Age 28 - 120 Days: Good to Go (ED Flatline)
[Week 5] I have just been blown away by reading the stories similar to mine, and very optimistic reading all of the success stories of these same users.
How did I end up here? Well, a little over 5 weeks ago I endured a catastrophic week which involved finally getting intimate with a girl who really liked me for over 2 months (and I really liked back), not being able to get it up or keep it up, hearing "Oh it's all right; it's no big deal at all," and then being dumped a few days later. It's always a big deal, guys . I completely freaked out over my problem, which led me to here. It was just amazing to see the chemical effects that porn has on the brain, and then reading all the user stories and how they resonated with me.
A bit of history: Weeks 1 - 4: My energy level was way up during this time. I got back into hobbies that I once had, but neglected in favor of PMO. Also that foggy feeling lifted itself from my head, which made it a lot easier to deal with other addictions I have. I always knew I had several others (Internet forums, coffee), but I just never had the energy or clarity to begin to address these. After about week 1 I cut back on coffee and blocked myself from viewing forums I regularly visited. After the first week I started waking up every morning with erections. They weren't very strong but they were there, which was promising. However, throughout the day my penis would almost retract. I have never seen this before.
I was still suffering from depression during this first month though, and with that social anxiety. It wasn't as pronounced but it was still there. The optimism and understanding why you are depressed is a huge help though, and it keeps you from making any mistakes.
This week I started noticing my social anxiety going away. I was really connecting with co-workers, and for the first time, in a meeting, I had no problems speaking up in front of the large crowd twice. I noticed that I was speaking up in general, and very clearly at that. In the past, I spoke in a quiet voice and either talked way too fast or mumbled. During this week, my depression came and went, but the rate it stayed seemed to decrease each time.
[Week 6] I've been masturbating to porn for who knows how long, honestly I can't even remember. It was probably my first to second year in college, when I was 19. I'm 28 now. I never watched porn on its own, just during masturbation. But I've been masturbating two or three times a day pretty consistently from then up to now.
I definitely escalated the "extremes" of the porn I was watching over time. Would you be surprised if I said that I had pretty much no libido at all, spanning all the way back from my late teens? The last memory of my libido was my first year in college. I figured I was just born with a weak sex drive, to go along with being an introvert who generally hated people.
If I had used some critical thinking skills, I could have looked back at my past and realized this wasn't always the case. During my first year in college, I was the funny, out-going class clown. I had a lot of friends and really had no problems speaking up in class or in front of large groups of people. It wasn't until the following year where I started my heavy PMO (and accompanying online video game addiction) where I pretty much lost all of my social life.
Another interesting thing, I have been shy and depressed for who knows how long as well. It literally has been my normal way of life for as long as I can remember. The funny thing is, I have no explanations as to why. I have a job in a really good career that I love to do, and that I am very good at, really athletic and in great shape, tall, good looking, funny, and generally have no problems making friends. Why would I be shy and depressed? I never even began to realize that these addictions that I have could be causing this. Pretty amazing.
I have always had sexual problems, though not necessarily easy to see. Up until about 6 months ago I could keep my erection up forever, and I mean forever because I could never orgasm with a partner unless I jacked myself off for a while at the end. I didn't see this as a problem unfortunately. About 6 months ago I started experiencing ED, which I blamed on alcohol or being nervous (which honestly I never was). This last relationship problem really hit me hard though, and really pushed me to take corrective action.
[Week 7] Well, week 7 is finally here and I have to say week 6 to week 7 has been pretty great. I don't think there was any depression at all, except for a few spurts that lasted for maybe 10-15 minutes before disappearing. I don't think I could ask for anything else, but other benefits have been noticeable as well.
- I am way more confident at work. I speak my mind when I feel like it, and I'm much better at communicating problems and possible solutions to my bosses. That's not to say I've turned into an arrogant ass, I'm still quite polite. :-) That's one positive for shyness, it ingrains the value of respect and critical listening skills. Mixed in with social confidence and assertiveness it's a deadly combo I'm finding out.
- Social anxiety is still there but it keeps decreasing. More importantly I don't get down on myself when I build myself up to say something and fail to follow through. That doesn't happen as much either; I usually start talking right away. I hope I don't lose that quality about myself though, thinking a bit before speaking never hurt anyone. :-)
- I'm starting to feel down there again. Where a few weeks ago I was getting erections but not really "feeling" them, I am definitely more sensitive now. I'm pretty confident I can perform now, as the sensitivity alone would be enough. I also had a pretty solid boner a few days ago, which lasted for quite a while. They are usually semi-solid, so this is a good sign that I have more to improve on.
An interesting situation happened as well: the girl that brought me here actually texted me wanting to hang out after not hearing from her in over a month. We did and even though I may not be adept at understanding women, I'm pretty sure she still likes me. She was hinting at making future plans while we were out. It was quite the ego boost at first, but I'm doing what I usually do and over-analyzing it to death. With my added confidence, a part of me feels like there is no reason she wouldn't like me. Another part of me is questioning why she would even bother with someone who couldn't get it up for her.
In the grand scheme of things, I'm ready to continue on to week 8. I feel like I still have things to improve on, things that need more healing. My goal was 12 weeks and that hasn't changed. I also know that the pendulum could swing back and launch me into another phase of depression, but I understand that is all part of the process. Thanks for keeping up with me and good luck on your own journeys! It is definitely worth it.
[Week 8] It was a pretty eventful week in terms of benchmarking progress. I hit a rather tough day of depression last week, but the good news is it only lasted a day if that. It felt worse than usual, but I think the reason is because my body isn't used to being depressed anymore so the effects just appeared more volatile. That is a very good thing obviously.
My libido was also weaker than it was the last week, or maybe it just seemed like that. I'm still getting morning wood but they aren't as strong. I assume this is another case of the pendulum swinging and will right itself soon.
My social calendar is getting really full. People are inviting me out, I'm inviting people out, I'm connecting people with other people. It's all pretty fulfilling. For the first time since my freshman year in college, I am feeling extroverted. I actually want to go out and mingle rather than stay inside. I still have some anxiety going up and talking to complete strangers, but I feel that anxiety is slowly disappearing. Making eye contact with new girls used to be a struggle, but I feel comfortable doing that now.
I was quite proud of myself last night. For those who have read my post last week, I mentioned re-connecting with the girl that brought me here. Well, I grabbed my balls and told her how I felt. I told her that I still liked her, and that it might not be a good idea to hang out for a while because of this. She totally understood, though part of me wanted her to say she still liked me back (which she actually did say when we hung out last week). This is something I'm usually not very good at, revealing my feelings and leaving myself open to rejection, so the fact that I was able to left me more happy than sad. Plus, my gut told me that even if she did still like me, it would only lead to being strung along.
I woke up this morning feeling great, very surprising considering that I'm usually depressed for a long time after losing a girl. It probably helps that I'm going out with a new girl tonight Smiling Another month away from my goal!
[Week 9] Week 8 was pretty uneventful, in a good way. There was really no depression at all, and a bit of anxiety which quickly dispersed. The anxiety had to do with something that happened last year so it was a good barometer for myself. The me of last year would probably have crumbled into a useless potato for a month or so, but the new "awakened" me dealt with it like a man and now the anxiety came and drifted away like a rain shower.
Right now I'm completely engrossed in my future. I'm moving to a big city in 2 months, and I'm really excited and a bit overwhelmed. I've been kind of hooked on scouring Craigslist for apartments as well as obsessing over how to improve my credit score. My score is 700 but I'm really going to try to get that up to over 750 in the next year or so. I feel very ambitious, enough that it is taking precedent over finding a girl. Usually it's the other way around. It's amazing, now that I'm "fixing" my sexual side I feel less and less of a need to be in a relationship. I guess the old saying "You can't be happy with someone until you are happy with yourself" has some merit after all.
My libido kind of plummeted this week. The problem I had a few weeks ago, where my penis retracted itself appearing like I just had a cold shower, came back. I'm not stressing about it though, I figure it's just another phase in my recovery. On to week 10!
[3 months] Today marked the 3rd month of no PMO, which also happened to be my goal! I think I will continue with this as well, as I believe I still have healing to undergo. The last 3 weeks weren't bad at all, and in fact I was/am feeling really happy about life. I'm not convincing myself that I will never find a girl again, but instead am actually looking forward toward my next encounter with the opposite sex. Depression and most of my general anxiety seems to be gone.
About two weeks ago I actually felt the urge to watch porn. This was significant, as I've had absolutely zero urges up to that point. The urges subsided after a few minutes, and I haven't had them since... but it got me wondering. Maybe I had so much screwed up wiring in my head that it took a few months just to dig through to the point where I can start healing? I bring this up because of my next observation.
I still don't have any sex drive. I'm not too worried yet, because I've read stories of men in despair who took them upwards of 6 months to regain their libido. I'm going to give it a few more months before I decide to see a doctor about it (if it's still missing in action), but like I said I'm not too worried. From what I've read regarding it, it doesn't seem to heal progressively. It's not there one day, and then it magically comes back the next. I'm still getting morning wood frequently, and lately they have seemed to harder than usual, so I don't think there is anything medically wrong with me such as low testosterone.
[4 months] Well, it was nearing 4 months of no PMO for me, and possessing the extreme logical mind I have I felt like I really had to undergo some testing to see just how much I have changed over this period of no PMO. So, last night I decided to masturbate right before sleeping. The important caveat here is that I used no porn (obviously) nor any sort of fantasy. Just my hand, and very light strokes at that. None of that anaconda gripping that so many who masturbate use.
The point of this test was to see if I could get hard without any sort of external stimuli besides the feel. A while back when I started on this journey, I read several reports where a good indicator of some recovery was the ability to masturbate with just experiencing the feel of your hand. Well, I was VERY surprised trying this out. I was hard after about 2 seconds, and I mean really hard. I didn't last very long during this session. I was hoping just for some response at all with no porn or fantasy, and wow I guess the response was too much.
I wasn't convinced, however, because I haven't masturbated in almost 4 months. Perhaps I didn't last long because I haven't done it in a while. I decided to try again today, this time with a condom. Before getting to the results, I have to say there were no "chaser" effects from last night. No desire to look at porn or fantasize about porn today. Well, today's session was just as fast as yesterdays. I put the condom on no problems, was still extremely hard before and after, and had no problems finishing off with the condom on. The kegel exercises definitely pay off too. I noticed an extremely harder erection right off the bat, and it was significantly easier to stop myself right at the point of orgasm than from what I remember in the past. That should make the future girls happy :-)
I really wanted some sort of confidence indicator that I was getting better before getting in bed with a lady again, and I think this definitely gave me that. I count this as a success, and it's always preferred to have your most recent memory a successful one rather than unsuccessful. I'm not going to binge on masturbating again either, in fact I plan on stopping again for a while (maybe a month). I'm going to carefully watch myself during the next few days for any chaser effects like a strong desire to watch porn. So far I don't have any which is just great.
Maybe my brain has healed itself but I won't really know for sure until my next girlfriend. I'm moving in a month so I'm not looking for dates at the moment as I'm over the whole casual sex thing (that's another topic) and I don't want to start a relationship and then abandon it by leaving the state. I am talking to a girl who lives near where I will be living, so hopefully I'll be able to start the final test soon Smiling I do have this to say, my fears have shifted from not being able get an erection to not lasting long enough :-).