Greatness lives on the edge of destruction – Will Smith
I can still see Adam Duritz, lead singer of the Counting Crows, spinning on stage, eyes closed, arms outstretched, face tilted toward the night sky. He absorbs and reflects moonbeams and spotlights as a stripped down version of Rain King swirls around him. He’s connected with something bigger than the music festival and we can feel it.
…I go out on stage and have this incredible emotional connection between me, the band, and the audience. Then, just like that, it’s over. I go backstage, back to the bus, back to my hotel room and sit there all by myself. That deep connection is yanked away in an instant. It’s like breaking up with your girlfriend over and over again every, night. ~Adam Duritz, The Lonely Disease; Men’s Health
Adam has spent years trying to stay connected, to feel like he exists. It’s especially difficult for him because he lives with Dissociative Disorder a mental illness (NOT depression) that leaves him feeling untethered, disconnected, like the world is not there. Because nothing seems real it’s difficult to engage with the world and the people in it.
The disorder which he first sought help for in 2004, has taken him down dark roads paved with thoughts of suicide, medication induced weight gain, loss of faith and personal disintegration. At one point in 2006 he weighed 250 pounds and wasn’t leaving his apartment. Relationships were out of the question. At Christmas time that year he found himself alone and shaking as he experienced the stages of withdrawal necessary to clear his body and mind of psychoactive drugs.
All he wanted to do was matter. He didn’t want to feel separate from the world.
From this low, clarity surfaced. Only he could save himself.
Instead of staying mired in problems, he made a decision to do the work. He dug deep into his soul. He switched medications, ran, took up boxing and lifted weights. He changed his diet. He became alive again. He reveled in being one big wonderful raw nerve, a feeling nerve that became a conduit for creativity.
He and the band started recording a new album. Out of Adam’s despair came Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings (the band’s double album released in 2008) and a hesitant spokesperson for mental illness. Although Adam has said he struggles to relate to his fans, he understands that what comes out when he is alone writing; sharing his experiences; is meaningful. It matters.
I saw Adam do his Rain King spin in July of 2009. There is nothing like witnessing love and light bleed out of a heart that has been cracked open. You know they understand. They’ve been there. His soulful voice resonated with layers of pain and honesty. As spiritual writer Marianne Williamson once said, musicians are priests. They have a transcendent way of bringing an entire room into a single heartbeat. Adam created harmony. The man with the lonely disease was anything but separate. He was greatness.
**Side note: On Wednesday April 27, 2011 Adam Duritz (writing as Counting Crows)posted this status on Facebook: Saw a mood disorder specialist who thinks some meds may block my ability to write. Do u live w/ mental illness & how do meds help & hinder you?
As of Thursday, April 28, 2011, 3:49 P.M.. there were 123 Likes and 257 comments. Looks like he is still using his powers to connect.:)**
Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we can bounce up. Has creativity ever rescued you from the bottom? What silver linings have you discovered within storm clouds?
If you liked this post click on EMAIL UPDATES (right hand side of the home page) to sign up for email notification of future posts. Thank you! 🙂