Age 29 – It’s worth it, and a lot more fun than feeling depressed!

At 13 we got the internet at home, back in the days of dial-up, with mainly pictures and really crappy videos on the free sites. I wasn’t the most confident person, and I was incredibly shy when it came to speaking to girls, but overall, I was fairly popular at school, and pretty happy

and enjoyed playing football (soccer), tennis and keeping active, and had a good laugh with my friends.

At first, PMO seemed like the most exciting thing in the world, and it did for a good couple of years. I would look forward to nights where I was home alone, and as soon as I heard the front door close, I would run up the stairs and boot up the computer. I would spend whole weekends just sat in front of it, while gradually my social life eroded and the friends I’d grown-up with, moved on with their lives. I told myself that I was content with PMO-ing and didn’t want to be out there getting into trouble, and that I could just wait until university, where I’d get the chance to make more friends. I entirely regret this in hindsight, but at the time I was just trying to rationalise my increasing isolation. For the first year or so, it probably didn’t affect me a great deal, but over time, I began to get more depressed and just felt empty all the time.

There’s a lot of things that in hindsight suggested I was becoming addicted to PMO, but at the time I thought that there was just something going a bit wrong with my brain, and that maybe I was just prone to melancholy and having a brain that wasn’t as active as it used to be. Whereas before I’d been very sharp with making jokes, and had a very good memory, I gradually withdrew into myself and began to see myself as the “thoughtful one”. Everyone else was out having fun, but surely I didn’t need all that as I had a lot of stuff I needed to think through. This is all nonsense, but at the time I was just trying to rationalise why I wasn’t happy anymore, and I was in a constant state of brain fog and listlessness that was all new to me. This state pretty much continued until relatively recently.

At around the age of 17, I began to realise I had a problem with porn, and actually gave it up for about 2 months, but I had no idea about the science of addiction at that age, and wasn’t very in tune with my emotions and how they are affected by external stimuli. I believed how I felt was all down to internally generated strife, and that if I got over that, things would be fine. Anyway, I ended up feeling worse after the two months of giving up porn, which was most likely due to all the withdrawals and seeing reality and realising how much of a mess my mental state was, and my social life at the time was… So, I carried on with the self-destructive habit, and my life didn’t get any better. I also had a pretty bad case of HOCD, and going back on porn was pretty much the only way I could temporarily alleviate this. In addition, I would get quite obsessive over girls I liked, or just ruminate over stupid little things that went round and around my mind, which I used PMO to cope with. It was the cause of, and temporary solution to so many of my problems.

I went to university, and dropped out after 3 months the first time round, which was probably due to not having a computer and having withdrawals and once again, being forced to face up to reality and my state of loneliness. I moved home, and carried on with the self-destructive habit. I went to University again, and did get a social life, and lost my virginity and had a lot of fun, but throughout most of it, I PMO-ed, or went through what were probably partly withdrawal induced moodswings, and throughout it, underneath the surface, I felt directionless, unconfident, unhappy, and was just muddling through until a time I hoped I wouldn’t feel in such a state anymore. I had a good time, but I still felt a bit empty, and very caught up in my thoughts, which were usually to do with worrying about something or other.

I began meditating at university in order to feel calmer inside, and it did work a bit, but it wasn’t the silver bullet I thought it would be. Neither was exercise. Neither was getting a girlfriend. They all helped a bit, but deep down, I knew things still weren’t right, and didn’t know why. I became more sociable, and improved my social skills a lot, but felt like I became a person that just agreed with what everyone else had to say, and didn’t make my own fun. I would just stand back and watch events unfold around me. I had become very self-conscious, and was quite repressed and depressed. After having a few relationships that didn’t last very long at uni, I went 4 years before having sex again. I told myself, I was just waiting for the right person, but in truth I had absolutely no desire to go out and try and make things happen for myself as I could just turn on a computer and give myself a fleeting sense of fulfilment.

After uni, I’ve had jobs, and internships and have been working towards a masters, and got my first long term girlfriend and had a relationship which lasted for 3 and a half years. I could go on and on about the relationship, which was fun, but in hindsight, I was never fully emotionally invested, and I didn’t do enough to show I cared. I always had PMO at which to direct a lot of the energies necessary to a successful relationship. She cheated on me, and in actuality, it was probably pretty inevitable, although it was pretty devastating.

Following uni, I still felt directionless, and uncomfortable in my own skin, overly worried of what other people think of me, and alternating between periods of anxiety and periods of mild depression, which you can sort of keep hidden once you develop a persona as a passive, monotone, thoughtful, nice guy. I was crying on the inside, but had been addicted to PMO for so long, that everyone just thought I was content with my personality, and that’s just the way I am. I thought it too. I thought that maybe, I’m just this mildly depressed, spineless guy, who will go through life not really truly enjoying any of it.

Anyway, sorry if that’s depressed you, but I thought it would be better to give a bit of context behind what brought me to need to do no fap. About 2 years ago, I came across the YBOP video by pure chance, while browsing Youtube. I watched it, found the science behind it absolutely fascinating, and decided to give it a go, as if indeed it the science were true, it would be well worth making a concerted effort to be rid of this habit forever, and not just go back to it after a short spell away as I had done in the past.

I had no idea, upon starting upon this journey, how incredibly difficult it would be to once and for all give up porn in particular, but also MO. I would make it so far, hit a flatline and go back to it in order to alleviate worries that my libido was forever gone, and that a state of listlessness worse than when I was PMO-ing was my new reality. It’s been incredibly difficult, not just to deal with the effect on libido/flatlines, but also to deal with a lot of anger and resentment that has boiled to the surface when PMO free. It’s so hard to face up to reality after so many years of being addicted and numbing the brain to external stimuli that isn’t porn. It’s been hard to accept anger as part of my emotional repertoire, and it’s hard in a lot of ways to accept that I have every right to feel happy. It’s like a hermit crab coming out of its shell and then being angry at itself and the world for being subjected to living in a state of confinement its whole life, and then simultaneously happy to be free, while also realising it has a lot of work to do to get to where it wants to be (I know hermit crabs probably like their shells).

I also have, once again, found it hard to face up to reality, and my social life, and I guess, just my personality, which needs a lot of work, but I’m in it for the long run this time, and can accept that a bit of short term pain in terms of anxiety and worry, is well worth a lot of long term gain. It’s so much better just to feel a full range of emotions than it is to just feel mildly depressed all the time.

I’d say that over the last two years, prior to my latest streak, I’ve grown a lot as a person, particularly in terms of getting to grips with my emotions. It almost feels like a delayed puberty at the grand old age of 29. Overall, the cycle of relapsing and going through mood-swings has been hard, and there were only a couple of long streaks where I felt a resemblance of the super powers so many report. Overall though, my brain fog has lifted and I have felt a lot more calm and comfortable with myself.

So, onto my latest streak! I’m about 4 months free of porn at the moment, and a few weeks MO free. This streak has been a really good one, through it, I have felt quite a few of the super-powers, although I have been knuckling down and studying, so haven’t really made the most of feeling more sociable.

I feel a lot more confident, and my depression has lifted a lot, I have more of a sense of direction, and also just feel less resentful, and angry at the world. I live in London, UK, and it’s not the friendliest of places, but it hasn’t got on top of me at all lately. I’m friendlier and open to talking to strangers, and funnily enough more caring, which is not something that I thought having higher testosterone would be conducive to.

I also find myself walking along the street and having a little chuckle to a joke I’ve just thought of, or something funny that happened. This is something I haven’t done for years and years. My memory is better, although still not too great, and I’m just a lot sharper and outward looking. I’ve been going to the gym and cycling, and much more motivated to exercise in general.

I also, just do not really care what other people think of me anymore. I used to compare my life to that of others so often, but these days I just think, “well, you’re doing the best you can with the cards you’ve been dealt and have dealt yourself, and that’s good enough dude”. This thought is a lot more conducive to actually wanting to do better. I always found comparing myself to others to be wholly demotivating. I also care less about not having a girlfriend, and am a lot more comfortable in my own skin, being far more comfortable with silences in social situations, and appreciating how much fun actually making eye contact can be.

Apologies for the long story, and good stuff for making it down this far. I really hope this helps anyone that reads it. Kudos to all of you for undertaking this journey, and I’m sure it will be worth it for you in the end. Peace.

TL:DR. It’s worth it, and a lot more fun than feeling depressed!

LINK – My Story, and how not PMO-ing has led to postive change

by MaltLoafe