All of the “symptoms” of pre-Kratom, especially the ones Chris describes – mild depression, anxiety, unproductive, not as happy as you could be – I also use to suffer from on a daily basis. I now feel exactly the same as Chris says he does when he burns Kratom daily, but without any of the occasional low points. To me, these persistent negative feelings and moods are clear signs of unresolved mental conflict, at a subconscious level.
All of the negative mental factors in my life were coming from these unresolved inner conflicts. Ones you don’t even realise are there, because your ego has become so good at deflecting thoughts away from them over the years, at telling yourself the pretty lies you want to hear.
CBT gives you the ability to just learn to accept who you are at a base level, and stop fighting your own nature. When you learn to do that, over time your problems just gradually end up going away by themselves (provided you’ve got good daily habits of course).
I simply cannot stress enough how important it is in life to learn to accept yourself, and accept your own emotions, whatever they may be. Trying to fight or deny your own nature is a guaranteed way to never fix yourself.
I used to beat myself up, mentally berate myself for having approach anxiety. “You stupid pussy, why don’t you just man the fuck up, you’re such a beta faggot, look the opportunity’s gone now, you fucking retard” etc etc (and then the ego would swoop in with the pretty lies – “she wasn’t that hot anyway, you could have got here if you wanted to, you’re still the man”).
CBT taught me to just accept things as they were. Recognise and accept my emotions, but to not allow them to rule me. The hardest thing I ever had to do was learn to say to myself “Yes, I am a pussy. Talking to women scares me. That is who I am, and I am ok with that. BUT I will still act anyway, and do the right thing. I will allow this anxiety to exist inside me, I will watch it as a dispassionate observer, but I will focus my attention elsewhere, and it will not rule me.”
I realised my brain had picked up learned thought patterns, which immediately kicked in during times of high stress, setting off negative spirals of thoughts (or rumination as it is known in CBT lingo). I gained the ability to take a step back from my conscious thoughts, and watch these patterns unfolding as if I was a third party. It was actually amusing, after all those years being a victim to my mind, to be able to say “Hah, look, my stupid brain is doing that thought pattern thing again. I will accept it, and let it do its thing, but I will not identify with these thoughts”.
It was Steve Jabba that got me on to the idea initially, and I can only thank him for it, as in the 24 months since I learned how to apply CBT techniques to my own mind, I’ve transformed as a person, become more productive than ever, and found inner peace. Sometimes I just sit, quietly, with a completely blank mind, soaking in the simple joy of existing, present in the moment. It sounds like corny new-age bullshit, but it is a great thing to be able to do. My brain is now just something that I can pick up like a tool when I need to get something done. I use it, and then put it away again, and go back to a completely still mind.
When I first became proficient with CBT, I used to freak myself out with my behaviour. Finally free of my ego running the show, my inner self was free to come out – you know, that part of you that just acts on impulse, and says what it wants, the part that people usually have to use alcohol to sedate their frontal lobes for in order to access.
As a result, it felt like an “autopilot” was running my body. I’d do and say things without conscious thought, just talk to the nearest stranger and say whatever floated up from the recesses of my brain without shame. When it first started to happen, I’d retreat into a state of momentary shock – “Why the fuck did I say that? I didn’t think about saying that before I said it”. The truth of the matter was, I was just taking my first steps into living fully outside of my head, instead of being stuck inside it all of the time.
I’m at a point now where I’ve completely internalised CBT methods. The exercises and methods just happen in the blink of an eye at a subconscious level. However, now and again, I still have a stinker of a day, where my mood is at rock bottom and social anxiety creeps back in (it’s usually when I get up later than 9am – my body clock doesn’t get on with late starts). At these times, I have to go back to consciously applying the techniques that are otherwise 99% of the time automatic. But it still works just the same, and my terrible days are in reality usually no more than just a terrible half a day.
It didn’t come easy. It took a lot of mental discipline to keep applying the techniques every single day, to try and catch myself when I’d start to slip back into old habits. But the mental skills I gained are now with me for the rest of my life. My mood and productivity every single day are entirely in my own hands, and I don’t need to drink Kratom tea to get there.
All power to those who find it highly beneficial, but my own pride would not allow me to rely on using a herb to make me be the kind of person I want to be every single day.
Now it might be the case that if I were to use Kratom on top of how I feel, it would be even better – and I might just try it out of curiosity. Indeed, if you’re the kind of person that is happy 90% of the time anyway, and has got your shit together in life, then what harm could it do.
However, if you are feeling low most days, have social anxiety and low productivity, then I urge you to consider that you’ve got unresolved emotional issues, and look to fix yourself properly, rather than relying on a herbal crutch to get there.