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Letter from the Crazy Man
Citizen Genet
3/12/02-Toledo, OH

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go bonkers after attending a small liberal arts college? Hear the story of one “Crazy Boy Jones” in another addition of telling “it” like “it” is. (Rather than ought to be I suppose, becasue isn’t is out of the question for “it.”)

————–This document liberated by—————

Gloible Flogmein
Dean for Academic Advising

Crazy Boy Jones
4545 Pine St.
Hankville, OH 49715
(743) 405-2808

Request for a return to Honkhoot College in the fall of 2002
After the spring semester of the 2001 academic school year at Honkhoot I sought an illness related withdrawal from the classes that were impacted by my state of health. The board that oversaw my case, considering information from my doctor at home and a personal self-assessment, granted a withdrawal due to illness with the stipulation that I must wait a year before returning to Honkhoot and that if I returned I would attend a program for bi-polar individuals and sign a contract made by Honkhoot College for students facing an illness that has impacted the stability of their academic performance. Please consider that in my opinion I have never been more prepared to attend Honkhoot College. I feel that I have recovered completely from the symptoms of bi-polarity. As well, I know that Honkhoot is the place where I have the best chance of success because of a fondness and familiarity that I have for the school. As much as I hate to be “the cheerleader” I ought not to deny my most positive feelings.

You may ask, “In what way did Crazy Boy Jones’s condition arise, progress, and stabilize; and in what way might this have effected him as a student?” For your better understanding I will briefly describe my changing condition since my initial enrollment at Honkhoot in the spring of 1998. The transition from high school went well in that I found new resources to draw upon to complete my coursework while playing football and leading a spirited social life. Unfortunately I found myself choosing the most draining of options on default and without any regard to the consequences on my mental health. I laughed off sleepless nights and foggy morning football practices. I made enough mistakes either in anger (such as refusing to replace a 40 dollar chemistry textbook which was stolen from me) or zeal (such as drug use) that before sophomore year I determined that I must reorganize my life with an intentional hierarchy of schoolwork, exercise, and then my valuable friendships. However the method couldn’t defeat the madness, so to speak. I can clearly remember that the signs of my illness were already prevalent and persistent during first semester classes in my sophomore year in 2000.

I will give one specific example of the many obstacles that materialized and adapted over time. Recently I heard the British neurologist Oliver W. Sacks, who wrote the nonfiction account Uncle Tungsten, on the Hankville NPR station describing his first 5-minute migraines that “made objects appear flat and also altered colors, shades, and shadows”. He then explained how he soon looked forward to these new experiences since they didn’t seem to pose an immediate threat. As for me, the strangeness would last days rather than minutes and seemed always to reemerge in a slightly or radically different mix, kind or severity. The symptoms encompassed every aspect of the mind that I knew of and many that were completely alien to me. When the newness made listening to professors difficult I finally knew that something was very wrong for sure. I wasn’t afraid for my mind but rather my rights. I feared the loss of my credibility, or perhaps I wanted to be known as unique for my personality rather than a cut and dry brain case. The general misunderstandings that could result kept me silent of any fact that could have been hard evidence of an illness. I simply hoped that the problems would weaken rather than intensify over time as long as I tried to remain calm and rational.

It was a struggle to “keep it together” until the end of that year. I made it through without any serious incident relying on my own continuous internal effort. But the great intensity and rationality necessary to filter appropriate decisions from thoughts and senses with unsettlingly novel qualities attached lowered my capability as a student. I was helped by the generosity of the professors who permitted me to complete two papers over the winter break, and also later after I faltered drastically at the end of the year and I was able to retake two exams in the summer. My bizarre perspective corrupted that information which I needed to complete many projects satisfactorily, regardless of my familiarity with the material. The last part of my sophomore year was one of the most stressful times in my life. My train of thought was utterly derailed. The stress created enough pain and misdirection that I went almost a week without sleep and so much nonsense prevailed over what I only remembered was normal. With my hope for a peaceful conclusion to the year lost, I was in ruins and living in a dreadful mess to boot. Soon my family rallied to help me to communicate back to Honkhoot my status and also to seek out a doctor. Before my junior year I was medicated for a mental illness that was evident. How much ground could be made up was yet to be found.

Many of the problems didn’t end with the first attempt at the medical cure. “Cure” meaning in this instance a return to my own tried and true quality of life. I was being treated for short-term psychosis starting just after my sophomore year. There were still mental anomalies or what have you, one can feel them they pass. When something is flat out of place but often it is beyond one to totally ignore the content. I remember working on a retake physics exam in the middle of the summer of 2001 and having to force myself away from the curious things going on. Scores suffer when you pay attention to what I had since the previous year understood to be mere distractions resultant from somewhat uncontrollable mental events. The routine chemical regimen for that diagnosis ran out as junior year began. Again it was a situation of wax and wane, hope and fear during my junior year. The drug I had been taking regularly before was able to orchestrate but not alleviate the symptoms. Without the drug I had some limited success controlling the symptoms with will power alone but only at first. I misunderstood the level of health that was to be possible for me. While all through my junior year the failures of my mind slowly multiplied and then openly assaulted. I feared at times that the torture was something I must learn to live with. My decision-making was getting very poor. I was losing control of important abilities that I had taken for granted such as time sense, memory and the reliability of analytical visual requests relevant to written information.

School can prove very frustrating when your persistence toward a goal may get ever greater but the conditions that impede your advance are entirely elusive and seem to have an unfair lead on you. Positive actions and thoughts once begun are scattered aside time and again by unsumoned randomness. If all that I wanted from life was distraction I could have molded myself into a fine fool, but what makes the situation intolerable is when you know of that which you stand to lose. Well, as I have said earlier I requested a withdrawal due to illness after my junior year and I received the notice that I would have to take a year off from Honkhoot. I have remained drug and alcohol free, excluding tobacco, since my leaving Honkhoot College. Also, I began a new treatment along with the new bi-polar diagnosis. The new medicine, as a psychiatrist has described it to me, consists of nutrients that are necessary for the repair of the cell walls on neurons as well as many others things. The base for the drug is available at health food stores but the prescription form, for treatment of migraines, seizures, and bi-polar disorder, has been modified to breach the blood brain barrier. It worked! There was a period of adjustment considering all the strangeness that I had experienced.

After the neurons were repaired I had to overcome a lack of self-confidence. I wasn’t sure if at any corner I would be “broken” once again. I wanted to ignore this feeling at first. To prove myself I wanted to go back to classes immediately. It was a mistake to rush this because I had to adjust back into an optimum rather than a barely operational grade of health. The problems had faded into absolute obscurity to my relief, but a mild shell shock remained. Every so often I might think, “What was that…? Oh… no I see now it was nothing.” At the same time there was an embarrassment because I would never have had to second-guess myself over stupid things like that if I had never been imbalanced. Not that I put so much blame on myself for being ill. I am very aware that I have two grandfathers who were both bi-polar which alone clearly shows that I have a genetic precondition for the disease. But I was born later then they were and I have the strong arm of science to help me. Still I asked, “was I, or wasn’t I now totally free from its grasp.” I probably was on a cellular level, but I hadn’t freed my mind definitively because I saw myself as a possible second-class citizen, a cracked egg. Time was the key to that enigma of mental doubt. In that time my search for proper direction lead me back to where I started.
As for the conditions that Honkhoot has made for my return I will say that my personality is perfect for the group programs as well as the “written terms in the form of a contract” that I have heard about. In the past I have successfully gained strength by holding fast to similar, albeit self imposed and informal, guidelines. Also, well-meaning group projects are great fun for me, or at least more so than strictly personal guidance and discussion programs I have been involved with. I already know my motivation in this case. I simply must remind myself of a truth that I formulated about good verses poor mental health habits. If I move myself toward poor mental health I will distance myself from my family, friends, and other aspects of the world that I identify with. Conversely if I dedicate myself to good mental health I will protect the experiences of this world that I have grown to love.

—Please inform me of any steps that I will need to take to secure a place at Honkhoot College next fall.

Crazy Boy Jones, March 11th 2002

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