This post is in celebration of a major milestone for me, not so much in numbers, but in mental/psychological success. I hope my experience can help all of you, if only to know there’s hope. Throughout my struggle with PMO, I’ve thought I understood how it all works. The reboot, the brain fog, the depression, the dopamine lack, etc. However, up till now much of that was only theory.
Even though I’ve believed myself to be experiencing those things. Some of those cases were genuine, while some were the placebo effect.
Most notably, the phenomenon of brain fog. I’ve experienced it to a greater and lesser degree over the years. But today it lifted to reveal a clarity I’ve never experienced. It just hit me like a ton of bricks. Here’s how it happened:
I’ve lived at home or at college for most of my life up till now. But starting in September I left home for an internship in Washington DC. I majorly overestimated myself, and the task before me. I had never lived on my own (aside from a dorm,) and never been in a place I knew absolutely NO ONE. The practical things such as budgeting and shopping suddenly became crucial. More of a law of nature than the previous “If I run out of money my parents can help me” mentality.
So over the past month or so I’ve gone through a lot of growth. In that time I haven’t relapsed, probably because of busyness and dealing with more pressing matters. In this time I’ve also been reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Long story short, the book sparked lots of interesting ideas for me: the importance of reason over feeling primarily.
So I learned this rule both from the book and my life: Think first, feel later. Or extended, Think, Act, Feel. And as I’ve been more and more engaged in acting based on logic and reason, and practical reality, I’ve noticed I can now do something I never thought possible: I can observe my own thoughts and their progression. I can follow the thread of an idea and analyze it logically.
In the past I’d wondered how people could comprehend certain complex ideas, such as philosophy or physics. I see now that all it takes is the cognitive ability to analyze ideas and have clarity of mind. A lack of brain fog.
So I credit this profound lifting of brain-fog with the practical habits built out of necessity, through suffering, and the abstaining from PMO. I’d abstained from PMO before, but the brain fog still remained to a degree because I was not straining my mind, or stretching myself in any way.
So driving home from work today, I was hit by brilliant observation after brilliant observation, seemingly flowing out of my mind like water. Like a dam had been broken and the thoughts could flow freely.
It’s not like I’m “fixed” now. In a lot of ways I still feel the same. But this was a great thing to experience, and I hope my account resonates with some people.