Day 0, (long) Intro

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Submitted by Along The Way on
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Hi everyone,
I want to introduce myself, and I know this is lengthy, so bear with me. I've been lurking around this site, reading stories of rebooties for a few months now. I've wanted to join in for a while now, but i guess i'm just shy. I'm a 20 year old healthy male, and i'm addicted to porn. I had previously gone 11 days PMO free, then releapsed yesterday, and again today, though i didn't binge and they were quick sessions, if that. 2 nights ago all my dreams were sexual dreams. the last dream, I was at a party with some friends. This one guy i know was with this chick, but it wasn't his gf in waking life, it was a different girl. I ended up hooking up with her. We were making out and I went to take off her top, then out of nowhere, I came in the dream. I woke up with a start, thinking i had a wet dream, but i was clean down there. This isn't the first time a sexual dream has lead to my releapse, and i'm not sure how to deal with them. I'll have to just take them in stride, I guess.

I first started watching porn when I was 11 or 12. Course back then I didn't know what it was or what it would do to me, other then it was the best thing i'd seen up untill that point, or probably ever see. I started with pictures and reading little 'confessionals', i guess thats what there called. Sex stories to say the least. 1 day i stumbles upon some hardcore porn. At the time it was extremely shocking for me at that age and caught me completely off guard. Days after I had experienced some unnamable force in my chest. Now i know what it was: a mixture of shame, guilt, and anxiety. I blamed it on some show i saw at a friends house, celebrity deathmatch. It was so overwhelming that days later I told my dad that I had seen something that I shouldnt but didnt say what it was. He was confused but supportive. I had never associated that drowning feeling with porn until recently; after that day I found more porn, forgot all about what I had felt and continued on with porn and excessive masterbation for years untill I found the YBOP website 7 months ago in February.

Back when I was 19, I discovered the YBOP website while seaching for answers on ED, because I hadn't been getting morning wood and a failed attempt at intercourse with this random chick I met at a party (which I regret, though it did lead me here). She had initiated it that night, and I had only spoke to her for a few minutes. Even though I was both drunk and high at the time, I knew something was up. I felt nothing for the girl, no real intamicy, and I emulated some of the things that I had seen in the porn I had watched so religiously. I got semi-hard, but it just seemed to fade away. I should mention now that i'm a virgin and never had a relationship. I'm a good looking guy (alledgedly) and in the past there's been girls apparently interested in me but I usually shy away and embrace being alone with my porn. wow that sounds shitty. Anyways, I watched all the videos on YBOP and read the articles. I had finally found what was off with me; I had a porn addiction, plain and simple. Yet those 7 months from then till now has been anything but plain or simple.

Going into my first attempt at a full reboot, I had been suffering from porn-indused ED, but it was more then that. For years I had felt a lot of different symptoms, from anxiety and social anxiety, a lack of confidence, apathy in general, and not so much depression but more of an emotional numbness that i cant quite describe because well, it felt like nothing at all. In high school i'd binge for hours at a time into the night, which lead to lack of sleep. That negativly affected my concentration and energy in school and sports. Thinking back now, the only thing I really wanted to do everyday and look forward to was PMOing. I didn't care about what I did on a daily basis and watched my potential go awry in favor of long, lonely nights of short term gratification on the computer.
Recently it's been paronia; when i'm with my friends I feel as if every laugh is mocking me, that they talk bad behind my back, think i'm crazy, and on and on. Through out the process I've doubted that at the end of my reboot, none these things will be fixed and nothing will be changed. That I'm not addicted, that it's the weed (I used to smoke daily before my reboot but stopped bacause I got an HOCD attack and a couple of panic attacks). All of these thoughts have lead to releapses in the past.

My first attempt was my longest; around the 42 day mark. I never felt tempted to PMO really, just heavy withdrawls. The first few days were the worst, with crazy mood swings, headaches, brain fog,and those familiar apathetic feelings. I had a fever, cold sweat and a sore throat to go along with my inability to sleep; I thought I had mono at the time. I became lonely and depressed, felt fatigued and I had no libido or sex drive to speak of. The worst for me was the HOCD and the intrusive, unwanted thoghts I was having. When I had my first outbrake of HOCD (I don't remember if it was before or after I found YBOP), it was... beyond my comprehension. I simply could not believe I was gay, yet it felt as if I knew it to be true and I thought up bullshit reasons as to why it was true. It drove me crazy that night. It was hard to acknowledge yet always in my mind. I'm sorry if i'm not making much sense, but this is how I remember it. It felt so real. Sometimes there'd be hours where it seemed to me that I couldn't slow my train of thought, usually about me being gay, or some crazy made up story. I find it ironic that when my HOCD was the worst during my ongoing reboot, I was both trying desperatly to convince myself that I was straight, and not watch porn at the same time, lol.
I'm glad to say that I havn't suffered from HOCD in a month or two. If it does pop in my head, I let it pass or focus on whatever i'm doing and distract myself. For anyone reading this who suffers from HOCD, just know that it WILL come to pass over time as you move forward with your reboot. That, and I recomend that you read the book The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, for reasons mentioned on YBOP, and that it helped me a lot with understanding OCD in general and brain plasticity.

My first releapse came after I experimented with masterbation, which turned out to be a bad choice. I wasnt completely hard, and it was lackluster. The next day I decided to 'test' myself to see if I was addicted, to PMO later that night and if i felt the withdrawl effects, then I knew it to be true. I was lying to myself, I guess; the porn addicted part of my brain just wanted its dopamine fix. That led to a week long binge. It was around that time that went to the docters to find out that I DID have mono, along with an inflammed liver. That made everything much more difficult because I had to stay home, lay around doing nothing and stare at my computer all day long. I couldn't see my friends much or work out, and I dropped a few of my classes, which did nothing to help my depression at the time. From that point till now I've gone from abstaining from PMO for a week or 2, to binging for a week, then back to abstaining. The longest I've gone was 16 days. I've struggled by myself for a long time, so I made an account here on reuniting, and here I am. Even though I feel loads better then when I started, I know I still have a long way to go. My goal is 90 days free of porn, masterbation, orgasm, and fantasy. I hope to find myself looking back at this moment, knowing that this was my first sep toward a full reboot today Along The Way.

Thanks for sharing

Until I read about your experiences with porn...I had all but forgotten how I first reacted to pornography when I was a kid. My dad would go into a liquor store to buy beer every time we went to my cousins for a barbeque. I was terrified of those nasty, dirty magazines behind the counter! I felt sick and ashamed after getting a peak at all that skin. And later, during summer camp when one of the older boys brought a stack of those dreaded magazines...I saw IT for the first time. I was terrified of the vagina! Wow. How things change. (haha) I wish I had been introduced to "girl parts" in a more natural way. Like with a real girl. Maybe that's unrealistic in this day in age. Now with the internet, I think that would be impossible.

I also feel your frustration and your feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. But remember that at least you have a record of some extended reboots. 16 days is pretty great, man! I'm a 'rebootie' who's restarting after numerous relapses also and I know that with enough conviction and commitment, we can take this all the way to our goals of 90 days and beyond. I'm only 2 days ahead of you. Looking forward to hearing about your journey. Stay strong and remember why you're doing this.

Regards,
FREE

Welcome

Start your own blog if you like. Sounds like you've made a lot of headway, actually. Just facing the facts squarely is much of the battle.

Anxiety is definitely part of the mix of HOCD. And since withdrawal is anxiety producing, HOCD symptoms can certainly spike during the worst of withdrawal. Once you've read The Brain That Changes Itself, though, you realize it's just a naughty brain loop firing randomly to try to get you to "test" (i.e., go get your "meds").

What can you do to reduce anxiety itself? There's a book mentioned here, recommended by forum folk, and many other ideas listed on this page, too. http://yourbrainonporn.com/solo-tools Are you exercising? Meditating? Learning to circulate your sexual energy when it comes up? Spending time in nature? Listening to soothing or inspiring music?

Find out what helps you regulate your mood naturally. For one thing, even when porn is behind you, you will still find anti-anxiety skills useful. This is a tough planet. Smile

Any chance you could talk to your dad about what you're going through? The more support the better.

*big hug*

Keep us posted and thanks for sharing your story.

Thanks for the feedback

I appreciate the replies :). I've been wanting to tell someone about what was happening to me but I didnt, I held it in for a long time. It was always on my mind, and thats probably why I felt so relieved and uplifted after i posted. I hadn't felt that good in a long time. I hung out with a friend I hadn't seen in a while that night and had a great time catching up.

@Marnia, I'm going to get back into the groove of working out. I used to be really active with sports, but stopped everything after high school. I'll even give meditating a try, maybe i'll like it. About my Dad, I almost broke down in front of him while I was driving him to the airport a few weeks back. I was exhausted from driving home from a long trip that day. When we got home, he asked me to drive him to the airport and I agreed. In my car that night I was feeling down and fighting back tears, I almost told him all about my OCD/HOCD and all the unwanted thoughts that I was having, but I held back. I couldn't voice what i was going through to him, and i still wanted to believe that all that stuff would leave my mind after my reboot. I'd probably wouldn't be able to focuse on the road anyway. That conversation would have lead somewhere near PMO, either with him or if I went to see a docter. Hmm. Maybe I will talk to him about it.
In a way, while the addiction and withdrawl symptoms do feel like hell, there's something especially sinsiter about HOCD. In the end, I know that it takes about 3 months to rebalance your brain and go back to the real you, but with HOCD I felt like I didn't know myself, and that if I was wrong about my sexuality, I wondered what else I didn't know about. Being addicted to porn i was obsessed with sex, though i guess that all males are in a way. I think that at first, i acted differently. One night I tried to explain the HOCD symptoms to a friend back when I hadn't diagnosed it, but i did a poor job and he didnt quite understand what i was talking about. He told me it was ok if i was gay and that my other friends were ok with it too. Now I hold nothing against people who are gay, but I kindly told him 'hey fuck you'. I didnt see him for a while after that, and I think some of my other friends think that i am in the closet. It's frustrating not being able to tell them that I don't like guys, i'm just addicted to porn, suffer from HOCD and ED....

FREE, im glad I could spark your memory and thanks for the feedback and encouragement. I read your story and I can definitly relate to feeling and being isolated and withdrawn, but hopefully those feelings will stay away the longer we abstain. Good luck in your reboot!

Along The Way

You're right that

HOCD is sinister, but it's also a mental "hoax." It's sinister because it causes obsessive doubts...but *not* because it has the power to change your sexual orientation. It doesn't. But it has the power to drive you nuts, if you let it.

Trouble is, so much of our cultural programming in this country is about being supportive of "sexual diversity" (supportiveness of genuine diversity is a good thing), that we imagine that every weird taste is tied to someone's underlying, fundamental sexual orientation. I wondered about that too, when the HOCD guys began showing up. It's just so "politically correct" to tell someone "it's okay if you're gay," that we all tend to do that without thinking. Just ignore people's knee-jerk responses. They don't know anything about HOCD (lucky for them...).

I no longer wonder about HOCD and "sexual diversity." It's evident HOCD is just one more "flavor" of of addiction-escalation symptom. Because it's an "add-on" it actually fades fairly quickly when you stop watching and fantasizing and worrying and even thinking about it. That's the key. If you ignore it, it fades. If you worry about it, you keep it alive.

This "curse" would have made a great Harry Potter episode, eh? Wink "Harry...you can only be rid of the dreaded Bezelbum Curse if you DON'T THINK ABOUT IT."

I'm sure you read the HOCD stuff on YBOP, but just in case: http://yourbrainonporn.com/ask-us-iam-attracted-to-gay-transsexual

It's good you have the option to talk with your dad. You'll know the right time, if it arrives. Meanwhile, it sounds like you're doing healthy things. Keep 'em up.

this touches on something

this touches on something else.. ive always been skeptical of non-pharmacological psychotherapy, "lie on the couch and tell me all your problems", "venting", etc..
our primitive brain potentiates what we think about more, it doesnt know the difference between right and wrong, yeah? only that if you think about something, it must be "valuble", so it must define our thinking ( obssessing and thinking about food, shelter, predators would be beneficial to our survival when we were living in caves..) so if you talk for 2 hours how you're afraid that you're gay, that you're a loser, that you're impotent, that you have anxiety.. you might just be reinforcing these thoughts.

pillow-punching and other venting to relieve aggression and stress was proven to be negative because it only releases more stress/anger hormones, im wondering if psychotherapy might be causing something similar, and whatever benefits people claim are through placebo effect "im getting help so i must feel better" - not that placebo effect isnt extradorindarily powerful on its own

There was an interesting experiment

that scanned the brains of psychotherapy patients, patients given psychotropic drugs and patients treated with both. All three caused measurable brain changes.

In short, a good therapist can help you make very real changes in your brain. Not only that, as tribal primates, we're conditioned to find trusted companionship soothing. So a trusted therapist is a kind of anti-anxiety medication, too.