flipping between complete apathy and pure aggression which can burn through relationships and jobs.

    Remember that quitting is a process. You don't white knuckle your 90 days and walk away. When we first stop cold turkey we have to deal with emotions that have been buried for years, and life is twice as difficult. So we go through this cycle when we relapse and start over, again and again, going over the same ground until we've drawn up some kind of map.

    We're learning survival skills as adults, not teenagers, and in a world full of traps for the unwary. But think of it this way - every relapse teaches you something. Actually, every urge does. My desires to surf a wave of filth are actually my spiritual teacher!

    It's taken me more than three years to get to this point. Three years of building up inner strength, of making myself fitter and more skilled so that I feel better about myself. Failure is not falling, it's deciding not to get up again.

    Here's an observation from my own rebooting experiences: first, it's non-linear. You can have great results at times, but that's often because you are comparing yourself to the old self-hating you. Later you think you aren't making progress, but really it's just because rewards are more subtle. And secondly, I've notice a definite pattern to my emotions - certain times of the reboot are just harder. Read up on Post Acute Withdrawal (PAW):

    I found it really difficult at 90 and 120 days, and I had a stumble last week when I was at six months. I noticed a cycle before I read about PAW, so I think there's something in it, but I don't want it to become some kind of hypochondriac thing.

    Another suggestion: if you are down, look into cognitive and behavioural therapy. The first examines how we think, the latter what we do.

    Basically, that's 99 per cent of what I post here: forgive yourself, get some exercise.

    We have to change how we think, which we begin through self-forgiveness and making a vow not to listen to our own inner negativity. It's learning to stop calling myself a loser all the time that's transformed my life, not stopping watching porn. Cognitive exercises work for a while, but after a point, we just can't tell ourselves to be happy. That's when we have to look at what we do, and get busy, learning new skills, and putting ourselves through unpleasant social situations so that afterwards we can realize that the world didn't end. It's all Slight Edge stuff.

    Meditation and exercise helps, but there is no one magic bullet. A whole bunch of different things take the edges off, and give us space in which we can attempt new ways of seeing the world and different ways of acting within it.

    Good luck on your journey. Remember, it's not really about porn - it's not about being good or bad, it's about being happy and comfortable in your own skin so that you won't want to hide from the world. It's a heroes journey. When we are complete, we will be in a very small percentage of people that just get a high from life.
  18. kira

    kira Member

    Loved this!
  19. Billy B.

    Billy B. PMO is NOT an option!

    Thanks man, lots to think about and consider, here. I really do appreciate the time and effort you've put in to posting here (you need to know that, even if I can't demonstrate by responding thoughtfully and in kind). I read the Geth thing (didn't really help) and some of the PAWS thing which was stuff I didn't know and veeeeeeery useful information to have going forward. It's all too much at the moment, though. I'm going to curl up and hide again, for a bit. Try again, later.

    I've made a deal with my psychologist that I will contact her rather than research (further) suicide methods or take any action in that regard. Unfortunately, I'm a man of my word, so I'm committed to riding this out till at least my next appointment, Monday. When I can at all manage I will take steps toward self-care (just basic: shower, clean up, try to eat reasonable) and I'm doing my best to identify and step back from the worst of the self-talk. Hopefully these small actions coupled with continued abstinence will be enough, in time, to help this helplessness pass to the point where I can find even a lil' bit more strength to work on recovery.

    Thanks again, Wabi. You're words are not taken lightly. Good onya, man.
  20. Wabi-sabi

    Wabi-sabi Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete

    Back when I was 27 and things were falling apart, I had that all planned out - apart from two things: I didn't have the guts to follow through with it, and one day I realized I was actually enjoying delving into this dark and utterly self-absorbed space.

    It took me some time, but I've found it's true, life does get better. Stick with it and try different activities, and you will find a way out of the abyss.

    The biggest result for me was quitting alcohol. That was at least half of my problem. It's the biggest depressant out there.

    Other than that, as I said above, try to examine your own inner voice, and take a vow not to listen the names you call yourself. (If you are anything like me, that is.) It takes a couple of weeks, but you just get out of the habit.

    After that, try to get outside and get some sunshine on your face. Sounds patronizing, but it makes a huge difference to me. Walking in nature clears my mind.

    Billy, there is no one magic bullet, just a series of little victories that will lift you. It will take time, but keep with it and I guarantee you will be feeling just a little bit better about yourself towards the end of the year. When you see that glimmer of hope you'll realize you just have to keep working at it. Being happy is largely just a skill, it's not something people like you and me were born lacking or incapable of. We just got to work harder at it, that's all.

    The trick is not to make a grandiose promise about the rest of your life, but to tell yourself that you will try to be happier. Today I will try to make myself happier. That's a far easier promise to make, and less frightening.

    PM me any time if you need to talk. I've been there, you have nothing that will shock or burden me.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017

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