Age 30 - 97 days did not get this 30-year old virgin laid, but life improved anyway
I wish I could write here that when I stopped masturbating everything fixed itself. I wish I could tell you that my anxiety disappeared over night, that I'm no longer a virgin, that I'm suddenly a confident Casanova that is a god damned sexual Tyrannosaurus Rex, and that my life just suddenly clicked into place. But of course that didn't happen.
Nothing is ever that easy. As a 30 year old, somewhat shy, introverted virgin with social anxiety disorder (that unfortunately went undiagnosed since his early teens), this is how I feel at the end of 97 days. The reality is that my problem is much larger than fapping and that wishing doesn't get me shit. When your starting point feels like it's at -1000 compared to everyone else, 90 days isn't nearly enough to even just get back to 0.
I went through 97 days with no sexual release, no edging, not even wet dreams. Like many, I bought into all the amazing stories of "superpowers", but I now understand what the essence of NoFap is, at least for me. NoFap gave me energy and motivation. It was a foot in the door, it was a beachhead on the shores of change. How I used that energy determined how much I improved, and I learned I have a long road of improvement ahead of me. It's much better than standing still.
I'm also far enough away from fapping ~4 times a day to understand it for what it was. I used it as self medication for avoiding fear for over half of my life. Never again will I go back to that place. I was a fucking pro at avoiding discomfort and pain. Yes, I didn't ask for social anxiety and the incredible amount of emotional pain it has and still puts me through, but I didn't try to get help until now either, and that's on me. It's not easy, but the only way around it, is directly through it, gradually, and I have been making some progress here.
That said, I fapped a few hours ago. I chose to. It felt good, damn good, probably the longest and best orgasm I've ever had, but it was still by myself. I regret it a bit because it wasn't necessary. I just let the sexual frustration and inability to get my needs met get to me finally. I am human, after all, but I will reset the badge and keep on going.
The good news is, I'm not at "-1000" anymore. This isn't a complete backslide into darkness. I am not where I was 9 months ago when I started this journey. Since starting NoFap I have quit playing/buying videogames completely and invested in (much needed) new clothing instead. I read daily now and have finished quite a few books that I had been putting off for years. I am also moving out at the end of the month, finally, and removing that source of shame from my life forever.
On top of that, I have tended to my health by improving my diet substantially. I gradually lost the 20 lbs of spare weight I was carrying on my 5'7" frame and kept it off. I've been making various doctors visits that I haven't made in over a decade. I started exercising (lightly). I take cold showers daily. I started seeing a therapist. I have been forcing myself to get back out and socialize. Meetup.com has been essential in meeting new people, as well as getting me into a social anxiety support group (CBT is essential, negative thinking is poisonous). I am at a point where I'm comfortable making conversation with cashiers and enjoying it, which is something I never used to do. That may sound stupid to a lot of you, but that is big progress for me.
And most of all, I accept myself and my situation much more readily than I have in the past. I'm open about it with the few friends I have and most of my family knows what I am going through now (whether they understand it or not), which is an unexpected relief.
My biggest hurdles right now will be getting back to lifting weights at the gym, making vigorous exercise part of my routine, figuring out where to go with my career, and... women. A tall order, those last two, but if I keep pushing my boundaries, I can only hope that I get there eventually. There's a lot I want to do and way less time to do it in.
So, that's where I am. TL;DR I went into this foolishly thinking I could turn everything around after a few months of not touching my dick, but came to the realization that this was only the beginning.
For the fapstronauts struggling in the first week, take heart and don't give up, it gets easier the longer you keep at it. It took me half a year of failing within the first two weeks to make it to 90 days.
I lurked here most of the time, but thank you everyone for making this place a constant source of support and motivation!