Wicked Case of PAWS....what finally helped me

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by BeanBurrito, May 28, 2019.

  1. BeanBurrito

    BeanBurrito Fapstronaut

    Hey guys,

    About 3 years ago I discovered Nofap and finally discovered the reason for my lifelong sexual issues. I've had issues with both libido and actual performance literally my entire life and just never connected the dots with my porn usage prior to that time. About a year before I discovered Nofap, I also fell into a pretty deep depression that can 100% be attributed to my sexual and intimacy issues.

    I was able to quite porn cold turkey, and haven't looked at it (intentionally) once over the past 3 years. The urges to PMO to be honest have been few and far between. For me, BY FAR the biggest issue that I've dealt with over the past 3 years has been the post acute withdrawals/ flatline that arrived about a moth after stopping PMO for good.

    My withdrawls manifested themselves in the form of depression, crazy anhedonia (I literally couldn't feel joy or give a flying fuck about anything), extreme mental and physical fatigue, crippling brain fog, and perhaps most damaging to me personally, the fact that I completely lost both my ability and desire to socialize. I also dealt with some pretty gnarly migraines (which I'm still dealing with) and headaches in general in addition to being sick quite often over the past few years.

    I've been to multiple, multiple doctors and specialists trying to figure out what was going on with me. Nobody that I talked to from doctors, to psychiatrists, to neurologists really bought into PAWS from porn.

    I've tried literally everything suggested on this forum and others to accelerate the healing process. Cold showers, intermittent fasting, meditation, exercise, spending hundreds of dollars on supplements....I tried it all man. I'm not saying those things aren't helpful and that you shouldn't do them (you absolutely should except for the GD supplements) but they really weren't helping me in a tangible way. I was a shell of myself even 2.5 years after I quit PMO. I was beginning to lose hope and then about 4 moths ago, I decided to try the one thing that scared me the most and the thing that I had been stubbornly resisting trying with everything I had...antidepressants.

    Trust me, I know all the theories about why we go into withdrawal after quitting PMO. It is widely accepted that it's a dopamine issue, and that our dopamine receptors need time to heal after being flooded with artificial dopamine in the form of PMO for so long. The lack of dopamine also explained me major anhedonia, brain fog, depression, and inability to socialize. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I have literally been a different person for the past 3 years. It's like my life has been on pause the last few years and although it has caused setbacks for me both in my career and relationships, I finally feel like I'm breaking through to the other side.

    So, like I was saying believe it or not the thing that really turned it around for me was the SSRI Prozac. I'm on 20 mg (the lowest dosage) and it has done more to make me feel like myself than anything else has in a long, long time. SSRIs deal mainly with serotonin so how or why it helped me so much, I'm really not sure. I stopped trying to understand the science of this thing a while ago, because it was driving me crazy and wasn't really helping. The only thing that I would say is that depression and paws have a lot of overlapping systems, and dealing with underlying depression can definitely help symptoms that you assume were attributed to withdrawal.

    The common arguments that I hear against AD, and that I believed for a very long time were
    1. They're gonna cause withdrawals as well and your brain needs to heal naturally.

    - This was my single biggest concern and the primary reason that I avoided going on them for so long. I was obsessed with healing my brain "naturally" and "organically" and without the aid of any drug that could replace PMO. After 2.5 years of very slow and non-linear progress I finally just said "fuck it, it's time to try something else." Within 6 weeks I was feeling way more normal than I've felt in a long, long time. I've been on the same minimal dosage for 4 months now. If I have to go through withdrawals when I come off, or hell, even if I have to stay on these for the rest of my life it's worth it. I literally wasn't living the past 2.5 years, and if this is what it takes, then this is what it takes.

    2. SSRIS cause sexual side effects that's going to make the sexual part of the reboot even harder.

    This was the second big reason that I dragged my feet on taking an SSRI for so long. So first of all, let me just say that...yes it did cause some sexual side effects but it wasn't all bad. My libido was complete shit anyway and my erection quality was inconsistent but usually not great. Also, because I only MO'd (without P) a couple of times a month or so (after over a year of COMPELTE hard mode) I would bust super, super fast. Like annoyingly fast. Now my biggest problem is DE, which I (and my gf) much prefer to busting in 20 seconds.

    This has been a long post, but I just wanted to come back to detail what I've been through in the hopes of helping some other dudes who are struggling.

    So to summarize:

    When you quit PMO there is a very good chance that you will suffer withdrawals both sexually/libido wise and more devastatingly, mentally and physically. These withdrawals or post acute withdrawals last only a few months for some people and years for others. In general, they do get better in a non-linear and gradual pattern.

    What I personally would recommend to help yourself along in the reboot would be this:

    1. No porn ever again
    2. Go hard mode (no ejaculation at all) for at least several months
    3. When/if you decide to return to MO, do it only occasionally (def no more than once a week MAX and with a light touch and without a lot of fantasy)
    4. Definitely do all of the things recommended on this forum: Meditation and exercise are the top 2. You gotta do everything you can to help yourself out along this journey because it really is a rough ride.
    5. Go to a doctor or multiple doctor and get yourself thoroughly checked out. Rule out anything else that might be going on
    6. Find a real girl or guy after a period of hard mode for the first few months. The rewiring aspect of this journey is crucial, particularly for people who used porn during/before puberty or before having real sexual experience. You have to get your brain and your salami used to being attracted to real people. I can't overstate this enough.
    7. Be patient with yourself and realize that shit is going to suck for a while. Your body and brain just need to heal so try to be your own best friend and treat yourself with the compassion that you would have for a friend who's going through some rough times.
    8. If all else fails, and you're not seeing significant progress then don't be afraid to try an SSRI. I know the stigma surrounding them, and used to be 100% opposed to them. But I'm just reporting my own experience. I wouldn't be writing this without Prozac, that's for GD sure. Also, be aware that everybody is different and that you might have to try multiple medications before you find one that helps you. I still would view this as a last resort, and would try to give your brain time to heal and go through withdrawals naturally for a while. But that's just my opinion, honestly who the fuck knows.

    I hope this helps somebody. Trust me guys, I've been about as low as I could possibly be. Things looked so dark for so long and I honestly was losing hope. But things can change, even if it feels like they never will. So for anyone struggling with withdrawals, depression, anxiety, anything just keep pushing and be aware that as much as it may suck now, your life and the way you view your situation can look completely different in a little while. Everything is temporary. Just be easy on yourself during this time and know that you will come out the other side a stronger, more grateful, wiser person. I know hard it is to hear that when you feel like shit though, trust me I've been there.

    Keep pushing through, things will change for you eventually.
  2. Freeddom_Taker

    Freeddom_Taker Fapstronaut

    How long was your pmo addiction? Is the 2.5 years were hardmode?
  3. Big Lebowski

    Big Lebowski Fapstronaut

    Brother! Good too see an update!

    I’m coming up to 20 months soon and as you said it’s non-linear and gradual the results. Literally the same pattern of symptoms with you as well. I must admit I’m scared of taking anti-depressants but shit if I ain’t out this by two years I might have to join you. Can not believe how mental this has all been for watching some shit on a screen to suffer this much with depression and so on.
  4. Trinere

    Trinere Fapstronaut

    Hi Bean, thanks for your detailled post. I just relapsed after day 50 and now I feel so horrible, so depressed. My power is gone...reading your post makes me scary for the upcoming weeks where the flatline will hit again but also nice to read that there is an end...even if it takes longer...we must stay positive even if its difgicult when u r depressed...
  5. whysolong

    whysolong Fapstronaut


    Did you have PIED?

    if you had a porn addiction, been clean for over 2 years and are managing to have sex on SSRIs then I don't think you were experiencing PAWS.

    Sounds like straight up depression which I strongly suspect many of the long term guys actually have as apposed to PAWS.
    C.HNF likes this.
  6. Fenix Rising

    Fenix Rising Fapstronaut

    Thanks for the post man... Very informative. It's like reading my own mental state. Anhedonia needs to be experienced first hand to really understand what one is going through. I've been in it for nearly two decades now. I do think if one doesn't gradually come out of it after a year of "hardmode" one should seriously consider that he's not dealing with PAWS but preexisting anxiety/depression. Many scientists even argue that most of the addicts have had preexisting untreated mental condition, usually depression/anxiety. How long have you been addicted?
    Chappo030891 likes this.
  7. ReclaimedLife

    ReclaimedLife Fapstronaut

    I am fine with all of the above except for this. How do you just "find" someone who is doing this with you? I have tried dancing courses, yoga, gym and occasianally going out with a friend, but i never find any girl i am interested in. There are girls here and there that seem to be interested in me, but i feel nothing when i talk to them. And i refuse to kiss or sleep with someone where i feel nothing and have no connection with at all.

    Everytime i walk up to a girl i like, the conversation becomes unnaturally forced and it never leads to anything.

    I am now 45 days into no-pmo after quitting porn at the beginning of this year.

    Do you have any tipps on this?
    goodnice 2.0 and Chappo030891 like this.
  8. goodnice 2.0

    goodnice 2.0 Fapstronaut

    same what the heck. Some of you guys just act like its so easy to just get a girl and ask her to help you rewire.. it takes a lot of dam work and time to get a girl to even be comfortable doing anything remotely sexual
    muted likes this.
  9. krdt

    krdt Fapstronaut

    Op, did you consider getting a Hormone Panel?

    I'm part of a Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) group on Facebook. A lot of guys have had issues similar to yours and found their hormones are in the gutter.

    TRT has often resolved their depression and libido issues instead of an SSRI or been used alongside their SSRI treatment. Others have started TRT and then weened themselves off SSRIs.
  10. whysolong

    whysolong Fapstronaut


    Wrong mindset. If you go around actively trying to find a girl it rarely happens in my experience.

    Just stay social, meet people and it happens by itself.
    goodnice 2.0 likes this.
  11. dboy18

    dboy18 Fapstronaut

    I'm using Lexamil antidepressants. I don't know why.
  12. dboy18

    dboy18 Fapstronaut

    Great post.
  13. BeanBurrito

    BeanBurrito Fapstronaut

    By no means do I mean to imply that it was easy for me to get a girlfriend. Sex and intimacy have been for me, the biggest challenge of my life. It was such a challenge that it always even prevented me from dating at all despite being a decent enough looking guy.

    I had to do a lot of therapy to get over my past fears of intimacy/ sexual failures and I would highly recommend that. But even going to therapy and knowing how crucial it was for me to find someone to rewire with and tell me story to, it was literally impossible for me for a long time after quitting PMO. The post acute withdrawal/depression completely prevented me from being able to socialize with anyone, let alone trying to date for the first time in my life. It was so frustrating knowing exactly what I needed to do but physically not being able to do it.

    So, to summarize, yes it's hard as shit for guys that grew up wiring themselves to PMO and have never had a significant other.


    . Don't be afraid to go to therapy to talk out some of your past intimacy/PMO related issues. It doesn't work for everybody but it was crucial for me.

    . You gotta push yourself outside of your comfort zone a bit, even if you're not 100% healthy. At some point you gotta just say "fuck it" and take a swing with online dating or if you're able to (which I was not) pick up a girl/guy in real life.

    . To be able to do this can sometimes require a shift in mindset. The fear of rejection and/or sexual failure is real and can be crippling. Trust me I know that all too well. But BE EASY ON YOURSELF AND KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS LOW. Just try to make progress and view any step you take in the right direction as a W. Easier said than done obviously, but you gotta change the way you look at things.

    . Don't be afraid of Antidepressants if you're been PMO free for a while and are literally physically/mentally unable to date. See my original post for my thoughts on this. Just to reiterate, I do think they should be viewed as a last resort and I would recommend withdrawing naturally on hardmode for at least several (6+ or longer months.) I understand the controversy surrounding AD and realize that they don't work for everybody. But I can only go my experience and I literally couldn't have done it without them. Also don't feel ashamed or like you're "quitting" if you have to take them, some people just straight up need them for a while; don't feel like you're being "weak" or "soft" if you have to go that route please.
    goodnice 2.0 likes this.
  14. BeanBurrito

    BeanBurrito Fapstronaut

    Yep I got a full hormone panel three times. My testosterone was normal which was absolutely shocking considering I had the libido and vitality of a sea turtle.

    I do agree though, people should absolutely get this done just to make sure something isn't wrong there.

    I would caution though, TRT (as I understand it) is pretty much a permanent decision as your body stops producing its own testosterone after starting treatment. I'm sure you know way more about that process than I do, so feel free to let me know if that's not right.

    But yea if your T is really low, you're gonna feel like shit and you need TRT no doubt. But not all (or I would go as far as to say the vast majority) of people experiencing withdrawals from PMO have low T or any kind of hormonal problem.
  15. whysolong

    whysolong Fapstronaut


    I've been reading your posts on and off for a couple of years, even before I made an account so I've seen how much you were suffering.

    It's awesome you've finally found a way to feel better and I agree in some cases antidepressants are necessary. They can be life changing for some, especially people who are on there last leg

    However, SSRI's are widely over prescribed, they can cause long term changes to the serotonin network and long term side effects such as permanent emotional blunting, permanent digestive problems, permanent loss of appetite, massive spikes in femine hormones (breast tissue growth from prolactin release) , PSSD, I can't be bothered to explain to anyone what PSSD is so just Google it, it's fucking scary.

    Also serotonin and dopamine and constantly interacting with each other to create a balancing effect, when one goes up, the other goes down, it's a very delicate balance. Long term SSRI use will eventually start to cause dopamine receptors to shrink, it's been shown with abstinence from SSRI'S the dopamine receptors do grow back but they grow back deformed.

    Also that serotonin that is being recycled and held longer in your brain comes directly from your gut, it does not have a never ending supply, when you interrupt this flow of recycling by forcing your brain to retain it longer you are eventually causing a deficiency.

    I just want to make it clear that everything in describing here is from long term use and probably high dose use. My own personal opinion is that these drugs can be really beneficial when you are at your lowest but, no drug whether it's recreational or medical should be used long term , at the very best you will just become immune/tolerant of the drug and it won't do anything to you even at the highest dose, at the very worst you will have all the side effects long term even years after quitting the drug.
    TantusJulius likes this.
  16. BigOne79

    BigOne79 Fapstronaut

    I am supposed to probably start TRT myself as my urologist has told me that at age 40 my T levels are slightly low at 370.. I think that is way TOO LOW for age 40 but I am not a doctor. They had me do a sleep study and now they want me to try CPAP for three months to see if that will increase my libido. It is all about getting better sleep in my opinion and the position I sleep in. I will snore if I sleep on my back but sleeping on my side stops the snoring I believe.

    How has your experience on CLOMID I believe it is raising your T-Levels.
  17. krdt

    krdt Fapstronaut

    Yes, my experience is exactly like yours. At 36 my levels are around 400. TRT is a lifelong commitment, I'm currently trying various supplements in addition to CPAP to see if that improves things. Sleep apnea is a big cause of low T and I firmly believe you should exhaust all options before beginning TRT.

    Low dose clomid can work, but clomid has some serious vision side effects. It's worth learning about primary and secondary hypogonadism. One is from the pituitary gland in the brain and the other is testes not producing enough testosterone.

    CPAP can be hard to get used to but I'm sleeping much better with it and have started getting morning wood again since using it. Good luck
  18. ironmaing

    ironmaing Fapstronaut

    But once you’re on it’s a lifetime commitment. I’m on it and want off but apparently natural testosterone production will never be the same again. I wasn’t aware. What is the group called? I don’t use FB anymore as trying to reduce dopamine rushes but group could help
  19. krdt

    krdt Fapstronaut

    Why do you want off? I want on lol.

    The group https://www.facebook.com/groups/testosteronereplacement/
  20. clapas

    clapas Fapstronaut

    That's why I think most people here simplify too much, like abstaining from PMO is going to fix anything. In many cases the signs of improvement they see are from autosuggestion: the superpowers, the feeling energized, the attracting girls, etc. There are hundreds of sources of mental instability. In the same way, many people PMO on a regular basis and never experience issues at all, they are perfectly fine.

    Glad for you guys if it helps, but we are far from seeing a consistent solution to mental problems through NoFAP. And sorry if anybody feels offended. I'm on day twenty-something and don't see any benefits at all.

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