Maybe I should write a bit of a longer description of my situation and my past, even just for myself to look at? And maybe the moderators or whoever can move this into a more appropriate place. This is gonna be a real long post
Not to be too dramatic, but last autumn I kind of woke up to the feeling of my life slipping away. My life was all about craving isolation and instant satisficaction. My days consisted mostly of drifting thru my days anxiously waiting for the night so I could watch porn and smoke weed, maybe drink and binge on food, maybe some benzos too.
And after waiting all day for those events, I realized they werent even that pleasurable to me anymore, and I felt an immense amount of shame (though I have always had some issues with feeling ashamed of myself). There I was all alone and isolated (not really preferring being isolated either, but just too anxious to hang out with people).
Quite sad really! Now looking back, I can see myself as a person who was living in some dark times, instead of looking at myself as a disqusting freak. So I guess some gains in self-confidence have been obtained.
Now, I had pretty rough teenage years. I had some friends, but experienced being bullied and did not fit in at school (just like most teens, huh?). This caused for me to somewhat wihtdraw socially ever since I was about 14. A behavioral-model that I´m just now, a decade later, beginning to fully understand and trying to correct. It´s still hard but there´s a lot of hope.
The porn came in at about 10 or 11 years of age? Unfortunately I was a part of the high-technology generation, so the vhs-tapes gave way to fast broadband connections at about 15 years of age. That was also the start of my addiction to internet in general. Porn had been daily ever since.
I quess the first positive change for my life came when I kind of forced myself to meet new people at 19 or 20 years of age, after pretty much hiding from the world for a long time. Initially I was kind of shocked how much more "advanced" other people of my age were, a lot of them had big social circles, were socially way more skilled than me, and had past girfriends and casual relationships. I felt inferior - I still have some automatic cognitive reactions where I feel inferiority but I am pretty good at correcting these models by thinking rationally and with self-respect (thanks therapist!).
So even with my new friends, I still had a lot of defensive walls around me and was not living too happily. This went on for years and caused me to turn down some school-opportunities just because I was too terrified of the new social worlds that might open. I was pretty much living with my parents doing nothing (I did have a dear hobby, skateboarding. Without it I don´t know where I would be).
Last autumn I finally got the courage the enroll to a new school (one in the social service sector). I thought that starting at a new school would automatically change my social life, and my lack romantic life too, being that 85 % of our students are women (this was a pretty naive way of thinking, kinda cute though!).
So I started at a new school but the old problems still persisted. People would invite me to parties and I would usually make up excuses not to go. I was still really wounded from my past of being bullied, my life of isolation, felt shame because of being a virgin, addict to porn and fat. Shame and self-doubt. So I just stayed home and watched porn. It fucking sucked (Pun intended). After a while I just sayed fuck this shit. I deserve better. Kind of like an experience of hitting the bottom and just having had enough.
Stopping was fairly easy actually! Okay, the first 3 weeks were real rough, but seeing the positive effects made it worth it.
The positive effects I noticed during the period of 1-4 weeks:
-Feeling of self-respect and self coinfidence (the most important aspect for me)
-Overall good and energetic mood, random dopamine rushes (most apparent during the first couple of weeks)
The second month kind of went by pretty naturally.
-Lack of interest in alcohol
-Lack of interest in emotional eating (this has always been a huge problem for me)
-Feeling more empathy towards people
-Enjoying social incidents more and looking for them (though I still have lots of walls around me and can´t really trust people. Me and my therapist are going through this though).
-Women look prettier, but I don´t crave them.
-Lack of libido (this is kind of annoying, but on the other hand at least I dont crave porn/sex)
-Self-trust still increasing, being able to evaluate my past life and talk to myself in a positive way (you have been treated badly and you didn´t deserve it etc.)
-Simple pleasures become more enjoyable...eating fruit, music sounds better, walking (unfortunately no running or other activities at least for a month, I had a hip arthroscopy a couple of weeks ago and just ditched the canes).
-Dropped my SSRI drugs (took them for a period of 4 years for anxiety and depression)
-Moved out of my parents house a month ago, rooming with a friend and his buddy (the initial thought of this made me anxious). It´s been going really good.
-Have strated to actively voice my opinions in class and am getting positive feedback from teachers and other students. I kind of surprise myself with how the words just come out of my mouth in a quick, articulate and passionate manner. This has made my self coinfidence rise too.
-Enjoy casual conversations with people I don´t know that well
-Feel the urge to better my self mentally and most of all psychically
-Want to meet new people, find some of my old relationships unfulfilling and frankly, bad for me.
-People at school are nice to me and I get along well with people in general. Still, I always doubt their motives which is horrible but I hope I can change it gradually.
-Everythings funnier, laughing more
-Way less anxiety
-Sometimes I feel like I´m floating and everythings just working out naturally (this could also be considered as a heightened trust in my ability to carry out daily tasks)
-Pay more attention to my physical sensations
-Pay more attention to other people, whereas before I was just overly self-conscious
Now, I know that a lot of these changes have something to do with me just deciding to turn my life around a bit, but i still feel some of them are directly connected with ditching the porn, mainly the gains made with social anxiety problems, depression and feelings of self-worth.
There is still a lot to be done. I do not feel the need to pursue girls for because of sexual interest, I just really long for a loving and nurturing, fun partnership. This might make me less active in pursuing relationships because the sexual drive is not there. I hope I get it back though, the use of SSRI drugs stopped my fathers sex-drive completely (he does still use them and I do not, so I hope that will count for something and I will see some progress). Also, social situations still frighten me and I have a hard time participating in events outside of school with my schoolbuddies. That´s a big problem for me still.
I asked a girl out around christmas for the first time in my life, and although she was not interested I was still pretty proud! It made me feel alive. I gotta admit that the years of porn, isolation and bullying have inserted some ghosts in my mind and I do still find myself thinking stuff like "thats pathetic, you are proud of asking a girl out and getting ditched, you 24 year old virgin?". That feels pretty bad, but at least I know it just me putting myself down and I can change it...whose gonna love me if not myself?