The role of anxiety in PMO addiction

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by Sufficient Grace, May 3, 2014.

  1. Sufficient Grace

    Sufficient Grace Fapstronaut

    Over recent weeks and months I have been focussing on abstaining from PMO by visiting this site and others. I have been trying to exercise and read wisdom literature every day. I have also been quite regularly journalling about my thoughts and insights as they arise.
    One of the interesting things that happens is a gradually deepening of understanding about why I fap.
    I can increasingly see that I suffer from anxiety and I have for the longest time used PMO as a way of self medicating. This is quite a profound insight for me.
    I suffer from anxiety about all sorts of things. This morning I received a vm message about some paper work I have not done. I felt a shape pain of anxiety and even now I have not listened to the message. In all reality it will be the simplest thing to resolve, yet I put my head in the sand and hope that it will go away.
    I found then that during the afternoon I was feeling triggered and now I can perhaps see that underlying anxiety is part of the reason.
    I similarly feel anxiety about personal conflicts at work, personal financial management and a range of pretty mundane issues. Almost always, when I muster the necessary courage, they are simple problems to resolve.
    So, I can see that learning ways of managing anxiety better is a crucial part of managing my PMO habits.

    I would be very interested to hear from others about your experiences with anxiety. Do you have similar bouts of anxiety as me? Has PMO been a means of self-medication for you? How have you sought to deal with anxiety better?
    Kreb, SnowWhite and Eagle15 like this.
  2. Sufficient Grace

    Sufficient Grace Fapstronaut

    This is great advice and sits very well with my experience. I know that I prefer a clean environment even if I am pretty messy. A clean uncluttered environment helps me to feel calmer.
    So I will experiment with cleaning the house regularly each day this week and see how we go.
  3. stygian

    stygian Fapstronaut

    Absolutely! But the relationship is, PMO addiction CAUSES the anxiety. After a few months without PMO, I am expecting the anxiety to disappear. The challenging part is that it is difficult in the short-term because the release is taken away and one really wants to go back to the anxiety-relieving behavior. There is a great book on smoking by Allan Carr that explains the relationship between smoking and anxiety. From everything I have read/experienced, it is the exact same with PMO. PMO causes a constant low-level state of anxiety, that is increased over normal. Then engaging in the addiction, brings down the anxiety level, but not to normal (or maybe momentarily). However, the anxiety level increases when using the substance wears off, and is at an increased level than it was before. If you are at a bookstore or library, I highly recommend just looking at his analogy, it's toward the beginning of the book and involves a skin condition and cream, it's just spot on.
    Eagle15 likes this.
  4. Sufficient Grace

    Sufficient Grace Fapstronaut

    I have had a really shit weekend, engulfed by anxiety. However, even though I still feel exhausted by the anxiety, like I have been hit by a truck, I can see more clearly the ways in which anxiety affects my mood and judgement. And perhaps most importantly I can see how I have used PMO as a means of self medicating anxiety, and how ineffective that has been.
    I struggled through yesterday desperately wanting some relief, but white knuckled my way through the day.
    I did find myself binge eating over the weekend in a way I have not done in a very long time. This is another self-destructive way in which I have sought to ease the pain of anxiety.
    This week I am seeking out the support of a counsellor or psychologist to deal with the anxiety and its causes. I have a list of 3 with whom I am going to meet with this week and then select one to go forward. Exercise, meditation and adequate sleep are the mainstay of my management plan at present.
    I am also going to attend a 12 step meeting on wednesday evening, for the first time. Feel nervous, but also a little excited, about that.
  5. Iggy

    Iggy Fapstronaut

    I know what you mean about burying your head in the sand over little things. If I received an email to do something I'd put it off for ages or if I had to make a phone call I'd start getting butterflies in my stomach. The worst would be with exam revision- I'd get stuck on a topic and it'd just send me straight to porn rather than working throught the problem. My confidence and everything was pretty shot. Now I'm not completely blaming PMO for my confidence going straight off a cliff, but since seriously trying to stop the addiction I have been tackling things more head on. I'm not cowering from pathetic little 'issues' and I'm getting more out of my life for it.
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Fapstronaut

    The Magic with actively keeping your place clean is not only to feel good in a clear place. The thing is that you will feel very good and a bit empowered by having made it. The same way you can feel less like shit by taking a shower right when you're dirty or by putting nice clothes on a day off.

    There are way to kick the bachelor frog out, he's the problem. That guy's funny only because we can relate to him, unfortunately because of the low self esteem and same laziness issues...
  7. Peaceful Warrior

    Peaceful Warrior Fapstronaut

    I've been reading your journal Pilgrim and although I don't think I had anxiety issues such as yours I can relate.

    I think you're on the right tracks seeing a psychologist although you have to be careful as some are very good and some very bad... I can't give much advice on how to find the good ones tho..

    I think the 12 steps will help you too, they really do look at your whole psyche and give it a good clean out. If you do stick with the 12 step group, I'd get a sponsor and do the 12 steps asap

    Best wishes bro
  8. Sufficient Grace

    Sufficient Grace Fapstronaut

    Some more insights about anxiety
    I am learning more and more about applying mindfulness to understand the role that anxiety plays in my PMO habit.
    Today I was driving home after a morning appointment. I have a number of things to get done inn the afternoon. I became aware that I was experiencing a generalised sense of anxiety. I started worrying about all that I had to do, without focussing on specific tasks. The sense of anxiety started to rise.
    I then noted what I was experiencing. I understood that this anxiety is an emotion, and I can choose to think differently about the work I need to do. I can choose to set the anxiety aside and focus on a concrete plan to address those tasks that need to get done. And I know that with a good plan I could make good headway on several of those tasks this afternoon.
    Too often in the past, another scenario would be played out. I would feel the anxiety rise. I would become incapacitated by the anxiety and then I would seek relief through PMO. This would lead to more wasted time and more anxiety.
    It is my experience that mindfulness can play a very significant role in reducing anxiety and for me, that is leading to less PMO.
    I would be very interested to hear if others have had this experience.
  9. papy_o_daniel

    papy_o_daniel Fapstronaut

    My experience is quite close to yours. A general "irrationnal" sense of anxiety grow inside of me and lead me to P&M. The pattern you described is close to mine. To help fight this feeling I use meditation and breathing when anxiety grows. I explain as well in my journal how you need to enjoy small everyday happiness. We are in a sociéty that lead you to only think in term of goals you have to obtain. we are constantly under pressure to perform and reach milestones. This is not a bad thing but your life cannot resume only to this. I try to balance it by enjoying little everyday things with the family or alone (I'm not talink about P&M !).
    Eagle15 likes this.
  10. Sufficient Grace

    Sufficient Grace Fapstronaut

    Good to hear your experiences papy.
    My main practices for managing anxiety are:
    - daily exercise
    - mediation
    - planning and preparation
    - adequate sleep
    - healthy diet
    - journalling
    If I can keep most of these going, I am usually able to keep anxiety in check.
  11. Eagle15

    Eagle15 Fapstronaut

    Thank you so much for your post. You are really helping inspire the rest of us. I too am just starting on this journey, I am 51 was raised in an abusive alcoholic household and I've been PMO since age 11 to deal with my constant anxiety. I too use PMO is medication. I made it 10 days but like any junkie I went back to it. Now it's been two days and I'm observing that it is my anxiety or discomfort exactly like you described, that triggers. I've been praying to our lady to pray for me and all of us, for the grace to be free of this horrible addiction, that has contributed a great deal to me having a very difficult life. I wish it were one day at a time, right now it's one minute at a time. I quit drinking and smoking and that was a snap compared to this.
  12. jpd123

    jpd123 Fapstronaut

    Glad I stumbled across this forum. I've struggled with performance anxiety all my life. I would always worry when I was with someone if I would be able to get it up. Many times I couldn't. There were very few women in my life that I could actually perform with. I believe part of my addiction has been a sort of escape from my anxiety. When I'm watching porn and masturbating, I have complete control over the woman, the situation, and no anxiety. I am the man I could never really be with real women. I hope that somehow by giving up PMO, it will also help me find relief from the anxiety. And without the anxiety, may the ED and delayed ejaculation will be cured too.
    Tribe41 likes this.
  13. programer

    programer Fapstronaut

    This is why I belong to Nofap. Many people have Similar problems like Mine. I have suffered from this curse of Anxiety for long. Since I started Nofap, it is reducing. Thanks for this post.
  14. IGY

    IGY Guest

  15. jpd123

    jpd123 Fapstronaut

    Good thoughts guys. I believe my performance anxiety comes from a mental issue where I think my penis is somehow not adequate. I've always been a "grower" not a "shower". I believe Im perfectly fine when I'm erect, but it tends to shrink significantly when flaccid. So I've always felt I had to be erect when I was with a woman to appear normal. This was what led to the onset of my ED problem. I was so anxious about getting it up that I couldn't. Then came porn and the misconception that most men must look like those guys, and the women seem to really love those hung like a horse guys. It is amazing what a warped picture porn gives. Men that are really not average, women who can take anything, sex acts that nobody actually performs (not many woman really like getting rammed in the butt with an overly large penis), Exaggerated orgasms, gang bangs, lesbian and bi-sexual trios, and so on. Not saying these things don't really happen, but they are far from the norm. But you add those visualizations to someone who is already anxious about his own physical appearance and ability, and it's a recipe for a lifetime of sexual dysfunction. I am speaking here from my own personal experience. Then you start using porn as an alternative to real sex because when you're by yourself watching a video, there is no pressure and anxiety and you are all of the sudden as good as those guys on the video. It's a viscous circle that has to be broken. For me, the start is to remove the artificial visualization and unnatural expectations caused by porn.
  16. travelling fapstronaut

    travelling fapstronaut Fapstronaut

    Interesting post, as someone who has suffered anxiety since my early teens (probably around the time i started watching porn, conincidentally) i can certainly agree that porn is a way to escape for a while. Having quit PMO, my anxiety has all but disappeared. Its still there dont get me wrong, but i feel as though im in control now and able to deal with it. I am more organised thanks to the extra time and motivation i have as a result of nofap and im sure this plays a key part in me preventing any scenario that could spell an anxiety attack. anxiety leads you to porn, porn makes anxiety worse. Vicious cycle
  17. enoughnow

    enoughnow Fapstronaut

    This is pretty much what my life was like for many years. I haven't studied mindfulness formally but I know that it is really important.
  18. Hi,
    I suffer from panic and anxiety disorder as well. I learned that stopping bad habits is crucial but that it will initially trigger anxiety as your brain tries to rebalance. I've suffered from PMO addiction for many years and I didn't ever think it would lead to the living hell I've been through but that is what fapping does. It completely robs you of energy, vitality and rips apart your inner peace. Other than that you need to think about certain behaviors as well. For instance, I didn't like eating with certain people in the past, now I get anxious whenever I need to sit and eat with other people. Over time your brain conditions itself and will consider safe situations to be a treath due to unresolved stress and negative energy, even if you are no longer experiencing the situation or if you are out of the relationship. You're basically stuck in a negative cycle of fight or flight behavior. Obviously stopping PMO is important because that is a stressor and robs the body of vital physical energy. But it's important to think about the past too... Anything that triggered fear and stress needs to be adressed but the hard thing is figuring out how to do that. I think trauma resolving therapy and medication are crucial to resolve the mess we are in. PMO withdrawal in itself is hell and I think therapy and medication could be the key to deliverance. Patients recovering from alcohol addiction are often prescribed benzodiazepines to cope with withdrawal, it might help us too and in fact I have taken them for some time now and do experience some sort of relief in the short term, but I do realize it's important not to go from one addiction to the other. But medication could help and if the anxiety gets really bad it's important to talk to your GP or psychiatrist about it. Recovering from addiction isn't a walk in the park. I don't have enough experience with meditation to give any advice about that but relaxation and breathing exercises might help as well. Anything that helps your brain rewire will do. I find exercise to help sometimes but not every time. I think it depends on your motivation and the time you do it. Hang in there.
    All the best
  19. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Fapstronaut

    It's very good you found that insight. With this important insight, you are on the way.

    Yes, absolutely, 100% for me. PMO is a way of "self-medication" and even worse, it is a way to escape from taking certain decisions. With that, life is not flowing, it is more like stop-and-go traffic.

    When I stopped PMO and when I became very strict with myself, then suddenly the fears popped up in extreme way. It was really unbelievable (increased heart beat, heavy breathing, belly tightness, ...)
    However, I pushed through this and learned to handle it (mainly with self-hypnosis) and since that, I made signifacnt progress.

    You need to face your fears, only then you can truly handle them.

    Fears are normal, they are a survival function - but we can train ourself to use them, instead of running away from them.

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