Well, This Isn’t Working Well At All

I am a sensitive soul. I’m not only sensitive emotionally but I am also sensitive physically.

I remember when I first started smoking pot at a very young age. One night I went with a group of friends to the popular roller skating rink in the area. Before going in, we went to the back of the building, where there was a small woodsy area, to smoke a joint. One of my friends’ brother had given her a fatty, for us to share that night.

After we’d indulged, standing in our tight little circle, my head swam and I thought that everyone else had the same thing going on inside their head too.

The next day, the one friend that I hung out with on a daily basis told me things I’d done that I had not remembered doing. One of them included being rather mean to a boy who’d asked me to skate during couple skate.

I was still quite high by the time my mother picked us up that night and when I asked everyone else if they were too, before she got there, they all told me that they’d come down a while ago.

That’s just one example, and because of my sensitivity I didn’t smoke pot a whole lot as a teen, like so many other kids I knew.  I took a bus with kids in high school that would smoke a bowl or a joint at the back of the bus and then go through their classes for the day. I already knew at that point in my life, that if I’d done that, I’d be asleep before homeroom and wouldn’t remember a thing the teacher said in my first class.

Fast forward to present day and more than a month ago, I wrote about going back to kratom.  Well, as I’d expected, I have met the piper that I usually have to pay on the other side of trying to medicate the effects of my trauma.

It is a subtle feeling within, after taking it for this short amount of time, but it’s an explosive effect on the outside.

Seems that it has upped the rage in instances where I am triggered anyway. But the reactions to the trigger are much more intense.

I thought that I was just randomly getting worse. Thinking DBT isn’t working and had a strong urge to quit yesterday. But then I remembered…kratom. Not that I forgot that I was taking it. But that it could have such an effect on me had gotten past me again.

In the first week or two, it was great. Something that would normally piss me off, I could let it roll off my back…just like I used to. Not anything abusive, just some things that are a bit irritating or annoying that most people can simply let go and move on with their day.

For a while that was me again. But now, I guess it’s the accumulation in that part of the brain that is causing the opposite effect, and not only am I back to what was going on before, but it’s making my raging reactions worse.

So off of kratom I go, at least on an everyday basis. I could probably get away with it after it clears out and only then as a once in a while thing, like say on a really heavy depression day.  But as a daily thing, it does more harm than good for me.


That being said, this is not an anti-kratom post. Everyone is different and not everything is for everyone. So please don’t take this as me demonizing kratom.   I know and understand that it has helped many and continues to do so. There are positive things about it.  But there are indications to it and I think that’s important to understand and know.

As someone with Complex PTSD, it does have some indications that it COULD be a problem for me and I’m finding that to be true.

I found this link a couple days ago. My query was if a side effect of kratom could be anger.

There are more unpleasant side effects listed that some people could experience.

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Anxiety and Lack of Empathy

Without going into too much detail, I’m thinking that there is a correlation between empathy and anxiety.

Has anyone else noticed that when feeling anxious the feelings of others don’t matter too much?

This just occurred to me today and I’m wondering how it took me so long to see this in myself.

I have written in the past about ‘flying off the handle’ at B…yelling, berating and feeling threatened, even in situations that aren’t truly threatening.

One example I can use right now, is when B puts utensils away in the wrong drawers. When I open a drawer to find something and see it’s not there, I feel anxious. My focus becomes about finding it. When I find it, I become angry that it wasn’t in the ‘right’ place and that anger becomes directed at the person who did it…aka B.

And then I’m focused on ‘fixing it’ somehow.

Fixing it to me entails calling him if he’s not here and talking to him about it. But I don’t wait to calm down, so at times I can be hurtful. I have done this enough to the point now that he feels that he doesn’t do anything right.

I know that if I wait and calm down, I would be able to just ask him to just leave the things out that he’s doubtful of. But even saying just that in a tone of voice that is under distress, comes across as being…well, not so nice.

I just did this today. I felt so anxious about it, I needed a remedy immediately. And so I called him at work and said just that…”When in doubt leave it out.”

But I know it still came across as a narcissistic way of communicating, because I said more than just that and I said it with a ton of anxiety in my voice and like this situation was all about me.

And so it got me to thinking about a connection between anxiety and lack of empathy, because I also notice that when I am not in anxiety mode or feeling agitated in any way, my empathy is fine.

Clarifying on empathy: When I say my empathy is fine, I can feel the understanding that B is a separate person from me with his own mind, brain and way of thinking. When I’m feeling anxious about something that I perceived as him doing wrong, then that ability becomes skewed and not only do I not care about his feelings in that moment, but I also don’t understand ‘why he can’t get it right.’

I found that emotional empathy is in the limbic system, which in the picture I’ve posted shows that to be quite close to that part that we tend to call the lizard brain.  Sorry, I don’t know the correct name and it’s so frustrating to try to find an illustration that shows and labels every single part of the brain.

The other part of the brain that empathy is controlled is the pre-frontal cortex, but that is cognitive empathy. It seems in the absence of anxiety for me, (and I’m noticing this a lot with the use of kratom) that there is a balance of the two types of empathy.

A problem I’m having though is finding info about what part of the brain is effected by anxiety.

Anyone know?

 

Taking Kratom: Feeling Less Like a Narcissist

So far, taking kratom again, I’ve had some benefits, but as I said in my previous post, it is not without some adverse stuff.

I woke up feeling really groggy this morning. The first time I woke up was around 6:30. Used the bathroom and went right back to sleep.

When I woke again around 9 I was still tired enough to go back to sleep, but I didn’t. I got up. I was going to not take any kratom today but I changed my mind because I wanted to get out of the grog, plus I wanted to try a new kind. I ordered a sample pack of 6 from the company I got it from, plus a couple others.

I was in enough of a fog when I ordered though that I ended up duplicating one of the ones I also got in the sample pack. Ergh so frustrating. But it’s one that I like so that’s OK. It won’t go to waste.

Yesterday I could’ve skipped it altogether. The grog wasn’t really there yesterday morning. And it would’ve been a good experiment to see my agitation level, since I had to drive to my therapy appointment. But I was a bit anxious about something so I did take some.


Things I’ve noticed:
-Overall I feel more confident in public.

-If the situation is appropriate, I feel  more comfortable to be a bit more sociable. I noticed this in talking to the shop manager on Monday when I picked my car up from the mechanic.

-I have more patience and feel more tolerant about things I don’t normally feel that way about.

-I feel more organized in my thoughts and when I do tasks.

-I’m quicker to let go of something in a conversation that I’d usually harp on.
Eg., Last night B said, “I’m sorry I got you angry” after a short conversation about getting Oz to the vet. But I wasn’t really angry. I had been in the middle of saying something, B interrupted. So I stopped talking, looked away and that was all. Basically, I was just getting my bearings and my breath.  (I was a tiny bit annoyed, but not enough to say anything about it.)
Thing is, what B said, resolved and summed up what the conversation was about. Usually, I’d feel the need to clear up that I wasn’t angry but I didn’t feel the urgency of that last night. And so just let it go and felt good in the fact that I had not done or said anything abusive. And that if he thought my reaction was showing anger, that was his issue.  Normally it might be something to clear up, but given our history and my issue with hooking onto something and the need to prove my point (or defend myself), this was a healthier choice. I feel that my actions afterward (letting go) proved my lack of anger better than anything I could’ve said, in this particular situation.

-I have more drive and feel more motivation to get things done.
Eg., Last night, I made a soup that has been needing to get made for a few days now. It was a squash soup and I’d had the squash cooked already. So it was sitting in the fridge in a container. If I didn’t use it soon, it would go bad. Normally, I would not even give a shit. But it was bothering me so I soaked some lentils that were also needed for the recipe. That pretty much set me up to have to make the soup…unless I just trashed the lentils. And I didn’t want to do that, AND trash the squash. Such a waste of food.  So the soup got made. I probably won’t make it again anytime soon, because it was quite a bit of work. But that actually leads to another thing I’ve noticed.

-I feel less agitation in general.
Generally, I just feel agitation all the time. It’s just underlying and there. And it is easily set off by the most innocuous thing. Even mundane conversation is difficult and labor intensive.

Usually, I would’ve grown intolerant to being in the kitchen so long making that soup last night, the work involved to get the ingredients together, the steps involved and all the dishes to do afterward. Plus it was a new recipe to me. But I was fairly organized in the prep of the soup and tolerant of the time it all took. 

These improvements in my temperament have led me to thinking about my personality and if I am actually unhealthily narcissistic.

It’s the agitation that has really kept me from wanting to be around people or go out at all. And that’s just as well because that’s pretty much a protection for others. I am abusive and nasty when I’m agitated. In most situations, I keep it to myself, but inside I’m full of rage. And then B gets the brunt. I take it out on him.

In fact, something doesn’t even have to happen and I get agitated by the slightest things. In my agitation I don’t see it as being ridiculous, because my argument is that he doesn’t listen or doesn’t care enough.

In this non-agitated state, I can see that my reaction is narcissistic as fuck. And that B is actually busy, tired and genuinely doesn’t remember.

When I treat him like that (reacting with yelling and berating) I always feel awful afterward. I am always sorry and I tell him that I am. BUT the thing is, my behaviors don’t stop. I know that it is me and that I have these issues, but I also do have thoughts about him and how if he was different, I wouldn’t respond/react the way I do. (Typical abuser thought process.)

With kratom that’s gone. And I can tell I have more overall empathy.

This is noticeable with my feelings about Oz. Lately I’ve been so annoyed with him and his demanding self. He meows really loud (he’s deaf) and he meows a lot.  I was getting irritated at his need to eat before a scheduled meal time and just generally irritated with his presence and wished he wasn’t here.

With kratom, I feel much more tolerant. I feel more empathetic while at the same time can ignore him when it’s not something that needs tending to immediately. For example, his litter box. He wants that thing scooped every single time he uses it. He has two of them, and even if one is empty he meows to have the one he just peed in, to be scooped. This is something that is not urgent. Usually I feel the agitation with this unimportant demand. But in the last few days, I’ve been able to tolerate his meows if I’m in the middle of something else, finish that and then deal with the litter box.

Of course when he takes a stinky dump that shit needs scooping immediately. And that has caused some really awful agitation and wishing I could just open the door and let him go. This has not come up in the last few days however, so I suppose it remains to be seen, how I react to the immediate need of scooping that.

Kratom is obviously effecting me for the better in a lot of ways. It’s working on parts of the brain that make me more narcissistic than is healthy. It’s got me centered.  Well, at least so far and that’s what it’s doing now.