By Brittany Jordan, Guest Columnist
I have used kratom safely, responsibly and successfully for the past 4 years to ease my social anxiety, depression and physical pain from bipolar disorder.
Many people do not realize that people with bipolar are more likely than the general population to experience certain types of physical pain. Adding chronic pain to a debilitating illness like bipolar disorder can make even the best of us feel hopeless.
Fatigue, headaches and insomnia are a few of the other side effects of mental illness. When I say fatigue, I don’t mean the groggy feeling a cup of coffee will fix in the morning. I mean feeling tired down to the bone, tired to the point where it is difficult to even think about leaving the house.
Migraines became a daily battle that lead me into a cycle of isolation and depression that began to infringe on my personal and professional life. Weeks of insomnia also began to slowly take their toll.
I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 16 and spent the next few years playing the game of which doctor? What medication? What dosage?
There were so many side effects from the meds and the time that it took to find the right dose that it led me to a place of static dissonance that no amount of exercise, therapy or mindfulness could defeat.
I felt completely out of touch with my own mind and the sense of control over my life diminished significantly. I slowly began to lose hope and spiraled into a 5 year long state of depression, using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with my deteriorating mental state.
People with mood disorders tend to experience the world “loudly.” This is a kind of exaggerated perception that exists for both positive and negative emotions.
During a manic episode, life is more colorful and vivid, and I become utterly in awe of a sunset or a beautiful tree. Even the good and stable things become larger than life. When I see the man I am going to marry, I am overwhelmed with emotion. Everything is all at once too much, too “loud.”
And when depression strikes, the “loudness” is just the same. A small setback becomes a complete catastrophe in my mind. Something as minor as being cut off while driving can enrage me to no end and stay with me more than it should.
Once I added kratom tea to my daily routine of running, yoga and meditation, I immediately noticed minimizing effects of cognitive dissonance, the absence of panic attacks and the impact of lowering my depressive obsession.
With kratom, I slowly began to turn around to more frequent and sustained times of calmness, clarity and pain relief. Being able to think clearly for the first time in over a decade allowed me the extra psychological and physical space to go to work and function again as a happy, healthy individual. Kratom became a supporting element of self-discipline that built resolve and a more solid sense of accomplishment.
I am a daughter and soon-to-be wife. My family depends on my being well to take care of them and do my part. I can absolutely live my life while still battling this disorder, but it will be MUCH harder without kratom. The unfairness of being robbed of a benign, harmless plant with so many positive and effective properties is inhumane and unnecessary.
I have been clean and sober for 4 years and I never plan on going back to the life I had. I will survive and manage, but without kratom it will be in pain and with much distress. To be forced back into the guessing game of figuring out which medication may help, or trying something new with a whole host of side effects that may not work is daunting. New treatments and doctor visits that I cannot afford.
There is no doubt in my mind that kratom is the best natural solution I have tried. I thank my lucky stars that I found it when I did.
Allowing the DEA to place kratom as a Schedule I drug is extreme, unfounded and overreaching. Scheduling it this way will prevent science from studying its effects. Kratom should be studied. The side effects and health risks should be understood. But how can we allow the DEA to ban something that is clearly helpful to thousands of people with bipolar, chronic pain, PTSD, depression and so much more?
Those of us with bipolar disorder have the same human and democratic rights as those without. We deserve options that work and help us keep it together. Life is harder for us than it is for others. We have to struggle to just achieve a baseline. How can anyone say that something that obviously works is an evil that should be put on Schedule I?
We are human beings who simply want our lives back, and this overreach of federal power feels like a boot stepping down on helpless ants. It is uncaring, unaware and unsympathetic to those of us who just want to feel normal.
Brittany Jordan is from New Jersey. Brittan also made this YouTube video about her kratom experience.
Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us. Send them to: editor@PainNewsNetwork.org.
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.