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P.A.W.S. - what are they, cure, duration

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by Fenix Rising, May 12, 2019.

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  1. hollyman

    hollyman Fapstronaut

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    Thank you i hope man but it surprised me that suddenly morning wood is not exist anymore,
     
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  2. Ezpz

    Ezpz Fapstronaut

    Just an update from me if anyone is interested. I am just over 5 months pmo free now with quite a few wet dreams here and there. Sometimes they induce a flatline and other times they do nothing.

    I have had covid over the past 3 weeks which i am now getting over.

    My baseline mood and symptoms have improved slightly compared to the first 1 - 2 months of recovery there is no doubt about that.

    To be clear my life is still a mess because of this but it is improving. I am still on an antidepressant which i think is helping me overall.
     
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  3. Himar89

    Himar89 Fapstronaut

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    Antidepressants now help you to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and not to reduce their duration, but even if you come out healthy, you will have to face withdrawal symptoms of the antidepressant medication, which can be of the same intensity and duration.

    So instead of being patient for two or two and a half years of hell, you will have to waste at least 2 more years of your life.

    Common sense is uncommon.

    Here's a website that may prepare you mentally for what kind of hell is awaiting you if you decide to quit anti-depressants.

    https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/
     
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  4. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

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    I think you might be referring to what some people call 'the dark night of the soul'

    I don't think it always takes 7 years, some have gotten through it 4 years or so. I think it comes down to whether you are kicking and screaming throughout the process. A quick interesting and unorthodox spiritual experience that relates to your post:

    I was recently given the opportunity to attend a spiritual retreat known as an ayahuasca ceremony. In short, ayahuasca is a plant based psychedelic that causes individuals to hallucinate for approximately 6 hours. Let me be clear, I have never done psychedelics before and while I do believe in living a spiritual life, I am primarily a man of logic. What pushed me towards the experience is that I had read (and heard) that the plant can have a profound effect on the brain in the form of rebuilding neural pathways and upregulating receptors. I also heard that one ceremony can be likened to 10 years of therapy.

    Skipping ahead to my experience, I sat with the facilitator of the event upon arrival and told him my whole story. I explained to him how I had been raised by emotionally neglectful parents, how my childhood had obliterated my self esteem and how it had pushed me into PMO eventually resulting in PIED. He advised me to stay for two nights where we would take the ayahuasca on two occasions and that I would be fine.

    Here is what happened:

    After drinking the plant medicine, I didn't start to hallucinate like everybody else but I started to receive vivid insights about my life. Almost like a mental dialogue explaining answers to me. To summarise, here is what I learnt/realised about my recovery:
    • During my childhood, a lack of emotional connection with my parents taught me to bury any negative feelings I experienced (betrayal, hurt, loneliness, anger, rage and depression)
    • The use of PMO was me attempting to feel connected (to someone) in a way that felt safe
    • PMO has been a tool for blocking/escaping the emotional pain of negative feelings
    • My current inability to process negative feelings from my past is stunting my overall recovery
    • While I have successfully given up PMO, high internet, video game and alcohol use is slowing down/blocking my recovery
    • To push through recovery (reset my reward circuitry system) I should further cut artificial stimulation - this will speed up recovery
    • Not fully experiencing/feeling negative feelings in my life, has taught my central nervous system the 'freeze' response (instead of a fight or flee response)
    • Freezing of the central nervous system traps energy within the body leading to physical health symptoms (similar or the same as PAWS)
    The spiritual lesson being taught to me is that it is ok to feel. Having or showing emotion and being vulnerable does not make you weak. I think a lot of people are addressing the surface level symptoms of PMO, rather than attacking the roots of the problem and really understanding what led them there in the first place. I now understand the reality of my recovery which is that PIED was the wakeup call I needed to finally start addressing my emotional life. After coming to this realisation, recovery has been a lot easier.

    A message I was given from the ceremony about my PMO recovery that has stayed with me: "Do not try to speedrun healing. If you try speedrunning it, I can promise you you'll do more damage than good. Be patient. On a day to day basis it may not seem like much progress but in the grand scheme of things you are only advancing."
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2022
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  5. Ezpz

    Ezpz Fapstronaut

    Common sense is uncommon? Are you calling me an idiot?

    I am well aware of the possible consequences of taking anti depressants and it is not a decision i took lightly. You dont know me, you dont know my situation. Ive been around here for a long ass time. You cannot guarentee there will be any withdrawals from antidepressants at all and everyone is different so saying another 2 years of what im going through right now is bad advice.

    You have also not considered the type of antidepressant which i assure you is important in factoring in recovery if there is one.
     
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  6. winningover

    winningover Fapstronaut

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    So to share my recent experience along with a query. If you guys recall, I recently shared that my PAWS symptoms are gone and I feel recovered. Sadly, it turned out to be a good window/wave of around 40-45 days and suddenly I got back all those crippling PAWS symptoms.

    Some of my symptoms like social anxiety, general anxiety, taking stress for no reason, racing heart etc have been present almost throughout the last 3 years. But some of my symptoms have come and gone. Like they came for 1-2 months and then left me for good. Like muscle twitches, tremors, front lobes pressure etc. Like all my symptoms have not been present all the time. They just keep changing.

    Right now, in this wave, I am severely struggling with insomnia whereby I didn't have this particular issue throughout last 3 years. Despite every other symptom, I didn't have insomnia. But now I am mostly struggling with insomnia and panic attacks in this particular wave. Its like I have to go through all the symptoms for sure no matter what. Or it could be that during recovery, brain goes through different processes and every time their is a different type of imbalance in brain resulting in different set of symptoms.

    Any thoughts on that ?
     
  7. zander13

    zander13 Fapstronaut

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    Yeah I have noticed this for a while. It's like the brain is working on different sections of the mind/CNS at different intervals. Reminds me of how my body recovers after a workout: if I lift chest and back on the same day my chest will be sore the first day and then my back will be sore the next. Heals in portions, thus, I feel various symptoms in various parts of the difficult "waves" of withdrawals. For me, it's all cyclical. And very predictable.

    **Added some stuff to clarify.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
  8. zander13

    zander13 Fapstronaut

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    2 days short of 32 months.


    I used to think that I'd have a grand moment when all would be well and the symptoms would all completely fade at the snap of a finger. I no longer hang onto that notion. Improvement is incremental-squared (incremental to the second power). Slowly acquiring clearer vision. Slowly acquiring a sense of smell. Slowly acquiring a solid, steady appetite. Digestion was a slow process as well, though that is almost completely fixed. Every inch is hard-earned. Pain is required to continue moving forward. This process doesn't give me a choice.

    I do hope that the really tough days will suddenly go away. That I still believe might happen, so I guess there is faith in some sort of "aha" moment.

    Other improvements are subtle, and often short-lived. As I said above, each cycle is a microcosm of my entire brain/CNS recouping its abilities. Just so happens that I'm at the end of another one (lasted ~80 days days). One of those subtle things I've noticed is laughter. Oftentimes throughout this reboot I've been able to laugh, but during this cycle it's been fairly prevalant. I'd say I've experienced some form of laughter 1/3 of the days. Been able to maintain a solid workout schedule lately. Another nice addition. I've also been able to read for longer periods, and to maintain focus a little more easily. My cognition is the slowest attribute when it comes to improvement. I've been so fuckin' dumb for so fuckin' long, so it has been nice to notice an uptick.

    Motivation is still at the low end. I think, when coupled with social anxiety, it becomes quite difficult for me to leave the house on certain days. In fact, for the past ~2 weeks I've been a hermit. And I don't force it. I don't judge myself. I know that the desire to be out in the world will return as the cycle progresses/ends.

    Another thing that's at the low end is creativity/empathy/ability to feel emotions and love. It rarely happens, and makes life quite bland. Anhedonia is still a massive fuckin' issue. It's the fucking worst, actually. God damn do I hate anhedonia. I want to feel joy again.

    There is still an ever-present film that separates me from life. Also a major bummer, though it has gotten thinner during this current cycle. That might even be qualified as an improvement. Nature seems more vibrant. Colors explode more. I can also smell flowers and fresh-cut wood and other shit like that, though it all comes and goes still.

    I've observed the lengths of other long-timers and I think the truth is unavoidable: this new breed of addicts, who I imagine started early and hard-core, are taking 3 or so years, as opposed to 2. Still waiting on a lot of success stories. In fact, I haven't read a concrete one since DonQuixote's. And the one guy on reddit who took 40-some months (absurd). I'm not trying to offend anyone but merely pointing out what I've seen.

    This shit is a plague upon humanity, and I refuse to believe otherwise. I play a game called League of Legends when times are tough (want time to pass) and I oftentimes see player names like "stepsis" and "stepbro" and the names of pornstars (hope this isn't triggering). And I mean often. Warped, fucked up genres are mainstream. I can't even imagine how deplorable the "content" has gotten. I mean, it's just vile, and ubiquitous. And it's so fuckin normalized. It's so alienating to be aware of this scourge and to have society accept it so thoroughly. Not to get too political, but societal values, in my eyes, are completely askew. So weird how the worst things are ignored, while attention is given to the trivial bullshit. Humanity lets me down a lot of the times, so I've made a conscious effort to create my own little bubble. I have passions and interests and I try and stick to observing those (still can't really engage in them, as I said). Only when I'm really down do I start feeling this doomsdayish, so I guess a part of me is apologizing upfront. I've also spent a lot of time indoors and have a limited perspective. I really hope that the dummies are the loudest, and that most folks are just trying to enjoy themselves.

    I don't know how long this reboot is going to take. Whenever I start feeling optimistic I get stomped back down the ladder, to the wrung of pessimism. The not-knowing is kind of heartbreaking.

    Overall the past 2-3 months have been the most revealing. I'm now receiving a constant supply of evidence that things are improving. I no longer fuel my recovery gauges entirely on faith. That's a good thing. Just a matter of how much more pain I have to endure. It's getting quite old, and monotonous.

    This experience is life-changing. It's toughened me up a great deal. I've learned a lot. I feel myself to be a completely different person than who I was in my early 20s. My confidence has sky-rocketed. I've come so ridiculously acquainted with my inner thoughts that not a thing goes by that I'm not aware of. No thought goes by undetected. I've also built up a ton of scar-tissue, which I know will make the difficulties of life seem less daunting. I may have said this before, but when I hear about the complaints of others I wince. "How can that be bothering you so deeply?" It's an armor. An its character. Before this "experience" I didn't have much of either. If I tried to become a novelist I would have had nothing to write about. I lived behind a mask. I ignored large swaths of territory within my soul. I hated so much about who I was. Family, location, and immediate surroundings can really mess with a person, though I am fully aware that so many other people in this world have it much, much harder. Still though, getting fucked with on a spiritual level, as a defenseless child, is fuckin diabolical, and I resent the people whom I blame. I can't wait to fuckin show some of these fuckwads that my blueprint is fuckin' better than theirs (I obviously have a lot of anger to work through. Tis' a good thing in my eyes, it is no longer directed at myself, and it's an emotion.) Jealousy is a nasty thing. People want you small so they can feel big, at least the ones that I grew up with. Hope y'all can understand that I only recently have started to get exposed to good people, so I'm quite cagey when it comes to trust in others.

    Speaking of material planes, I've been able to formulate plans. A lot of them. God knows I've had more than enough time to think about it. I now have things to look forward to, and within the next half-year I'm going to take action, regardless of how I feel. Things are only going to get easier. It's time to start building something. A significant portion of said plans is to turn around and help others. I'm planning on becoming a therapist.

    On the side I will write creatively. And read widely. I think variety is a spice, and the place I plan on moving to (NYC) has a plethora of options when it comes to advanced degrees that occur during the night, for folks who work. Who knows where life will lead, but this is my rough outline. I figure I need to start moving, and rely on steadily increasing momentum. I want to experience a lot and to live as hard as I can. This whole porn thing has taken up a large chunk of time.

    Libido isn't something I worry about or take stock in. It comes and goes. I'll let my future decisions about career and life-trajectory to dictate my love life. Need to expose myself to like-minded people. Need to get myself out there.

    Kind of fearful of exposing so much of myself to strangers, but once I leave this site I'll be gone, and I'll never meet any of you in person. So who gives a shit.
     
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  9. Dave G 123

    Dave G 123 Fapstronaut

    Great post. I agree with / relate to so much of it. I just wish I'd managed 32 months - that's really something to be proud of. Hopefully I'll be with you one day.
     
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  10. zander13

    zander13 Fapstronaut

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    Thanks man, and I hope you get there too.
     
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  11. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this. I think while going through recovery it is easy to forget that there are others going through the exact same as you simply from being so focussed on your own recovery.

    I agree that there is currently a shortage of success stories. Don Quixote's was the probably the last big recovery and it's a shame he deactivated his account. Cheers to hoping that our stories will be next.
     
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  12. winningover

    winningover Fapstronaut

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    3 years completed now without porn. Had a good 45 days window last month without symptoms. Got back into PAWS about 10 days ago and with new and different symptoms. New symptoms are insomnia, digestion issues and heartburn....like acid reflux. And some other old symptoms. I definitely feel head pressures and tingling in different parts of my brain throughout the day. It's not just frontal pressure anymore. I don't know what it is but I tend to think that it's my brain healing. Its a very very slow process. I feel that core brain part that requires healing is CNS and amygdala. Chemical balance is perhaps not such an issue so long in the reboot process . The root cause is fucked up fight/flight response and anxiety which bring along a host of other issues.
     
  13. FujiFan4

    FujiFan4 Fapstronaut

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    Just wondering if anyone has had a similar situation to me. 121 days no PMO (except one O with wife 8 days ago), but my use of hard-core P/tube sites stopped about 20 months ago.

    Does coming from a place of significantly reduced stimulation mean I might come out of PAWS earlier than I would have otherwise? Has anyone else come from a place of 'weaning' themselves onto a lesser stimulus before stopping PMO?
     
  14. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

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    Do you mind elaborating on what you mean here? What exactly do you mean by 'lesser stimulus' - what alternative stimulus are you referring to?
     
  15. FujiFan4

    FujiFan4 Fapstronaut

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    So, by lesser stimulus, I basically mean that I went from watching hardcore P to only using pictures or softcore TV stations to PMO, and that was the case for around 18 months until I stopped PMO 121 days ago. Frequency was lessened as well, as I was trying to do NoFap streaks by myself for about 12 months before my current one.

    Having read Your Brain on P, I have maybe the simplified understanding that this might've helped to reduce my dopamine tolerance, and maybe I'd already started to reverse some of the damage by making such a switch.

    It's difficult for me to gauge my own level of PAWS, because I also had some depression that went back way before I stopped PMO that I'm only just addressing. I definitely feel vacant sometimes, and I get tired, but I also have Crohn's disease which complicates matters.

    All in all, I was just wondering, purely anecdotally, whether there was a correlation between frequency/intensity of P usage and the severity/duration of PAWS.
     
  16. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

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    While I don't hold any evidence, in my opinion the difference between hardcore and softcore is likely minimal. Softcore is still very likely releasing dopamine, even if not at the same amount as hardcore. The aim of the reboot is to abstain from all PMO. I think at best, softcore once in a while may pause your recovery, however it could also slow you down or enitrely pull your recovery backwards.

    I once read a recovery story of a guy that took 2 years to recover from PIED. In his recovery story he stated how he realised towards the end that he had to cut out Instagram models and dating apps to fully recover. He realised that the additional peeking had stunted his recovery and that he could have been cured months ago.

    The truth is it is hard to say, which is why its best to abstain altogether. You may find yourself on this site an extra year later, simply because you have been hanging onto the last bit of stimulation. My question would be why are you clinging onto softcore? What will actually happen if you leave it behind?
     
  17. Ezpz

    Ezpz Fapstronaut

    Keep in mind that your brain does not distinguish between softcore and hardcore. It only recognises the stimulation part.

    This is consistent with my experience aswell. Hardcore or softcore both set me back in the same way. Hope that helps
     
  18. FujiFan4

    FujiFan4 Fapstronaut

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    I don't use softcore, if you read my post you'd realise that I've not done PMO for 122 days now, but that until this streak I WAS using softcore like IG models etc. rather than PHub or the like.

    So I'm not relapsing to P or subs, in fact I deleted TV channels, use blockers and got rid of social media to give myself the best chance, and tbh once I got past a few weeks, it's personally been quite easy so far.

    I guess I was wondering whether my brain would have less rewiring to do, but as was pointed out before, my brain wasn't distinguishing between what it was seeing, so it's likely that mental clarity will still take many months/years to fully restore.
     
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  19. mentorr

    mentorr Fapstronaut

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    Ok I understand, I may have misunderstood your original message.

    I think as you said the answer remains the same, your brain likely does not differentiate between softcore or hardcore. Stimulation is stimulation and dopamine is dopamine unfortunately. I think the plus side if any is that you calmed things down slightly rather than escalating into heavier forms of PMO which some people do.

    Good to hear that things have been easy, I hope it remains that way for the remainder of your reboot.
     
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  20. winningover

    winningover Fapstronaut

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    I am stuck in a pretty bad place all over again. How things change so quickly within days, it's shocking to say the least. If you guys remember, I posted a while back that i got my PAWS symptoms back after a gap of good 3-4 months. I really thought that I had recovered and I am just dealing with some PTSD and residual effect. But that was not the case. It was just a good window. Now to top it off, I got GERD, throat ache, high fever and body pains. It is obviously some virus and I have given tests for it. The Doc is saying it could be Covid although I recovered from Covid just 6 months back. It really sucks to be hit with any virus or infection when you are already going through PAWS. I also believe that PAWS tend to decrease overall immunity thereby making you more susceptible to any viral/bacterial attack.

    My PAWS this time include insomnia, sleep apnea, anxiety, GERD. Insomnia and sleep apnea is killing me because I really need to sleep in order to recover quickly from virus. I keep waking up with a shock and high heartbeat whenever I go to sleep. I do think that root cause is anxiety. Any quick tips would be great esp. from ppl with experience of insomnia and sleep apnea.
     
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