Author Topic: Resolved to conquer this  (Read 3475 times)

Joel

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #50 on: September 02, 2020, 11:48:20 AM »
My mind feels clearer, quieter and less inclined to seek out constant entertainment.  Totally recommitting to the bedtime by 11:30 rule.


yep, a totally important part of the process
and yep, rules and systems, and recommitting to them is important too! feel free to report back with some accountability :)

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #51 on: September 08, 2020, 02:41:53 PM »
yep, a totally important part of the process
and yep, rules and systems, and recommitting to them is important too! feel free to report back with some accountability :)
Joel, sometimes we all need to just follow some rules.  Otherwise, what will we do with all that freedom?  :P

Signing back in after a week absence. Had a minor MO lapse last Wednesday evening, but so far so good.. I've managed to keep the MO's on a diet this month.  A quick average of my MO count each month between May and August would probably round to about 10 (a month), which is a lot.  I would like to lessen the load (no pun intended) and help regain momentum.  If I can half that amount this month, it would be a huge step forward!

One little caveat.  From last Thursday onward, I have been 'gaming'.  I don't care for that word... I don't consider myself a 'gamer'.  But once a season I happen to indulge in some playtime for a couple of days, then remove the game and go dry for several months.  This new stretch has gone for about 5 days, and I believe my brain won't let me go until I have this last one-off tonight.  Then I'll kiss it goodbye.. Reason I mention this?  The ritual has been interfering with my sleep time, which is going against my very own advice to self!  And although I have stayed away from any MO'ing, I cannot help but think of this oft-quoted saying:
"Trading one addiction for another."

I don't think I'm an addict, but to be clear I do think the late binge on games is yet another tool that I use to self-soothe.  For once I stop using it, the brain will try to employ its wizardry to nudge me to self-medicate with the MO or worse with a full blown P-relapse.

UKGuy

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #52 on: September 08, 2020, 03:41:18 PM »
Your gaming point is an interesting one Leon. I occasionally indulge (my daughter got me into Fortnite - that’s all I play, even though she’s now moved on!) I am undecided whether playing helps or hinders my PMO progress. In some aspects it gets me ‘wired’ in a way that has some similarities to porn or chat, but there have been other occasions where I have been tempted with PMO and the choice to game instead has eradicated the PMO urge by providing alternative stimuli. Whatever the answer, I agree that taking breaks is beneficial so good luck with your last blast for a while, and readjusting to life without it, including your MO ‘diet’. Take care.

TheNorman

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #53 on: September 08, 2020, 08:01:01 PM »
Leo and UK you can count me in as someone who has binged on games too. Rocketleague was a big one for me. Mercifully they pulled the plug on Mac support and that took care of that (although I did toy around with modding my mac or getting a PC!). Like UK said, if you can indulge in games without going too wild and it's keeping you away from PMO then I say go for it!

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #54 on: September 08, 2020, 10:44:24 PM »
Hey Leonidas-Good for you for recognizing that you might be crossing a healthy boundary here. I recently started playing Age of Empires Definitive Edition but had to pull back when I began cannibalizing sleep because of it. No doubt in my mind it's trading one addiction for another. Who knows, maybe it's all connected. It could just be another clever scheme by your brain to kickstart your sputtering PMO cycle again. Nothing would surprise me at this point!

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #55 on: September 09, 2020, 10:17:15 AM »
As I had promised myself, yesterday was the last evening I indulged in the game.  6 hours of sleep later, I am now perfectly okay with removing it from the system and moving on to better things.  The trick here is not to worry too much about a potential next gaming binge... I hope I won't need it, but if I do, I'll see how to best deal with it.

New day, new challenges.  Also, looking forward to recover better sleeping habits.  Overall mood right now is not the best, but could be worse..

Your gaming point is an interesting one Leon. I occasionally indulge (my daughter got me into Fortnite - that’s all I play, even though she’s now moved on!) I am undecided whether playing helps or hinders my PMO progress. In some aspects it gets me ‘wired’ in a way that has some similarities to porn or chat, but there have been other occasions where I have been tempted with PMO and the choice to game instead has eradicated the PMO urge by providing alternative stimuli. Whatever the answer, I agree that taking breaks is beneficial so good luck with your last blast for a while, and readjusting to life without it, including your MO ‘diet’. Take care.
Isn't it strange how such simple things can reel us in and yet, teenagers pass through them like a tornado moving northwards!  At this point I'm uncertain as to whether the two 'indulgences' are tied.  Like you said, gaming has had that effect of thwarting the odd PMO craving.  But it gives me the sense that gaming fills the void left behind by MO avoidance.  And if I remove gaming then.. something else would need to fill it in its place.  It's a loop: when will I be satisfied?

Fortnite has been on the news, so pretty much everyone has heard of it... but it operates like most other games: built to be addictive.  Indulgences are fine from time to time, but not everyone is able to handle games like a proper hobby.  It can soon blow over into prolonged hours-long sessions daily.  So I believe judgment as to completely sidestep or not depends on whether there is control over the activity.  I don't think I exercise complete control over gaming, I'm afraid...

Leo and UK you can count me in as someone who has binged on games too. Rocketleague was a big one for me. Mercifully they pulled the plug on Mac support and that took care of that (although I did toy around with modding my mac or getting a PC!). Like UK said, if you can indulge in games without going too wild and it's keeping you away from PMO then I say go for it!
Hey TheNorman, if it took a change of system support to get you to stop, then imagine the power that thing actually did exercise on the mind!  I would be an absolute addict if I had ever been exposed to it.  For me, negotiating that fine line between enjoying and over-indulging is blurry business... like adding an extra challenge that isn't really necessary.  I think the most important question regarding gaming is this: "How do I feel right after I finish gaming?  Do I feel good, uplifted, proud, satisfied?  Or is it something like: indolent, apathetic and bored?"  And I think that's the crux of it: gaming feels good in the moment, but once it's over it feels like 'meh'!

Hey Leonidas-Good for you for recognizing that you might be crossing a healthy boundary here. I recently started playing Age of Empires Definitive Edition but had to pull back when I began cannibalizing sleep because of it. No doubt in my mind it's trading one addiction for another. Who knows, maybe it's all connected. It could just be another clever scheme by your brain to kickstart your sputtering PMO cycle again. Nothing would surprise me at this point!
LetItGoAlready, I believe you and I share a few things in common!  Losing sleep over the odd gaming binge.  A penchant for ancient warfare strategy games (and probably a love of ancient history too).  And of course recognizing the game binges for what they are.  I don't know if the reason for gaming is the brain hacking away for some extra hits of dopamine.  I doubt it in my case... because it would not explain why I indulge once every few months rather than needing it every day.  For me it's the escape from the real world, a way to forget who I am for a minute and just wallow in a different world.. I mean what is there not to love about the Chi-Rho shields of the Byzantine Romans!  But back to the real world, I recognize it as a fantasy escape, it's not wrong per se... but it is also saying to me: "find something to do that'll make life a thrill to live".

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #56 on: September 10, 2020, 08:47:57 AM »
One week mark PMO-free

Much better sleep last night.  But like you guys in the comments above warned me, the lack of 'game' may call up another dopamine-producing ritual.  I don't want to be on my guard.. as being on guard is adding extra stress I don't need.  Just being aware helps.  I know my brain's infinite capacity for seeking refuge and self-soothing behaviors.. which may sound hopeless, but at same time, it means there must be capacity for learning to cope with less stimulating conditions.

Otherwise, social life is a bit barren at the moment.  Keep communicating with one friend living out of town about twice a week.  Another friend living in proximity I haven't spoken to in almost 6 months, probably due to laziness on both parts and my mistaking his tight schedule with work n' family as having NO time to talk to me.  Then there is that friend I haven't spoken to for 3-4 years (what a disaster), again due to drifting out of touch.  Socially, I find I'm like the twig that constantly manages to separate itself from the blob of river branches to follow the wayward course downstream.  No social sticking power.  I know can change this, but at the moment I'm just disappointed by the state of affairs.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #57 on: September 14, 2020, 08:04:10 PM »
Reporting a lapse.  Over-powering feeling of lust emerged mixed in with old fantasy playing out in my head... something I would describe as 'acting out inside my own head'.  The bad: 2 MO releases, which brings my MO count to 4 this month.  The good: 11 days without stimulation of any kind.  Anything above 10 days for me is worthy of praise, so that I feel encouraged to repeat the process.  Also good: on day 10 I really wanted to give in to the fantasy, but when I suggested to myself that if there is no urgency to act on it now (then why act?), I was able to dispel the urge.  Unfortunately for me, it came back the next day and here I am.

I also noticed something interesting: right after the relapse I felt a strong need to play a game!  So I played a few online chess matches.  Still, I feel like indulging in my go-to game tonight.  I might just do a one-off and be done with it.  But I have definitely noticed that post-relapse I am vulnerable to other coping mechanisms (as though gaming is a way to 'undo' the sour feelings that precede and follow the fantasy act-out).

Looking forward to pulling off another string of days without stimulation.  It was too early to tell, but I believe things do re-calibrate at around days 9-10 for me.

UKGuy

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #58 on: September 15, 2020, 03:00:18 AM »
I admire the way that you are not overly hard on yourself after a relapse Leonidas, but objective about the situation.
Did you decide to take any action regarding your friends and social connections following you post on the 10th? It felt like you had identified some good insights - especially around friends 2 and 3, but I guess the real benefit is in then acting on those insights? Good luck whatever you decide.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #59 on: September 16, 2020, 06:37:03 PM »
I admire the way that you are not overly hard on yourself after a relapse Leonidas, but objective about the situation.
Did you decide to take any action regarding your friends and social connections following you post on the 10th? It felt like you had identified some good insights - especially around friends 2 and 3, but I guess the real benefit is in then acting on those insights? Good luck whatever you decide.
Thanks for the kind words, UK.  I have internally decided that I do want to contact them.  Haven't done so thus far, and I attribute that failure to indolence.  I am needing to gather up some more energy, as I have been out of focus lately.

I'll be taking a short 4-day break from everything.  Given the low number of hours of work I have as it is and my recent mental fog/rut, I'll be resetting my brain from all things PC.  No e-mails, no online forums, no working and no looking and applying for jobs, etc.. Just time off to sleep, rest, walk outdoors, read, reflect and hopefully call up friends I haven't spoken to in a while.  Until Monday, then!

TheNorman

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #60 on: September 16, 2020, 07:14:40 PM »
Enjoy the time Leo. I know it will be good for you.

Joel

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #61 on: September 20, 2020, 11:37:18 AM »
Sounds great, Leo. Unplug from the Matrix - I think that's where I real lives and creativity are waiting for us!

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #62 on: September 21, 2020, 09:43:18 AM »
Thank you very much for the support, guys.  :)  Joel, I think you're right on about the creativity part.  When circumstances simplify, it enables free thinking.

The break was as necessary as it was replenishing.  Strange that I never thought of pulling this off before, but yeah, who would have thought that a little break from everything can buy time for the brain for a little healing.  I averaged about 2 hours of walking or more along riverside nature trails... it's not always easy finding green spots in the city but they are there if one takes the trouble to explore.  But have to insist on this: there is nothing more glorious than a brisk morning walk in spaces surrounded by trees and shrubbery.  There is NO ultimate goal... asides from enjoying the moment outside and taking in lung-fulls of clean air.  It did help that I was lucky enough to enjoy the company of the sun throughout these days.

Now that I am tentatively working myself back into the Tech world, I wonder if there could be a way for me to extend contact with nature.  I am considering a 2-hour walk in the afternoon.  It's done me good so far, so why not roll with it?  True, there will be rainy days... and the cool autumn is creeping in, by the by.  But perhaps that should not matter much in the grand scheme of things?  I welcome the opportunity of being confronted by "uncomfortable" elements... after all comfort is mostly something we inherited from 20th century advances... our ancestors were probably just bravely fighting off the cold winds with whatever woollen shawls they could procure!

Oh and it's day 7 for me.  Onward.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #63 on: September 23, 2020, 09:58:29 AM »
Day 9

I would have reason to feel encouraged, but I am not.  Although I barely ever get an intrusive thought PMO-related, I am worried about life just about crumbling to pieces.  I seem to have veered into a state of funk and anarchy.  I have lost my motivation to keep up with online learning, have been absent in my efforts to look for a new job and pull off current part-time work tasks at agonizingly slow pace.  Even in spare time I barely ever pick up the guitar to play a tune.  Worse -- I have spoken about it before -- the gaming devil has re-spawned and gaming rituals silently swallow a whole day or two every week.  I have committed to a short break away from the PC, to connect with nature, but either that was insufficient or it did not manage to replace the desire to play.  Not sure what course of action to take.  Feeling very despondent.  And those feelings have very little to do with withdrawals from no-PMO... it's just waking up to a life that seems to be going nowhere.

At this point I am thinking in one-dimension: carry on with another stretch of days without the PC (this time do 7!)  Of course, this might sound like a mouse running a little faster around the wheel... but nothing else comes to mind.  I am also reading a great book by a psychologist who answers several of those worries I just mentioned.  At least I can keep learning from it.

UKGuy

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #64 on: September 23, 2020, 12:41:50 PM »
Hey Leon,
I have those days too. They tend to pass for me quite quickly thankfully, but usually happen when my connectivity with others drifts. Did you reach out to those friends you spoke about? Maybe that would increase your zest for life as an alternative to the gaming? I find that without the connectivity to others life's meaning diminishes for me. I know you're not a self rules kind of guy (I have learned a lot from you in that regard), but perhaps there is an opportunity to prioritise the human connection before you let yourself have a game day? Whatever works for you, but thinking of you and wishing you well my friend.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #65 on: September 28, 2020, 09:55:47 AM »
Day 2

A bit of a slip on Friday evening, where I unfortunately allowed myself to play out a fantasy.  I was in a despondent disposition for most of the week, so the urge came as a sort of 'counter-measure'.  For much that I can rationalize the behavior, still it was what it was.

But something important I realized, which may not just be useful for me but potentially many of us still struggling with the off sexual urge.  We already know that the sex urge is encoded by the genes and therefore are not responsible for harboring those desires, since it was an evolutionary adaptation that promoted the survival of the species.  However, we still hold onto the idea that some of us are more sexually 'deviant' than others and that this trait might come from a personality trait.  From my reading of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Evolving Self, it would seem to me that personality has very little to do with sexual behavior, in that urges are just a mechanism for genes to accomplish their selfish objectives.  He cites the example of a pregnant teenager: the short-term pleasure of sex outweighed the long-term pain of having to re-organize her life to attend to the baby's needs.  Again, the selfish genes ruled the day... but was this to her overall benefit?

Thinking of sexual urges purely as genetic programming has a way of taking out the hot air out of a balloon.  I am coming to an understanding that maybe - just maybe - those thoughts I have are not reflective of who I am personally... but rather are encouraged to 'prime' me for reproduction.  So I am learning to separate those two completely diverging objectives: the will to reproduce (genetic, not me) and the desire to live meaningfully (totally me, genetics couldn't care less about).  And yet it seems that the desire to have sex is a personal choice... and here I agree with Mihaly: I believe we've been duped... to think that it is an authentic choice.  That may mean that we may have to be willing to let our egos take a hit and accept the fact that we do not control that part of our behavior very well.  The good news is that recovery is the process by which we learn to wrest control away from blind genetic programming... and this may be a lifetime learning experience but one that will be well worth it.

UKGuy: Thanks for stepping in with the perspective.  :) That made me feel less alone and less prone to continue feeling miserable about my prospects.  After taking a few days to recover from the numbing recoil, I did call up the friend I had not spoken to in nearly 6 months.  That went well, and as others had noticed, it was welcomed... almost like they're hoping to be called first, lol!  Now there may be a visit planned in a week or so, but of course being as safe as possible amidst the new rules.  As you pointed out, I have a way with letting connections wilt... but as I know (and always knew), that's a part of myself that I need to course-correct because left without anybody to speak to, the sharp fangs of depression will sink deep into flesh and soul.

UKGuy

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #66 on: September 28, 2020, 11:32:55 AM »
UKGuy: Thanks for stepping in with the perspective.  :) That made me feel less alone and less prone to continue feeling miserable about my prospects.  After taking a few days to recover from the numbing recoil, I did call up the friend I had not spoken to in nearly 6 months.  That went well, and as others had noticed, it was welcomed... almost like they're hoping to be called first, lol!  Now there may be a visit planned in a week or so, but of course being as safe as possible amidst the new rules.  As you pointed out, I have a way with letting connections wilt... but as I know (and always knew), that's a part of myself that I need to course-correct because left without anybody to speak to, the sharp fangs of depression will sink deep into flesh and soul.
Hi Leon - I am really happy for you and your friend. Isn't that often the way that both parties are waiting for the other!? Hope you get to have your meeting safely and enjoy!

Joel

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #67 on: September 28, 2020, 11:33:38 AM »
Well done for getting accountable, Leo. Yeah, this quiet existence can seem a bit grey when coming out of a porn addiction/ game-binging haze. I feel that black hole too. I've been working on gratitude - keeping a journal. And have been looking at some fun crafty hobbies on Skill Share. Have been reading some of Aristotle -Ethics, and he criticizes 'small thinking' which I kind of relate to myself when I feel down; this big world - what a miracle, with all its stories and people, and I choose to spend my short life sitting in my room and feeling sad. We need to find a way to kick ourselves up the butt and say Come On!

And I'm with you on getting outside more - and, yeah - tricky in the cold weather! I want it to be a little pleasurable!  :o

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #68 on: October 01, 2020, 10:52:27 AM »
Will keep it short and sweet: day 5, feeling ok.  Aiming to do some meditation and a bit of writing.  Overall for the month of September, no P but 6 releases to MO which is about half of the usual amount in previous months... and is well on target of the objective I had set for myself.  What works for me are small and manageable objectives... otherwise I am doomed to fail.  For October, I am aiming for no P and no more than 4 releases to MO.

Isn't that often the way that both parties are waiting for the other!?
Had known this nugget of wisdom in my teenage years, then maybe I wouldn't have been the moron I was wasting chance after chance not asking my secret crushes out on dates..!  As compensation, hopefully I'll get to pass this bit of wisdom to some young gun pining for some nice gal...

Well done for getting accountable, Leo. Yeah, this quiet existence can seem a bit grey when coming out of a porn addiction/ game-binging haze. I feel that black hole too. I've been working on gratitude - keeping a journal. And have been looking at some fun crafty hobbies on Skill Share. Have been reading some of Aristotle -Ethics, and he criticizes 'small thinking' which I kind of relate to myself when I feel down; this big world - what a miracle, with all its stories and people, and I choose to spend my short life sitting in my room and feeling sad. We need to find a way to kick ourselves up the butt and say Come On!

And I'm with you on getting outside more - and, yeah - tricky in the cold weather! I want it to be a little pleasurable!  :o
Gratitude helps - it's a good way to reset the perspective and sets us up for a positive outlook bias.  If every day, we can be in a position to ask ourselves where we want to contribute, then we finally get those ideas rolling in.  But as you said, when we hit the rut or the dumpsters, it takes a great deal of effort just to come back to the surface.  I can identify with that from the recent downer spell.  The challenge for me and for others in similar situations is: "how can we stay for longer stretches above the water?".  Meditation and gratitude journaling might be great ideas.  But also connectivity to others as UKGuy mentioned.  And connection to Nature, as I can attest for my own experience of doing that.  I agree, colder weather makes it tougher... but it can also be a question of readjustment.  I know that in Winter time, some people go crazy for cross country skiing.  Mountain hikers go out more heavily equipped in late autumn, etc..

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #69 on: October 01, 2020, 07:44:41 PM »
Quote
when we hit the rut or the dumpsters, it takes a great deal of effort just to come back to the surface.

Leo-Can really relate to this having just recently resurfaced from a proper dumpster dive myself. It does take effort to come back here, brush off the shame, and feign optimism until the real motivation kicks back in again. When I'm feeling really down in the dumps, I try and remind myself that many who have traveled down this same path have sprung back from a slip only to launch into a lasting, life-altering streak. It could happen to anyone I suppose, at any time. Everything else is just a practice run.

Anyway, seems like you've got a sensible plan to get yourself back on track. Congrats on Day 5!

Joel

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #70 on: October 02, 2020, 11:02:19 AM »
Nice work, Leo. Sounds like a good strategy for moving away from the bad stuff. Hope you have a great week moving forward.

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #71 on: October 07, 2020, 02:30:04 PM »
Day 5

Relapsed the day after my previous post... this time it was full-blown PMO, something I had refrained from doing for over 2 months.  However: the experience did not bother me as much as I thought it would.  Where I was expecting self-hate and distress, I felt none of these things, except fatigue from having slept little.  That's the good news.  Where others would see this as defeat, I see the silver lining.  The idea that the behavior, although not one I would like to repeat, is not something that 'got to me' or hit me hard... that to me is my greatest victory over porn.  Other insane rituals I used to do post PMO, such as resetting my entire PC (to lick off any potential 'unclean' trails porn sites might leave behind) did not even cross my mind this time.

From reading other posts on this forum and looking back at my experiences, I believe the best approach henceforward is to set a PC time limit, such as no PC after 10pm and no more than 6 hours on the PC on any given day.  Relapses to P or to MO usually occur in the evenings for me, so I believe that the best thing to do is enact a behavior change by swapping the computer for a book before bedtime.  And of course: ensuring I get the 8 hours of sleep.

LIGA and Joel: really appreciate your support, guys.  :)

TheNorman

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #72 on: October 09, 2020, 09:15:49 AM »
Sorry to hear about the PMO but very happy to see that you're not letting it drag you down. For me the evenings and late at night alone were obvious reasons to PMO. Replacing that time with something productive like reading or getting the sleep we all desperately need that will go a long way to keeping on track.

LetItGoAlready

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #73 on: October 09, 2020, 11:37:45 AM »
Leo-Great job bouncing back from what otherwise could have been an emotionally troubling event and finding the silver lining. I'm also guilty of insane cleansing rituals after a slip that I believe are driven purely by a compulsive/perfectionist mindset and in hindsight may not have been very healthy. So, kudos to you on that, and on your new plan to limit your PC use in the evenings. All good things to hear!

Leonidas

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Re: Resolved to conquer this
« Reply #74 on: October 18, 2020, 05:47:18 PM »
One week in, not much else to report.  Short and sweet is where it's at for me today.

Sorry to hear about the PMO but very happy to see that you're not letting it drag you down. For me the evenings and late at night alone were obvious reasons to PMO. Replacing that time with something productive like reading or getting the sleep we all desperately need that will go a long way to keeping on track.
Hey TheNorman, no need feel sorry.  I am not distressed by the behaviors, not by a long shot.  What worries me most, is how I take care of what I think, how life unfolds (for the better, I would hope) and that I maintain a sense of acuity over reality, where reality is like a negative feedback loop that checks in with me to see if all is good from the inside out.  I've been doing the reading at night lately, and like you say it already helps a lot with keeping the wrong kind of thoughts at bay.

Leo-Great job bouncing back from what otherwise could have been an emotionally troubling event and finding the silver lining. I'm also guilty of insane cleansing rituals after a slip that I believe are driven purely by a compulsive/perfectionist mindset and in hindsight may not have been very healthy. So, kudos to you on that, and on your new plan to limit your PC use in the evenings. All good things to hear!
I knew I wasn't alone in the crazy cleansing rituals!  Less PC time at night and more book reading has lately cut out my work.  I feel that I don't need to 'watch myself' or re-direct thoughts... just by virtue of being engrossed with something interesting to do.