Success almost two years in. PIED is undoubtedly a thing.

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by Altruism247, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Altruism247

    Altruism247 New Member

    Yesterday, 6/27, officially marked two full years without PMO for me! I had some new thoughts/advice to share with the mental symptom crowd so thought I'd commemorate the two years by doing so. Again, my advice at this point is for the mental side of this. The physical symptoms inevitably get better and have improved drastically for me. The mental symptoms seem to have dragged on a little longer, as they have for many of you.

    Exercise your "contentment muscle." This is the biggest thing of all. I've talked before about how this is a disease of overstimulation; therefore, understimulation is the only logical mode of attack against it. The latest neuroscience supports this; mindfulness, meditation, etc. all have great effects on the dopamine system, which is what we need. I've made substantial strides in well-being, contentment, happiness and self-confidence by spending 4-5 hours a day (seriously) at the park with my dog. Phone on airplane mode the whole time. The practice is simply being OK in the moment while keeping other desires at bay. The first hour or two are inevitably spent overthinking and fending off the urge to check Twitter. "Why am I doing this? I don't feel any better" is my brain's favorite talking point. EVERY time, though, I feel amazing by the end of the trip. I begin seeing my thoughts as they appear, which lessens their power, rather than becoming the thoughts, and therefore the jealousy and self-hatred that comes with them. The trick, I guess, is that when you allow yourself to simply be ALONE with just your thoughts and immediate surroundings, a sense of peace comes with it. The fact that PMOing is an addiction done while alone is meaningful in this regard, IMO.

    Louie CK actually explains this perfectly at around 55 seconds of this vid:

    If you dig this concept, check out The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It's probably the most accessible book ever written on the topic. It teaches that depression and anxiety can ONLY happen if you're existing in the past or future. If you're able to fully live in the NOW, the awful thoughts begin to lessen in strength.

    For those doubting that my two year mental recovery could be connected to porn, my confidence in the legitimacy of this disease is stronger than ever. I continue to improve with each day, week, and month that passes. Going out and enjoying a few drinks has become pleasurable again. I'm able to wait in line at the grocery store without crippling social anxiety. This thing DOES get better, you just need to give it time! In some cases, a LOT of time!

    P.S. Also, delete Facebook from your phone if you're an active user. I think this is the perfect balance. I allow myself to check FB when i'm on my laptop, but no more mindless scrolling at traffic lights and in check-out lines. The epiphany that led me to this was that Facebook is such an object of jealousy and "lack." You wake up in the morning, check FB and already your brain is in a state of "lack." You're thinking about how your friends (or acquaintances you barely even know) have already worked out and you aren't even out of bed. Your cousin you don't even like is talking about the partying he did last night while you haven't gone out in months. It does nothing but make you feel like shit. Twitter and Reddit, at least, are more places for idea and information sharing instead of "hey, look at me! now compare yourself!"
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  2. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    Do you think that the 4 - 5 hours in the park are helpful because you're in public with other people? I think my addiction really isolated me and retarded my socially somewhat, it's alright though, those symptoms abated pretty quickly, it's the brain fog and fatigue that kill me. They seem to have nothing to do with isolation, but maybe they do. Thanks!
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  3. Altruism247

    Altruism247 New Member

    The park I go to is quite large, so I find myself alone with my dog a good majority of the time. Part of the time, I'm talking to other dog owners, etc. and that of course is great social practice.

    The reason I find it beneficial is (and I'm sounding like a broken record) the understimulation. It's just you, your thoughts, the park bench beneath you or the grass beneath your feet, and your other surroundings. The mere act of switching phone to airplane mode is key for me, because my brain switches modes. "Ok, for the next _____ hours, the internet doesn't matter. It doesn't exist." Phone gets put away and a whole new world opens up in front of me.

    It seems my symptoms are mostly related to severely low dopamine receptors. So I am constantly craving stimulation, because I need more of it to achieve anything close to equilibrium. This is the brain slowly balancing out after the destruction of over a decade of porn use.
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  4. Altruism247

    Altruism247 New Member

    Can't believe I forgot to mention one of the biggest things--I'm DREAMING again! It's wonderful to get lost in a vivid dream, and wake up and lie there with some form of recollection. I haven't had this in over 2 years. The dream vividness is returning in exact sync with my other improved mental/physical symptoms. I'll stress again, it's felt for the past 700+ days that my brain has been improving in all areas, very slowly but surely.

    Anyone else notice dreams being affected by reboot?
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  5. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    For me it's not dreams, it's deeper sleep, and I find that very old memories surface in the background of my mind when dozing or relaxing, jingles from commercials for eons ago will pop into my mind, or clear memories from age 6 or something, things I've not thought of in decades. The unconscious unfolding.

    Memory and dreaming run along some of the same pathways as sexual stimulus in the hypothalamus. Funny how addiction just takes how of your consciousness and shreds it.
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  6. jocil

    jocil Guest

    Did you control the days that you had wet dreams?

    How many days was the biggest interval without any wet dream?
  7. Altruism247

    Altruism247 New Member

    Wanted to update real quick. The last couple times I've had sex have been arguably the best ever. Zero issues, total in-the-moment pleasure the entire time. It reached levels of enjoyment I have not felt throughout this whole process. As the thread title says, I've been at this for over two years now.

    If you're a case as bad as mine, and you're 6 months to a year in, don't listen to people saying you should be better by now. This is serious shit. My continued progress after 2 years confirms it for me.
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  8. Chizzleman1

    Chizzleman1 Member

    Altruism247 - How much sex were you having at the beginning and through your reboot until now? At what point and frequency did you start to see more improvements?
  9. Altruism247

    Altruism247 New Member

    I would say between June 2014 and now, I've averaged 2 times a week or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but the average would be around there. It's a very real possibility that 2 or 3 times a week was too much at the beginning, but I did it anyways. As time went on, my performance improved and my post-orgasm symptoms lessened in intensity. Things simply got better, and continue to get better. It's so obvious how mentally driven PIED is, because it isn't just my dick that's improved, it's everything. I'm more calm, in control, in the moment. As the concerns about performance go away, there's more room in your brain for deriving pleasure from what's right in front of you! My girlfriend has never looked so good naked--and yet, of course she has! I'm just now more fully able to notice and appreciate. Keep going brother!

    Also, a tidbit I wanted to share with my mentally-afflicted PIED bretheren: I went to a concert last night and was able to enjoy it thoroughly for the first time in 3 years. I'm a huge live music guy, but throughout this process I've been so fucked up mentally that I haven't been able to enjoy myself at shows. My self-criticism and low self-esteem caused me to obsess about the people in the row behind me watching me dance or nod my head, like I looked weird or something. I simply couldn't let was the opposite of letting go, really. But last night, I felt almost none of that. I enjoyed the music, moved my body however the fuck I wanted to, and walked out of the venue smiling from ear to ear. I could have cried tears of joy. Moments like these indicate that my dopamine receptors are finally starting to fully normalize.

    It gets better.
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  10. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    D2 receptors are a big factor in confidence and the so called not giving a fuck brain state, great report, so many people who are in the process need to hear information about all that great healing that takes place way beyond the first 3 - 6 months. Nice.
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  11. Altruism247

    Altruism247 New Member

    Exactly this. I'm so tired of some people patronizing users like Borges, telling him he has "other problems" simply because it's been so long. Perhaps he does, but it's possible he doesn't.

    For people who have feverishly masturbated and seeked out porn their whole lives, a few months ain't gonna do it.
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  12. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    Yep, I fully expect a lot a shit ton of changes, I'm 41, and have been on one type of porn or another since the 7th grade. Lots of people clicked into shape 1 - 2 years down the line. If I had internet in the 7th grade I would be in an institution, guaranteed.
  13. Chizzleman1

    Chizzleman1 Member

    I've been doing some reading on testing my D2 receptors and dopamine releases. Are either of you aware on how to do this?
  14. 40New30

    40New30 Keep going

    Not sure how you could test it. Meditation, fasting, and exercise all increase D2 receptor density.
  15. CleanOfPain

    CleanOfPain New Member

    Thought I'd chime in here as this thread has been a really huge thing in keeping me going.

    As this has helped me so much, I thought I'd share a little to help others. :)

    I'm 8 months in. I feel particularly terrible today in fact, but I know I'm on the right path.

    I have had social anxiety like the stuff altruism described for probably 10 years now, and have tried everything to make it go away, but nothing has worked (except booze/other drugs). SSRIs did not work. Benzos had almost no impact on me. Exhausting, constant exposure didn't really help (it helped about 1% in that it allowed me to watch others interact socially more).

    My problems are deeper than just PMO as I had issues with computer game and music addiction - I have quit both of those since around the start of the year too.

    In these past 8 months, my social anxiety has improved more than in the entirety of the last decade. I've had a lot of occasions where my personality just shines through, and my wit is absolutely on fire. I had previously only been this way with friends from childhood as I knew them before my escapism (pmo etc) issues started. It has now been happening at work with people I don't know well. I used to literally sit there saying fuckin nothing because my mind was blank and I felt so gut wrenchingly uptight and horrendous.

    It has been SUCH slow progress, and I'm still living in hell. The depression and anxiety are still very much apparent, but it's getting easier. I'm having more and more moments of feeling positive. I still have some self image issues, one day I can feel incredible about myself and the next just awful, it's a rollercoaster.

    Just seeing these improvements is enough to keep me going - I have forced myself to exercise and meditate, to forgo almost all instant gratification escapism. I have more self control than anyone I have ever met at this stage, it's such a key ability and I think it's essential for lasting happiness.

    You cannot imagine how relieving it feels - I genuinely thought I'd never be able to connect with people again at some stages - just knowing what was causing all that fucked up anguish is a huge burden lifted.

    I know it will continue to get better, and I know I still have a long way to go. I just wanted to add another input to the long recovery time frames club!

    It often feels hopeless, but it DOES get easier. It isn't at all linear, it's not possible to stress this enough. But be rational and be aware of the little signs of positivity you're getting.

    I'm sure there are some other new year brahs that started at the same time as me. Hopefully this can give a little extra impetus to your self control.
    AspiringVitality likes this.
  16. Giuseppe Garibaldi

    Giuseppe Garibaldi [url=

    I have a similar story of anxiety and depression,and now on 11 months the situation is the best I can remember by more than ten years.
    I'm trying to face every problem,sometimes it's hard because it's like the first time I do this and feels pain.But is the right thing to do,escape by problem leaded me to do nothing in life.
  17. dustyduster

    dustyduster New Member

    OP, mind reading my two PMs?

    I am around 47 days into my reboot (had one intentional orgasm...and a few wet dreams which I will try harder to reduce from now on) and I feel that I have improved by at least 8-15%. I can follow conversations better and at times can concentrate on things much better than I have for the last few months. Still got a long way to go however and lack anyone to rewire with, for the time being anyway.

    The anxiety I am experiencing is quite horrible though, mainly about these symptoms lasting forever (everyone knows that one) and how I took prozac for two years (it was only 20mg, caused panic attacks but other than that didn't really make me feel much different than how I felt prior, didn't lower my sex drive as I can still get erections to porn/porn fantasy). Luckily I am not taking any other antidepressants and just focusing on recovering from my porn induced symptoms.

    One more thing, Orgasms do give me that post-orgasmic hangover, but the last full blown orgasm didn't set me all the way back...I had a shit ton of energy in the days after too! They used to drain me, is this a good sign?

    Hope to hear back from you, it's alright if you decide to reply via forum post.
  18. dustyduster

    dustyduster New Member

    Hope you don't mind me adding this post to the large amount of PMs I sent you (posting this in public since it may be of use to severe porn addicts going through these kinds of symptoms), just a few quick questions about how your recovery went.

    1. When orgasming from masturbation, did it feel like the orgasm set you all the way back to the start of recovery, or did it feel more like it put you back a few weeks or something? (This happened to me at the end of August, I lost this increased motivation and focus which I had for 4 days prior, but I didn't feel like everything I gained was lost, if that makes any sense, the hangover only lasted for 18 hours and hell, my energy levels were through the roof in the days after! Other symptoms fluctuated of course.)

    2. Did wet dreams give you a noticeable set back? (They don't for me.)

    3. While you were recovering over the course of the last two years, your mood shifts and improvements in symptoms, did they improve all at the same time, or at times did certain symptoms improve while other ones didn't? This is more specifically during the brief highs, not the gradual improvement. (It seems to be the case for me, I only PMOed for four years so my recovery time may be a little shorter.)

    4. In regards to one of your earlier posts from 2013, you mentioned "ADHD" symptoms as one of the results of an orgasm. How did this feel exactly? You couldn't absorb information well or just couldn't pay attention to something for long? (I have symptoms like this at the moment, they were really bad but now they seem to be improving quite a bit, fluctuate of course but it's a good sign. Often times it's the kind of ADD where you just skim everything you read.)

    5. Not really a question about recovery, but rather before you found YBOP. What do you believe causes some of the "withdrawal" symptoms to pop up before you actually start abstaining from porn intentionally. And why doesn't looking at porn (when you got these symptoms I mean) erase all of the withdrawal symptoms? (I experienced the same thing. I asked on the forum a while ago about this but they didn't really give me a straight answer as they were focusing on other things I was kinda dumb.) Could this be your so used to porn that looking at porn at that point is like a crack addict needing to snort a 5CM line of Cocaine but instead only being given a 1CM line? That's my way of describing this. (And yes, if I came across something that really stimulated me, it would make me feel slightly better, but not by much as it wasn't strong enough.)

    In relation to the last question. Porn did make my misery a little bit more bearable, but in turn it made me into an unfocused, numbed out, kinda stoner like (no offence, know not everyone who smokes pot is like that) while actively engaging in PMO. This is how I felt right before my current streak. That fades away after I stop, but makes me a lot more anxious and uncertain if it's PMO causing my symptoms or not (but, again, that seems to be a very common fear on this thread).

    Hope you are doing well with your life and all that good stuff, your story is very helpful to all of us!
  19. Altruism247

    Altruism247 New Member

    Sorry for the lack of replies everyone, I think my absence can be attributed to 1) how busy I've been and 2) how much better I've been feeling and thus less desire to come here obsessively searching for answers that usually aren't there.

    Before trying to answer some specific questions, let me say that my confidence, productivity, ease in social situations and contentment continue to improve, and I'm now at 27.5 months since my last PMO session. My sexual performance and enjoyment continue improving as well. Interestingly, the improvements seem to be accelerating since my gf and I stopped using rubbers. Possible coincidence, but would sort of make sense as the rewiring might be more intense/effective due to increased feeling. Is my brain shit 100% related to porn? Probably not, as I've been a shy, differently wired person since day one, but this gradual up and down improvement has been too strangely/perfectly aligned to be a placebo.

    Almost 2.5 years into this thing, the best guess I have is that I've had a mild form of OCD/anxiety my entire life (came out of the womb with low dopamine, perhaps) and that porn was an insanely addictive drug for me due to feeling my brain full of dopamine for the first time. I unknowingly self-medicated from age 11 to 25, with the effects more acute and consequential for me (and many of you, probably) than for the average Joe. I reached a point where porn no longer gave me that same rush it once did, yet I continued doing it, disappointing my brain into a place of chronically low dopamine on and off for most of my life. Once I quit, the usual withdrawal symptoms (from 14 years, starting at age 11, of an almost daily dopamine shot that's been compared to cocaine according to latest research) coupled with my probably naturally low levels of dopamine put me into hell. As I've rebooted/rewired, I've experienced the up and down symptoms identical to those described for Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome for cocaine or alcohol. Just like they say, the symptoms have lessened in duration, intensity and frequency the further I've moved away from porn use. My sexual performance, confidence, desire and enjoyment have steadily improved as well. I always emphasize how slow this process has been, too, just so guys who might be in my position understand what they're up against.

    Now the questions:

    1. I didn't feel like orgasms set me back all the way; but I was in such an extreme mental hell for the first 1.5 years of my reboot that it was hard to differentiate, I guess. All I know is there seemed to be an *even shittier than usual* feeling that crept into my being any time I'd orgasm. Many times for days after.

    2. This is a weird one for me...I never had wet dreams. Ever. Even during 4-5 week periods of total abstaining. No explanation why.

    3. Good question. The symptoms all seemed to improve or fluctuate negatively at the same time. For example, feelings of confidence would coincide with greater and more natural feelings of arousal near real women. Also, with better ability to concentrate and socialize. It was all good or all bad. When I felt like such shit that I could hardly walk into a Walgreen's and up to the cashier without extreme anxiety, I would also be unlikely to perform with my girlfriend when we got back to her place. Etc etc.

    4. Yea, ADHD is maybe just something I'd include amongst the cluster of shit that I "have" when my brain is on the lower performance end that day. I have a very hard time describing what my "bad days" feel like, or what to call it. This is something psychiatrists struggle with; figuring out whether their patient has an anxiety disorder with co-morbid depression, or if they have ADHD with anxiety/depression happening as a result, or what. I was treated for all three at different times of my adolescence. Now I use cannabis to self-medicate with varying levels of success, but I will say that I have the ability to feel the benefits of cannabis better now as I move forward in the process of porn withdrawal. I'd categorize it with my ability to listen to music, enjoy a movie, focus on a person I'm conversing with, etc...just seems to be greater dopamine function. Low dopamine could manifest as anxiety, ADHD, depression, anhedonia, or a big clusterfuck of them combined, which is I think what's been happening with me for most of my life. Again, most importantly, all of these symptoms have (very slowly) been lessening their grip since I last PMO'd.

    5. Another great question. I may sound like an idiot trying to discuss this since I don't know all mechanisms of the neuroscience, but yes, it's a very interesting situation for those of us who reached that point of total inability to feel arousal. I'm not kidding when I say urges to relapse to porn haven't even been much of a problem in these 27 months. The desire was absent before I even quit. It's like our brains became "fried", or the closest way I could describe it scientifically would be we blew out our dopamine receptors to a dangerously low level. Thus, when we tried to give ourselves a dose of dopamine via porn, our brain wouldn't even accept it, and if we managed to achieve orgasm, it blew out the receptors even worse. The fact that I've barely been able to enjoy or obtain a buzz from alcohol during this process aligns with this notion. With the receptors not there, any kind of joy response initiated via neurotransmitters becomes too much for the control center to handle. Not sure if that makes sense whatsoever but that's how my limited mind sees it.

    But yea, anyways, hope that helps. Best of luck everyone and keep at it.
  20. Clarkmr

    Clarkmr Member

    Thanks so much for sharing dude! So, from a purely cognitive standpoint (PIED aside), do you believe the sex was GOOD for your recovery? Bad? Inconsequential? I'm in a relationship now, and after 120-130 days clean, sex seems to throw me off in the same way a porn relapse used to. I really resonate with much of your story, so I would love to hear back from you :)

    Thanks dude


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