I’m really tempted to say that psychologically at least, this has been one of the hardest week ever. Following the first week, I still had those cravings and fantasies coming in my head.
I changed my work habits (I’m working for an IT company, I’m on the Web all the time) and literally cut all the crap out of my “routine” which consisted – when not working - in distracting myself by looking at Facebook or Websites that might contains suggestive ads. One problem less.
Also, I find it particularly hard not to look at women when going out for lunch. I guess I should avoid every possible stimuli but that is extremely hard. I don’t know where the limit lies between “avoiding dopamine rushes” and “not looking at women”, really. I prefer to be careful though, I’m still in the early stages, so, for the moment, I’m just saying no to everything, no distinction.
So it looked a lot like week 1 actually. Until day 10. On that day, I reached an unexpected low point. I had an argument with a friend of mine, and I took his criticism too hard, starting to doubt myself, and slowly slipping in depressive mood. Then, totally unexpected, the HOCD stroke back.
While I was doubting, I saw a photo of a man’s chest on a random newspaper, and starting to doubt even more: “oh really, I’m at such a low point, see I’m looking at this guy here… I might even be gay, I really don’t know who I am anymore” and such other happy thoughts. Which, looking back a few days later, just makes literally no sense. And really, that is the danger of HOCD; it’s like a devil of sorts, lurking around, striking when you are in doubt. The worse thing is that I was feeling so low that I was tempted to masturbate *to compensate*. A balanced person doesn’t do that for those reasons. I didn’t masturbate in the end, but I am grateful for this episode; I now understand how the pattern works for me (doubt -> hocd strikes -> binge). It’s the “doubt” part I have to fight, so that it doesn’t escalate any further.
My PMO recovery process is indeed revealing a more tortured part of me than I expected; however, I am strongly determined to continue and until today (day 14), I haven’t fell back on PMO at all. The low mood episode has me wondering how much I can take.
But there are some positives: indeed, I did not relapse. And I slowly notice that during lunch, I can appreciate the women I see. I said I wanted to avoid looking at them but really, I am not blind. The new thing here is that I find them all beautiful. And I mean all of them. I’m not that picky anymore, and truly can recognize something attractive in every woman I see. Still refraining from looking too much.
These are the positives; but for me, the questions of fantasies remain; I still chase them out of my head but they are there. I am wondering: could this destroy my recovery attempts? PMO I can quit, this is not the problem for me, but fantasies…can my brain recover if they keep coming? I really have to find a solution for this or my attempts might be for nothing. Also, reading stories of other people in the same situation made me realize that a lot of them reach a flatline situation. For me, no such thing. This adds to the worries, it’s like my brain full of fantasies is not giving up. Am I doing this recovery right?