I had a general idea of what might characterize a good playlist and I solicited opinions from several sources to help me form a criteria:
- Should be music I like – OK that's pretty obvious
- Shouldn't be songs I'm already emotionally attached to – I'm not trying to relive good or bad times
- Songs must have no lyrics in a language I know – I want to avoid fixating on subject matter
- Favor shorter tracks over longer ones – at least until I know what works and I can always replay a track
- Minimalist with repetitive refrains – lesson learned from orchestral music and audio distortion. Repetitive because it is meant to enhance not distract
- Drop in a song that cues a relaxation response – a message from sober-me to Ketamine-intoxicated me that says, “Hey whatever is going on right now, know that you're going to be OK - oh and by the way, here's a funny little inside joke.”
- My playlist included a lot of ambient music drawn from TV, movie and video game soundtracks that I liked but hadn't yet worn out from excessive playback. Most of the music seemed uplifting to me. For the inside-joke song, I chose “Where Is My Mind” by the Pixies, a piano-only version with no lyrics. One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, I figured I ought to recognize it no matter where my mind had flown to.
Music Changes The Context
The auditory distortions lent an amusing and playful quality to the music and I began to feel joyful, even ecstatic at times. I was aware that I was experiencing the euphoric quality connected with Ketamine and able to lose myself in it while also reflecting upon how long it'd been since I'd felt this good.
When the music changed, the experience changed with it and I felt a small tug of regret that I hadn't included even more happy songs which might prolong this euphoric feeling. I was going to fumble with my iPod buttons to replay the previous selection (no easy task due to the numbness and visual distortion) but then it came to mind that although it was a really pleasant experience, a journey is defined by more than a single experience. The thought gave me tacit permission to let it go. The soft notes of “Where Is My Mind" drifted into my ears and a small smile spread upon my lips.
Next up - dissociative experience and treatment after-effects