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Topics - -Dave-

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Greetings everyone, my name is Dave and I hail from the far and away land of Italy

It is my pleasure to be speaking in front of you today, and I don't say that just for hollow formality; I've been browsing through all the different sites that you can come up with on the subject and I saw a lot, indeed a lot...I watched videos, including most of GABE's, read journals, researched the scientific reasons behind this problem, read self improvement books and so much more, so in a way being finally a member of one of the biggest communities regarding PMO if not the biggest is a great honor. But let's go with order and start from the basics, this is my story:

I am a 20 Y/O guy, almost 21, I've been obese for all my childhood and overweight during puberty, this caused myself to retire in the fictional world of videogames since I could not find anything worth living for outside of that realm.
Even though I've never really been bullied, there were times when inevitably my physical shape would be put into the spotlight causing all my peers to look at me with contempt. And so, as a consequence, I never had friends, and I've always been kinda "out of the loop" for a lot of things guys are supposed to do during the so called "best years of their life", including finding a GF and hanging out with friends, of course only later on I would realize that there really is not a bible that every teen has to follow in order to be whole, but that was my mentality at the time; I missed on a lot of things and so I was automatically worthless.

But videogames were only the tip of the iceberg, and from them it all escalated; first came the Internet, then came porn. At 11/12 Y/O I started to watch P videos, I would also masturbate but back then I'd always do it without any other stimulation outside my hand but, as luck would have it, the more I became addicted to porn and the more extreme tastes I developed, the more I needed it to even get an erection. By 14 I arrived at a point where I would PMO once a day, felt extremely lazy and tired all the time, had major social anxiety which I already had by default since my childhood, and not even porn could give me an erection; it had become a routine in fact that I stimulate myself continuously in order to gain it and maintain it.

Then, my life changed when I was 18; I finally had surgery to remove a physical disorder that I had (which was the thing that really detached myself from every other guy I saw and damaged me in more ways than I'd like to admit; I felt different, and not in a good way, like sometimes I didn't even know "what" I was, it was really tearing me apart), soon after that I started a diet while also working out, and I went from 220 to 155 pounds in less than an year (I'm 5'9'').
You can all guess now, at 19 Y/O by the time I finished, with a body I thought I could only dream of, how much I felt at the top of the world; nothing and no one could possibly stop me now that I had overcome those struggles all by myself. I was scarred for life, true, and I had a lot of things to catch up to since I was basically like a newborn baby, but I couldn't care less; it was over, and my new story was starting to unfold. I found a group of friends to hang out with, I got back to school since I had dropped it, I started to make plans for the future, and I finally got a girlfriend...this is where things started to change again.

Now, I have to premise something: I knew about this PMO stuff already years ago, when I stumbled upon this very site and I read the theory behind it all, but of course, I dismissed it immediately and never looked back, after all why would I care? I had no one and no hopes of finding someone at the time and I obviously thought that I probably didn't even have this problem anyway.
So, we have a 20 Y/O guy now with a girlfriend whom he really cares a lot about, and so does she about him. The relationship is perfect and rainbows and unicorns are everywhere so...how do we sabotage all that? We add PMO to the mix of course!
Since the beginning of the relationship I knew that I had to take into consideration the fact that I was still watching porn every day or so, and I finally realized that I probably had a problem when I didn't felt anything down there when we'd get more intimate, so I decided on new year's eve to start that PMO thingy that I'd read about so many years before.
On January my journey began, I started watching videos and reading everything that I could about this problem. I had countless relapses since then, but in February I had managed to hit the 30 day mark, only to fall back down again and start a cycle of 1/2 weeks and relapse, and so on until yesterday when I relapsed again after a 6 day streak.
During this period I also tried to have sex with my GF a couple of times, but I completely failed. The first time I was completely limp, and the second I could just barely maintain a very shallow erection with constant stimulation, and it was in those moments that I realized that it was just as I had expected: I was an addicted, and I had PIED as a consequence.

I like to think, although it may seem like I wasted 5 months pursuing a seemingly unattainable goal, that I improved and this PMO problem made me already much better in so many ways since I began:
- I started to have cold showers every morning and they help me so much to stay awake and present during the day.
- I developed a much better understanding of how my brain works, something I've always been kinda clumsy about.
- It's much more manageable to control my habits although sometimes I kinda feel like I can't escape them, especially true when I just relapsed and I only want to play that one videogame that just came out even though I have other things to do.
- My social anxiety is in fact way better, I said it was already improving when I had surgery and did the diet, but it's not true: when I was speaking with people I would often act as I thought they wanted me to act, and it became stressful on the long run to always be everything but myself, now I can say with confidence that I'm still not perfect, but i'm improving a lot and gaining great surges of energy and confidence as a result, the only problem is that it's not stable: I get those days when I could take on the entire world, but others are just really bland and boring, and that is my number one enemy: boredom. Seriously guys, find something to do as soon as you feel bored or it can lead to relapse; 80% of my relapses have been because of it. Personally I found that reading self improvement books helps a lot (can't stress enough how much of a great read is "No More Mr. Nice Guy" as a lot of other guys before me already said) and gym, take the car and go to the gym if you're bored and don't know what to do, heck if you don't have a car go there on foot I don't care, but really do something, it's paramount!
- I recently started to meditate and boy oh boy if that helps a lot to ignore those damn cravings, 'cause when they hit, they hit hard, and even just five minutes concentrating on your breath and gently redirecting your mind any time you notice it starts to wander really makes a difference.
- Procrastination, my god I always had BIG problems with that one, but finally I'm starting to gain control over my time and it's actually amazing how much of it you have once you start to use it wisely.

So there you go, today i'm getting back on the horse for the first day of no PMO Hard Mode; there are lots of other things that I'd like to say but really, I already made it long enough and let's not make enemies already by boring y'all to death. After all, didn't I say that boredom was one of the worst things you could feel?  ;)

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