Time to heal

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

  1. badger

    badger Active Member

    hang in there it's been hell for me past 2 wks. just try to hang on for one more day, today. pulling for you. never give up
  2. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I'm in a mental prison of my own making. My thought patterns and behaviors are so repetitive. I've been paying for online services again.

    How much money have I squandered in the past decade? To cope with the guilt I just spend and send again to strangers who don't care about me. I need to find it within myself to forgive, to stop the self loathing and return to a place of healing.

    Lately, my brain doesn't want to do anything that appears complicated or seems like hard work. I keep seeking the easy way out. The emotional shortcuts. I'm trying to learn something new that could help with my career goals but my concentration is shot to pieces. I'm almost certain it's connected to the fact I've become acclimatized once again to high levels of dopamine. Everything else seems boring or difficult. Feel like I am losing my mind.
  3. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Decided it's time for a fresh approach. For the next few weeks I will attempt to limit the amount of time I spend online (dopamine detox lite). Sounds like a pretty obvious thing do to but I may not find it that easy. I'm one of those people who can sit in front of the computer all day long. Unless I'm writing on YBR or working on a specific task, I will avoid using my devices as much as possible. And certain devices of mine are more prone to misuse, particularly those on which I have an active VPN.
    realness likes this.
  4. realness

    realness Active Member

    I wonder if seasonal depression is adding to some of your difficulties @forlorn. Glad you are taking some concrete steps toward your health and wellness. I hope I didn't miss this part of your journey but have you engaged therapy in your recovery? I'm pulling for you. Have you been engaging your art project or taking on any other dedicated activities?
  5. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I have seen improvements in myself over the last few days. It feels good to be free from the shackles of pornography. I'm not quite back to the 'good place' I was in a few months back, but things are slowly getting back on track.

    Hi @realness yes I have previously been in therapy (both in person and via Skype) and I found it useful. Maybe it's something I will pick up again at some point - I've heard some people say it's very difficult to permanently overcome addiction without some form of counseling.
  6. badger

    badger Active Member

    maybe therapy may help me. have been thinking about it. only drawback is my profession. if regulatory body that governs my profession becomes aware, I will be placed on probation. if I don't disclose it, then it's punitive. damn if I do..
    anyway. hanging in there.
  7. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I've been feeling really anxious at times. I forgot to log out of a certain account that I'd previously used for adult material. I've no idea if my wife spies on my devices but if she does, she would have found some pretty incriminating stuff. Even if she had found it, I doubt she'd confront me. It got me thinking about all the other times my kinks have been discovered (or almost discovered) - those moments where my behaviours have overlapped with real life and the people around me may have observed. Some of these things occurred a long time ago but I still carry around the guilt.

    In our own ways we've both experienced addictive behaviour in some form. My primary addiction is less socially acceptable than hers. I sense that we are growing apart, I've noticed in recent weeks she spends more time alone in another room of the house. She says it's because she wants to watch a TV program that I'm not interested in - and there is some truth to that. Quite often when I go into 'her room', she's tapping away at her mobile phone writing high speed messages.

    @badger I doubt your governing body would find out if you were in therapy. It's supposed to be confidential and ultimately you determine what you decide to disclose to the therapist based on how much you trust them. If I were you, I'd give it some thought. I take the point you made on your own thread about those things from your childhood being in the past - of course you want to focus on the here and now. But it can be valuable for us to delve into past trauma in order to be able to heal and therapy is a good way of exploring that.
  8. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I can relate to what you write about the fear of being found out. Can you imagine the inner-peace that would come from just having nothing to hide?! One day we'll be there and we'll be zenmasters :cool:
  9. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    The last few days have been stressful. I've been getting really worked up about career/finances stuff and trying to make it as a freelancer. Last night, as I was having a beer and watching the news I had a realization that I need to try to relax. We're in the middle of a pandemic and on the brink of an enormous global economic crisis, yet I'm so wrapped up in my own problems. I need to lighten up, accept the reality and have a little patience.

    On the plus side, I have been porn free.

    Yes, I get what you're saying Gil. Isn't it ridiculous how we sometimes 'act out' the moment our wives have turned their backs? We see it as a window of opportunity. In reality, we should use that window for personal growth and be able to do the right thing even when no one is watching. For the record, I don't think my wife saw the social media account I had previously used for adult services, it's quite likely I was just being paranoid.
  10. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Yes, we do! And that is so satisfying, short AND long term. So, why is that so hard?!
  11. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Presumably, there are various factors at play. Our ingrained responses, the desire to seek a quick fix, a sense that we deserve a 'reward' and on some level maybe a dissatisfaction with ourselves. I'm in one of those 'windows of opportunity' right now - up early, awake before the wife, with several hours to myself.

    But thankfully my mood is stable. I am staying away from porn and taking pride in that choice. I plan to spend the weekend on some more wholesome activities :)
    Gil79 likes this.
  12. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    A few weeks back I was struggling in a big way, I had allowed fear, anxiety and uncertainty to overwhelm me. It has been over a fortnight since I last PMO'd. In general terms, my mood has remained stable. Today I have the house to myself all day as the wife has gone into work. I'm going to treat it like any other day and focus on taking actions that are good for my mental and physical well-being. Recovery is a deeply personal thing - in order to be able to make the right choices we have to want it for ourselves. The fact my mood is stable shows how closely linked my acting out behavior is to my emotional state.

    A few weeks ago I saw this chart (see attachment) doing the rounds on social media. I think I am currently alternating between yellow and green (with the odd characteristic from the orange segment).

    Where do you guys presently rank on this chart in terms of your mental health?

    Attached Files:

    realness and Gil79 like this.
  13. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Really interesting

    I am also between in yellow and green. I think that over the years I have been really climbing up from red/orange (20's) to orange/yellow (30's) to yellow/green (40's). What I find interesting is that a large part of this year I have really been more towards the green and that has also been showing in my porn-usage (not a cause but an effect of being in the green).
  14. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    It's been 7 days since my last post (feels like longer).

    Despite the occasional emotional wobble, it has been a good week. I've been focused on working hard in my freelance career and things have gone well, I made new connections, earned money and got some strong leads for the year ahead. I don't equate career success with happiness but it undoubtedly plays a part, as it ties into things like security and feelings of worthiness.

    Glad to hear you're spending more time in the green @Gil79 keep thriving :)
    realness and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  15. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    I thought back to a conversation I had with a friend five years ago. At the time, we had started doing a little coke together, usually at events or social occasions. After a year or so, I stopped doing it because I knew my behaviour could easily spiral out of control. I would do a line then a while later I'd do another line and so on - always chasing that initial high.

    He told me at the time he "doesn't have an addictive personality" - I thought long and hard about that. To this day I don't know if he's right. On the one hand, he does appear to have self control. On a night out, he will happily have one line and then not touch it again until the next social occasion. In a way, I admire his self control. But I also wonder if he is addicted in a way because he still does it frequently, if not recklessly.

    Even when things seem to be going well, it's easy to fall under. Although it's been a good week, there was a day when I slipped up and looked at porn. I was craving a PMO release but I didn't go all the way. The following morning, I felt better and got back into recovery mode. But it was a warning, that triggers can be incredibly subtle. As someone one this forum once said to me "life is full of traps for the unwary".

    Relationship-wise things have been OK. My wife showed me a small sign affection the other day, resting her hand on my shoulder as we slept. I know it sounds insignificant but there's generally very little physical contact between us.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  16. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    When I was younger I never spent much time thinking about the future. I assumed things would just work out - that as an adult I'd become financially stable, emotionally mature and be in a fulfilling relationship. Never did I imagine that I'd come to rely on self destructive habits as a coping mechanism. Never did I expect to encounter such failures and be held captive by my own shame. Never did I think I'd end up squandering money on girls via the Internet, whilst being in denial about my failing marriage.

    Although in my 40's, I still sometimes feel like a confused teenager, unsure of what direction to take. Unclear about what to focus on. A lack of information isn't the problem. It's been an unwillingness to accept responsibility for the way things have turned out.

    I am writing this as a wake up call to myself. The life I currently live is the result of all my past thoughts and actions. From now on, I will try to act as if I am fully responsible for the outcomes I produce. Every action I take is a choice. The world doesn't owe me anything, I have to create it.
  17. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Well-Known Member

    Forlorn don't try do it you are responsible --- this is not easy I know!
    Saville likes this.
  18. realness

    realness Active Member

    How are you doing @forlorn ? I liked your previous entry about a wake up call. Sometimes it takes us a long time to wake up and we're all doing that at different paces. I'm also in my 40's and I'm glad to be walking with you as we wake up to who we are going to become.
  19. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Thanks for checking in on me @realness I appreciate it.

    I needed the wake up call I talked about in my last post. Emotionally, I went downhill during parts of December and January. Looking at it rationally, I know it made no sense, but I got stuck in a cycle of paying girls on the Internet. I was repeating the same actions over and over as I've done for years - behaviour driven by a sense of not being good enough, coupled with intense shame. I have since managed to put some distance between myself and that behaviour.

    More recently I got into trading stocks. I feel as if it's given me something to focus my attention on and crucially it's making me re-evaluate the way I handle my finances. I've made a few short term gains already but I'm mainly focusing on longer term investments as it's less risky.
    Gil79 likes this.
  20. forlorn

    forlorn Well-Known Member

    Why is that so many of us struggle to give up porn despite the negative consequences? Why do we keep on repeating these patterns of behavior? I have been doing some research to try and aid my own understanding. Sorry if this is blatantly obvious, but I'm writing it out in my own words to try to spell out what's really going on in my head.

    Broadly speaking there are 2 interlinked elements that explain why we remain addicted.

    Type 1) Behavioral - we struggle to cope with difficult emotions (anger, fear, rejection, stress, trauma) so we turn to porn as a dysfunctional form of self soothing. In the short term it helps us to forget and it blocks out our difficulties.

    A healthier approach might be to talk through our problems with others e.g. on YBR or with friends / a therapist.

    Type 2) Neurological - this is a mutation of type 1, i.e. repetition of those behaviors results in a constant firing of dopamine pathways. Our neural pathways have become over-stimulated. We're hooked on the intensely pleasurable feelings provided by the dopamine. So, it's effectively a chemical dependency, a supremely powerful one that leads us to repeat these patterns on autopilot.

    This is where the nuts and bolts of recovery come in, i.e. the suggested 90 day period without any PMO. We need to disrupt the pattern. It's difficult because we're essentially going though chemical withdrawal. We need to tackle it from multiple angles, facing up to fears and addressing underlying issues.

    For now, the main point I'm taking away from this is that I need to get off the dopamine.
    Old Tom Bombadil and badger like this.

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