How did I end up here? I did everything I was supposed to do. Or was that the problem? I did alright at school and was able to get a secure, well paying finance job right out of college. After the sugar rush of buying a nice car, I started to become skeptical of the corporate lifestyle. Truth be told, I knew this type of work wouldn’t make me happy from DAY 1; But I was optimistic, as so many young college grads are. Fresh out of college, I felt liberated. I was finally making an effort to enjoy life instead of constantly trying to prove myself. I had spent years worrying myself sick because I needed to measure up. I was trying so hard to be accepted, respected and loved. I had been living this way — day to day– for so long, wondering why I had to be scared all of the time. The good things made me scared, the bad things made me scared. I was really good at hiding this part of myself though, so maybe nobody noticed. The only giveaways could have been my sweaty steering wheel and mouse.

Sitting in my cubicle, it was becoming obvious that what I had thought of as nervousness all throughout my childhood was actually not nervousness at all. It was something else. This was a type of primal fear which caused a full blown panic attack on a couple of occasions. The kind of reaction that makes you think you’re dying. Anxiety – that sounds like a better explanation. But strangely, I had never connected the dots. This feeling was the only reality I could remember. “Once I do this or that (i.e get a girlfriend, buy a car, graduate from college etc.), the nerves and fear will pass” I thought.  The supposed finish line or happy ending was always void of the fulfillment I envisioned, and the tranquility that followed never lasted very long.  I had grown accustomed to the fact that constant fear and worry were my natural state, and that glimpses of happiness would occur from time to time – usually on the weekend while drinking with my friends. And this is pretty much how it went throughout my teens and early 20s. Sure, there were some fun times, but a lot more that were filled with anxiety, fear, superficiality, and ambitions that brought me nothing but emptiness.

It was at this time – after graduating from college – that I decided to make an effort to still my mind and get to the core of my anxiety triggers. And I had some success. After reading a book called The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin, I learned that most of our anxieties are due to a few basic wants (or desires). They are essentially the desires to be separate (or special), accepted (or loved), for survival (security) and the desire to be in control (to see your path and life’s situation laid out perfectly). The book isn’t that important (although I believe it’s worth a read), but it has some good points in it and really did spark something in my mind. If reacting to my emotions had gotten me so few satisfactory results before, why continue listening to them? They did seem to be wrong a lot of the time.

So I exercised, meditated, and tried to stay present. I eventually started practicing Yoga and that helped even more. I was opening up. I was making a lot of new friends. I was starting to become a calmer and happier person. I still had a lot of work to do, but I was making progress. Then I got a job at an investment firm.

I knew from the day of my interview that something was off. I don’t remember much about it other than that the interviewers looked tired and unenthusiastic. My intuition was telling me to hold off and wait for something better. The message from my conscience was clear. Don’t take this one. You can find something better. But, of course, I paid my conscience no mind and listened to my emotions instead. My inner dialogue went something like ‘it’s pretty good money and you can quit as soon as you find something better. All of my peers have a  job lined up; I don’t want to appear to be jobless. Plus, this is a well respected company’ AND ON AND ON. So I took the job.

Soon I was living in a swamp of spreadsheets that I had no interest in. This was OK at first because I was up to the challenge. I like working with teams and interacting with people. But, in due time, I started finding out that I wasn’t part of a team at all. In fact, it became increasingly clear that there were factors in play that the college accounting and finance professors seemed to have conveniently skipped over in their textbooks and lectures. I was simply a pawn in someone else’s mission to finally get promoted. The endless struggle to keep afloat at work while getting criticized constantly did not fair too well on my anxiety levels. Slowly I began withdrawing from after work leisure and using the weekends to recuperate. In the office, a common response to “how are you doing?” was “living the dream”. People said this sarcastically because that’s what was sold to us all those years. It’s the ultimate bait and switch, because the moment you walk through those doors it’s an emphatic “whoops! just kidding!”. “You gotta pay your dues to make it”. And so the cycle begins again.

Here I was again back at square one, but this time it was because of the choice I made to ignore my intuition. I had to take responsibility for my decision and for my life. I was going to live in accordance with my values, not what everyone else was telling me I should do.

I knew there had to be more to life than slaving away in a cubicle for a company that literally gave zero fucks about me. I resolved to keep on trying as hard as ever. I began looking for ways to add to my exercise and meditation regimen. I stayed motivated. I experimented with many supplements that slightly worked or didn’t work at all. Whether you are new to health supplements or not, you’re probably aware that there are many out there and most don’t work. Only a handful of them can be life changing, BUT THEY DO EXIST. More on this later!

I tried taking Adderall which made me feel like I was on speed. To this day, I often wish I could take it every now and then in order to be ultra productive, but the side effects are just not worth it for me – i.e. anxiety, OCD and all around just feeling tweaked out. This is just my personal reaction though and I understand everyone’s body chemistry is different. Adderall probably works really well for some people.

Caffeinated beverages and pills from GNC were almost just as bad. Then one day, I stumbled upon something. It was an herb called Kratom. I read it was sold at smoke shops. I went and bought some at a place called Happy Healthy Horny High; it’s an herb shop here in Phoenix near the university. My first thoughts were, eh it’s alright. It kind of chilled me out and gave me a little bit of energy, so I kept on taking it. I had also read that tolerance and dependence to Kratom was a virtual non-issue, so I wasn’t worried about any health risks or addiction potential.

A couple of weeks in, I had taken a liking to it. I was feeling pretty good. I still had all the motivation in the world, but only now I had more energy. I rarely felt exhausted after taking some Kratom and my anxiety levels were drastically reduced. I made sure to watch my dosing and only took as much as I needed – 2 grams – which was basically the smallest dose you could take and still feel something. Then I found a quality online vendor. THIS CHANGED EVERYTHING.

I was getting through my work days with ease and coming back home to read or get some exercise in. I was flying around the soccer field like I was 18 years old – or at least it felt that way. I was more open and confident. I could speak my mind more fluently and became interested in learning a bunch of stuff – even more than before. I was much more patient. I was going to Yoga like everyday. This was the best supplement I had ever tried – by a mile. It was better than TRT, better than Modafinil and more effective than any form of meditation or exercise for boosting mood and concentration immediately. It’s an amazing plant.

And so I carried on without minding tolerance. My dosages did increase over time, but only by a bit. I now had more energy than ever – this is the literal truth. But I wanted to channel my energy into my own aspirations.

With my new found respect for herbal supplements, I decided to try and build my own eCommerce website. This was an everyday thing after work and on weekends for about a year. I knew if I could just take it one step at a time, it would get done. I was excited about the possibility of running a business that could be of service to people, however small. Other business ideas would rush to my head and I felt as though I could accomplish many things. I wanted to read every book I could get my hands on.  I wanted to take the world by the horns and make it my bitch. Before Kratom, it was difficult to wake up and make breakfast. Now I wanted to do everything at once. It was a great feeling – the “Golden Period” – as it is often referred to on Kratom blogs and threads. It’s the beginning of your relationship with Kratom when every burn is excellent and the herb can do no wrong. It only gives. It only ads. Coffee 2.0 – coffee’s seldom known cousin that is cooler, gentler and has more charisma. He can be edgy, but is a genuinely good guy when you really get to know him.

I’ve been a Kratom addict for 2 + years and I’m not so sure it’s been all that bad. I feel really good most days. In the mornings, I don’t feel great until I have some Kratom. However, after taking it, I’m energized and ready to conquer the day. The few week long breaks I took in my first 2 years with Kratom (I think it was 3 or 4) were not too bad because I used Phenibut as a mood-booster on the first couple of days; I should also mention that my tolerance was low – 4 grams a day before the first couple of breaks and 6 grams a day for the next 1 or 2.

By the time I was done with my 4th tolerance break, I think my first Golden Period with Kratom was in it’s ending phase. I was still feeling great, but not quite as pronounced as when I first started. Then one day as I was listening to a Joe Rogan podcast,  they began discussing an African herb called Ibogaine. Joe and his guest Aubrey Marcus were talking about how the people in the African region of Gabon have been using it for thousands of years (sound familiar?). They mentioned it was a psychedelic plant that produced introspection into one’s psyche and had many physical and psychological benefits – one of them being a total reset of brain receptors and eradication of tolerance to any type of supplement or drug (except those that affect Gaba receptors). I wanted to try it out, so I did.

Enter Golden Period # 2.