It is important to note that not everyone who has social anxiety will be able to relate to my experience or benefit from my observations. Some people have a very surface-level social anxiety which usually goes away after a few weeks porn free. Others have a deep-rooted social anxiety that has nothing to do with Nofap, and their masturbation habits and porn consumption have little effect on their anxiety.
There is another camp of social anxiety sufferers that falls somewhere in the middle of these two ends of the spectrum, and I would like to talk about my experience in this camp.
It is hard to say whether or not I have always had social anxiety. I don’t know if I was born with it, or if it developed based on certain events that took place as I grew up. My father has always been socially anxious, but I was very confident and had lots of friends when I was very young, showing no signs of anxiety until I was maybe into middle school/high school — at which point my porn addiction was well underway. This leads me to believe that it wasn’t as much about genetics as it was about my environment and my behaviors.
So my anxiety continued to worsen once it took hold. And at the same time, my porn use became more compulsive, and more frequent. By college, after years of masturbating to porn regularly, at least twice a day, even when I was dating girls, my social anxiety got so bad that I could barely interact with people.
Everything involving other people made me uncomfortable. Talking to my mother on the phone. Hanging out with my best friend. Attending a class at school. Meeting someone new. Going into a store to buy something. Asking someone for directions/help. Being watched by people in public. You name it, I experienced it. It was utterly debilitating. I couldn’t make any friends. I felt like a worthless sack of shit.
Then, after stumbling upon Nofap, and by a stroke of luck and a little bit of will power, I started to face my addiction. I would start to go a week to two weeks without porn and my social anxiety was significantly less noticeable. I would relapse after two weeks and all the anxiety would come rushing back to me, as if I’d made no progress at all.
Fast forward to now. It’s been almost five god damn months since I’ve jacked off or looked at porn. (Holy shit I’m proud of myself)
I feel like a new person. My anxiety used to be a 10. Now on most days it’s like a 2 at the most, sometimes a 0 or a 1.
Quit porn and masturbation and you may just get your life back. BUT. Do not fantasize. Let me repeat. DO NOT FANTASIZE!!!!
I consider fantasizing to be the same thing as edging. Let me explain why.
As I said, after a few months PMO free my anxiety is nothing compared to what it was. But if I don’t get enough sleep and then I’m tired the next day, sometimes I catch myself fantasizing. I’ll picture my professor performing oral sex on me. Or I’ll remember the last time I had sex and I’ll start to replay the scene in my head. Now this only happens for a few minutes and then I wake up and realize that I need to refocus my attention to something non-sexual to let my brain continue to heal.
Well, just from those few minutes of fantasy, I feel a little bit more socially anxious. It’s like a small piece of my social anxiety came back as soon as I indulged in the sexual thoughts. Isn’t that weird?
Man, the brain is strange. Recovering from porn addiction is strange. It’s also incredibly rewarding. You all deserve to recover. And you will. One day at a time. If you find yourself in a shitty situation like me where your anxiety comes back randomly after a small little slip up in your attention, DON’T BE HARD ON YOURSELF. Let it go. You will not achieve perfection overnight. These trials are shaping you into a bad ass man. Enjoy the ride and embrace the strangeness and the ups and downs.