[Ed note: Pedophilia is a highly sensitive topic. Papabear acknowledges this and wishes to emphasize that he in no way, shape, or form advocates child abuse of any kind, nor does he defend or excuse child abusers in any way.]
It's not so much a question but a hope that you may be able to help change some very wrong opinions about a certain topic. Society as a whole and furries especially hear this condition and immediately fly into a rage storm. I live with this psychological condition and wish people would take the time to try and understand it more. I have discussed my tools for managing this condition with psychological professionals and they see no harm in it so long as it remains strictly fictional and between consenting adults in roleplay settings. Anyway, due to a childhood trauma, I suffer from pedophilia and have never harmed a child in my life; in fact, I am asexual.
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To say you are asexual and a pedophile is to be self-contradictory. An asexual person has absolutely no interest in sex and, therefore, cannot have a sexual attraction for children. What you mean to say is that you are a pedophile who does not act out sexually with children. This is an important distinction. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, pedophilia means you have "recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children." Therefore, one can still be a pedophile even though one never acts on those desires.
It is entirely possible not to act on our sexual proclivities. It is wrong when people think that all pedophiles abuse children. In fact, the large majority never act out on their desires. It is also possible for people who are not pedophiles to sexually abuse children, using them as a surrogate for the true object of their desires.
Research is showing that pedophiles who grew up in abusive households are more likely to act out on their attraction for children. Childhood traumas of various sorts can make this more likely. Therapy with a trained mental health professional is the best way to treat pedophilia.
There is also growing evidence that pedophilia tendencies are genetic, just as homosexual ones are. So, it may be that people are born to be pedophiles. Now, there is a movement to destigmatize pedophilia by calling pedophiles "minor-attracted people." This should not, however, be seen as saying it's okay to molest children sexually. This is never okay because children are minors, are not sexually mature, and do not have the social position to say "No." It is always wrong to force oneself on a child who is powerless to prevent such assaults. This is what makes pedophilia different from homosexuality: the latter involves consenting adults while the former does not. Also, pedophilia is classified as a psychological disorder, but homosexuality is not (yes, it was once, but is no longer). Here is a good article all about pedophilia.
Thank you for bringing up an important topic. Hopefully, this will clear up some misunderstandings about pedophilia.
I'm in the closet, and if I come out I lose everyone I still care about except for my brother. My mom hates gays but thinks my Greek grandmother molesting me and hitting me and starving me as a kid is ok and says I am being a sissy pretty much cause I don't want to be around her.
[I'm] single, male, no job cause of stuttering, can't drive yet, and severe nightmares. i can only sleep in daytime. These nightmares are so bad I can't fall asleep at night. Every sound makes me jump and turn on all lights. I feel pain, and I can't wake up from them, like, Freddy Kruger-style.
Of course, no marks when I wake up, but my mental health is declining. I feel so alone, and I am starting to see my nightmares when I'm awake, too. Like, I can see it but only as it rounds a corner or out the corner of my eye. I know it's not real; in fact, I'm an atheist, but this terrifies me. It'ss a deer who wears its skeleton on the outside of its body and stands 12 feet on hinds legs. I'm 6 ft 7, and it holds me down and bites me, causing extreme pain and suffering.
[At] age 21 and a half, [I'm] not sure what conversion therapy they were talking about [Papabear note: this is a follow-up letter of one I received in which the letter writer asks if he should go through conversion therapy; I asked for more background, which resulted in this current letter], but I read and watched vids, so I'm scared of that shock therapy stuff.
Dating site stuff, all want me to pay, and I currently can't. Money issues and no credit card. When I put my mind to it, I can do tough jobs, but my mind has been deteriorating for years now. I've lost hope. Only reason I ain't dead is my brother, and I am too sissy to end it, and idk how to end it.
If you can help that would be wonderful. Also, current counselor is way too queer. I guess I just need someone to tell me it's okay and [get some] advice. Racist south Louisiana, but gay is the new black (aka, gays are being beaten every day, and no cops interfere). I spend time on video games hoping that tomorrow is a better day. Like walking dead, taking it one day at a time.
The way my grandma did stuff was she was like the Baba Yaga in [the Witcher]. She weaved a web of lies and fed off my pain but sexually. Grooming and touching and rubbing and hitting and starving. Now [that] I'm larger, I cant retaliate. Why? Cause she is a woman, and I'm a man, and she is old now. Please help if u can. I don't sleep much, and I fear I may go crazy if I already haven't.
Solmyr Wizard22 (Louisiana, age 21)
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Yours is a terribly sad story. I see why you might ask about conversion therapy. So, we need to be clear here. Conversion therapy does not work and never has. It is, indeed, a form of mental and emotional torture and has been banned in several states (see this map https://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/conversion_therapy). People who still believe in conversion therapy consider being homosexual a type of mental illness or social deviancy. This is not true. There is nothing wrong with you, which is why conversion therapy doesn't work (you can't "cure" something when there is nothing to cure). Indeed, as you can see here, conversion therapy is dangerous: https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy.
Being gay and having family hate you for it seems to be only part of the issue. Your grandmother is a huge problem, too, as you know. The nightmares you are having are likely a manifestation of your fears and horrors experienced while living with this horrible woman. She is the deer with the skeleton on the outside of her body. Because your anxieties are depriving you of sleep, these dreams are now manifesting in your waking world. When you do not get enough sleep (REM sleep), you can experience many side effects, including hallucinations, and this appears to be what you are experiencing now.
Of high importance at this time, therefore, is for you to get some sound, restful sleep. Here are some tips from Harvard Medical School (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/tips-for-beating-anxiety-to-get-a-better-nights-sleep). If need be, try over-the-counter sleep aids (I would avoid ZzzQuil as it tends to exacerbate nightmares). You can also talk to a trained therapist about how to alleviate your anxiety to sleep better.
Speaking of counselors, yours is evidently not a good match. There is nothing wrong with shopping around for a therapist until you find one with whom you are comfortable and who helps you.
Your mental health issues are peaking, which is concerning since you are entertaining thoughts of suicide. For this, I would ask you to please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. It is a free call and you will reach people who are trained specifically with this issue. And, FYI, it is GOOD that you are "too sissy" to kill yourself. This means you still have a will to live. Hold onto that healthy desire to live.
You also need to start working toward getting away from your present environment, especially your grandmother, but also your gay-hating parents. YOU are NOT the problem. THEY are. You have not done anything wrong. Being gay or bi is not a moral failing.
You don't make clear why, at 21, you don't have a job, but you need to amend that. If the problem is your anxiety, then deal with that first and then work toward employment. If you are disabled and cannot work, then apply for government disability. Do anything to get some money so you can take control of your life.
That's my initial advice to you. You can write again any time when you have more questions.
Hello. I have a question regarding physical and mental health. Lately, I have been unhappy with my body, and I always tell myself, “I will get into shape when I get home!” But when I get home, I just give up. I just feel so … defeated right now. Do you happen to have a strategy to keep your mind focused on exercise, and how to keep a positive self image?
Cooper the Moth
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Thank you for your great question. This is a problem that many people — furry and non-furry alike — struggle with. Do I assume correctly the problem is that you feel you are overweight and that when you say "mental health" you simply mean getting in the right frame of mind to get in shape? It's really not a mental health issue, unless you're having a problem with self-esteem?
Let's start with basics. Our worries about how our bodies look are largely dependent on what we feel others think of us and what society dictates is the ideal body type. It also has to do with health, of course. So, the first question is, "Why do you wish to lose weight? Is it because people are body shaming you, or is it because you don't feel well and want to be healthier?" I know people who are perfectly thin, yet they tell me all the time that they are fat and feel like slobs. This is the result of family, peers, colleagues, and TV commercials shaming them. We also blame people for being overweight, but the food and restaurant industries in the USA conspire to fill us with fat and sugar. Most Americans also work at sedentary jobs, then they drive home and sit in front of the TV all night. This is all encouraged by our current society, which then blames YOU for being overweight. Doctors are often part of the problem when they insist on us adhering to the BMI (Body Mass Index) recommendations, which are often absurd and inaccurate. BMI standards vary from country to country and cannot measure the difference between fat and muscle weight.
The first step, then, toward having a positive body image is to ignore outside opinions of what your body should look like. Your first priority is to be healthy. That doesn't necessarily mean weighing 90 pounds. You can be beefy and healthy. Have you seen the men who are in those strongest men competitions? If you took their BMI measurements, it would say they were fat!
Okay, so you throw away outside opinion and just work on being healthy. Step one is to see your doctor and assess your current health. I have no idea if you have any medical conditions, but things like having a bad back or diabetes or circulation problems can and should influence your course of action in getting in shape.
Next, assess your dietary needs. If you're eating a lot of junk food and McDonald's, you need to quit that right now. Also, don't drink soda and don't eat processed foods. Eat fresh foods whenever possible. Just doing this will have an amazingly positive effect on your weight and health.
Finally, start an exercise regimen that suits your needs. You don't have to work out at a gym 12 hours a day and run marathons to be in shape. Start slow. Exercise just 10-15 minutes a day. EVERYone has at least 10 minutes to fit in some exercise. And exercise can include many things. Take a walk (walking a mile burns fat just as much as running a mile), ride a bike, play some basketball. Just get active. As long as you're moving, you're doing your body some good. Find a sport or other activity you enjoy and exercise will be fun and not seem like work at all. Remember, small. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. I imagine that when you say you're going to go home and get in shape that you are thinking something like, "I'm going to go home and lift weights for an hour." Then, you get home and that goal just seems really intimidating and, let's face it, exhausting, so you go to the pantry and grab a sleeve of Pringles and watch TV instead. Inertia is a bitch.
So, there are my three pieces of advice: 1) stop listening to outside critics; 2) eat fresh foods; and 3) get active by doing fun stuff and/or taking small steps toward getting more active.
Hope that helps!
My youngest nephew (16) recently opened up to me about being a furry. He hasn't settled on a fursona as of yet but identifies as either a puppy or a kitten.
He has also been opening up about a lot of trauma, bullying and troubles at home under my sister who has been quite abusive, bullying and totally just awful as a parent (see: narcissistic parent, treating child like property/emotional outlet).
I've had a number of conversations with him about boundaries, the importance of recognising appropriate and inappropriate relationships and friendships, and discussed in some small detail why he wishes to be a furry.
It's all very complex and I'm fairly confident, given my nephew has OCD, ADHD and is on the autism spectrum, that the idea of being a furry might be a way to escape awful realities and just feel loved, understood, cared for and so on.
I'm trying to figure out the best ways of helping my nephew deal with his past and current traumas... to be able to process emotions and so on... he has become very attached to me in the last two months and has placed a lot of trust in me opening up about things. I have some concerns about his online friends - especially older ones - and of course worried a little about sexualised language and content he has admitted accessing. I am also a little worried that given he has only ever really been shown love/affection/hugs from his brother and the family pets (a cat and a dog) that everything might blur into one for him i.e. that he is craving a normal family relationship with hugs and support etc but that this might then become confused in his head with sexualised relationships etc.
So I basically just want some advice on how best to approach things, to support him and ensure he doesn't internalise anxieties and embarassment so he doesn't feel like an outsider or a 'freak' or a 'weirdo'.
I also need to know a bit about boundaries myself i.e. how far to I myslef indulge his being a furry... he already asked if occasionally I replace giving him a hug with a back scratch or the like... and I'm comfortable with that so long as in his mind it isn't being sexualised as that isn't appropriate (and I have discussed that directly with him). I just don't want him to become alienated or have a massive freak out about the reality of him opening himself open as he has done if that makes sense? I basically have all of the questions and need comprehensive advice.
Anonymous in the UK
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Dear Kind Uncle,
I applaud you for being such a caring and loving uncle to your nephew and for reaching out to try to find some help for him. As you know, I am not a psychologist or social worker, so it is my duty to first recommend you do a little research on professional services out there for autistic children (you may have done so already, but just to be sure...). A good place to start for UK residents such as yourself and your nephew is the National Autistic Society, which offers advice and resources. OCD Action provides guidance for those with OCD, and the ADHD Foundation is a good place to start for that concern. Fortunately, there is a lot of help available to you in your country.
But you came to Papabear because of my knowledge of furries, and I am honored to try and help you there. Many--not all--people who come to the fandom do so because they feel rejected in one way or another by society or they feel uncomfortable navigating human relationships and the complexities of said society. This is why many who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) find their way into the fandom (about 10% to 15% of furries in surveys indicate they have autism spectrum). The fandom can offer them two things: an accepting community/environment and a way to express themselves through a fursona (or fursonas) that provides them a means to get outside themselves and communicate their emotions and feelings. I recently came across a fantastic article about this very thing. The author, Joey Thurmond, explains how the play and imagination of furry assists people in becoming their true selves and helps them break out of their shells (ironic that wearing a costume can help us reveal our true selves!)
There are scientific studies that help back this up, too. A group of social scientists and psychologists have even created the FurScience website that delves into the social phenomenon of the furry fandom, who is in it, and why they participate. One of the members of FurScience, Dr. Elizabeth Fein of Duquesne University, has investigated furries who report being on the autism spectrum. In this article on the DU website, she notes how the fandom helps with lessening anxiety, building self-esteem, and fostering feelings of being part of a community. A Pittsburgh NPR station elaborated on her findings here.
Although Dr. Fein is talking about ASD, her findings have relevance to ADHD and OCD. While these three conditions are not the same, they share some commonalities, and a Scientific American article noted that they share the same genetic roots or "brain markers." Anxiety is a key trait in all three, and I am confident in saying that the furry fandom can help many people with easing anxiety and stress.
As to what you, personally, can do for your nephew, the biggest thing is to just be there for him and be supportive as you are doing now. Furries with various anxiety disorders are actually treating themselves by discovering and participating in the furry fandom. They are seeking an outlet, and here they may have one.
BUT!!! You are also right to exercise caution. As noted, there are a lot of adult things in the fandom, and there are also some dangerous people, just as there are anywhere on the internet. Trolls and other abusers are not stupid; they discover this entire community filled with very vulnerable youngsters who make easy targets for them to attack. The best thing for you to do here is to monitor internet and phone behavior, educate your nephew about the potential dangers of ALL social media, but do not impose drastic restrictions (e.g., "I forbid you to chat online with furries." Such strategies cause rebellion and resentment.) And the best way you can manage this is by telling your nephew that you support their furriness and you want there to be no secrets between the two of you. Tell him there is no need to be embarrassed about being a furry and that you hope he will talk to you all about it and about his adventures. So, go ahead and "indulge" him in his furriness, but also be on top of things and monitor what he is doing to the best of your ability. The things you can teach him about boundaries and the hazards of the internet will apply to both his online furry behavior and his online behavior in general, so it's all good.
If you feel up for it, take him to a furcon. Unfortunately, because of Covid, this is a bit problematic lately, but some cons have moved online for now, including ConFuzzled and Wild North, which is having an online con in October. Hopefully, next year the cons will be live.
As for your concerns about your nephew becoming alienated or a social outcast--don't worry about it just yet. Allow him to perform therapy on himself through the furry fandom and partner this with traditional help and advice from the resources I provided above. This is a lifelong journey for him (and you), and I think you are just the best uncle ever for striving so hard to help this young man.
Please write again if I have missed addressing any of your concerns or if you have further questions.
Hi Papa Bear.
Even though I'm 30 I'm a bedwetter and have been off and on my whole life even diapered a lot from age 8 up. I think its what lead me to becoming a babyfur. My thing is I don't know how to go about talking about the issue and its connection with others that I love.
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What have you done so far to address your bedwetting?
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So I have done several things over the last few months, actually. I've went to the doctor and got a referral for the urologist. Saw them, got a CT scan done both with and without contrast and ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder; went in for surgery for a cystoscopy, and everything came back negative.
Being a furry/babyfur I think is a trigger from my past, and I wanted your opinion, if you don't mind. From age 7 or 8 and all the way up, I've been in and out of diapers my whole life. I suffered from encopresis (bowel loss) when I was 7 till around age 9, then bedwetting from there on. I was constantly spanked and given enemas and eventually put back into diapers at age 8. Seems more like a punishment than helping control the problem.
But I wanted your opinion/advice about this sort of thing. Do you think that it's the past that possibly triggered my babyfur side of me to manifest, and also like when I get with someone how to bring this situation up?
Thanks fur the help.
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If the bed wetting isn't caused by a medical problem, then it likely is caused by an emotional or mental issue. Did you have a traumatic childhood?
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As to what I explained before in combination with this, I was in fact sexually assaulted by my cousin at age 11. I don't know if you want me to go into details with it or not, but I was also sexually assaulted by an older guy in March of 2011.
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Thank you for that honest response. Now we get to the nitty-gritty of the matter. You see, bedwetting can be an expression of the trauma of having been raped as a child or even as a teen. By extension, your babyfur urges are right up the same alley. You see, when you were traumatized by being raped, you not only were physically assaulted but you were psychologically and emotionally assaulted. Your attackers robbed you of your innocence and, indeed, your childhood. To compensate, some people such as yourself try to revert to a childhood or even infant state in an attempt to reclaim the innocence they have lost.
Here is a link to a very informative PDF that is all about how childhood rape can affect people well into adulthood.
I would suggest that you seek counsel from a professional who specializes in helping rape victims. Once your psychological issues are resolved, this should go a long way toward mitigating or even completely resolving your bedwetting problem.
As for personal relationships, I would recommend you try and figure out the bedwetting first and then worry about relationships later. Sometimes, of course, serendipity plays an unexpected card and you just fall into a relationship. Should this happen while you are still seeing a counselor, explain what is going on with you openly and honestly, but only when you feel ready to do so and only if you are in a serious relationship (i.e., e.g., it's not something I would mention on a first or second date).
I want to escape myself. I feel trapped inside this damn shell of a human that is myself. I'm cursed with autism and I just can't take it: the sensory overload, the harder time learning, the fact I will never be understood properly or understand others. It feels painful. I find myself on the ground begging for it all to end, frequently, but I know I can't fix anything. I just wish there was a clear way out. What can I do to just stop feeling like this and become a normal human and not what I am right now?
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Thank you for writing. I know several friends and a family member with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and many of them are in the furry fandom. The bad news is that autism is not a curable mental condition. The GOOD news is that there are ways you can help yourself feel and function better in the world. One of them is to interact more with animals, and another is connecting to the furry fandom!
There have been numerous studies that show that people with ASD benefit greatly from owning pets, whether that pet is a dog or a cat or even a guinea pig, gerbil, or hamster, or big animals such as horses (there are a number of nonprofits that teach kids to ride and socialize with horses). Pets offer unconditional love and are not judgmental, which eases the stress of interacting with them versus with a human being. They offer comfort and physical touch, which are also very soothing and beneficial. They teach you about how to care for another living being, too, making sure they have healthy food, exercise, and medical care when needed. This, in turn, has been shown to improve social interactions with human beings as a result, whether they are peers in the classroom, family members, or people at work. You can read more about this at the Human Animal Bond Research Institute page at https://habri.org/research/child-health/autism/.
In a manner similar to human-animal bonds, people with ASD who interact in the furry fandom have had similar positive results. I believe that this is because of two reasons: the association of furries with animals and the generally welcoming and nonjudgmental environment of the furry family. Being a furry can be helpful because of the way that having a fursona or a fursuit or both can help create a safe buffer between people that eases the stress of social interaction and communication. When you are interacting as your fursona, you feel the relief of not being you for a while and being who you would really like to be. People with ASD have also commented that wearing a fursuit is comforting, like being wrapped in a protective blanket.
Although I don't have ASD, I can attest to this effect, too. For example, when in fursuit I was able to do karaoke on stage at a furcon, something I would be too self-conscious to do as myself. It sort of gives me a little insight into how this would work for someone such as you, BX3.
What can you do to "stop feeling like this" then? If you don't have a pet, I would highly recommend you get one (I prefer dogs myself, but whatever you enjoy is fine). I think you would also do well to interact with the furry community while in your fursona character. Both of these things can go a long way toward easing stress and improving your ability to interact with others in social situations.
Dear Papa Bear,
How can I convince my mom to let me make a mini partial fursuit? I told my mom I was a furry through text (I have social anxiety so it was too hard to say it aloud) and I told her I really wanted to make a “furry costume”. She wouldn’t let me do it and she said I shouldn’t be looking up furry stuff. I know there is inappropriate stuff but I don’t look at it. She always complains that I’m lazy so she should be happy I want to put effort into something. I wanna explain to her that it’s not inappropriate but I don’t have enough confidence bc of social anxiety. Being able to make my own fursuit would make me the happiest.
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The internet can be a wonderful thing, but when it comes to the fandom, it can prejudice parents against letting their kids explore the fandom. This is a shame, because not only is the fandom fun, it can have many benefits as well. Helping people like you who suffer from social anxiety is one of these benefits. If instead of going on the internet to look for furporn your mother searched on "social anxiety and furry fandom" she would find articles and videos about how many young people have treated their anxiety by being furry and enjoying its community. It also helps people suffering from various degrees of autism spectrum disorder.
Here are just a couple articles and videos you can show your mother:
I would also suggest your mother visit the Moms of Furries website at https://mofurries.com/. These two mothers were, like yours, nervous about their kids participating in the fandom, but they gave it a try and found it had a lot of benefits for helping them get out of their shells and socialize in healthy ways.
Being a furry has lots of benefits. Point these out to your mom and tell her she should avoid jumping to conclusions because of furporn. Porn is all over the web, not just furry sites, but that is not what you--indeed, most furries--are about.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
Is it possible for someone to change so suddenly from being a nice, kind and gentle person to being a degenerate piece of shite? Could something like that happen to me? The thought scares me. I know I shouldn't think about it. But my OCD keeps shoving it into my face. I don't want to be a bad person. I don't want to hurt people. I care about my friends and family. I love them. I never want to hurt them. These thoughts are making me break down because I know these thoughts aren't me. I'm just so afraid.
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Obsessive-compulsive disorder will, indeed, make you obsess about things that upset you, by definition. Is it possible for someone's personality to change abruptly? Sure, but I see no reason why that would happen to you. People's personalities can change abruptly due to trauma or a medical condition. For example, a brain injury, stroke, or Alzheimer's can do this. Also, tragedy in one's life can change someone a lot (as I know from personal experience), such as the sudden loss of a spouse or child, suffering through combat in the military, or surviving a natural disaster.
But people usually don't change for no reason. You're not going to go walking down the street one day and suddenly turn into a douchebag.
I'm guessing your fear that you will suddenly hurt the people you love stems from your OCD. Therefore, the best solution for you is to work on your condition through therapy and/or medication. I certainly hope you are getting treatment, but, if you aren't, I would highly recommend you do.
In the meantime, I'm confident you will remain a sweet, caring person.
Judging from the lovely drawing at the top of your page, I can tell you might also be a fan of coffee. Like a lot of people, I drink it virtually every day.
However, I've started to suspect that this is not a healthy habit for me. Despite being physically active, eating a good diet, and usually getting enough sleep, I frequently feel tired and unmotivated.
That's not good for anyone, but being a college student, it's really not good. There's so many things I need and want to do. I have a history of procrastination that I've failed to shake, and this lack of energy isn't helping. Obviously, not doing your work and meeting deadlines doesn't pass anymore for me, so I keep finding myself in distressful circumstances.
After some self-reflection, all the caffeine I drink (ranging from 1-3 cups a day) seemed to be an obvious suspect. I realized that after drinking coffee, I feel super energized for about 50 minutes, and then feel dead afterwards. So, I experimented with quitting. I found that my energy levels were more stable, but it didn't make that much difference. My energy was stable at a low level. And the draw of caffeine addiction never made my attempts to quit last very long.
(As a side note, I know that certain genetic traits can result in people being more sensitive to caffeine and having their bodies process it differently. I'm probably in that category. Some people aren't, and I feel like they don't take me seriously for that reason because they have a different experience.)
I tried talking to some trustworthy people about this, and they helped me realize that it was more about my fundamental lack of motivation that was the problem. I was trying to substitute caffeine for my lack of focus and motivation. Working on those areas seems to help, but I eventually slide back into the same behaviors--with caffeine crashes there to kick me while I'm down. Realizing that the coffee was a smaller variable than I thought makes it easier to convince myself that it's okay to drink.
This complicated situation has kept me from quitting caffeine permanently. But what do you think? Should I try going all the way, or do I just need to focus on being motivated more?
Murray the Rat (age 20)
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There's nothing inherently bad about drinking coffee, and 1-3 cups is not too much (well, depending on cup size). There are numerous possible causes for your lethargy, both physiological and mental.
It sounds a bit like you are rather unmotivated. How long has this been going on? You're far too young to be feeling so sluggish. Have you seen a doctor? Do you have any other symptoms? Just for an idea, here are some of the things that can cause lethargy:
Since you don't have any serious symptoms like fever or pain, I think we can safely rule out stuff like meningitis and kidney failure. My bear instincts would suspect two more likely possibilities: 1) stress, and 2) sleep apnea or other sleep problems. For the latter, even if you think you are getting in 8 hours of sleep, this might not be sound, restful sleep. Do you know if you snore? Do you wake up feeling tired? You might want to get a sleep study done if you answered yes to either of these. Fortunately these days, sleep tests can be performed at home and you don't have to spend overnight in a hospital.
Stress can also cause feelings of being tired and even unmotivated. Other symptoms of stress can be depression, insomnia, headaches, digestive problems, decrease in libido, changes in appetite, increased heartbeat, and even acne. If you have some or all of these symptoms, it could be stress that is really the problem. The solution is obviously to try to reduce the stress in your life.
Bottom line is this: I don't think coffee is your problem; nor do I think you are just a lazy, unmotivated person. I think there is an underlying, more serious issue here that coffee just provides temporary relief from. Consider some of the above issues and consider talking to a doctor or nurse about your chronic feelings of lethargy.
Wishing you improved health and happiness,
* * *
Hello again, Papabear. I’ve been doing some reflection/trying different things out, and I think I might have found the cause of the lack of energy I told you about. You don’t need to respond to this letter, but I’d thought I should share this because it feels important.
Without going on and on, I think I’m sort of a technology addict. I’ve realized that I have very poor habits/boundaries with my device usage. I check my phone and all my various social media ‘feeds’ way too much, scrolling up and down again looking for something interesting. Then I’ll do the same routine again 10 minutes later. When I’m trying to do work, I’ll also check my phone or open new tabs and get carried away watching YouTube. If I get frustrated, I might look at furry porn and that takes up plenty of time and energy. I can waste hours a day, trapped in this cycle. I think you get the picture.
Now, I’ve tried ‘detoxing’ from these habits. I’ll alternate between going an entire day without those things, or I’ll set strict boundaries (with the help of airplane mode and this time-locked website blocker). At first, I was afraid missing out on whatever my furry friends were talking about, but I realized it you never miss much.
So far, the results have been pretty impressive.! The tiredness and lack of focus I told you about in my last letter is largely gone when I follow this new approach. The only problems come when I don’t follow it. I don’t know if it will solve all my problems, but I think it was an important step. And as you mentioned, I don’t always get high quality sleep, so that’s my next order of business.
I just wanted to share because I think it seems relevant. I feel like a lot of people are in the same boat I am but aren’t aware of what’s causing it. I mean, the devices provide so much instant gratification that I think it just exhausts your brain of it’s desire to do anything challenging.
I know these things are mostly a benefit and it’s all about ‘responsible’ usage, but I’m almost jealous of people like you who got to grow up without so many devices. :)
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Oh, ho! I see it was indeed a problem other than coffee LOL. Tech addiction has become a serious problem. It used to be just video games, but now with smart- and iPhones and social networking, the problem has exploded. And, yes, it can interfere with work, sleep, school, and, ironically, socializing.
I, myself, have been a bit addicted with Facebook, I fear. When I was banned from it for a week (because I posted something anti-American by calling the government on their mishandling of the virus crisis), I did feel some withdrawal symptoms. That's good, though. It makes me realize I am on there too much.
Things you can do to overcome the addiction:
Good luck! Thanks for writing!
Writing again. I finally got put on some ADHD medicine and I'm remembering things a lot better than I used to. But that's not what I'm writing about today. One of my friends on Discord just found out he might have heart cancer. He's already been through enough. His abusive family continues to plague him even in adulthood, and he's been shot at least once (over a f***ing toaster, no less, which of course his family berated him for), and just.... He doesn't deserve this. All my friends in that server are breaking down and having trouble processing it. It's causing us to start infighting and talking about leaving the server. I just.... How the hell are we supposed to process the information that someone we cared about for so long might die soon?
Apologies for sending another letter, but last time I wrote was about a friend who was potentially deep in medical issues, and now I'm writing to say it's worse than we thought. He NEEDS a blood transfusion, but his Jehovah's Witness family refuse him getting it (despite him being a functioning adult.) I'd be horrified but considering everything else he's said about them I'm convinced they want him dead by any means other than directly killing him. The problem is, he's all the way in the Philippines, far from anyone on the server who could help him. We have no idea what to do. The closest thing to a plan we have is a GoFundMe, but we have no idea how to get the money to him. For once I'm actually starting to break down because I'm never gonna forgive myself if a friend dies a preventable death because he wasn't able to get the treatment he needed .
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Very sorry to hear about your friend in the Philippines. You don’t say whether he is Filipino or another nationality who happens to live in the Philippines. If he is Filipino, he should have access to their national health care system. I’m guessing, though, that he is perhaps an American living with his family there. You also say that he is a “functioning adult,” which I take to mean he is over 18? It is possible that he is covered under his parents’ insurance, which you can be included on if you are an American up to the age of 26, thanks to Obamacare laws.
If he is under 18, his parents would be breaking the law by not caring for him. It is called “medical neglect of a child” and it applies to all Americans even if you are a Jehovah’s Witness. Jehovah’s Witnesses misinterpret chapter 9 of the Book of Genesis in which God prohibits the eating of meat that still has blood in it. That has nothing to do with blood transfusions, which of course did not exist at the time. Now, if your friend himself refused the blood transfusion because of his beliefs, such a procedure could not be forced upon him, but it sounds like he wants it.
If he is not on his parents’ insurance, he could purchase some on his own. There are several companies that offer policies for those living abroad, including Blue Shield, Aetna, and Cigna. However, money is obviously a major concern.
Assuming the worst-case scenario, then we have this to deal with: He is over 18; his parents won’t help him; he has no insurance. Now, that is a huge problem. To get medical care in the Philippines you must have a health plan—and most people, including expats, go with PhilHealth. This should have been taken care of long ago if he was going to live in a foreign country. Here is an excellent explanation of the health system in the Philippines.
As for your helping him with money: have him set up a PayPal account if he doesn’t already have one, and you can funnel money to him that way (and if he doesn’t have a bank account, he should get one). You could also wire money to him using Western Union.
In the end, there is only so much you can do, especially if your friend did not adequately plan for life overseas. This is an excellent lesson for those reading this column about preparing for the worst if you are traveling in a foreign land or planning on an extended stay away from your home country. You should always do research on what to do if there is a medical emergency.
As for the other stuff…. I mean, being shot because of a toaster? What? And heart cancer? That is an extremely rare condition. It sounds as if you are uncertain of the diagnosis. I think you need a lot more information about what is going on with your friend before you start sending money.
I will hope for the best for your friend.
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