Freeing myself: opening to myself and to others

Discussion in 'Ages 25-29' started by Tseldo, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    Just checking in. I've started writing in my paper journal again yesterday. I'll make it a habit again, I've missed it.

    Work-wise it's fine, just business as usual. Sports-wise, I'm stagnating somewhat and have a difficult time tweaking my diet to adjust calories to find the sweet spot. I think that's a problem to build strength.

    Also I've started taking MCT oil - basically coconut oil extract, super-fuel for the brain. It gives me energy and willpower, also diminishes cravings quite strongly. I've read wonders about this, so I'll see if that's a placebo or something that will last. Will keep you guys updated.

    Take care
     
  2. BruceWayne

    BruceWayne Building the life I want, day by day...

    Have you read the hackbook by lepetitmonster that's in the pornography addiction section? I find it to be very helpful. It really is easy to quit porn if you use the methods in the book.
     
  3. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I began reading it but didn't keep up. I might be onto something and not need it though - if I go into a cycle of relapses, I'll finish reading it, otherwise I won't.

    I'm getting a bit more emotional. It's not all good but it's better than being numbed. I also like my therapist, how he can challenge me in a safe way and really brings lights on some of my behaviours I really didn't understand. It's been only a few sessions and already effective.
     
  4. BruceWayne

    BruceWayne Building the life I want, day by day...

    I'd definitely follow through with the reading of the book whether you're relapsing or not. It completely eliminates any value you might still have for porn and makes looking at porn seem completely pointless.
     
  5. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    In that case I'm going back to reading 1-3 chapter every day :)

    Also a friend of mine suggested I started writing on a blog. I'm pondering the idea. I love it but at the same time I don't really know what to write. Or rather, I know what to write but I don't feel like people will be interested. Part of me is also shy to reveal intimate parts of myself (I wouldn't talk about porn addiction, or at least not yet, but the topics would be intimate anyway).

    The truth is, it's an excellent idea to help me dive more into some topics, confront my shyness, expand my comfort zone and perhaps find like-minded people. I'm just wondering in what language I should write, how I can make it somewhat known (there's not much point writing for myself) and whether I should "strategise" the blog by limiting it to some specific themes.
     
  6. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I just want to say that I've created my blog, published two blogposts (including an introduction), made a Facebook page for it, and invited about 50 friends of mine to like it. It'll be in English and not anonymous.

    It's funny how clicking "invite" to like the page feels like accepting more of myself.
     
  7. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    There was a party at work and it was great. I'm a bit drunk so I'll keep it short: work was good, socialising was very good, and I'm receiving positive feedback for my blog.

    Awesome :)
     
  8. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I've been taking MCT oil with good results and researched why it worked so effectively. It really increased by energy, reduced brain fog and cravings.

    MCT oil increases ketone concentration (which is an alternative source of fuel to glucose, and is actually preferred by the brain). Ketones increase GABA levels within the brain as well as BDNF and other things - but I think GABA is the key player here. More specifically, it increases the GABA to glutamate ratio.

    Glutamate is a bitch. It's linked to many neurological issues (highly recommended read, or at least skip-reading to understand the wide implications of glutamate: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3431845/), and is actually the primary driver of cravings. Dopamine makes the addictive pathways, but glutamate is the one responsible for the cravings as they hit. That's why n-acetyl-cysteine, which reduces glutamate levels, has been found effective against many addictions (from cocaine to gambling).

    I'll try calcium pyruvate, which seems safe and effective at reducing glutamate levels and report the effects! The package should arrive on Wednesday.
     
  9. Mendoza

    Mendoza Active Member

    Excellent, man! Too bad I'll never get to read it as it would reveal your true identity...

    Remember the topic of fear we broached about a week ago? What Wabi-Sabi said about confronting fear is dead on the mark: you don't know if you have something interesting to say or whether others will like it... but you do it anyhow. I tip my hat off to you, sir!
     
  10. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    So, I finally read the Easypeasy hackbook. I have to say it all makes sense. I don’t completely agree with everything, but I haven’t tried it yet (or rather, I only started yesterday - too soon to tell for sure) and the author acknowledges he didn’t delve into the science in the book. If he had, perhaps I’d have agreed with him. Anyway that’s not what matters most.

    The book is centered around two main points: we don’t like to PMO (which is paradoxically true: try being aware next time you PMO, and you’ll notice uncomfortable feelings) and we have much to gain from quitting porn and nothing to lose. From there, and that’s the first point, we need to make 100% sure that we want to quit porn (that’s the most important reason why the book needs to be read chapter by chapter, without skipping any part).

    And then, second point, rejoice about quitting porn (which is easy since porn isn’t enjoyable yet so harmful). He argues withdrawals last only a few days or a few weeks, unlike YBOP and other addiction scientists arguing it can last up to two years. I can see a few reasons for the divergence: they may not be talking about exactly the same thing (hypofrontality certainly won’t be cured in three weeks; but the hardest withdrawals will be), but mindset also has a huge role. If you start thinking “great, I’m PMO-free”, your neurochemical status will naturally be much more enjoyable that if you start with “damn, I’m in for 2 years of withdrawals - let’s shut up and endure”.

    Also, actively reframing the addiction voice will make it lose its power in two ways: 1- you’re not sustaining it and 2- you’re replacing it with something positive (which tends to be richer in dopamine - for instance, gratitude increases brain dopamine levels). Conversely, what he calls the “willpower method” (what we find most of the times here & in other addiction recovery places) suggests that we need to power through the cravings, endure our loss, etc… Suggesting we’re missing out on something. I never really liked the idea of “giving up” on something pleasurable, and this book helped me frame this more precisely: we’re not giving up anything, we’re preserving ourselves from a harmful activity. Now, that makes much more sense to quit, and much of the fear associated with quitting (how will I cope without porn? Will I be able to deal with life?) is just kill in its egg. Quitting porn will make coping and dealing with life easier. By quitting porn we don’t give up our crutch; we reinforce our legs so that we realize the crutch has been harming us all this time. Sure, walking will be a little harder at first, but we’re designed to walk that way so there’s nothing we cannot do.

    I mostly implement the method - “mostly” because it’s advised to finish reading the book before stopping porn, but for obvious chronological reasons that wasn’t an option. Anyway, it’s only day 2 on this, but the science seems rather sound and it works so far (I only say “so far” because it’s common to be over-enthusiastic when finding something new). And if it does keep on working, that will just show how powerful self-generated placebo & thought reframing can be. Because it really all comes down to this: how your mindset, based on ideas you generate (such as “it’s so great to be free from PMO” vs “I wish I could just rub one out right now”), changes your state of mind and subsequent thoughts. And that’s something that can be applied to all other areas of life.

    I like the use of Pascal’s wager very much: there’s nothing to lose when quitting porn, much to gain and much not to lose. Whatever angle we see the topic from, there’s just no reason to keep on PMOing. It’s just an illusion, an escape away from awareness. Not pleasurable - the chemical involved is mostly dopamine, the “want”, not the pleasure molecule -, it’s like disappearing from the surface of the Earth for the length of a session.

    Other than that, I’ve been to some events about self-development. It’s interesting and the people are nice. I feel like bonding with them. Work is okay, I’m not very motivated but I’ve relapsed quite a lot so it makes sense. Reading has been down too, but I haven’t been to sleep too late. Meditation and sports are regular.

    I’m also considering going to a Vipassana retreat this summer/fall. While it’s not my school of meditation, I’m sure it would be very interesting. I’ll apply when the applications open up and hope for the best.

    As a reminder, the book is available here (https://sites.google.com/site/hackbookeasypeasy/home), and you can download it if you’d like.
     
  11. LittleGiant

    LittleGiant Member

    Strong post. I'm gonna download that book!
     
  12. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I hope it helps you! Just read it one chapter after the other, don't skip any. It went against my very instinct to do so, but I'm happy I did.

    I went to another self-development meeting. God they're great. It's so nice to be around positive people, to bond, to share experiences and insights, and to feel understood and accepted. It's vivifying and what I had been seeking for a long time. We're going beyond the meetings and planning on seeing each other outside of those events.

    I had forgotten how nice non-sexual physical touch is, hugging, reflecting on life, showing appreciation, etc. It's like a bubble where we don't shy away from difficult thoughts and emotions, but we choose to focus on solutions and we can be true with everyone - because by going to such meetings, we all implicitly accept that we have our baggage and that we're working on it. There's no need to wear our usual mask or to fake anything.

    It's food for the soul.
     
  13. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I've been feeling a bit down today. I had a few cravings, told myself I was no longer a slave to porn and didn't need it; the cravings easily went away. So, so far so good (by the way, it's been a while I haven't been in such a "long" streak).

    Regarding my relationships, I've made two decisions regarding setting boundaries and respecting myself:
    - A guy I met at a Meetup wants to meet outside. I said yes yet didn't really want to... He's nice but I feel something odd with him. As if he's going to force his own thoughts upon me and drain me in a way. I discussed this with my shrink (who had a good laugh, and me too I have to say), and it's fairly obvious that my head wants to meet (the guy is interesting) but my guts says no. I only said yes because I didn't want to hurt him by saying no, which also means I'd rather hurt myself than him. So when he asks again, I'll just say no.
    - It's election time here in France and a colleague of mine and I are having some arguments about it. But I noticed today that we're not actually discussing: she's emitting arguments and dismissing mine without really counter-arguing. As if the didn't want to discuss but to enforce her own opinions into my head. Next time she does that I'll put her back where she belongs: along me, not above (or end the talk).

    I've also met people who'll be helping me on a personal project yesterday. Very nice. My gratitude practices are quite easy these days I have to say.
     
  14. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    The colleague of mine who was being a bit bitchy when talking politics did it again. She was pissed off and as we spoke (I was quite compassionate of empathetic at that moment), she just started bitching on a political topic again. I told her I was fed up with her talking that way, that it was disrespectful and that she was blinded by her emotions (and that the critics she had, I could have on her "side" too). She replied I was being condescendent (she may be right, at least partially, but it was mostly a way for her to shift the blame on me) and I said she was right to be pissed, but I didn't have to be her punching ball. She ended the conversation by saying she understood.

    All in all she didn't say anything nice or constructive but I think she got the point: if she wants to talk, it's going to be a real discussion, not just a way for her to rage out. More importantly, I engaged into an argument with someone I like in order to set boundaries. It didn't feel good when doing it, but now it does. I've been willing to hurt someone else's feelings (though as little as possible) in order to protect myself rather than let her hurt me anymore, which is a necessary move to respect myself.

    I also had a client meeting today. I tried the "feeling the body" exercise I've been practicing with my therapist and on my own, but in an empathy-oriented way. It helped me tremendously understand what our clients were feeling (and, indirectly, thinking). I've been practicing it a few days now with some success, understanding better the people around me. I also feel more connected and believe they can feel it too. But so far it's quite distracting as it requires some focus on my side - my therapist says eventually I'll be able to do both, at this point I find it hard to conceive but I trust him.

    I'm extremely happy about this empathy skill practicing. It's really hard to say how much. It just ties to everything I want - to understand myself better (self-empathy is part of empathy), to understand others, to communicate/engage better, to be of more help, to create meaningful relationships, to act more in my best interest (in empathy for my future self) and to succeed more professionally. I value some principles and emotions very much (spirituality, gratitude, doing good to the world, etc), but they can only go that far without empathy. It's a whole new door leading to a whole new world I've discovered.

    I also realized that lack of empathy might be a reason why I'm not so sociable. Lack of empathy means I get less out of relationships as I don't let their emotions blend with mine, and that they don't get much from me as I don't come as an emotional being but a mental being. In this sense, it's a game-changer. When I tried it earlier this week with new people, it actually did change the outlook I had on them: I was more interested in them, less judgemental, and I think more interesting too. It's too early to tell for sure but it does feel like something huge.
     
  15. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I was at a festival this week-end where I dropped an acid. It was fucking awesome (last time I had one, a few years ago, I had a very bad trip). I had a great time, learned things about myself, met new people, and bonded genuinely with a new-ish friend of mine.

    The part that sucks is I realised how much I need to be in line with my values, including at work. I'll need to find a new one, but at the same time I need to take time to really figure things out.

    What struck me are some thought patterns I have around the group aspect, and how much I dislike when anything threatens to make it explode.

    And through this trip, through how I handled things, how I felt and acted, I realised just how much I've changed this my last trip. My core personality is the same (always will be) but how I express it has changed soooo much - I've felt it, and the comments I've had recently, including this weekend, are the kind of comments I never had before. Things are getting together, and though I'm still afraid of some things (not stopping porn, being too attached to destructive people, not having a "good enough" social circle, etc), it's much less of a burden. And because I ground my new relationships on more a honest and human basis, I now know these fears won't come true.
     
  16. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I had an hypnotherapy session yesterday, which revolved around a dissociation exercise to improve self-esteem/self-acceptance/self-love (they're not exactly the same, but here they were blended together). It freaked me out a little bit at some point because I had some hallucinations (which was normal given the exercise, but just a week after dropping some acid I was worried it was a flashback) and it was rather tough, but I'm glad it happened.

    I do feel more secure, which is no minor feat in just 40mn. And because much of our interactions have to do with how we feel about ourselves (for instance what bothers us in others is just the reflection of what bother us within ourselves - so yelling at others is like yelling at ourselves in a way), it also makes me more tolerant and open minded. I also feel like there's less filter in how I feel empathy for myself and for others, more room for what I can feel and it's "denser" inside, as if more alive.

    This week I'll go to a meeting to see how I can participate to a wellness NGO, help them grow and be part of it. I don't know how much time I'll them yet, or how exactly, but I like the idea. It would also compliment my meditation activity well.
     
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  17. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    I am soooo excited that I will be going to a meditation retreat this summer again. I thought I couldn't make it due to holiday timing issues, but in the end things turn out the best way it could.

    I just had to share it :)
     
  18. Hi Tseldo,

    It has been a while, I hope that you are keeping well. I continue to be impressed by your unquenchable curiosity. You are determined to find a formula that works for you. I love your fighting spirit!

    The meditation retreat sounds exciting, which tradition does this retreat belong to? I would quite like to go on one myself, but haven't got round to doing it.
     
  19. Tseldo

    Tseldo Active Member

    Hey FoS,

    Thanks for the kind word :) oddly enough there's a disconnection between my (many) relapses and how things are improving in my life. I don't quite know why. But I do know that unlike some times before, relapsing isn't stopping me from moving forward, going out, socialising, etc, and that's utterly important. That being said it does make me a little more anxious. But I'm pretty convinced things will get much better very soon, including thanks to the retreat but not only.

    I'll PM you the details about the meditation retreat because it's a rather small community and I don't want to share the exact name on the forum, but it's a kind of non-directive meditation like Transcendental or Vedic meditation (not Vipassana).
     
  20. I think our pain is an opportunity to develop insights. My experience is that pain can be a powerful means of pushing us forward. Our hope for a better future is not the only thing that drives us. I remember all the relapses I have had. Once the increasingly hollow pleasure subsided, I was hit by depression and despair. Then came determination, 'how can I learn from this experience and what I am going to do about it?' I desired to escape the intense emotional pain that flooded my system.

    Long-term success over this addiction can create complacency and that obviously makes us more prone to relapse. We start stepping down the red alert and pushing aside the strategies that allowed us to succeed in the first place. This is why my SA fellowship is crucial for me. Every time I attend a meeting or call my sponsor, I am reminded of where I have been and where I will never go again.

    I've never ventured outside mindfulness and loving kindness meditation with my practice, but am always keen to find out more.
     

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