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What use is self improvement when I am still lonely?

Discussion in 'Loneliness' started by AtomicTango, May 20, 2020.

  1. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    I've been doing NoFap for over 3 years now. In that time I have gone on very long streaks, one at over 300 days, one over 100, and a few that were over 60 days. Suffice to say, I'm not a newbie.

    In the time I have been doing this, I have experienced many positive benefits, I wont list them all but one big benefit I have noticed is a reduction, if not complete eradication of brain fog and lethargy. I feel a lot more energised most days, and if I dont, its not down to PMO. I have channelled my improved focus and energy into many positive productive things; I exercise daily, I try to eat reasonably healthily. Last year I read 48 books and this year I am on track to read more than that, maybe even 50+. Last year and early this year I started writing short stories, I'm currently writing a full length novel and progress is fantastic, I am really happy with it. In terms of leisure, videogames are less interesting to me now so I am trying to vary my "off time" as much as possible with a wider variety of music, movies, TV shows etc alongside those things. I know that doesnt sound like much of an achievement but its a small one for a creature of habit like myself who never used to like exposing himself to new things, even things that were supposed to be fun. I guess the TLDR of this my life is generally pretty good, there are some complaints but in terms of my personal growth, I'm kinda pleased overall.

    But yet I am still, to quote an earlier thread I started months and months back, lonely as shit. I really am. I dont mean to sound so weak and I dont know if its just the post relapse comedown hitting me (I relapsed like half an hour before writing this) but I feel very, for want of a better word, "low" a lot of the time. Not bad specifically, not really depressed in the true sense of the word, but just "low", not at my best, or anywhere near it. I have a borderline antagonist relationship with my family, to the extent I dont really like spending any time with them more than I am obligated to, and I do have a fair few friends but the majority are online friends I physically cant interact with in real life, and the rest are nice people but either have a tendency to just vanish of the face of the earth for days or weeks or even months at a time, or seem generally unwilling to do anything with me. And when I say "do something" I mean play games online or even talk over voice chat. I haven't done anything with a person in real life, like go out and hang out or whatever, in more than a year now. I think the last time was when I went to go see Avengers near when the last movie released, although there is a chance I'm forgetting other instances. To top it all off, I seem to crave emotional or even romantic intimacy but I dont have it, and to be honest never really have. I have never had a relationship or really even come close to one, and of course I have never had sex. I feel like I'm too socially inept at this point to really fix my issues, to such an extent I sometimes wonder if I am mentally ill in some way even though I am pretty damn sure I'm not, other than pretty bad anxiety.

    To sum it up, I feel like I cannot really overcome my issues with NoFap alone, and as long as I have these issues I cant really progress, and will remain stuck in this vicious cycle where my other issues and PMO problems feed into each other. Any feedback whatsoever would be much appreciated.
     
  2. I normally ignore great walls of text. But you're a good dude and an OG, so I'll respond.

    This mirrors my life pretty accurately. I don't have the successes with NoFap that you do, but in a couple years' time, I could be there. I have always been isolated, averse to social situations, never wanted to go out or interact with people. It just seemed more boring than being my myself. I've also started to wonder if my social ineptitude is because of a mental illness or something. But honestly I think it's just from not interacting enough. You kind of forget how people work. For example, I have no idea what a "date" is or how it works, and other stuff like that. I don't know how to put money in a bank, don't know how to fix a car, and feel pretty useless sometimes.

    I have received advice from several people about this over the years. And what they mostly tell me is that you just have to force yourself into these situations until they aren't awkward or boring anymore. Humans are supposed to feel comfortable around other humans, and enjoy this kind of activity. The most improvement I've ever seen was when I bullied myself into going out and doing things I didn't want to. It has completely lowered my anxiety and broadened my perspective and wisdom. I think that your problem seems bad from where you're sitting, but it can be solved rather easily. We live in the internet age - you aren't the only one like this. There are plenty of men and women who feel just like you. I am one of them. But the thing you have to realize is that this change will not happen without difficulty - just like NoFap. It's like taking an ice bath - there's only one way to do it, and it never feels any better the more you hesitate, but damn do you feel good once it's over.
     
  3. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    Thanks, and lol. I always forget to properly format the things I post here and I dont know why, I always write in a stream of consciousness kinda way that is probably offputting to some.

    I am extremely introverted but the weird thing is, I know that in some situations I'm completely the opposite. Obviously you dont know me irl so this statement is something you will just have to take my word on, but at university I was like a completely different person in a lot of ways, I was able to be sociable, able to take charge in an academic and social context, and while I didn't like what I was actually doing at uni, I was still able to be way less awkward and insecure throughout most of it. I cannot for the life of me explain what changed.

    I do think in general that a lot of what you said may come as a result of living in your own head too much, and me in mine. We use outlets like videogames or books or TV or whatever as a way to cope with a lack of proper social awareness or ability. The problem with this is it allows us to exist within a fantasy world where the outside world doesnt exist, and as soon as we are reminded that it does, it starts to hurt us, or at least we perceive it to.

    I remember reading something about this once, and it said that people who experience social anxiety may have a problem with their fight or flight response due to some underlying issue. This means that where a "normal" person feels at ease in social situations, a person with anxiety feels the same way they might do if they were actually under some sort of threat, in some cases its literally a primal fear response to the mundane.

    It is very clear that I need to force myself to do things I dont want to do, and that realistically is the only practical way to solve the issue. No amount of pseudo-introspection will help if I dont do anything with what I learn from it. Having said that, its just so difficult sometimes. I would not wish the way I feel about certain everyday things even on people I utterly despise.

    Regardless, thank you for the response.
     
    FellatiousD likes this.
  4. p1n1983

    p1n1983 Fapstronaut

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    Social skills can be learned. There are a lot of books about that, nofap is going to give you energy, drive and motivation to go after everything you want, but is not going to solve all your problems. You need to take action and learn about social skills and then go out and put them into practice, that's the only way you will get out of your lonliness.
     
    AtomicTango and Deleted Account like this.
  5. Lets see, even tho Nofap is pretty good and you, obviously, are doing great with it, maybe that wasnt a correct (adecuate) solution to your "problem".

    I mean, you are kind of an introverted "inward" persona and you are doing NoFap and discipline yourself, and that is like going in the "same direction", that makes sense? It requires a lot of inward perspective to do that. And also you are a writter. You are writing a book! wich is also in that inward direction.

    It seems like, when you follow that direction again and again and again, doing activities that closes more and more from the outside, you are kind of protecting from feeling unconfortable, or feeling uncertain, or some other ugly feeling. You are stiffing youself. You protect youself so much that you endup in a prision. No wonder you are craving a true relationship and romance. You are longing to be free.

    I dont want to sound like a complete *ick, surely i dont have anything figured out for myself. But, as i see the "problem" here (there is no problem actually) is pretty SIMPLE what you need, man. Pretty dmn simple:

    You need a girl
     
  6. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    Agreed. Its not that I dont have social skills per se, its that I get extremely anxious when I am put in a position where I have to use them. I feel like I am socially inept but the truth is I am likely not, I am just extremely anxious about things to the point it borders on ridiculous sometimes. I can make myself extremely worried and anxious just by THINKING about doing something, let alone approaching a point where I'm actually doing it.
     
  7. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    This is a long term goal definitely, but my issue with this is twofold. Firstly, I feel almost completely undesirable a lot of the time, just just in a romantic sense but also as a person in general. Spending so much time alone can have that effect on a persons mind. Secondly, I dont think being in a relationship would really solve the problem, unless I somehow manage to stumble into a fairytale relationship with a dream girl who fixes all my problems for me. This of course, wont happen, and even on the 0.00000000001% chance that it did, I would just become even worse if and when the relationship ended. I'm lonely and depressed a lot of the time but I'm not delusional, I know that I cant lean on another person to help me, I have to do it myself. Thats why its so hard.
     
    jax2k19 and Supination like this.
  8. No, buddy, i didnt say that.
    "getting" a relationship isn`t going to change nothing... but "loving" somebody, actively, DOING a relationship, CHOOSING another person definetly is going to work wonders with you. You need to focus you energy, your atention on somebody else. That is what i am saying (not inwards yourself) got it?

    You sound like a complete victim, like a complete pasive person.
    The joy is not in the GETTING is in the DOING. You are not going to GET happiness, hapiness is the road. :D i do admit that this sh*t is complex.

    When you say "I feel almost completely undesirable a lot of the time" you are talking about somebody elses desire, somebody elses love. I am talking about YOUR LOVE.

    You want to feel desired? or you want to feel the desire?
     
    David Angelo likes this.
  9. OhWhenThe

    OhWhenThe Fapstronaut

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    You're not alone mate, well, maybe you are but you're not alone in feeling this way.

    I've become so isolated from the rest of the world that I may as well have been in a coma these past 10 years, I wouldn't even know how to reintegrate back into society. I've been considering solo travel, it would be massively out of my comfort zone and honestly I think there's a good chance it would end in me just walking around on my own in a foreign environment feeling even worse but I figure it's worth a try. I was planning on doing it this summer but Covid has put paid to that so will have to delay it now. I was never like this as a kid, I had plenty of friends and female attention but I just became more and more detached as time went on.
     
    Deleted Account likes this.
  10. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    I understand what you are saying, I just dont understand how this actually helps. I'm not trying to be obtuse, I'm really not, but how does focusing my attention away from fixing my own problems actually help me? Thats the part I dont get, how does doing that do anything other than distract from the issues at hand?

    I'm pretty passive in a lot of areas, very driven in others, I think I am like this because I genuinely dont know how to do certain things that may lead to the things I want, and in general I dont really enjoy doing much, so I stick to the things I do like.

    I'll admit I dont get what you mean by this, or at least I dont think I do. Are you talking about me loving myself? As for your last question, I guess both?
     
  11. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    Its funny you mention that, I also considered solo travel but wasnt really anywhere close to figuring out what I would actually do, it was just a pipe dream. I can also relate to feeling difficulty in integrating into society; even though its only 2 and a half years for me, not 10, I feel like ever since I left uni my already bad situation has gotten worse and worse and worse. Its hard not to feel like any time I feel fulfilment or happiness is just me distracting myself or fooling myself. May I ask what you have been doing for ten years to make you feel like this?
     
  12. elevate

    elevate Fapstronaut

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    You're addicted to the story that you've been telling yourself. Everyday you're doing the same things, reaffirming the same thoughts, and repeating the same feelings. All of this feeds your old life. Your identity. It might be painful and undesirable, but it's safe and comfortable. The devil you know vs the devil you don't. This identity protects you from all of the unknown possibilities that lead to emotional volatility. Walls of self preservation are also walls of self imprisonment.

    Your old life keeps repeating because you let it and on a deeper level you want it to keep repeating. It's predictable and familiar. It's all under the disguise of productivity and self improvement.

    So you have to do something unusual, unpredictable, unknown, uncertain, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable to create a different identity and life. Something scary and that might not work. Creating assumptions of what might or might not happen in order to make yourself hesitate or avoid is just another way to create walls of self imprisonment / preservation.

    That's pretty much it.... do something that you normally don't do. Over and over again. To disrupt the old patterns and create new possibilities. Expose yourself to new activities (more social ones) / new people / new environments / new possibilities. Put yourself in situations where things can actually happen.

    Everyday and every moment you have a choice to hold on to the past patterns or create new ones. Your results in life come down to which you commit to more than the other.
     
  13. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    I agree with this sentiment, but at the same time, I'm not exaggerating when I say I genuinely dont like doing maybe 95% of things I try to do. I think maybe the way I worded my original post has given the impression that I have never tried to do the things suggested, not just by you but by others, and I want to clarify that I have, and it just didnt work out for whatever reason. Its been in the last 2 or so years that I've fallen into this slump.

    I think what OhWhenThe said aligns quite well with my own sentiments, especially the bit regarding travelling. I feel like that would have been a good way to get out of my comfort zone and it was something I was thinking about before all this pandemic shit started. Not using that as an excuse, chances are I wouldn't be doing anything this year anyway, but sometime beyond that I definitely wanted to, I just needed to push myself.
     
    Deleted Account likes this.
  14. Now you are asking the questions, that is good.
    Your attention want to fly away from the walls that are emprisoning you.
    You dont have any "issues", you are ok, but somehow you make yourself believe that. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing to "fix", dude! Who made you believe that bullsh*t?
    The reality is absolutely backwards that in the way you are approaching it: those aparent "problems" of yours are actually distracting you.

    I will tell you what is going on here, because i am here to help: You builded yourself up away from reality, because you are afraid to get hurt by the things you love. You numbed yourself trying to not feel pain.

    No, i am talking to love somebody else. Like a grown up person. Like in a serious relationship (romantic of not)
    TO LOVE.
    With flaws (from you and from the other person), with care, with responsaility, with desire, with respect, with knowing. That is what i am talking about. With everything at the stake. With no certainty whatsoever. It can really really suck, it hurts. But that is what makes it worthwile.

    PS: I agree %100 with what @elevate is saying. Exactly the same thing. He saids: "you have to do something unusual, unpredictable, unknown, uncertain, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable to create a different identity and life." and i say: "You have to love" <3
     
  15. OhWhenThe

    OhWhenThe Fapstronaut

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    Nothing if I'm being brutally honest.

    I work with family so I don't see anyone else outside of that really. I come home, spend hours aimlessly browsing online, go to sleep and repeat. I used to have friends online I'd play with and talk to but even with them I gradually lost contact. It started that same way too with my real life friends, they'd want me to hang out but over time it just appealed to me less and less to the point where they knew it was no longer worth the bother of even asking me. Up until the age of about 17 I was the complete opposite, always wanted to be with friends, hated being alone but for whatever reason that all changed to the point where I'm now at the other end of the spectrum.

    I do work out and run daily but like you I often feel like it's totally pointless, I'll often find myself mid work-out wondering why am I even doing this. When I do go out(on my own, duh) I look around and feel like I'm not even part of this planet, I can't relate to anything that's going on around me. On the outside I'm just a normal looking guy, I'm not stupid(not a genius either, mind) but internally I just don't feel like I belong anywhere. I want to break out of this prison I've confined myself to but I don't even know where to start. It's why I was looking at solo-travel but whilst my idealistic picture of travelling is me leaving my inhibitions behind, meeting people and having fun, the realistic part of me is saying that I'm just going to end up on my own and come back feeling even more dejected.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  16. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    I think I get what you are trying to say, but I definitely do have problems that need to be addressed, its not "bullshit" at all. I know I have bad anxiety issues, I have always had them, I have literally had panic attacks before. I wouldn't say wanting to address this is a distraction.

    Beyond that, I agree with the second part of what you said, I definitely use a lot of things as coping mechanisms.

    I'll just be blunt and say I have absolutely no idea how to do any of that.
     
  17. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    Thank you for your honesty, and holy hot damn, this sounds almost word for word like something I would write, with the exception of the working with family part.

    I do a lot of productive things on a daily basis (my schedule has been interrupted by the pandemic but I'm mainly talking about from before this started) and I often feel like a lot of them are pointless. Even things I do for fun are starting to feel like a waste of time. The things I get the most consistent enjoyment out of are reading and writing and maybe watching a really good movie or something. I know for a fact PMO addiction worsens these feelings of apathy but they dont cause them. If they did cause them then my extremely long streaks would have completely changed me and of course, they didnt.

    What you say about not feeling like you are part of this planet almost sounds like disassociation. Normally I would be very hesitant to use such a psychology focused word like that but I'm using it because I honestly feel the same way a lot of the time, like I'm not really here. Like I'm just going through the motions of doing things and not actually doing them. Its hard to put into words to be honest.

    I had the same concern about solo travelling, but to be fair the places I would want to go are full of things I would be able to do alone anyway. For me the main appeal of it is the confidence boost of KNOWING I did it.
     
    dolphingambler likes this.
  18. johnmicormick

    johnmicormick Fapstronaut

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    I feel you man, I get anxious in social situations too. I’ve been doing nofap for about a year now, gotten some high streaks and it’s helped a little. I’ve also meditated and tried cold showers, but at the end of the day I’m still alone. Like I don’t know how to get close to people, what to text them, what to say in person. I just always thought that these relationships were established upon meeting. I’m surrounded by people I’ve known for years and I just feel lost
     
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  19. OhWhenThe

    OhWhenThe Fapstronaut

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    I don't even know where I'd go tbh. I don't have any particular place or thing I want to see, I just want to get out of my room and ideally get out of my head for a bit as well. Just being able to make it to my destination without getting lost or dying would be an achievement, maybe after that I'd gain a bit more confidence and eventually become comfortable in this world again but I'm also fully aware that it could go the other way as well. Even if I do all of that only to end up back where I started at least I can say I tried something, it gets very old when the only reply I have for someone asking what I've been up to lately is "not much, you?".

    I don't know why I've ended up like this, I don't have the excuse of having a bad childhood or being dealt a bad hand, this is all entirely self-inflicted. I wasn't the absolute most popular kid at school but I still had a wide circle of friends, I wasn't a Lothario with the ladies but I still had interest that could easily have gone further had I let it. 17-18 is the age I'd say it started to go wrong and coincidentally that's around the time I got onto porn as well, whether that contributed to the change in personality/behaviour or not I don't know but I'm so far removed from that point in time now that it doesn't even matter. I'm hopeful that quitting PMO will give me the push needed to restart my life but I know that it's still got to come from me. I did quit for two months earlier this year but all the improvements I saw were in my pants rather than my head, maybe if I'd made it a little longer I'd have seen the mental benefits often cited.
     
  20. AtomicTango

    AtomicTango Fapstronaut

    Yep, this sums up how I feel as well. Its not like I'm not trying, I feel like I'm trying pretty hard, and its just not enough a lot of the time. Its extremely difficult not to become apathetic and resigned to failure when nothing you seem to do work, or at least never works long term.

    This. Exactly this. I have no idea how to get close to people either except within the context of being in a situation where we are put together. This is why so many of my relationships with people dont last, because I'm not truly friends with many people, I only associate with them and them with me due to whatever situation we share. As soon as I have to make friends completely by myself I find myself totally unable to do this, I genuinely do not know how. Same with romantic relationships, the idea of even being in one feels more alien and surreal to me than me suddenly waking up on the moon or discovering I'm the reincarnation of the Buddha or something. Its difficult to try and make progress, any progress, when this is the mindset I have. "Well change the mindset then" you might say. Well once again, I dont know how. Its very demoralising.
     

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