My Dearest Mack and Tosh,
I hope this finds you well. I’m writing to catch you up in more detail on some of what has been going on here with me over the past few months. I’m going to dive right in. There’s some candid content here, be forewarned.
As you know, this past April I had a major mental health emergency, and was hospitalized in a voluntary inpatient unit for several days. I was discharged quickly, with a new meds regimen, which everyone, including me, thought would solve the issues recurrent prior to my admission. Unfortunately it did the opposite, amplifying my symptoms to the point where I was basically existing in what I might describe as high-crazy mode most of the time. Long story short, the situation culminated with my readmitting myself into hospital, and spending another stint in a mental health inpatient unit.
I was, eventually, discharged again, with a different meds regimen, a different therapeutic model, and a different, more fitting, diagnosis. I am, clinically speaking, more or less stable, but the combination of symptoms make it difficult to take anything for granted. Along with the bipolar disorder, which I still have, I meet sufficient criteria to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which, as we know, is simply delightful—in addition to which, I have a combination of anxiety symptoms, which express themselves most frequently in the form of panic attacks, which are severe and can strike at any time, as well as something residing in a ballpark very nearby to obsessive compulsive disorder. Together, it’s a tricky situation to manage, to say the least.
Even as I’ve recovered considerably over the past two and a half months, I still experience my symptoms considerably, especially those related to OCD. I’ll be going about my business, when suddenly I start noticing something, for example, a spot on the wall. Then, I cannot stop noticing it. I t takes up all my attention. If I try to fight—in order to stop noticing it—the symptom (i.e. the obsession about the spot) only gets worse. The only way to stop noticing it is to somehow “accept” that my mind is obsession about the spot, but this is not always easy, or possible, to do.
In these moments it’s very easy to be overwhelmed be feelings of hopelessness and darkness. The other day I had some intense dark thoughts, as a bi-product of unprocessed symptomatology. Before long I found myself questioning why I was alive, and wondering if the alternative might not be a more preferable state of affairs: a chilling place, indeed. Thankfully, with even my meager practice of coping skills, plus some help from the new meds regimen, I was able to get through these thoughts, and make it safely to the other side.
I’m realizing how important it is for me to find a way to stay connect to people, and avoid isolatory situations as far as is possible (barring writing, which, for better or worse, is typically done alone). Feelings of hopelessness can metastasize in isolation (for me, anyway). I’m looking to stay on the side of light and lightness.
If you’ve read this far, thank you, and I appreciate it. Will look forward to when our paths next cross.
Travel safe. Talk soon.
This year, on April 30th, I had what’s commonly referred to nowadays as a mental health crisis. This sterilized, sanitary term has—in true Carlin-esque fashion—sounded at once more dramatic and more serious in days past, with the phrase “nervous breakdown” warranting (and justifiably so, I can now attest, have been through one) the terrifying vision of a mental *snap*, followed by a period of complete inability to keep up with normal day-to-day activities: work, family care, relationships, and so forth. The brain is fried, or deep-friend, rather, and no amount of coaxing can get it to see itself as otherwise, at least at first.
(This first paragraph took me two weeks to write, thirteen days of which were preparation, and failed attempts.)
Because I am human and prone to distorted thinking (not saying those are necessarily linked… necessarily) my initial thought was that of: Why? (Truthfully there are days when I still think this.) Why did this happen? Was I being punished for something? Was there something I had forgotten that I had done wrong, that I still needed to atone for? And for that matter, did my life still work that way—pinned, inexorable, to the wheel of karma? Where were grace and compassion? Where was enlightened equanimity?
Thankfully this “control fallacy,” when it lasts, doesn’t last long. *Phew*—as it were. The bottom line is that it happened because, well, it happened. At least, so far as goes the philosophy of it all. As for the logistics, bridgestorecovery.com speaks of a nervous breakdown occuring: “when a person is no longer able to cope with stress or pressure. Stressful like events may trigger a breakdown, but underlying mental illness may also cause it.”
(Again, I can attest to this. I’ll spare you in detail as to all of what the stress was; notwithstanding, it was a combination of work and personal factors.)
I spent a little over a week in an inpatient unit, under close watch for safety as well as diagnosis. I graduated to what is known as a “partial program,” living out in the “real world” while attending a bevvy of a groups and classes, on tools and information generally designed to help the subject remain both in the real world and living. Now, it’s more or less back to reality.
Except, the way I remember it, reality was once a collaborative adventure, not a cruel exercise in smackdown economics, featuring humiliating defeat after humiliating defeat, as I struggle merely to remember vocabulary and simple items on a to-do list. I’ve been told that the real recovery, the one that begins well after the groups, well after the classes, can take months, if not months upon months, a grueling Everestian climb, which, if these first weeks are to be judged by, I can once again attest to.
But enough about that. What concerns me now is recovery. How do I get better, so that I can cease being a burden on my lovely wife, a true dedicated superhero if ever there was one, and start getting out there back to the world of creative badassery and cosmic avenging that so much more suits me than passive victimhood ever could.
I am forcing myself to write this blog. The mental strain is near unbearable. With each word search the side of my brain feels like it’s being seared on a skillet. But I will persevere, and I will complete it. Because if there is any sense of give-uppery in me, lingering, lurking, what better way to find it, and show it exactly how it can go fuck itself, whenceforth will I move myself into a space—bulldozing my way there if I have to—where things are the way they should be: where my creativity is back in charge.
at a glance
Adam Farouk (born April 6, 1978) is a Malaysian musician, producer, writer, and entrepreneur, currently based in the United States. He is known for his integrative approach to the creative arts, and frequently infuses his works with unlikely combinations of style, influence, and genre.
Learn more about Adam's other creative projects at bluedorian.com!
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