Time to heal

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by forlorn, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    My solo trip away was a success. Got to explore a couple of different neighborhoods in one of my favorite cities and had some great food/coffee along the way. I came across a residential area in which all the house exteriors were immaculate - nice paintwork, window boxes, wisterias, olive trees, attractive planters, real attention to detail. It has inspired me to make the front of my own house look more attractive. So today, I've mainly been working in my garden and on my driveway. I had a few waves of anxiety and I noticed my first instinct was to try to avoid the discomfort by distracting myself. I later came to the realization that instead of trying to hide from anxiety and uneasiness, that I should learn to embrace these emotions/feelings. So now, when I feel anxious I'm allowing myself to feel the pain and discomfort, to acknowledge it and try to find answers.
    UK Don, Gil79 and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  2. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Congrats on going on that trip on your own even if your partner didn't want to. Or even if you thought maybe people will have judgments.
    forlorn and Gil79 like this.
  3. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Really awesome you did that and had such a good time. Investing in ourselves is important.

    Same for me. It feels so unnatural to do so and stick with these feelings, but it is the only healthy thing we can do . . .
  4. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Yes @Gil79 it's basically a way of conditioning our brains to a new response, a healthier response. Happened to me again today, felt waves of anxiety but allowed myself to feel rather than to escape/avoid. Every emotion has a finite range in terms of duration and intensity. I think I have to get comfortable operating with a certain amount of stress on a daily basis. Some of my anxieties stem from deep rooted unresolved traumas, things I'm still processing, but there's other stuff too, just beneath the surface, certain tasks that I've been putting off. I'm going to focus on the low hanging fruit for the next day or so, getting these things done.

    Another source of anxiety is the feeling that I'm getting older without having reached my full potential. This particularly seems to be the case in terms of my career. I had a fairly well paying job technical job in my thirties but I gave it up to pursue photography, something that I'd always been passionate about. I worked as a photographer for a good few years but had to give up after I lost a big client. I then started a new role, in which I had no experience, so my salary dropped to a basic level. Other people I know, family and friends around my age have stuck to a single career, they've achieved mastery in their professions and have been promoted/rewarded with well paying jobs.

    On a slightly more positive note, I started a woodworking DIY project that went really well (amazing what you can learn on YouTube). I'm quite proud of my creation, not just because of how it looks but because it symbolized something more to me, a bit of pride and a glimmer of self belief.
    Gil79 likes this.
  5. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    This morning, the wife announced that she's going out for a few hours and in that moment, I felt a brief trigger. I sensed a window of opportunity for some uninterrupted P viewing. Now she's left the house I feel anxious and jittery, but I am not going to look at P. Doing so, would only provide temporary relief. And by looking at P I'd be hurting our relationship and my self respect - and of course afterwards, I'd feel really bad about it. Instead, I will sit with these feelings of anxiety, let them wash over me and try to understand the message. A few days ago I identified that I felt anxious about certain tasks that I had been putting off for ages. I managed to make a start on those tasks (the low hanging fruit) and I'm certain it made me feel better, as over the next few days I felt less of a need to escape.

    Am also conscious that I need to start addressing some of the deeper underlying issues that came up in previous therapy sessions. Feelings of abandonment and defectiveness.
    UK Don likes this.
  6. UK Don

    UK Don Active Member

    Putting off tasks definitely strengthens urges to escape and view P, I have found this is probably my main trigger. Perhaps those feelings of anxiety towards certain tasks can be used to prioritise them (as long as no other real world deadlines are approaching for other tasks). By tackling these head on, I often feel much better afterwards too.
  7. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I get what you're saying @UK Don - anxieties are a sign that something isn't quite right and if we're smart, we can use that knowledge to take action on those specific issues, which in turn will improve our mental state.

    I'm becoming more aware other sources of anxiety too, such as my feelings about the way others perceive me and when people display behaviour that I think is rejecting towards me. A few days back, after a couple of drinks, I sent a message on a group chat to close friends which at the time, I thought was funny. Nobody responded to my 'joke' and on reflection, I think I misjudged the tone. Since then I've had lingering anxieties about it ("were they pissed off about what I said?", "do they think I'm an idiot for sending that"?).

    However I am trying to change the way I react to stress and feelings of anxiety. Instead of catastrophizing, I'm trying to use logic and evidence to challenge my (distorted) thinking, and see how things really are, e.g. with the previous scenario, my friends probably aren't particularly upset with me, they're just busy with their own lives. And while I misjudged the tone of the conversation, I know I didn't act in a callous or hurtful manner.

    The way I'm slowly leaning into my anxieties and uncomfortable emotions feels oddly empowering.

    Another thing I'm finding useful is an affirmation video I found on YouTube a couple of weeks back, I've listened to it almost daily since. As someone who has no spirituality whatsoever in their life, I find this to be quite a soothing experience.
  8. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    This journal feels like a ramshackle collection of ideas, ever-changing strategies and broken promises. I fear there's not enough consistency. But I suppose in some ways it represents the muddled thoughts of someone who uses drink/drugs and porn to escape from reality. I may as well continue journalling in this fashion now, writing here helps to keep me focused on recovery. I haven't PMO'd in over a month, but have had the occasional peek, which somehow I am justifying.

    I don't believe I have a problem with social anxiety, but I have had a couple of slightly awkward encounters lately, firstly with a gym owner and secondly with a new neighbor. A parcel was delivered to my house for the new neighbor and I when I went round to drop it off, she clearly wanted to talk. I was polite, but stand-offish and didn't make any effort. By the time she said "it was nice to meet you" I'd already turned my back.

    It feels good being back in the gym, my strength is returning. I hated feeling physically weak during lockdown. It reminded me of how scrawny and powerless I felt as a teenager. Being in my 40's I've given up exercises like deadlifts so now mainly stick to machines plus a few free weights for shoulder exercises.
  9. Clovis6

    Clovis6 Well-Known Member

    You’ve had some good insights into anxiety there which will really help you. It’s definitely empowering when you start to learn more about anxieties and uncomfortable emotions.
  10. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    On Sunday I relapsed with PMO, the first one in some time. The warning signs were there, I was feeling tired and hungover. At one point, it could have gone either way - the wife was going out and she asked if I wanted to go with her. I chose not to, I chose to stay home and act out. I'm disappointed but am determined not to beat myself up about this slip. I will try to practice self compassion, to briefly reflect on my mistake and then move on.

    In a previous post I mentioned that finances and career stuff is causing me anxiety therefore I'm currently working on a new idea. It will mean a lot of hard work but I'm excited about it and am ready to put the required effort in.
    positivef likes this.
  11. UK Don

    UK Don Active Member

    Chin up, forlorn. Your PMO's are so infrequent nowadays; you've made so much progress on this journey.
  12. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    Get back on the the horse, if it throws you again get back on again.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  13. Clovis6

    Clovis6 Well-Known Member

    Good point. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we relapse, however, if they are becoming less frequent then progress is being made.
    Mad Dog likes this.
  14. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys, I appreciate you reminding me to keep going. In fact, your comments just motivated me to take positive action. I was working on some career stuff earlier - after experiencing what I deemed to be a little success, guess where my mind wandered for a 'reward'? It wandered to a fake Twitter profile that I told myself I only kept open for 'debating' purposes. Finally, I have deactivated the profile. While I did use it for debating, in truth, it partially existed for masturbation purposes! Stop rationalizing Forlorn, it wasn't a healthy reward and the closure of the account is a good thing. The intermittent peeking was hurting me, lighting up those neural pathways, providing unnaturally high doses of dopamine. It was also a huge drain on my time, an all too convenient distraction.
    positivef and UK Don like this.
  15. Clovis6

    Clovis6 Well-Known Member

    The mind is really tricky at rationalising!

    It’s good that you are catching yourself doing so.

    Keep going!
    Boxer17 likes this.
  16. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Working on career stuff last week and getting things done made me feel positive going into the weekend. Had a busy few days, a night out with the lads, an evening with the wife visiting other friends of ours and finally an evening of hosting at our place. It's been an enjoyable, social time in which personal problems were largely forgotten. I feel a little low today, 3 consecutive days of drinking have taken their toll but at least I had a good sleep. I haven't been in the right frame of mind to get any work done but I will return to that tomorrow. Since I'm feeling low I've decided to spend as little time online today as possible. Instead I'll be taking care of other tasks around the house/garden and then off to the gym to lift weights.
  17. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Good choice. Feeling low is tough to deal with
  18. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Another slip today, a temptation to peek this morning resulted in a swift fantasy MO later in the day. Immediately after the MO, I dismissed it and tried to get on with my day, but now, an hour or two later, the feelings of misery have suddenly caught up with me. I think the slip stemmed from the fact I was struggling whilst working on a new career project. I became frustrated by my lack of creativity and it felt like I wasn't using my time effectively. Now I feel moody and deflated. It's like a phone battery that has suddenly dropped from 90% to 10%. Think I will have to write this off as a bad day and start over tomorrow. Need to remind myself that this will pass, it's temporary, it's just a bad feeling.
  19. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Feeling better today. I've forgiven myself for the slip that occurred earlier in the week.

    Still struggling with creativity on a work/career project but I have to accept that it's part of the challenge. Nothing in life comes easy. I've been trying to focus a lot on career stuff lately and by doing so, it has reduced my anxiety. I have something to do with my time - and it feels exciting to be learning new skills. I'm going to continue with this learning every day, as with other things in life, consistency is key.
  20. Boxer17

    Boxer17 Active Member

    Yes. Having something to focus on is definitely a positive approach

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