For so long I thought I was wrong. Simply put together badly, incorrectly. And somehow, in this light, the best recourse seemed to start again, just press the reset button, and, if you believe in that sort of thing, hope the chips fall better next time. Hey, it works in video games. Sometimes. But this sort of thinking was, again, against social codes of conduct, no matter where in the world you are. You don't feel depressed. You don't feel suicidal. You certainly don't feel depressed, suicidal, and murderously rageful at the same time, not unless you're a comic book character with a big clown-smile on your chalk-white face. If you're not that guy, then what you do is you suppress whatever you feel with witty banter and clever comments, and hope to fit in. You get a friend, or a girlfriend or boyfriend, maybe a string of them, heck maybe a string of them at the same time, and you hope to fit in. You do what they--whoever they are--tell you to do, and you hope to fit in. But in the end, all this stuff isn't you, so you end up feeling, and probably acting, like a fucking moron, and you hate yourself more for it.
The tricky situation here is that it is often difficult to spot who is and who is not going through this, exactly because of the above situation described. I, for example, was peppy and outwardly positive enough that, on occasion, I had folks leaning on me for strength and direction, which, I should add, I was happy to attempt to give (it made me feel validated), but that I had absolutely zero capacity to provide in any way that was healthy for anyone in that situation, least of all me. Luckily I never figured out exactly how to press that reset button, or maybe I just never decided on the method in time, and thankfully, the keen eyes of an attuned, empathic, and self-aware human being got to me before I could do anything idiotic.
Meds have been an interesting kettle of fish. I stopped writing blogs mid-year, for a number of reasons, some creative and happy (more on that later), but the other was for time spent just needing to keep track of how things were progressing medically. After a near scare with lithium toxicity towards the end of the year ("So, my hands aren't supposed to be numb all the time, then?"), which incidentally, is nasty if and when it happens, things have leveled off to a good equilibrium. I'm still getting used to the ongoing periodic blood tests. You know, if I'm being honest, I always thought myself above the healthcare system, so this is perhaps a good ego check (you can't yoga or exercise your way through everything), and I can't but feel blessed and thankful, for so much. The weird thing, though, about all this is that, well, lithium toxicity is, as mentioned, nasty. In fact, with a large enough dose, lithium is fatal. My medication, it seems, that which facilitates my reemergence into the world with a greater sense of capability and self-command, is also a poison. It is chilling to me that that which would, in the past, have been a means to the reset button that I longed for, has become a different sort of liberator, one of the gift of healing, rather than harm; light, rather than darkness.
Well, enough about that. The past and present are moving further apart for me, and that is a blessing. The one thing that still plagues is what apparently are called "intrusive thoughts." Now, this makes it seem pretty harmless. Unfortunately, as always... For me it's been visions, uncontrollable, of violent and painful self-harm. That's about as far as I'll go in terms of detail, so don't worry. The challenge is that these thoughts can be triggered by anything. I'm making toast, I'm driving down a one-way street. Then all of a sudden, bang, one such thought-stream occurs. It's unpleasant, yeah, and, if driving, dangerous, but it is especially difficult when the imagery is so strong as to become debilitating. I tell you: not fun. If someone had told me this year I'd find myself doubled over on a daily basis, head in hands, unable to get up, practice, get any work done, because of incapacitating day-mares, I would have been very skeptical (I realize I'm paraphrasing here, for all you Mass Effect fans out there). Anyway, very interesting. It's basically taken months of what feels like Jedi-style mental practice to create effective firewalls, shields, and a capable arsenal of tools and counter-images to allow me to basically just get up in the mornings and get shit done. But, the shit, as it's said, is getting done, so, and you'll hear me say this a bunch: I am thankful.
So, if you see me twitch randomly in the middle of a conversation, now you'll know why :)
Now, for those of you still here lol, onto the fun stuff.
This year had seen something of a boom, creatively speaking. It makes sense. I haven't been spending all my time trying to keep rogue emotions and thoughts in check. It stands to reason it would allow for more time to be spent, I don't know, actually doing my job. Yay, doing my job. Anyway, so the major thing of awesomeness was the development of AFO (the Adam Farouk Orchestra, if we must). Those who were around last year will remember its re-debut after a few years of dormancy, with a roster comprised of some fantastic local musicians: Tim Reppert, Jeff Berlin, Raleigh Green, and Kelly Riley. This year, I reconceptualized a little but to emphasize guitars and voices, and moved to an ensemble that I haven't really seen much of around (no idea why, it's an awesome combo!), of three guitars, one bass, all musicians being vocalists, and no drums (which incidentally, is more of a challenge than I had anticipated, especially with rhythmically demanding music, and while everyone is singing in counterpoint, yeah seriously, wtf is wrong with me?!)
But, as mentioned, this is a super fun concept, that warrants some developing, so we'll likely be building on this in the coming year. I'm tempted to add keyboards and drums, just because I love the big sound, but there's a lovely purity about this setup; we'll see. We were fortunate enough to be able to video and record our last rehearsal of 2014 (December 6th), and so far initial soundbites sound great, and we're looking forward to checking out footage next. Keep an eye out for clips of this on youtube (and elsewhere) sometime this year!
The AFO 2014 roster included at various points: Elizabeth Lorrey, Tom Appleman, Nate Leavitt, Tim Reppert, and Raleigh Green. Live-jam credits: Tim Reppert (sound); Chris DeSanty, Seth Wood (video), Elizabeth Geuss, Andrew Goldin (production), The Inner Space, Brookline MA (location).
So. We made it. This has been a year to survive, but also a year in which to thrive, and to celebrate, whether in joy or defiance; but either way, to stand up, or leap in the air, or simply raise your arms, and declare, I am the light. No darkness shall stand in my way. I will shine all that I am, across the universe, over and throughout this world where I dwell, and I will be me, and I will be heard, and together we will sing the song of victory. Happy 2015.
Thanks for sticking with me. Travel safe, and talk soon.