NoFap Depression

Understanding and Overcoming Depression During the NoFap Journey


5/24/202310 min read

man in black shirt sitting on chair
man in black shirt sitting on chair

I found myself sobbing uncontrollably, with my eldest daughter looking up at me, trying to comfort me without understanding what was going on.

Choking on my tears, I struggled to articulate my regrets and the overwhelming sense of insignificance due to my inactions and lack of achievements.

That was my first encounter with depression during my journey with NoFap three years ago.

Acknowledging the Dark Side

Depression is a seldom-discussed aspect of the NoFap experience. Personally, I have found it easier to slip into depression while practicing NoFap, facing several bouts of depressive episodes.

However, I share this not to discourage you from quitting porn or to provide ammunition to anti-nofappers who claim, "This is why you don't do NoFap!"

It's important to note that most of the depressive nature associated with NoFap is temporary, and the benefits of NoFap far outweigh any discomfort you may encounter. In fact, the benefits are tenfold or more.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to be aware of the possibilities and learn how to overcome depression, ensuring you don't spiral into despair while striving to become a better person.

In this article, I will share my personal experiences and offer strategies to help you navigate and overcome NoFap depression.

Understanding NoFap Depression

NoFap depression is like that uninvited guest at a party you didn't even know you were throwing. It sneaks in during your valiant attempt to quit PMO (porn, masturbation, and orgasm), and suddenly you find yourself in a low mood with a side of depressive symptoms.

During those tough times, I experienced mood swings that would make a roller coaster jealous.

One minute, I'd be feeling like the king of the world, proud of my NoFap progress. The next minute, I'd question my life choices and wonder why I ever thought torturing myself with abstinence was a good idea.

I could feel wonderful about having a clearer mind but then experience excessive bouts of self loath on WTF I had become.

Who needs emotional stability, right?

The Relationship Between PMO and Depression

Individuals who regularly engage in porn and masturbation often find themselves more susceptible to depressive moods and a lack of motivation in life.

Now, think about how you feel after a good ol' session of self-love. Does it make you feel like you can conquer the world? Nah, more like it leaves you feeling numb, empty, and questioning your life choices. Quite the buzzkill.

Personally, I've experienced that lovely sense of emptiness after a self-pleasure session. And boy, did I have creative ways to distract myself from confronting those feelings. Gaming, binge-watching, you name it. Anything to avoid facing the truth: I was not feeling my best after a round of PMO.

And let's not forget the joy of comparing ourselves to those oh-so-perfect actors in porn. Nothing like feeling inadequate and questioning our self-worth, am I right?

Worst of all, that post-session feeling is all about emptiness and a distinct lack of motivation. You know, the classic "What the heck have I been doing with my life?" moment.

We've all been there, my friend.

Why It Happen?

forest trees marked with question marks
forest trees marked with question marks

NoFap depression can be caused by several factors. Let's delve deeper into each of them:

1. Flatline:

Chronic PMO users are so used to high levels of dopamine that everyday activities, like working hard or reading, suddenly seem about as exciting as watching paint dry. Fun times, right?

But fear not, my friend! During NoFap, when you kick that high dopamine stimulation out the door, your dopamine levels take a nosedive as you undergo detoxification. It's like your brain is saying, "Hey, where did all the fun go?"

Meanwhile, your poor dopamine receptors are desperately trying to recover, like a marathon runner crawling toward the finish line.

So, don't be surprised if you hit a period of feeling unmotivated and low. It's just your brain's way of adjusting and recalibrating.

Think of it as a temporary pit stop on your NoFap journey. Just remember, the fun will come back, and it will be even more fulfilling when it does.

2. Relapse:

For many people, relapses can trigger feelings of depression, accompanied by self-hatred and self-doubt for not being able to resist the urges. I have been in that situation multiple times myself.

In the beginning, relapses can make you feel like you've failed at life, like a weak-minded warrior who couldn't resist the siren call of temptation. The emotions can be overwhelming, ranging from frustration to anger to "I just want to crawl into a dark cave and hibernate" depression.

But remember, my friend, quitting porn is no easy feat. It's like wrestling a giant octopus with a mind of its own.

Some lucky folks succeed on their first attempt, but for the rest of us mere mortals, even making it through seven days can feel like climbing Mount Everest without oxygen.

So, let's shift our focus to celebrating the small victories. You're battling a lifelong habit and one of the strongest urges known to humankind. It's not just about willpower; it's about having a systematic approach, like a secret agent planning a covert operation.

And remember, even if you stumble along the way, the most important thing is to get back up and keep moving forward. You've got this!

3. Introspection:

During NoFap, self-reflection can be a painful process.

It's like peeling back layers of an onion, only to discover more tears than you bargained for. Without the numbing effect of PMO, you're left face-to-face with the mirror of truth.

Over the course of three months, with a couple of relapses, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. I opened up emotional wounds and confronted them head-on. It wasn't pretty.

I dove into the deep end of self-loathing as I confronted the person I had become and my long list of unaccomplished dreams.

There were moments when I cried like a baby, releasing emotions that had been simmering on the back burner for decades. It was like emotional detox, and boy, was it a wild ride.

As challenging as it was, this process of introspection became the most valuable aspect of my NoFap journey. It was truly life-changing. Facing reality and understanding oneself are crucial for leading a better life.

And remember, you don't have to tackle this journey alone.

Seek support from a coach, a trusted friend, or even a furry companion who's always ready to lend an empathetic ear (well, maybe not literally, but you get the idea).

Having someone by your side to navigate the potential pitfalls of depression can make all the difference. Plus, who can resist those wagging tails and purrfect cuddles?

4. Altered Stress Response:

Ah, the brain's stress response system, where things can go haywire faster than a squirrel on a sugar rush. Excessive porn consumption or addiction can really throw a wrench into this delicate system.

While researchers are still unraveling the mysteries, there's evidence suggesting that porn addiction can give your brain's dopamine system a makeover.

You see, when you indulge in pornography, it's like a fireworks show of dopamine explosions in your brain. It's like your brain is saying, "Hey, this feels good! Let's do it again and again!"

And before you know it, you're caught in a never-ending cycle of chasing that dopamine high like a squirrel chasing acorns.

But here's the kicker: Prolonged exposure to explicit sexual material can lead to desensitization.

Your brain becomes less responsive to the same old stimuli, seeking greater levels of novelty and excitement. It's like the Netflix algorithm gone wrong, constantly pushing you to find something more stimulating than the last time.

And let's not forget the delightful side effects of guilt, shame, and self-doubt that often come hand in hand with porn addiction. It's like a stress cocktail with a twist of emotional roller coaster. No wonder you feel like you're losing control over your behavior!

But fear not, my stressed-out friend. By embarking on the NoFap journey, you're taking a step toward reclaiming control over your stress response.

You're giving your brain the chance to recalibrate and find pleasure in the simpler joys of life, like a leisurely walk in the park or a heartfelt conversation with a loved one.

Who needs artificial thrills when you can savor the real ones?

11 Tips For Managing NoFap Depression

depth of field photography of man playing chess
depth of field photography of man playing chess

Now that we have explored the causes of NoFap depression, let's focus on strategies to manage and overcome it:

1. Do it for the right reason! (But make sure it's right for you)

During my second journey, I have realized that the main catalyst for change lies in my motivations.

We've all seen those inspiring videos about the dark side of the porn industry (1)(2). They make you want to quit porn for the sake of saving the world, one pixelated image at a time.

The first time, I was all on it. It didn’t turn out well.

Recurring questions and self-doubts keep emerging.

What if I relapse? Does that mean I don't love my wife and daughters enough?

Does it imply that I am an immoral person who doesn't care about the well-being of women in general?

Why I can't emulate someone like Ran Gavrieli, who quit out of genuine love for women? Is there something wrong with my compassion?

In the end, the journey was full of fear, self loathe and disappointment.

The truth is, altruistic reasons don't work for most people. We’re not all superheroes. Most of us are inherently self-centered. In fact, people respond better to intrinsic motivation rather than external factors.

If you must, find a reason that resonates with your inherently self-centered nature. Maybe it's for your own energy and clarity (as mine is now) or to avoid awkward conversations with your internet service provider.

Whatever floats your boat, mate!

2. Go for a walk in nature (No, the Internet doesn't count as nature)

Spending time in nature can have a soothing effect on the mind and body.

Take a break from your usual surroundings and immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world.

The fresh air and peaceful environment can help alleviate feelings of depression and improve your overall well-being.

3. Keep Yourself Busy (No, scrolling through social media doesn't count)

When you're bored, the devil finds work for idle hands, right? So, keep those hands busy with activities that actually matter.

Write, paint, cook, or juggle flaming torches (just kidding, please don't). The point is to find something that lights your fire and keeps your mind off the temptations of the digital world.

4. Exercise daily (No, lifting your phone to your face doesn't count)

Meditation is a powerful tool for calming the mind and finding inner peace.

Set aside a few minutes each day to sit in silence, focusing on your breath and let those thoughts drift away like clouds on a summer day.

Meditation can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and cultivate a more positive outlook. Just don't fall asleep and start snoring. It ruins the zen vibe.

5. Practice meditation (No, thinking about what to have for dinner doesn't count)

It's time to move those muscles and get those endorphins flowing. Find an exercise routine that suits your fancy.

You can jog, swim, do yoga, or try the latest trend of interpretive dance workouts. The goal is to feel that sense of accomplishment and give your brain a healthy dose of happy chemicals.

6. Prioritize quality sleep (No, watching other people sleep doesn't count)

Sleep is your secret weapon against the forces of darkness (aka NoFap depression).

Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a relaxing environment in your bedroom. Avoid electronic devices before bed and practice relaxation techniques.

I find using NSDR (Non sleep deep rest) is wonderful for recouping lost sleep and putting you into deep rest quickly. You can find them on YouTube.

7. Engage in meaningful activities (No, binge-watching Game of Thrones for the tenth time doesn't count)

Discover what makes your heart sing and dive headfirst into those activities.

Start a project, embrace a hobby, or make a positive impact in your community.

Let your passions lead the way and watch those depressive clouds dissipate like morning mist.

8. Journal your feelings (No, tweeting your every thought doesn't count)

Discover what makes your heart sing and dive headfirst into those activities.

Start a project, embrace a hobby, or make a positive impact in your community.

Let your passions lead the way and watch those depressive clouds dissipate like morning mist.

9. Practice gratitude and positive affirmations (No, praising your dog smarter than your boss doesn’t count)

Count your blessings and give yourself a pat on the back for being awesome. Take a moment each day to acknowledge the good things in your life and jot them down.

Grateful for that delicious slice of pizza? Write it down. Thankful for the smile that stranger gave you? Write it down.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can shift your focus from negativity to appreciation for the present moment and the positive aspects of your life.

10. Connect socially (No, stalking your ex on social media doesn't count)

Isolation can make you feel like you're the only person on the NoFap journey.

But guess what? You're not alone!

Reach out to supportive friends or join online communities where you can share your experiences and find comfort in the camaraderie.

11. Avoid gaming and excessive shopping (No, buying virtual armor doesn't count as personal growth)

When you're feeling down, it's tempting to dive into a virtual world or indulge in some retail therapy.

But let's face it, spending hours leveling up in a game won't do much for your real-life accomplishments.

Instead, focus on activities that bring you genuine growth and fulfillment. Learn a new skill, read a book, or conquer that recipe you've been eyeing. It's time to level up in the game of life.


Understanding these strategies can be beneficial, but there's one aspect that's paramount: being patient and kind to yourself.

Quitting porn is a lifelong journey, and it's normal to experience relapses along the way. Porn addiction can be insidious, and you might not even realize you're addicted to it.

Unlike drugs or alcohol, the effects of porn addiction may not be immediately apparent or devastating.

Many people around you may not see it as a big deal, and even some women may accept it as inevitable due to societal conditioning.

Ultimately, quitting porn is a personal journey, and finding support can be challenging.

NoFap forums, while intended to offer support, can sometimes be more toxic than helpful. They can be overly focused on being "Nofappers" and may not provide the understanding and empathy you need.

That's why it's crucial to have your own reasons to continue, even if there's no one else on the other side of the line. Extrinsic motivations may not be sustainable in the long run, as they can crumble quickly.

Remember, everyone's journey is unique, and it's important to discover the strategies that work best for you.

Practice patience and self-compassion as you navigate the challenges of NoFap and strive for personal growth.

Believe in your inner strength to overcome NoFap depression and emerge as a stronger, more fulfilled individual.

Above all, be gentle with yourself, celebrate your progress, and never lose sight of your ultimate goal of living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Wish you well, my friend

With love.

brown bear plush toy on brown textile
brown bear plush toy on brown textile