Thoughts on Kratom

After seeing Pill Scout post about Kratom, I started writing this as a comment on Victor Pride’s blog entry on the subject, with reference also to what Chris GLL has to say.

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.

What did I do to solve it? Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT. I know I’ve written about this many times before (here here and here, there are probably more), but it’s a subject close to my heart.

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.

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts on Kratom

  1. This topic really resonates with me, so I’m going to share my story.

    I also used to suffer from the same symptoms that you’re describing. Negative thought spirals, bad moods, and a general feeling that I’m not performing at my best.

    Then at some point I started daygaming and discovered that good state beats everything else in terms of boosting success rate. I got some advice from local PUAs on how to manipulate my state, and the exercises they recommended sounded a lot like something people would do on a cheesy new-age seminar. I still did them though.

    The first and the most important one was about training my mind to stay in the present moment, and I’ve spent some 4 months going out several times a week with the sole purpose of presence practice. I remember at some point I went back to my hometown for a weekend and took a stroll around the places where I used to play as a child. What I’ve noticed is that I was really enjoying it. For the first time in many years I was enjoying solitary walks!

    Getting down to the science of it, I believe what has happened was that I’ve trained my brain to better control my focus of attention. And as I was now able to keep my focus at the present moment, it would no longer wander around aimlessly, stumbling upon the unresolved problems I had only to chew on them and generate negative emotions. I believe this was the primary reason for improvements in moods that I’ve experienced.

    I continued the new-agey practices, with the next exercises building upon the previous ones. Just to give an example of some of them:

    * Intentionally focusing on the positive things in my life and making sure I appreciate them.
    * Intentionally focusing on the positive things around and just enjoying them in the present moment.
    * Accepting the fear I’m feeling when approaching a girl, relaxing into it, then focusing my attention on the present moment and doing the approach.

    So after all these exercises, the results were again quite impressive. Just walking around started to feel great. Approaches became easier, and sometimes when I was totally in the state and radiating happiness, girls would open me themselves. Something I’ve experienced only once or twice before in my entire life.

    All these results have also spilled into my daily life, and these days I’m happier and more content compared to how I used to be.

    But then this is where I’ve stalled. I’ve become much more perceptive, but I still cannot claim that I exist outside of my head most of the time. Rather, I can get outside of my head whenever I want to. And there are still several areas in my life where I just cannot get rid of the negative emotions.

    And now on to the point. My exposure to CBT is limited to the Wikipedia article on it, but given how similar our experiences are, I believe we were following very similar paths. It would be really interesting to read not only about the results you got, but also about the CBT techniques you applied, what worked and what didn’t, and what had the greatest impact.

    As a side note, you may want to change the default font color here. Light gray on white is not the best combination =).

    • Very interesting. What you describe applying is essentially the essence of CBT – attention training, acceptance of your inner emotions and mental state, presence.

      I do still occasionally slip inside my head, but rather than the spirals of endless rumination it used to be, it manifests as a general ennui. I’ve found movement is key – get up, get outside the house, and just walk, or go do some cardio. Just anything to get the endorphins going. A short bout of this, and I’m back to my best for the rest of the day.

      Whilst CBT is a great framework to prevent your moods and thoughts taking control, it still has to be paired with solid habitual self-improvement for a holistic approach. When you have set yourself concrete goals in terms of the “holy trinity” of:
      – your health/appearance (gym, cardio, diet, style)
      – love life (dating increasingly high quality women, or maintaining a relationship successfully)
      – wealth/career (progressing at work, or better still getting out of it and taking steps towards total financial independence)
      and can note yourself making definite progress in each area, week by week, is when you really get that glow of inner state, and will effortlessly shine through social interactions.

      As a generality, any slips into spells of negative thoughts or emotions is usually an indication that you’re letting one of these 3 areas slip, and your subconscious knows it.

      Yeah I noticed the font colour – I used to have a black theme, but it expired and I didn’t renew it, and the default font colour stayed behind. I’ll get around to fixing it at some point!

      Edit: is’s bloody $99 to get the customisation options back. It’ll have to stay like that for the time being unfortunately, I appreciate it’s a pain to read.

      This is what it’s supposed to look like, but I can only preview without coughing up. http://i.imgur.com/FRnPGZ1.png

      • Great reply, it would be nice if you wrote an article on CBT plus holy trinity, basically post on day to day management, your specific time distribution for key habits etc. I know you did some posts like that but this looks more precise.

        What’s your take on male friendships, don’t you consider it to be 4th pillar?I personally also feel I don’t really need a “wolfpack” but at the same time girls are always just..girls and some quality male (offline) discussion is nice. That said, I feel having too many goals and trying to be perfect in more than those 3 areas is counterproductive.

        Also, do you invest an hour or so a day to watch quality movies/read books that may be self development oriented but aren’t tighly related to your work pursuits? That’s a habit I’m considering to drop. Thanks.

      • I think you’ve hit on an important “4th pillar” there. It’s very difficult for any man to be an island. Companionship is a basic human need after all, and the right peers will push you on to greater heights of achievement and keep you focused.

        That said, male companionship is not an end in itself. You’ll be worse off with the wrong kind of people around you (negative, limited, no ambition, blue pill, envious, bitter), than none at all.

        I’m taking a keen interest in Reactionary political theory at present, and do some reading around this subject when time permits. However it’s been a tough year with learning to trade – until recently, I was pulling 12 hours a day, 5 days a week (and sometimes weekends) in front of charts, studying. I’m almost out of that tunnel now, so I envisage having more free time soon to pursue things like this.

        TV/movies are a luxury, but I think everyone needs a bit of downtime, we’re not machines after all. I usually watch an hour or something around bedtime, to help me switch off and relax.

        I’ll try and flesh out a more detailed post about CBT at some point in the future.

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