It was always simple: porn made me feel alive. It kept my libido running at the only level I was comfortable with – very high. I had felt sexual since I was a young child and when teenage hormones kicked in I can only say it suddenly made sense of life. This was also the point I first came across porn.
Through my teens and into my mid-twenties I never thought about porn in the sense of whether it was right or wrong. I never discussed it with my partners or even with other men. To be honest, I simply used porn like ‘any other man does’ – mindlessly. Looking back on it, what it did do for me was keep me going at an elevated pace. It kept me ‘running’ and it kept my mind full up. There was space for work and there was space for porn and then there was a tiny space for my real life relationships (unaffected, or so I thought by my porn use). Everything else in life began to drift. From the age of 20 until my divorce at 49 in 2011 I have only had three relationships. Each has lasted for years and each has finally broken down probably in the greater part due to my dependency on porn.
I’m writing this blog post because in 2010 I changed my life. I began to realize that I was not functioning very well and through reading a couple of books and then beginning psychotherapy I came to understand that I was depressed. I can now see that as the depression took its deepest hold on me I was also involving myself in self-sabotaging actions and snuffing out the dim light of my marriage. I only wish that my own action had not been so destructive and that I could have protected my wife from my actions.
Eventually I increased the amount of porn I was viewing to unsustainable levels and, to my own self-hatred, I turned to images that were deeply degrading and humiliating. I used the porn in an attempt to destroy myself.
In reaction to what I was looking at and the shame it had finally brought down on me, I took an overdose two days before Christmas 2009.
Now, two years on and having worked with a psychotherapist weekly for almost two years my depression feels greatly lifted and understood by comparison to my darkest point. My porn and my depression have been returning subjects in the weekly conversations. I am also coming towards the end of my time on the sex offenders’ register, which I was placed on as a result of the material I had been viewing. I feel the images have mainly faded from my conscious mind now and I have no desire to trigger them. I’m certain if I was to return today and look at what had become a normal day’s viewing on the Internet towards the end of my marriage it would revolt me. I also understand why my wife could not stay and work through the whole process with me and to her I say I’m sorry: ‘If only I’d have sought help sooner.’
* Names and certain facts have been altered in order to protect Mitch’s family; with approval, some of his phraseology has been changed.
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