Starting a new diary

SebUK

Active Member
Just checking in again. Mood and especially energy are still relatively good thanks to coming off the SSRIs. On the porn...still using. But no epic 5 hour binges :( At least... I do it before I go to bed to relax and help me get to sleep. This is the really obvious pattern. Or at 5pm when I am tired. I find if I put all the blockers on my phone etc I tend to go for the worst most degrading porn straight away. Whereas if I leave one device unlocked, then, for some reason, I can look at standard porn and get the relapse over more quickly. I have no idea why.

Seeing the psychologist again on Thursday. He has given me some homework to do which mainly involves thinking about why I want to change and what are the pros and cons of doing so.

I'm also doing a lot more exercise (I got an apple watch, which is quite good for encouraging this) and eating more (and enjoying eating more). On the latter, instead of impoverishing myself every day to try and lose body fat (which I think contributes to relapses at the end of the day) I've decided to eat more or less what I want and do more exercise. I'm fairly sure this won't lead to fat loss but I think it will boost my mood levels (from the eating of nice food and doing more exercise).
 

SebUK

Active Member
Hello!

My week is going alright so far. I'm going to see my psychologist tomorrow morning. I've done my homework :p Looking forward to a helpful session. It's good to be going to a professional - I really couldn't do this on my own anymore.

My actual life is looking a bit healthier now. I'm going out more, doing more exercise and am doing good habits that make me feel happy.

On that point, I've cut gaming out completely. Well almost, I played for about 30 minutes yesterday. Something about it doesn't feel right anymore. One of the things I've realised over the last few months is that I'm really not that happy with my life. The parts I am happy with are to do with escapism: gaming, movies and to some extent music. The real world, including my job, is something I suffer to enable my escapist activities. Oh and of course porn is part of my sexual escapist activities (with a dose of excitement thrown in). My life has evolved (devolved?) into an escapist-centric one basically.

A book I'm reading makes the case that those who seek escapism do so due to low self-esteem (check!); they find the real world painful and frightening and seek to numb themselves from it via whatever means available. This is completely applicable to me.

So gaming is out, or at least greatly moderated. Movies and TV... I'm on the fence with. I've never had an unhealthy relationship with movies and TV as I never tend to binge on them like I do with gaming and porn.

Music stays because again, I never binge on it. It's fun and enjoyable, but it's also work in a way. I don't feel myself escaping from anything really. It's just a pleasurable experience creating music and manipulating it and mixing it when I'm DJing.

Porn is obviously gone. That is the most obvious case of escapism. If I see a beautiful women on the street, I feel resentful and angry, although I'm pretty good at suppressing those feelings super quickly. When I get home, I often relapse. The resentfulness and anger is mixed with despair at not having the skill or confidence to talk to the woman for fear of rejection. This is the fear of the world that the book is referring to.

Problem is, porn is filling a need. If I get rid of it, I will need to get over my fear of rejection. Easier said than done.
 

TheHeartacheKid

Active Member
Hi SebNZ, catching up on your journal.  I resonate so much with what you said about escapism.  It's so key for me.  It's what P is, it's what gaming is, movies, all of it.  Some level of escape is good.  Games are good like that, but I too have to be careful, lest I play a game for an entire day, like 12 hours straight.  I always hate when I do that, because I lose the whole day, but I also lose a whole day of dread because of reality.  I've gotten better at limiting myself to 2-3 hours, if that.  I applaud you for cutting it out while also trying to cut out P.  Tall order, but good that you are recognizing behavior that has no benefit to you.

The low self esteem, fear of rejection, not being able to talk to women and then using P as that escape to feel better...yep, I have and do all of that.  Viscous cycle.  Almost like seeing an attractive woman makes us resent ourselves more, so then we give into P which causes more distress.  But as you said, P fills a need, certainly fills it for me and acts as a substitute for loneliness.

Hang in there my friend, glad things are going well with the therapist.  Your posts indicate you're getting a good grasp on things, so really all you may have left now is just to execute.  Easier said than done, but based on the success you've already had and the realizations you're making, I have no doubt you'll be successful.  Stay strong.
 
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escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
TheHeartacheKid said:
Hi SebNZ, catching up on your journal.  I resonate so much with what you said about escapism.  It's so key for me.  It's what P is, it's what gaming is, movies, all of it.  Some level of escape is good.  Games are good like that, but I too have to be careful, lest I play a game for an entire day, like 12 hours straight.  I always hate when I do that, because I lose the whole day, but I also lose a whole day of dread because of reality.  I've gotten better at limiting myself to 2-3 hours, if that.  I applaud you for cutting it out while also trying to cut out P.  Tall order, but good that you are recognizing behavior that has no benefit to you.
Definitely. I am an escapism slave, I've been since I was 7. And to be honest, I'm tired of living my life like that. I ditched alcohol and now porn is next. Escapism could get out of hand quickly, while you tell yourself: "Not me, I won't do it every day, I am not like them." I did this with alcohol. I said: "It won't be me, not now that I know about it. They became addicted because they were idiots and drank every day, I will only drink once in a while and that's normal." Say this again now after more than 10 years of drinking a lot. Thank God I didn't end up a complete alcoholic but there were circumstances that didn't let me get to this, I would've for sure. And everything for escapism and comfort. Fuckin bullshit. Escapism has eaten too many years from my life. It's taken me too much to realize that escapism/self-medication/coping/comfort, whatever you want to call it, was not healing anything in my life and only adding problems.
 
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escapeandnevercomeback

Guest
TheHeartacheKid said:
The low self esteem, fear of rejection, not being able to talk to women and then using P as that escape to feel better...yep, I have and do all of that.  Viscous cycle.  Almost like seeing an attractive woman makes us resent ourselves more, so then we give into P which causes more distress.  But as you said, P fills a need, certainly fills it for me and acts as a substitute for loneliness.

Yes, that's me. The story of my life, man.
 
Hey there SebNZ,

It's been a while since I caught up on your journal, or posted in it, so thought I'd drop by, so to speak. Reading your post from around a month ago, the below very much resonated with me:

However I had a bit of an epiphany last night while thinking about this in bed. Instead of attacking the problem at the action point, which is kind of the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach, maybe I should change my environment and daily structure so I'm not having those thoughts in the first place. I can't change my genetics, but I can change my environment. My environment at the moment has developed in a way that really pushes me towards porn. This is because:
- I live alone
- I'm off work
- I have a decent amount of money
- I have no responsibilities (no GF, children)
- I have friends but they never 'pop in'
- My hobbies are very much focused on the computer or a TV (music production, DJing, gaming, online shopping, movies/TV)
- I have a very structured daily routine that, again, mainly involves the computer with some limited social interaction and outside time.

I have probably developed my life like this for a couple of reasons. 1) I'm quite shy and sensitive so over time I have withdrawn from society, and this has gathered pace as I've gained the ability to do it more and more (e.g. being able to afford to live by myself was only an option since a few years ago). 2) This structure is conducive to porn use.

In fact, I think my porn use thrives on this life structure. Or put another way, porn use helps me MAINTAIN this structure. I'm able to get my sexual and excitement needs met through porn and I can keep doing all of the above things. If I do decide to go out socially, and it doesn't go well, I can come home and satisfy myself with porn. The structure is quite sustainable in an extremely maladaptive way.

This is why using things like Covenant Eyes or will power to white knuckle my way through is never going to work. They are like a pathetic amount of power against all the structural forces I have in place that are maintaining the addiction.

So I have some decisions to make I guess. Continue living within this structure and keep hoping (pretending?) that I'm going to stop looking at porn. Or, start breaking down the structure and replace it with different things. Like, instead of living by myself, move in with a housemate. Or take up a hobby that requires a lot of outside time, like a sport.

Although my 'environment' list is slightly different to yours, it's probably different to the extent that lemons and limes are different, or carrots and parsnips; apologies for a somewhat terrible analogy!! In essence, even though my list is not exactly the same, there are many similarities but more importantly, the outcomes of these environmental situations probably cause very similar outcomes for us both. One of these outcomes being a tendency towards using P, particularly when it's proactive usage. I, too, found that when I'd go out socially, pre-Covid-19 of course, be it for after-work drinks, drinks with friends or a full-blown night out, the consumption of alcohol combined with almost never managing to garner any female attention, even if just minor or in passing, would often result in a feeling of deep melancholy. By the time I returned back to my flat, the Tube journey home had given me more than enough time to focus on my loneliness and let me add another occasion to my mental tracker where all other my friends were being 'hit on' except me. By the time I got in bed, the alcohol-induced 'f*ck it' mindset was usually in full swing and I'd PMO just feel some sort of sense of pleasure and 'intimacy'. Many a sober period was disrupted by a high blood-alcohol level.

Regarding internet P-blockers, in the early days of my recovery - maybe Years 1 or 2 - I installed a P-blocker during a really difficult period, recovery-wise. The problem I experienced was that when the mood took me (re: wanting to consume P), I begin furiously hunting for any website, image or video that the P-blocker wasn't picking-up. I'd sometimes be searching for 30+ minutes, just to find something to 'get off', and would quickly whip myself into a kind if frenzy, desperate to find some P. Not too long after installing the P blocker I needed a new laptop and I made the conscious decision not reinstall the P-blocker, for two reasons.  Firstly, I reflected that the furious hunting and searching for P was probably doing far more damage (in all senses of the word) than if I was able to rapidly access P and then quickly PMO. And secondly, I felt that my recovery would never truly work if I was having to rely on a P-blocker; to recover properly requires total self control rather than a reliance on supplementary measures. In short, I agree with you about P-blockers.

Lastly, regarding the structure of your current situation, I again agree that it's important to consider what may need to be changed, even if reluctantly. The items you mention are relatively big decisions and therefore big changes but don't forget that just small changes can have significant effects. Not to elaborate too much but after a recent PMO event that brought to the end a significant period of sobriety, I implemented what was, by anyone's standards, a very small change. The change was to switch off my tv, at the plug socket, before 10pm EVERY night. This was because for such a long time now I'd tune into those 'babe' call in shows that started at 10pm. I wouldn't call in but would enjoy watching. And once I was watching I would often then start consuming P on my phone. They we both intrinsically linked. Since I've made sure my tv is switched off before 10pm, my avoidance of P and stimulating material has been close to perfect. So yeah, do consider changing things up and maybe moving out of your 'comfort zone' a little but also reflect on changing those less significant, but maybe habitual, 'structures' in your life that may be things that indirectly and / or subtly push you towards P consumption.

Anyway, hope you have been keeping well since your last post and that the healthy habits and routines you were working on are continuing.

hd619
 
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