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True Story: Quitting Porn Helped in My Fight Against Depression

By September 10, 2019 No Comments
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Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

We recently received a story from a Fighter who realized how much pornography can contribute to feelings of depression, and isolation. This post is not to say that stopping a porn habit can magically cure depression, while porn could be a part of contributing to the larger problem. This Fighter's experience offers a glimpse of hope for those who may feel like their porn is holding them back from living a healthy, full life.

Hey FTND!

Let me just say I am a big supporter of everything this movement is about. I did find something interesting that I wanted to share with you that can either encourage, warn, or bring more info to other Fighters out there!

I was first exposed to porn at the age of 11 in 2002. I became hooked on it as time progressed and the access became easier. But a strange trend followed me as well: depression. My depression started around the same time span but for the longest time, I never correlated the two. I would watch porn for a full day, and then be depressed for the week.

RelatedHow Shame Made My Struggle With Porn Worse, Not Better

The porn made me feel so disconnected and ashamed that I didn’t want to be around anyone, but instead dwell in the garbage that I just watched. Porn made me feel less human, but I kept coming back to it, it was my drug that gave me false pleasure. I would watch porn for about 5 minutes, and then just feel like dirt for the rest of day, and sometimes the week.

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This pattern continued all way up to 2011 when I decided to start cleaning myself up from porn because my depression got to the point of suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

I went a solid 6 months without watching porn and I noticed how my depression was absent as well. I felt happier, life seemed very enjoyable, and I felt connected to the people around me, while before, porn had caused me to feel dehumanized to society.

RelatedWhy Watching Porn Can Make You Feel More Isolated, Depressed & Lonely

I battled being on and off and on again with porn, until 2013, when I truly made a breakthrough and went a full year without seeing it. Even to this day, I have not viewed a single porn image or video. Since that day of October 24, 2013, my depression has not shown up once in my life. I’ve surrounded myself with people who remind me that I don’t need porn to find happiness or pleasure.

Overall, my two biggest influences were the thought of that depression coming back, and this movement that exposed me to the true dark side of porn and what it does to a person. Porn was my cocaine, but once I cleaned up, I got my life back.

Thank you FTND for all you do and believe! Keep on fightin’!

J.

Fortify

Why This Matters

We receive thousands of stories from people all over the world, some detailing the deep, depressive feelings they get when they watch porn. This post is not to say that stopping a porn habit is an automatic cure for depression, while it could be a large part of the larger problem.

“The more one uses pornography, the more lonely one becomes,” says Dr. Gary Brooks, a psychologist who has worked with porn addicts for the last 30 years. [1] “Any time [a person] spends much time with the usual pornography usage cycle, it can’t help but be a depressing, demeaning, self-loathing kind of experience.” [2] The worse people feel about themselves, the more they seek comfort wherever they can get it. Normally, they would be able to rely on the people closest to them to help them through their hard times—a partner, friend, or family member. But most porn users aren’t exactly excited to tell anyone about their porn habits, least of all their partner. So they turn to the easiest source of “comfort” available: more porn.

And the cycle continues.

According to researcher Dr. Ana Bridges, as a porn consumer withdraws from his or her relationships, they experience “increased secrecy, less intimacy and also more depression.” [3]

Studies have found that when people engage in an ongoing pattern of “self-concealment”—which is when they do things they’re not proud of and keep them a secret—it not only hurts their relationships and leaves them feeling lonely, but also makes them more vulnerable to serious psychological issues. [4] For both male and female porn consumers, their habit is often accompanied by problems with anxiety, body-image issues, poor self-image, relationship problems, insecurity, and depression. [5]

We fight because we believe everyone deserves to live their best, healthiest life possible, and that includes being aware and understanding how pornography can take away from real-life experiences and healthy relationships—including the healthy relationship you have with yourself.

In the end, pornography can detract from all the great things life has to offer, and consumers deserve to know the facts: watching isn’t worth it.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a science-based recovery platform dedicated to helping you find lasting freedom from pornography. Fortify now offers a free experience for both teens and adults. Connect with others, learn about your compulsive behavior, and track your recovery journey. There is hope—sign up today.

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Citations

[1] Brooks, G. R., (1995). The Centerfold Syndrome: How Men Can Overcome Objectification And Achieve Intimacy With Women. San Francisco: Bass. Cited In Yoder, V. C., Virden, T. B., & Amin, K. (2005). Internet Pornography And Loneliness: An Association? Sexual Addiction And Compulsivity, 12, 19-44. Doi:10.1080/10720160590933653
[2] Interview With Dr. Gary Brooks, Oct. 23, 2013.
[3] Weir, K. (2014, April). Is Pornography Addictive? Monitor On Psychology. 45(4) 46. Retrieved From Http://Www.Apa.Org/Monitor/2014/04/Pornography.Aspx
[4] Laird, R. D., Marrero, M. D., Melching, J. A., And Kuhn, E. S. (2013). Information Management Strategies In Early Adolescence: Developmental Change In Use And Transactional Associations With Psychological Adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 49(5), 928–937. Doi:10.1037/A0028845; Luoma, J. B., Et. Al. (2013). Self-Stigma In Substance Abuse: Development Of A New Measure. Journal Of Psychopathology And Behavioral Assessment, 35, 223–234. Doi:10.1007/S10862-012-9323-4; Rotenberg, K. J., Bharathi, C., Davies, H., And Finch, T. (2013). Bulimic Symptoms And The Social Withdrawal Syndrome. Eating Behaviors, 14, 281–284. Doi:10.1016/J.Eatbeh.2013.05.003; Frijns, T. And Finkenauer, C. (2009). Longitudinal Associations Between Keeping A Secret And Psychosocial Adjustment In Adolescence. International Journal Of Behavioral Development, 33(2), 145–154. Doi:10.1177/0165025408098020
[5] Flisher, C. (2010). Getting Plugged In: An Overview Of Internet Addiction. Journal Of Paediatrics And Child Health 46: 557–559. Doi:10.1111/J.1440-1754.2010.01879.X; Layden, M. A. (2010). Pornography And Violence: A New Look At The Research. In Stoner, J., & Hughes, D. (Eds.) The Social Costs Of Pornography: A Collection Of Papers (Pp. 57–68). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute; Kafka, M. P. (2000). The Paraphilia-Related Disorders: Nonparaphilic Hypersexuality And Sexual Compulsivity/Addiction. In Leiblum, S. R., & Rosen, R. C. (Eds.) Principles And Practice Of Sex Therapy, 3rd Ed. (Pp. 471–503). New York: Guilford Press.

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