[Ibogaine] neurosis

Brad Hays bradleyheathhays at gmail.com
Sat Oct 14 06:41:24 EDT 2006

umm hmm yep

On 10/14/06, slowone at hush.ai <slowone at hush.ai> wrote:
> I have always had a solitary streak. General sociability seemed
> shallow to me, moreover I drove away many people I liked before I
> even knew what I was doing. I cherished the peacefulness of time
> alone - but often felt my isolation eating at me like a corrosive
> acid.
> I disappeared into books from age 5 through early adulthood. In my
> late teens, I had a sense that it was finally time to connect with
> people, to show myself and make my way in the world. I soon found
> that whenever I was doing something well, particularly in public, I
> froze. Whenever I felt something strong in myself, fear would
> immediately eat it away. If I felt desire, I'd shut down.  I
> couldn't decide what to do with my life - I hadn't asked to be
> born, so why should I choose a career? It was as if a firm decision
> to live eluded me.
> Rather than dwell on this, I discovered early on that I could make
> myself feel good by using my brain and willpower, thinking
> meaningless wordy thoughts that seem to release endorphins. ("The
> opposite of anti-oxidants might be onti-accidents.") This helped me
> to remain aloof from others.
> I convinced myself that the life of the mind is most important.
> Humanity will be extinct someday, so why get excited?  But I found
> myself looking in my mind for some answer that could bring me
> happiness.  Every now and then, I would think that I had found it
> in an idea that would acquire a buzzing momentum, with supporting
> lines of thought weaving around it like bees around a hive. But the
> next day I would find myself holding bits of dried moss instead of
> the
> golden insight of a lifetime.
> It wasn't until my mid-30's that I had a job lasting more than a
> year, although I pursued various frustrated creative activities,
> attempting or perhaps waiting to find meaning in life.
> Several times in the early years of therapy I had acute
> claustrophobia, feeling as if buried in a coffin, needing to decide
> whether to calmly regulate my breathing in the hope of someone
> coming to free me, or to deliberately lose control, screaming and
> breaking fingers clawing at the splintering raw wood planks in
> front of me.  When this scenario had occurred to me in my 20's, I
> felt that waiting was easy, that someone would come, that with my
> supernaturally strong control I could ration my breath long enough.
> I made a strong dose of T. iboga rootbark extract by soaking
> powdered rootbark in vodka and lime juice, then evaporating the
> alcohol. I drank the black liquid, an estimated dose of 25-30
> mg/kg. I vomited it about an hour later, having only experienced
> the first brief indications of a strong experience. My stomach
> lining felt sunburned afterward. Somewhat to my surprise, I was not
> motivated to try ibogaine again immediately, even though I soon
> acquired some in chemical form.
> One evening at a party, a year later, I was feeling isolated as
> usual.
> Suddenly, I had a novel sense that I was seeing my familiar
> surroundings for the last time.  I became concerned that this might
> be a premonition of death, perhaps even in a driving accident on
> the way home.  This motivated me to try ibogaine again.  I had left
> the sludgy rootbark soaking in vodka with lime juice, and now I
> poured off the dark liquid (3rd extraction) and slowly evaporated
> it to a black sticky substance, which I coaxed into capsules and
> swallowed.
> The amount of ibogaine and other compounds was barely enough to
> affect my motor abilities (estimated 2-5 mg/kg), but I stayed
> curled in bed for a number of hours, exploring my thoughts. I was
> dimly aware of thoughts coming from different places in myself.
> Each place seemed the locus of a character-like shadowy 'being'
> with different functions.  I noticed different latency times
> between having and then classifying thoughts of different types.
> Some thoughts would dominate my attention, and consequently took
> longer to detect and label. These seemed to be more 'me', and they
> seemed to be a defence, intended to
> screen out other thoughts. (Their slowness possibly resulting from
> habitual concentration on those particular ideas in order to block
> other subjects.)
> Presently I realised that the source of the problem that I have
> always been trying to solve is me - not just one of the hordes of
> skills, stereotypes and memories (including scars) that I carry,
> but _me_, the very self who was trying but wasn't quite able to
> figure it out this time.
> The next day, I continued puzzling, as if over a Zen problem,
> without expecting to solve anything just then.  My thinking had an
> unusual quality, it seemed as if I was intermittently letting
> myself think simple, logical things that I had consistently
> overlooked before.  Finally, while washing my hands, I realized
> that I was not the person who I thought I was. I looked up at the
> mirror in real surprise - and, having just experienced a sensation
> of two selves merging, saw that surprise on an unfamiliar face.
> Then, as I was walking to a local park, I remembered a childhood
> episode when my mother, having broken a promise by denying she ever
> made it, in response to my outrage, yelled "You'll do the same to
> your children!" Although the situation was mundane, the idea that I
> would perpetuate the feelings that I was having in another person
> precpitated a nervous breakdown.
> Rather than let myself grow into an adult that would perpetuate
> such torture, I worked with great psychic effort to disable myself
> and to conceal what I was doing from myself to make it sustainable.
> One thing that reinflamed my anger was that my parents would
> discount my protests at the way I was treated by claiming it would
> not matter when I was an adult. I was thus proving them wrong by
> treating myself as they did, and thereby mutilating myself so that
> it would clearly matter when I was an adult. Following their lead,
> I was discounting myself as a human being. "Man will be extinct in
> the end" was the ultimate philosophical form of my self-denial.
> Looking at my life, I now understood how my watcher self always
> intervened when I had intense feelings - in the form of spontaneous
> compulsive behaviours that had always amazed me with their subtlety
> and their effectiveness at thwarting what I thought I wanted to
> accomplish. The best of the brains, talent, and force of will that
> nature had given me to excel with were unconsciously devoted
> to failure. In cutting my cords of attachment to people, I became
> entangled in their raw and angry loops, numbing myself as best I
> could by staying in my head.
> The process of intermittent thinking that led me to the discovery
> of my
> 'watcher' self in front of the mirror had an organic rhythm that I
> liken to birth, or to a snake shedding its skin: I was sliding out
> in prosaic increments as I weakly traversed each simple but
> strangely opaque piece of thinking, all in the midst of doing some
> errands. In a sense, a process of growth toward adulthood was
> resuming after a long pause.
> After this revelation, I quickly succumbed to grandiosity, thinking
> that I was cured and could now join the world with full capacity.
> But three months later, I wrote:
>    It seems that the insights I gained on the ibogaine only
>    scratched the surface, that I am simply terrified of viewing
>    the waste I have made of my life, and I'm not confident in
>    ibogaine as a vehicle to cope with the terror - rather I
>    wonder if the insights it might bring would just be a
>    distraction; probably even the thought of using it helps keep
>    me from facing myself.  (It is so easy to imagine meeting that
>    self in the future, as if it were not present now.)
> Several years have passed since I wrote the above. I have come a
> long way since then, but still feel like I'm struggling. I found
> higher doses of ibogaine (to 12.5 mg/kg) to bring on paralyzing
> anxiety. I like ayahuasca in community musical settings nowadays. I
> had a spiritual rebirth experience in the musical ayahuasca church
> Santo Daime that helped me feel reborn after my painful processing
> of the iboga message.
> I've enjoyed the ibogaine list and its predecessor for quite a
> while. A lot has happened here, rebirth and death inclusive. So
> here's another
> person emerging from the shadows of those who don't tell their
> stories.
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