Hi, this is my first post here, and it might be a little long. I'm a 32-year-old male. I first saw pornography when I was 11 years old, and while I don't think that was the sole cause of my downfall, it was definitely a contributing factor. I was very strange in elementary school—the eccentric, artistic type—and because of this, I was severely bullied between the ages of 7 and 13 because I found it difficult to relate to other children and cultivate meaningful friendships with them. I've also suffered from seasonal affective disorder since childhood (I'm from Canada, and the winters have always been very difficult for me to deal with). So, as you can imagine, I was very isolated as a kid, and the first time I saw pornography, that dopamine rush was an immediate comfort to me. By the time I was 15 years old, I had been PMOing several times a day for about three years. This is around the time that I also began experiencing strange symptoms: random bouts of nausea, vertigo/dizziness, anxiety, OCD, and a disconcerting brain-fog feeling that's hard to describe, but it felt like I wasn't really me anymore—almost like my personality had been tampered with and diminished in some way that wasn't readily apparent to me. I was taken to the doctor, and a blood test confirmed that I had hypothyroidism; however, my symptoms seemed to be unabated by the prescription they put me on. This is when my doctor swiftly resorted to diagnosing me with "clinical depression" (which doesn't even run in my family) and put me on 150 mg of Effexor, which did absolutely nothing to make me feel better; the side effects actually made me feel worse! As you can imagine, not only did I continue with the PMO, but I upped the intensity because that was one of the few sources of comfort I had. By the time I was 14, this love affair with dopamine got me into smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol whenever I could find it, and experimenting with other substances. I just wanted that rush as often as possible, and I didn't care what I had to do to get it. I pretty much missed out on my teenage years and most of my 20s because I was too busy PMOing, engaging in substance abuse, and being depressed. The only meaningful hobby I had (and still have) was playing and writing music. I had a girlfriend from age 19 to 22, and she loved me very much, but I lost her because of my aforementioned "extracurricular activities." (As a side note, I'd also like to mention that I was never into illegal pornography, or porn that involves fetishes like pain/humiliation/degradation. The kind of stuff I was into was actually pretty run-of-the-mill and vanilla.) I have been on NoFap for a eight days now, and I feel like I've been reborn! My mind feels so clear. I no longer struggle to form a coherent sentence when speaking. I can actually laugh again too! I had seemingly lost my sense of humor for years. The other night, I was doing some reading in a NoFap thread when that Billy Squier song "The Stroke" came on the radio; my mind instantly recognized the irony and I almost laughed myself to the point of nausea. The strange thing is, I don't even have any urges, but I think a lot of that is psychological; I just want to be my original self so badly that I'm willing to tell myself NEVER AGAIN! and stick with it. I had no idea that daily masturbation was one of the major factors that was making me feel weird and icky for two goddamn decades, but I wish I had known sooner so that I could've rectified this problem before it destroyed my life. At this moment, I feel like I'm being pulled in two directions: one part of me feels so optimistic and ready to take on the world, but the other part of me is terrified and slightly discouraged because I know I'll probably never be able to live a 100% normal life. I dropped out of high school, and I've only worked one job in my life (for two years). All I ever wanted was a normal life with a woman I can love and relate to, and maybe even a kid or two, but all that seems so far out of reach because I'm starting life so late and live in a country with a ridiculously high cost of living. What woman is going to be interested in a man in his 30s who has no money and very little life experience? That's the only part of this that leaves me feeling utterly hopeless. The one thing that I do have going for me is the fact that I look very young; I have an athletic physique, and people tell me my face looks more like I could be 23 or 24. Other than the anxiety regarding my future, I feel so self-empowered right now for finally identifying one of the major obstacles and taking matters into my own hands (pun intended). Seriously, I feel like I just won the lottery. Is it normal to feel this good after just one week?! I've never tried cocaine, but I imagine that it would feel something like the euphoria I'm experiencing right now. I also have a some questions about a few things that are concerning me at the moment: When does the insomnia begin to wane? It takes me up to 5 hours to get to sleep some nights. And once I do manage to get to sleep, I'll wake up every two hours. It's not even urges or erotic dreams that are causing this; it's just like my brain won't allow me to rest for some reason. I feel so wired out all the time. Is it normal to get sleep sweats and random hot flashes? Will my testosterone eventually calm down a little bit? It seems like it's all over the place right now. Sometimes I'll feel normal; other times, I feel like I want to impregnate a busload of women and fist-fight the driver. I'd like to thank anybody who has ever contributed information to this forum. This forum and the YBOP website have been immensely invaluable to me in this last week. To any other newbies reading this thread who are thinking of beginning NoFap: it's the best decision you will ever make, and you CAN accomplish it with the right amount of willpower and determination.