Losing My Mind (and Building a New One)

Discussion in 'Rebooting in a Relationship' started by TheNewDrew42, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    Link to previous journal: https://forum.nofap.com/index.php?threads/hfr’s-journey.226851/
    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (2)

    I'm gonna start fresh. I took a break from journaling for a while, mostly because I didn't figure there was much to say. Things have been going very smoothly with my life, my marriage, etc. That is, until a couple days ago.

    No slips, no relapse...just a somber realization of the damage that has already been done, and some negative thinking trying to take hold of me again.

    So let's back up. I have reached a six-month milestone without the PMO monster controlling my private time. Some of my previous journal talks about that journey, with a good chunk of it from the perspective that I am a failure and would always be a failure. Well, you don't get to this point by just "not failing" every day. I had to start actively succeeding.

    So what has that looked like? The most impactful things have been to open up to some of my closest family and friends about my addiction. One of these friends is also my coworker, so I always have an opportunity to talk to him. He also provides LOTS of judgment free encouragement. The other "best thing ever" is the internet filter. SO much of the temptation to slip goes away when I have tools in place to keep me safe. I have learned much about Betrayal Trauma and how my selfish acts affected my wife. To the best of my ability, I have taken steps to minimize further damage by changing some of my behaviors that are triggering to her. Some examples include taking shorter showers with a transparent curtain, turning all computer screens outward so they are always visible, and never traveling alone overnight for work. In addition, I am actively shedding the "porn brain" fog, and allowing myself to be more present in the moment. This has led to me being kinder at home, helping out more with things that need done, and being more mindful of my wife's emotional needs. I compliment her more than ever before, and I do not take anything for granted. When in the throes of addiction, I used to feel like life was "dragging me around by the hair". I feel so much better about myself now. I am eating better (we're all trying Keto), exercising at the YMCA, and I'm trying to practice meditation more. I'm no longer a Human Fail Robot...I feel like a new man... a New Drew! Hence the name change.

    The past couple of days, though, I've noticed a shift in my wife's demeanor. It was subtle at first, coming off as some slight offhanded comments or her turning her cheek when I went to kiss her. A notable decrease in physical touch (my primary love language). So it got us to talking on Saturday. To summarize, she feels uneasy when I am in bed with her most of the time. We discussed whether it was only if I was in bed first, or if we went to bed at the same time, or whether I came to bed later. There did not seem to be a difference. So last night, we agreed to sleep separately, with me in my son's room with him (he has two beds). I had to leave early for work today, so I have not had a chance to hear how last night's sleep went for her.

    So, my mind begins shifting toward a negative outlook. Wondering if I've really accomplished ANYTHING. Well, I don't have to look much further than a text my wife sent me a couple weeks ago celebrating my six-months porn free. I KNOW I'm on the right track. There are a couple shortcomings in my strategy, some false assumptions (i.e. that neither she nor anyone else really wants to know the details of my day-to-day efforts). That's the other reason I started a journal over. I relocated it to this forum as it seems like it might be more appropriate for me, being married with children. I don't always have the time to write as much as I have just now. But I can make more of an effort, since I know it's useful to someone.

    So I thank my beautiful wife for re-igniting the fire of commitment.

    Forge Further Forward!
     
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  2. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Congratulations on your 6 months!
    I can see why you may be thinking negatively because of your wife's behaviour. Was there any explanation for the uneasiness?
     
  3. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (2)

    For reference above, P = porn (+/-), M = masturbation, E = edging (as defined on the Pornfree Radio podcast to be any "porn behavior" or substitute - the key is intent), T = temptations or cravings (scale of 0-5...zero is no thoughts or cravings at all and 5 is worst case to where it's occupying every waking thought and requires intervention).

    Yesterday, I had a talk with my wife again. We had a more in depth conversation where she explained that the trouble sleeping COULD BE from residual Betrayal Trauma, though she is unsure of when it started and it could have existed prior. It has been a difficult week. She has been very irritable this week, and I continue to feel like I'm walking on eggshells. That is something I've been trying to control, because that "lack of connection" feeling has caused me to withdraw and act out in the past. It is coming up on that time of the month (which I lovingly used to call her "dark blue pill" week, when she was on birth control). I know it is temporary, and we will get past it, so I am just going to sit back and let it pass.

    In the meantime, we'd spent the last two nights sleeping separately just to see how it went. The first night, she slept terribly. The second night, she slept fantastic. So we talked yesterday, and I referred her to a book I'd heard about called "The Body Keeps the Score". It discusses trauma and how it affects the subconscious brain and body. I have not read it, but it seems like it could be a good resource.

    Last night, we slept together because she invited me. I felt happy and relieved that she wanted to try that. And she said this morning that she slept very well. That also makes me very happy. I am sure we will keep experimenting to see what works best, and I am willing to hold the space for her as she discovers what is going to work best for her.

    So we are moving forward with positive vibes. It is a good feeling to have - and I've already noticed a change in my own demeanor today so far as a result.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
  4. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (1)

    Yesterday (Wednesday) and today (Thursday) have been really good. Both nights my wife was able to sleep well, with me next to her. We were intimate twice yesterday. This morning I went to the YMCA, and then my wife and I had a Micro-Date for lunch before I had to go to work (I am working 2nd shift today). It has been a great 24-48 hours of connectedness.

    To provide some context to the title of this journal, it comes from the subtitle of a book that I'm listening to called "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" by Joe Dispenza. The subtitle is "How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One". In it, he talks about how neuroplasticity, quantum mechanics and spirituality can be used together to break old habits and create new ones around your desires. He tends to get a bit woo-ey for me in some of his ideas (like being able to cure your cancer just by thinking about it hard enough), but I like the basic premise. The mind is a very interesting place. Habits and thought patterns can be broken - even very old, deeply rooted ones - and new ones can be formed just by exercising the neurons. It's an area that I'm trying to dive deeper into, because I could use some new thought patterns in quite a few areas of my life (not just for living porn free).

    So not really a ton to day today...just continuing to stay connected with my wife, and stay connected with the positive energy around me.


    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
  5. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I love the sound of the book you are reading. I am a big fan of neuroplasticity.
    One question, and I really do not want any details, but when you say intimate, do you mean physical closeness in general or specifically intercourse?
     
  6. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    Hi Nicko! Thanks for listening! In the statement above, I specifically meant sex. I know intimacy can include many non-sexual things as well, so I'll try to be more specific in the future. :)
     
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  7. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (1)

    Its been kind of a busy weekend, and kind of not. Yesterday (Saturday), and today, my wife spent most of the time in the garage doing Etsy shop work. It's getting to be Christmas order time, so she's getting busier. So I have taken on the responsibility of keeping the house in shape, and keeping the kids entertained, fed, and helping out. We did...okay. Things are not spotless around the house, but it's not a hideous disaster either. I have been working on laundry (loads of it...pun intended), and the kids started helping with the sorting. I cooked dinner, went to the store for more groceries, and took down the Halloween decorations. I was also able to play a little video games and get some time here on the forums. My wife has been upbeat and happy all weekend - which makes me upbeat and happy as well.

    My best friend and coworker told me about a podcast he listened to (Russell Brand) where he interviewed a guy named Wim Hof. The Iceman. So this guy does an interesting meditation that allows him to stay in freezing cold water for ridiculous amounts of time. And he says the technique can be learned by anyone. So my friend is practicing the technique. Seems interesting, and maybe something I can work into my Trigger Response Plan.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
  8. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (1)

    Today was a really busy, and kind of frustrating, day. Kids had a snow day, and it ended up being an "e-learning" day. So all 4 kids were home with an average of 2-3 hours of homework to do. What a chore that was to keep everyone focused while they wanted to go outside and play in the snow. My wife was working in the garage most of the day on Christmas orders (through her Etsy shop), so I worked from home today so I could assist. I took the youngest to her doctor's appointment, took my oldest to his recreational therapy appointment, ran a couple of errands and helped the kids stay focused on their school work. And I did some work in between all of that. WOW that was pretty draining. Good news is that's all done now, so i'm going to relax for a little bit before bed.

    Anxious attachment is a bit of an issue for me, and I NEED to grow beyond it. The past few days, my wife has been very busy trying to satisfy orders and stay on top of her work. I'm doing my best to take care of everything else so she can focus on it without having to worry about all the other stuff going on. Well, when she gets really focused on her work, she tends to become more detached from me emotionally. She significantly reduces physical touch, kissing or other affection. I get wierded out by that, and immediately I'm in "what did I do wrong" mode. I've talked with her about it before, and she has explained that she just gets hyper-focused on work and it's nothing personal.

    Why does this seem like a new issue to me? I think it's because I used to be able to just numb out with porn if my needs weren't being met. Well, that's not an option anymore, so I have to sit in these emotions, and deal with them like the rest of humanity does!

    I want to take some time and talk about all of the resources I've been using. I also want to share a bit of my thoughts about each of them and why I love them and continue to use them. But that's going to take a bit of time, and today's been a long day. So I'll just tease that here and I'll leave that subject for next time.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
  9. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (2)

    Last week/weekend was pretty busy. This week/weekend will be busier yet. The rest of the year is going to be a madhouse, so I will need to work to stay up on this. Working out of town each day this week. Without overnight stays, it’s a 7hr round trip from home. Good time to catch up on audiobooks!

    Despite being busy, I’m not stressed.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
    Hameilixia likes this.
  10. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I can totally relate to this ! The more stress we are both under, the less relaxed we are and the less we are open to bonding activities like kissing and touching, which in turn increases attachment anxiety. One thing I have found that relieves the this anxiety is to offer help while my wife is working. So just offering drinks or other little gestures helps me realise I am still connected and it helps me realise that being grumpy with my wife because she is working and not spending time with me is not going to make her want to spend time with me. By taking some positive action I am reminding her that I am here for her, and reminding myself that even when she is distracted and stressed I can take action which will fit with my values of always trying to build trust and connection in our relationship.
    I can appreciate the 'what did i do wrong ?' mode. Having empathy about how my wife must be feeling is a useful tool to help me turn away from blame and towards support. It means that when she finishes work I am more inclined to offer her my support and affection rather than appearing disgruntled at the lack of attention I am getting.
     
  11. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (2)

    Despite being busy, I’m not stressed.

    In fact, I'm excited! For some reason, I have a very positive feeling about 2020. For the past year (years???) I've not really been excited about work, and life in general. I've been excited about my personal life since summer time, when I feel like I turned a corner and committed to making my relationship with my wife and with my family better. I also started getting excited about taking better care of myself. In those domains of my life, I've noticed those changes. With my work life, however, I was just in "maintenance" mode. Just prodding along, and even contemplating whether I would change occupations. I'm not entirely sure what has changed - I'm still busy, still trying to find time to fit everything in... but I am NOT BEHIND!

    It's about that time of year where we start looking over our past year's performance and start coming up with goals for next year. Maybe that's what has me getting excited about the opportunities for next year. If I can turn so much around in my personal life in 6-7 months, maybe I can do that in my work life too.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
  12. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (1)

    Resources.

    I've come across many resources during this recovery process. I wanted to share the ones that have worked for me the best. I teased this last week, and started to write some things down, and NoFap saved the draft...well, it looks like the draft only saves for a short time before it's gone, so I'm back to zero!

    The most significant resource thus far has been Qustodio Parental Control software for all of my devices. Without question, this is the most significant reason why my counter is in the 200's. It has given me the time needed to establish a battle plan in my mind and get the focus where it needs to be (on making a great life for myself and my family). the "T" at the top of my list is for Temptations / Thoughts about porn or porn behaviors. It is a scale from 0-5. I've never put it at a zero, because I can't remember a day where a thought about porn doesn't cross my mind. It's what I do with that thought that counts. The scale increases as the thoughts are more frequent or persistent. A 5 means that I was almost unable to function at all and I should be reaching out to someone. I don't remember the last time I was at a 4 or 5 (it was before I started tracking it, definitely). I've spent most of the past several months in the 1-2 range. I'd say the easiest reason for that is having a tool that prevents me from taking any kind of action on those thoughts. I liken it to an alcoholic who is trying to stop, but still has alcohol all over their house. Or a porn addict with a stack of magazines under their bed. You can resist, and white-knuckle your way through for a time, but it seems like a set up for failure if you're not putting tools in place to let a genuine recovery take root. I've said before that my biggest weaknesses / triggers are access and opportunity. Qustodio has taken those things away, and for that I am thankful.

    The other most valuable resources I've gone to include:
    - "Sex Afflictions and Porn Addictions" podcast by Craig Perra, founder of the Mindful Habit program. Craig's podcast was essential for me with his tough language approach for me in the early months of recovery. His approach was exactly what I needed to hear at the time.

    - "PornFree Radio" podcast is similar to Craig's, but Matt is a softer voice, with more practical and program-based approaches to recovery. I was able to learn how to create and execute a plan, how to come up with 7-day stretch goals and go beyond the "day counter" into a lasting change mentality.

    - "Porn Reboot" podcast by JK Emazi is also like the ones above, but much shorter and direct - about 15-20 minutes each podcast.

    - "The Betrayed, The Addicted and the Expert" podcast is geared toward couples, and helped me understand Betrayal Trauma and how to relate to my wife's pain and recovery. It helped me understand the gravity of the situation from her perspective (since I'd pretty much shut that off during my addiction).

    I also listen to many audiobooks, and learn much from those resources as well. Without listing them all, the most valuable ones to me were "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Robert Glover, "Your Brain on Porn" by Gary Wilson and "Recovery" by Russell Brand. More recently, I've been reading (listening to) books that are geared toward mindfulness, meditation and controlling your thoughts. With the external triggers minimized, my battlefield is now inside my head, understanding and manipulating how my thoughts are turned into actions.

    The title of my journal is actually borrowed from one of these books - "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself - How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One" by Joe Dispenza.

    I have a best friend and coworker who also serves as an accountability partner. He is aware of my recovery process and we touch base on my progress usually weekly. We also talk about the positive habits I am forming as well (diet, exercise, mindfulness, etc.) He is an invaluable asset in my recovery and I am honored to have him in my life.

    ***

    It was amazing to me to learn about how much material there is out there for guys who are seriously looking to put an end to porn in their life! I am grateful for the makers of each of those resources for helping me climb out of the hole and see what I've been missing. If any of those resources can help ANY of the readers of my journal, I encourage you to look into them.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
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  13. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    ___________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (2), C (5)

    It's been a fun end to the week. My wife's orders are floating in now and she's getting pretty busy. In the meantime, i am staying busy with all of my regular clients wanting to get a lot of last minute projects in at the end of the year. It makes for a pretty busy mom and dad, and a pretty sloppy house. Despite that, we have both been doing VERY well keeping our cool.

    I have added another category above that I'm tracking. C is for Connectedness - and it's on a scale of 0-5. I have felt very connected to my wife in the past couple of weeks. Since we last talked about her "dark blue pill" week and not wanting touch, I expressed to her how that made me feel. She's been wonderful about keeping those feelings in mind as she navigates that difficult time in her cycle. For me, it's been wonderful because I'm not feeling anxious or nervous about anything, and i'm rolling with it.

    So it's on to high gear for the rest of 2019! I'll keep you posted!

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
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  14. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    Connectedness is so important for us too.
     
  15. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    _________________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (2), C (3)

    Sorry for not writing a new journal entry in a while. It's been very busy lately, and that's not looking to change for the next couple weeks.

    My wife's Etsy business is in maniac mode for the holidays - keeping her busy nearly 12 hours a day. I'm very proud of her, and I am trying to be as supportive as possible, taking care of the house and kids as much as I can while she's busy. My problem is I'm busy too - all of the clients at my job want projects done by the end of the year. Between on-site client visits and report writing time, I am booked up for literally the rest of the year. Add to that the fact that my schedule is conditional on the clients' hours (I test air in factories), and we've been all over.

    We've done our best to remain connected during this time, though it's been more difficult. Hence the C above is at a 3/5. Some of the things we've been doing include going on what we call "microdates"... basically going to the store or gas station together. Our kids are old enough now where we can leave together for an hour or so and they can fend for themselves. Anyone with younger children and no access to babysitters: just wait until you can feel how awesome that is!

    The other day, my wife asked me how I've been doing. I told her that I'm doing fine, and that the battle is all inside my head. She said she had a dream that she caught me masturbating, and she was shocked. So I suppose that got her mind anxious. I can empathize with her, and I will try to do a better job of keeping her subconscious mind at ease. As I said before, we're both really busy right now, and that has affected both our availability for bonding and intimate time, and personally, it has affected my diet and exercise routine I've been trying to establish. I also have noticed that she's been trying to add affirmations, and physical touch with me even while she's busy. I let her know that I noticed and that I appreciate her doing those little things.

    This morning, we had a little "quickie" before I left for work. I took care of her, but I was unable to stay erect as I noticed the clock and I was running late to a job that was a 2-hour drive away. So hopefully we'll have a chance later to finish what we started!

    I'm trying a new book this month called "Mind Hacking" by John Hargrave. This is more of my attempt at practicing mindfulness and pushing the addict brain more and more into obscurity. I'll report more about it after I've had some more time to work through it.

    HAHA! Time!

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
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  16. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    Been a month now since I last wrote anything. The last month really flew by.

    One thing that drew me back today was trying to figure out how to get through some points of frustration.

    I am still having some ED issues, and it’s frustrating me AND my wife. For me, it’s aggravating that little distractions like movement in another room or something can bring me right back down to zero. It also triggers my wife’s BT because of history, and while I can empathize with it and I can allow the space for her to work through it, I’m just upset that I can’t get it to finally go away!

    We get to this place about once every month, where I feel like I’ve lost all my progress, because these issues persist. I feel really hurt, and my wife is hurt. We can talk about it but I’ve already lost all credibility with my lying about PM in the past.

    Not sure the best way to navigate this.
     
  17. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I went through a similar period where erections would just drop away for seemingly no reason. The solution we found was to accept that erections come and go and that physically intimate time does not require an erection. Psychologically this highlighted the anxiety I felt about maintaining arousal. I had to tell myself when I felt it going "it doesn't matter, they come and go". Eventually by repeating this process it is no longer an issue. Neither of us have expectations about what will happen when we are intimate, only that we will both try and be present with each other. If we have intercourse then so be it, if we just hug and kiss for a couple of minutes, that is fine as well.
    The anxiety about losing it has now gone, and the instances of it going are few and far between(either that or I just don't notice anymore because our love making is not goal orientated.
     
  18. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    _________________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (2), C (4)

    Things feel like they've gotten back on track a bit in the past couple of weeks for me. My wife and I have been talking more and trying to stay more connected, which has led to some of my anxiety dropping a bit. And as a result, my performance has improved. It is great to hear her say she just wants to be with me, hold me, feel me. That alone takes pressure off of me, and makes me feel more comfortable. I think the key is that she and I just need to talk more about things and assume less.

    I have recommitted to having FASTT check-ins with my wife on a regular (1-2 day) basis. I hope that will help us both navigate our anxieties and continue to connect in the awesome way we have been recently.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
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  19. Nicko Stretch

    Nicko Stretch Fapstronaut

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    I could have written this about our relati
    Wow, I could have written this myself about our relationship. Talking has been the main agent for change with us.We make space for it every evening. It helps with insecurity, anxiety, and to keep things honest without leaving time for things to fester to the point where it is difficult to talk about.
    Wishing you well Drew.
     
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  20. TheNewDrew42

    TheNewDrew42 Fapstronaut

    _________________________
    P (-), M (-), E (-), T (1), C (4)

    I've had a string of really good days recently. My wife and I have been pretty well connected, and have been communicating well. Even though she's been less outwardly affectionate in the past couple of days, I am able to handle it better knowing that it is not about me. As a result, I don't get anxious about it as much, and we are able to enjoy intimacy together better. I am able to perform better as well. I recognize that she will go an entire day without a whole lot of flirting or intimate touch, but then suddenly be in the mood just before bedtime. I would generally expect a bit more of a buildup during the day. When we talked about it, she said that it could "ruin the moment" if we built it up too much. I guess I get that.

    Some pretty big decisions are looming for me on the work front - my coworker and I are considering opening our own business. If that happens, it could mean some really big changes, and some really big challenges. My wife has been so supportive through all of our preliminary discussions. It is such a relief to me that she has my back through all of it. I've always believed that I've had her back in all things as well, but I tended to ignore the effect my PA had on her, so in reality I didn't have her back the way I thought I did. That's my new commitment: to have her back in ALL things. To reciprocate the love she shows me - in EVERY way.

    Drew
    ________________
    Feed the Right Wolf!
    Forge Further Forward!
     
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