That’s it, I’ve gone as far as I can go.
With a puffy eyelid and raised red spots covering my face I looked into the mirror and said “OK, I guess this is it.”
For the past 6 months I had been trying to get by maintaining my kratom lifestyle so I could get through one last hard thing, and then I could finally cycle off like I always do…
but then there was one more thing… and then another… and it never stopped.
The pandemic started, we moved and started new lives and work, tabled plans to help a sick family member, dealt with their passing and then the problems that brought… it just never ended, and so for 2 years I used kratom every single day.
If I had stopped taking it I’d have to cycle off during the worst time imaginable, and actually have to deal with the stress 100% by myself. Doing that felt unimaginable.
This wasn’t one of those things where the stress was accumulating and everything was piling up. Kratom literally got me through the problems and I remained constructive and productive.
But really, this is what you call “dependent” behavior. I wasn’t willing to cycle off because kratom had helped me get through it. It became a crutch.
I paid the price by getting itchy, red, raised bumps all over my body, puffy lips and finally a swollen eyelid.
Time to cycle off I thought, and maybe this is my last.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is commonly recommended by men that coach other men online. These are often men who themselves have not been taking it for that long and have little experience with it other than their limited use. Yet they tell everyone how great it is and create new video content as they discover new aspects of it.
Does Kratom Cause Hives?
Aside from a somewhat dead reddit posts I found googling “kratom causes hives”, I found nothing helpful for this phenomenon and was mostly unsure of whether it was a real thing or a food allergy or even shingles.
A quick search on opioid use and hives revealed that opioids can cause hives when taken for a long period of time, but it’s not well known as to why.
My own experience indicates that 2 years of taking it every day had the same effect, so I’m sharing my story so others can be aware of this.
The hives started on my arms and then went to torso and legs and then face and neck. The progression usually followed that pattern.
Some days I wouldn’t have it as bad as others. Other days I could feel my lips swelling and the hives were itchy.
Shortly after waking the hives would come like clockwork. But not all days.
I tried selenium complex, b-complex, and vitamin-d multiple times a day and the hives seemed to lessen but it’s tough to say for certain they were helping. Taking stuff to help me continue something that was giving me hives seemed pretty ridiculous anyway. These supplements were intended to support the thyroid which is said to be a possible cause of chronic hives.
By 2pm the hives would disappear.
I noticed that the strains highest in mytragina tended to have the most effect on my hives. Mytragina is the chemical responsible for kratoms opioid-like effects.
We’ve talked about kratom and it’s effect on sex and libido, and established that too much is bad. But knowing something isn’t enough to change anything, especially when the tradeoff seems worth the consequences.
Why it Was Easy to Keep Using it
When you need to keep going no matter what, it’s nice to have something that improves your outlook easily and gets you moving. The tradeoffs from kratom were worth dealing with just so I could keep going.
If you were to ask me if I regret taking it for so long just to weather storms, I’d say no. I was in the mindset that if I can make it easier than I should, because otherwise everything would suck.
Though, I wouldn’t do it again.
Chemicals are a fast way to make things not suck but also have a greater propensity for abuse. There are so many chemicals we can abuse for this reason and while the ones in kratom seem safe doesn’t mean how we use them is.
It was easier to say, “OK, so I have all this to deal with and thinking about it isn’t going to help so I’ll just have some kratom and get to it.”
I had no invasive memories or thoughts, never fell victim to overthink… just got it done and my life is better for it.
But it’s definitely not healthy by any means to rely so heavily on a chemical.
That’s the problem with our modern lives, we almost always have a crutch.
Nature and libido are free tools I could have used to improve my mindset, but these require more effort than taking a chemical, and convenience matters a hell of a lot more when the suck has consumed us.
There’s a reason why we take the easy route when things suck. When new problems come our way, our brain is hardwired to say “I can’t.” A chemical is an easy way to change that message when we have to tackle the problem.
It’s the opposite for problems we’ve dealt and succeeded with. In those cases our brain basically thinks, “I’ve done this before, it’ll be fine.”
The only way around the “I can’t” is to take action, get the result, and learn from it for next time. If you succeed then you’ll be set for next time but if not, your brain is going to start with another “I can’t,” and you get to go through it again.
Embrace the Suck
The military uses this concept to help personal accept the things that are extremely unpleasant and unavoidable.
It sounds really negative, and like settling, but sometimes the only thing that’s keeping us from taking action on utilizing better tools to improve our mindset is to just accept that things are probably going to suck for a bit.
It’s easy to get caught up with taking the easy road when things get really hard, but it’s never sustainable and always catches up to you when it’s all you do.
But I just needed a little more time to get through this really hard time and then I would cycle off.
The problem is when you rely on something so heavily, there’s never a good time to stop.
Cycling Off Kratom
It’s time to embrace the suck.
Before this I had been cycling off every 30-45 days to take 2-3 weeks break from it.
I took it for many years like that without issue.
Sometimes I would have 1/2 tsp of a yellow strain every 2 hours over 8 hours for a week to make cycling off a whole lot easier. Yellow has the greatest impact on feelings of empowerment for me which helps a lot when cycling off.
Other times I’d go off cold turkey. It really depended what strains I was taking because some are worse for me than others, like white’s and reds.
Alternatives also come in handy.
Nutmeg has been surprising. Definitely takes the edge off and brings me more into the moment. A small pea size amount in hot water like a tea helps calm the nerves. It’s not for everyone though and some people are sensitive to it.
Chamomile is helpful too. I usually drink it around mid-day before and after a meal. Not as strong as nutmeg for me but still calming.
It also seems easier to cycle off when I eat 1 meal a day.
Cycling off after 2 years of solid use wasn’t as difficult as it was the first couple times.
Taking different strains each day really makes it easier to cycle off kratom. I usually had 3 strains I would rotate each day.
It seems easier to cycle off using a yellow strain. Yellow has the greatest impact on feelings of empowerment for me which helps a lot when cycling off.