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01.05.2019 Feature Article

The America That Is Not For Me: Part 30

The America That Is Not For Me: Part 30

“Now brutally aware this was not a dream, I demanded my death. Not figuratively. Actively and wholeheartedly, to the limited resources of my fractured mind, I sought my demise. My thoughts screamed: Die, die, die... (Eric C. Arauz, 2012, p. 6).”

A General Introduction
No mental illness is innocuous in its symptomatic expressions if not aggressively tamed through the active channels of therapeutic and pharmacological therapies, albeit it will almost amount to an unforgivable scandal and childish naiveté on our part to assume that every mental illness is absolutely treatable through the ennobling largesse of pharmacological and therapeutic therapies.

Moreover, depending on the form(s) it takes, mental illness can be an unsparing haunting specter, even deadly, when it gatecrashes an individual’s mental homeostasis and takes control of his or her personality, reorienting its operational, organizational and neurological dynamics. Eric C. Arauz’s An American’s Resurrection: My Pilgrimage from Child Abuse and Mental Illness to Salvation provides that rare insight into the phenomenological mercuriality of the complex landscape of mental illness, of some of the latter’s intimidating, crippling panorama of symptomatic manifestations, and of the disruptive nature of mental illness itself from an intimate angle of personal experience and knowledge.

Mr. Arauz’s mental illness invested him with the implicit powers of psychosis, mania, and delusion, producing a sort of magical schism in his otherwise fecund consciousness thereby destabilizing his lived productive experiences, including, but not limited to, his dating opportunities and friendships, sociality, academic prowess, intellectual activism, and family intimacy.

Ergo, he became a dangerous, threatening doppelgänger to himself, to his family and friends, and to society. This in turn reinforced the Manichaean contrasts that came to characterize his fractured consciousness whenever the minacious, variegated symptomatology of his mental illness made a bold presence in his relative psychic comfort―however this symptomatology is interwoven into the fabric of his private and public personality. He nevertheless humbly acknowledged and appreciated his humanity in the face of the daring, complicated facts of his mental illness, and of his difficult life on account of his mental illness. “I was not evil. I was sick. I had two chronic and lethal diseases interwoven with severe trauma, and my thinking was killing me and destroying my relationships,” he writes (p. 228).

Mr. Arauz was an academically gifted individual (Arauz, 2013). He acquired an Associate in Arts in Psychology (Middlesex County College), a bachelor’s degree (B.A) in American Studies (Rutgers University), a professional master’s in Labor and Employment Relations (Rutgers University), and was admitted into the Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education at Rutgers University to pursue a doctorate in American Studies. He would have liked to use this opportunity to work on a doctoral dissertation which looked into how the historical, religious portrayal of penal instruments in the afterlife affected moral choices in contemporary America, among other related topics (p. 246). He was a gifted writer with philosophical depth and had a way with words.

This review will attempt to capture the substance of Mr. Arauz’s courageous battle with mental illness.

Important Background Information
The biochemistry of mental illness is painstakingly complex, not to mention the added dimension of neurophysiological and neurostructural convolution this brings to bear on the underlying biochemistry of mental illness and its crippling symptomatology. Yet, whether mental illness is a spiritual or mystical disease as some perceive it, was a daring question that did not seem to have considerably piqued or arrested his interest (p. 67).

It appears that the etiology of mental illness is insidiously latent and that its overt explosion is possible when the forces of genetics, or biology, and the environment intersect in a conscious matrimony. This appears to be the special case of Mr. Arauz. Indeed mental illness would plague and haunt his father until he died from it. “My family has psychiatric disease rooted in its biology,” he notes. “My biological father, Einar Gasper Arauz, a first-generation immigrant with a Basque surname who came to America from David, Panama, was a person with mental illness” (p. 11). He goes further to reinforce our working hypothesis, the multifactorial etiology of mental illness (p. 33):

"Bipolar disorder is a biogenic disease. It sits in your head. Often it needs the proper psycho-social stressor to bring it out to the forefront of your mind. But once it is out and gets a taste of freedom, it will never retreat back behind the door voluntarily. The disease has many manifestations and faces (our emphasis)."

The psycho-social stressor in Mr. Arauz’s example “was the act of saying good-bye to my step-daughter…that pulled the pin on my mental grenade” (p. 34). Though Mr. Arauz strongly believed “life is a choice” (p. 266), the seeming inevitability of the environmental and genetic predispositions underpinning the experiential journey of his mental illness and its crushing symptomatology may point to a formulaic deterministic pathway, which is that the intrinsic character of biology or genetics is such that it is not always lenient in organic response if and when it is confronted with the serious question of choice. Elsewhere we had forcefully argued that (Kwarteng, 2017):

"On the other hand, in so far as we are concerned double consciousness is a matter of conscious, rational—and even deliberate—choice, the kind of choice not rooted in the existential biology or genetics of our ontological realities."

Empirical And Physiological Utility of Choice In The Human Condition

In a sense, the utility of choice becomes indispensable perhaps only to the extent that the numbing mystery of biology and the blatant fickleness of the environment conspire in the secret womb of a deterministic matrimony, and when the product of this deterministic matrimony, an illness or disease, gives birth to a vista of treatment options—even if these treatment options include experimental ones (p. 265-266). This submission takes into account the fact that when the cold stinging and poisonous eye of inevitable death penetrates one’s façade of hopelessness, one has no choice but to wholeheartedly embrace the blind uncertainty of experimental pharmacology in the absolute interest of self-perpetuation.

On the one hand, some aspects of the preceding paragraphs may partly explain Mr. Arauz’s pathological or paranoid hatred of his late father—and why he may also have wanted to kill his father “with my own hands” (p. 252). The so-called “Baby Hitler Philosophical Paradox” was not an option for him given the genetic underpinnings of his illness. On the other hand maturity, frank appreciation for and deep understanding of his own mental illness and its haunting symptomatology—from the viewpoint of his father’s medical condition—and the desire to be at peace with his inner self, himself, would eventually drive him to replace his entrenched paranoid hatred of his father with an aura of filial ambivalence toward the same father.

This aura of filial ambivalence would eventually turn into an unadulterated filial piety—an unadulterated filial love—for the father as he grappled with the ideas of penance and forgiveness. Mr. Arauz would eventually come to grips with the idea to make peace with his late father (Chapter 18).

Complicating Variables In The Multivariate Equation Of Mr. Eric Arauz’s Environment

“Active mental illness is a selfish, hateful disease in that it allows you to live. With its symptoms, it has the ability to kill your mind and spirit and leave your body to continue on (Eric Arauz, 2012, p. 187).”

None of the foregoing paragraphs, however, even begin to unravel the profound convoluted variables that made up the constitutive character of Mr. Arauz’s mental illness, of his perennial suffering. He was an drug-addict/alcoholic (p. 203, 217-218), he was abused as a child by his father (p. 228, 247), he was a victim of substance abuse (cocaine, p. 53; marijuana, p. 34) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he had asthma and allergies (p. 32), and he suffered from hip and nuchal and neck pain, including pain from his surgically repaired arthritic toes (p. 110). “The combination of reconstructed toes on my right foot, mangled toes on my left foot, and low arches made walking barefoot unbearable,” he would write.

Mr. Arauz, a disabled veteran who previously served in the US navy (p. 29), had been drinking alcohol since 15 (p. 217). He was also born with Poland Syndrome, about which he wrote almost poignantly (p. 172):

"I have no left chest muscle, pectoral major and minor, and my left forearm, wrist and fingers are all slightly smaller."

In conclusion, Nadine, his mother, had Stage 4 cancer (p. 175) and, Bud, his step-father, died from cancer following the failure of chemotherapy to treat the cancer that developed in, and progressively bloated, his belly (Chapter 21; p. 216, 265, 272-274).

Mr. Arauz was in effect an embodiment of accumulated flora and fauna of pain, of suffering, of disappointments, of sadness, a courageous man who also inhabited the center of the active volcanoes of acausal and anthropogenically-driven adversities.

Diagnosis
The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-4), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2000, assigns three chronic diseases to Mr. Arauz (p. 32): "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, bipolar disorder and alcoholism/addiction."

Bipolar Disorder 1 was his primary diagnosis. And, though he did not experience auditory hallucinations, the following standard delusions accompanied his primary diagnosis (p. 36): "Grandiose, Somatic, Religious, Nihilistic, Persecutory and Reference." He also experienced what he labeled as “bizarre delusions” (p. 36):

"Thought withdrawal, Thought broadcasting, Thought insertion and Thought control. Finally, in his delusional condition he suffered from Ideas of Reference."

Additional Variables In Mr. Eric Arauz’s Character

Mr. Arauz admitted to being an indiscernible spendthrift, to being hyper-sexual in speech, and to experiencing breaks in his sleep pattern (p. 40). Good sleep hygiene became a luxury, a predicament that negatively impacted his physical, psychological and emotional health. As well, pathological lying in his chameleonic architectonics of behavioral arsenal took on a flowery life of its own. He pointedly described this shameless behavior of his thusly (p. 227):

"My mom and sisters told me what I had put them through with my lying…They wanted me to stop lying…My brother-in-law told me not to lie to him anymore, that it was disrespectful."

We shall, however, drive the point home that it is almost impossible for us to establish with any convincing degree of forensic and intratextual exactitude whether his lies are technically confabulations. Other than this caveat, the yawning dialectic between his tendentious lying and medication administration began to gnaw at his medication adherence. His failure to stay off drugs and alcohol fed on the dialectic to his detriment, culminating in a relapse of his disease and his subsequent hospitalization (p. 187).

Even so, acknowledging that failure to remain sober as well as not staying off substance abuse could lead to a relapse of his condition, was a step in the right direction. Of course noncompliance and nonadherence are both antithetical to health, a view he slowly warmed up to.

He resorted to a collocation of lifestyle modifications to improve his medical situation.

Medical Treatment Modalities
Mr. Arauz took three major medications at different times:

1) Thorazine (chlorpromazine), an antipsychotic.
2) Lithium, a mood-stabilizing medication.
3) Haloperidol (Haldol), an antipsychotic.
Most importantly, he distinguished between Thorazine Shuffle and Haldol Shuffle. The exegetical juxtaposition focused on the side effects of Thorazine and Haldol. The former phrase describes a situation where a patient taking Thorazine for an extended period of time is deprived of the facility of ambulating with strength and purpose, while the latter phrase points to circumstances where a patient on Haldol becomes non-sedentary or restless (p. 187).

While Thorazine may have aggravated his condition, Haldol appeared to have done the exact opposite. Haldol re-introduced the light of self-awareness and relative clarity into the wobbly immanence of his dichotomized consciousness. This life-saving medication made it possible for him to both acknowledge and identify with the self, an important step toward self-recognition and self-embrace. That is, he came into his own, relatively speaking, when his immediate surroundings came alive in his conscious reckoning for the first time since his institutionalization (p. 187).

Admittedly, Mr. Arauz owed his sudden psychic transmogrification to the diligence and eidetic memory of his mother, Nadine, who recalled his relative wellness when he was on Haldol during his first hospitalization. She then brought the relative success of Haldol with his son to the attention of his provider. The provider began administering Haldol to him and his manic metamorphosis, as he put it (p. 187), transformed itself into the seeming actualization of his immanent transmogrification, albeit he still grappled with compliance and substance abuse issues.

Mr. Arauz’s steeled determination to achieve compliance, therefore, constitutes a stark affirmation of this irony.

And yet pharmacological therapy does not hold the exclusive key to recovery.

The fact that he saw Lithium as a blessing rather than a curse or that Lithium was both a blessing and poison, spoke directly to his evolving maturity, although he had gone without it for a couple of years or so. This represented a sharp departure from his defeatist thinking (p. 281).

The Resurrection of Mr. Eric Arauz: A Psychological Treatment Modality

“I had a terrible inferiority complex, and I was sure everyone was better than me…But I decided to learn once and for all what I was all about…Because I still had so many doubts about my future and such a limited view of my potential, I had to work closely with friends and therapists to make sure the lies I told myself about my own failings did not make it onto…Eric Arauz, 2012, p. 221).”

It is said that a problem openly acknowledged is one that is also half-solved. This is truer in Mr. Arauz’s unique case. He accepted the fact, though this grudging acceptance did not come so easily, that he had a problem and that this problem, however he looked at it, demanded his absolute cooperation in terms of honesty but more particularly, of his effortful determination, to be framed in some form or other of effective non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic resolution in a way that was ideally suitable for managing his condition.

He may have realized that there was no use hanging onto the stubborn armor of grudging denial. Fully coming to terms with the fact that self-validation from without was central to internal peace, that is, the road to recovery, paved the way for self-recovery and mastery of the self.

Thus, he needed the solemn acceptance of the fact of self-validation to serve as a complete break from his ready predilection for pathological prevarication, from his unnecessary avoidance of tactical and strategic issues germane to his potential recovery from the prison of his mental illness.

Decongesting and decompressing his clogged mental house was, therefore, necessary for effective therapeutic accommodation. But for him, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Much as he tried to maintain a semblance of psychoneurotic ambiguity, the wanton destructiveness of the self and the internecine implosion of illicit drugs in his system made this pursuit of internal equilibrium almost impossible. His was an explosive immanent epic battle where the self waged a relentless war of existential crisis on itself, even though this couldn’t turn him into the madman theory that Donald Trump was.

We shall submit that a sick head is equally capable of healing itself. There is some truth in this outrageous, controversial irony. We see this in the dichotomy of anti-venom and snake venom or, of matter and antimatter in particle physics, for instance. In other words the snake is an answer to snake venom.

This was probably why he reached out beyond America’s systemic racism in his attempt to understand the classic wisdom and intellect of Du Bois, eventually finding in Du Bois the meaning of life in the suffering of enslaved Africans, in the wailing souls of enslaved Africans, in the resilience of enslaved Africans—in the American wilderness. Then again if we understood the moral implications of Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk and Mr. Arauz’s work for the spiritual, moral health of today's America it was probably because, among other things, we also understood the central messages of Tim Wise’s body of work including “The Pathology of Privilege: Racism, White Denial and Cost of Inequality” and White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son.

Black America is the moral conscience of America indeed!

Eric Arauz, An Open Mind
Western medicine is not a cure-all answer to complications in the human condition, much less mental illness, one of the major reasons he sought refuge in Eastern philosophy. For one thing, he saw spirituality, not necessarily religion, as part of the holistic approach to understanding the etiology and management of mental illness, organic and non-organic. And for another, he understood that inclusive understanding and knowledge of the human condition augurs well for his wellbeing. Fact is, rationality, not superstition or blind faith, informed his world.

Thus the changing demographics of America require, in part, cosmopolitan or inclusive knowledge of comparative literature or world literature. World literature has deep taproots in the existential stream of universal consciousness. This is why his book, unlike Theresa Brown’s The Shift or Lisa Genova’s Still Alice, covers aspects of Eastern philosophy and of the established literary works of writers such as Du Bois, a serious student of world history and even more so, of African history. Armchair pontificating wasn’t one of Du Bois’ streaks; he lived his powerful ideas. Also the fact that he, Mr. Arauz, wasn’t given to fanfaronade and wrote with excruciating honesty spoke to his painstaking seriousness as a public intellectual in the activist vein.

And even though he, Brown and Genova took up different subject matters in the American healthcare industry, his work provides some interesting insights into the inclusive character of the sociology and pathophysiology of mental illness. Featuring the African world in An American’s Resurrection through the critical language of Du Bois’ literary voice is more than welcome. Since the African world or Black America represents the moral conscience of the American nation, Mr. Arauz still managed to successfully circumvent the urge to emote, and rather reinstated the splendiferous throne of rationality where jeremiad and nihilism and hopelessness had previously reigned supreme in his immanent architecture of self-consciousness, at least for someone like him who wholeheartedly embraced the sociology of scientific knowledge―with a concomitant knowledge of the limits of rationalism and human frailties.

In sum, he avoided the arrogant and grossly misinformed path of Martin Seymour-Smith’s 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today which excludes Africa’s contributions to human knowledge, by culturally appropriating and deploying the moral voice of Black America, set in the backdrop of America’s internal contradictions, his double consciousness, as a liberating leverage against the insidious unraveling of his identity crisis. In this regard, Mr. Arauz’s respect for and dedication to the intellectual ethos of inclusiveness and multiculturalism is commendable.

Understanding mental health and mental illness is a complex process, a process that requires input from several fields. Not even what mental illness is supposed to mean has remained faithfully constant for as long as the time scale of human existence. The process is tetramorphic spanning the ideas of multiculturalism, interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity. This tetramorphic formula features latently throughout his book as he attempted to demystify mental illness, all the more important because ideational stereotypy in terms of auctorial expression isn’t a feature of his book. The organization of his thoughts was patently devoid of immanent clutter.

The conceptual and definitional fluidity of mental illness, as described and detailed in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders and the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since their inception, changes correspondingly as the science of mental illness changes. The criminal justice system, culture, social norms and taboos, politics, intersectionality, technological advances, public health, institutional corruption and its relation to the pharmaceutical industry and the healthcare industry, and religion inform these changes. Advances in technology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy play a big role in the formulation of these changes. The many years I worked in mental health enriched and broadened my compass in these matters.

In summarizing Stanford Law School Daniel Steinberg and et al.’s research paper “When Did Prisons Become Acceptable Mental Health Care Facilities?” which discusses the relationship between the criminal justice system and treatment of the mentally ill, a television critic, journalist and writer notes (Powers, 2017, 201-201)

“…insane people in America ‘are far more likely to be treated in jail or prison than in any healthcare facility’…

“We have created conditions that make criminal behavior all but inevitable for many of our brothers and sisters who are mentally ill. Instead of treating them, we are imprisoning them. And then, when they have completed their sentences, we release them with minimal or no support system in place, just counting the days until they are behind bars once again. This practice of seeking to save money on the backs of this population comes with huge moral and fiscal cost. It is ineffective because we spend far more on imprisonment of the mentally ill than we would otherwise spend on treatment and support. It is immoral because writing off another human being’s life is utterly contrary to our collective values and principles.”

Absence of the strong language and research thoroughness of this document in Mr. Arauz’s book is clear enough.

On a last note, he suggested that human-animal bonding and pet therapy have a role in the recovery of patients and management of mental illness, even though he didn’t provide scientific evidence to back up his claim about the effectiveness of animal-assisted intervention or animal-assisted therapy. He also didn’t explore the views of those who identified with misothery, zoophobia, speciesism, and alexithymia. Neither did he discuss questions of safety, vaccination of these animals, sanitation, behavioral screening of these animals and how well trained these animals should be, and the ethical dimensions of animal-assisted intervention.

In the final analysis, it’s our suggestion that those who read Mr. Arauz must endeavor to read Ron Powers’ No One Cares about Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America also.

Some Critical Perspectives: A Critique
“Tethered to the restraining bed, I have lain in my feces and pleaded with God for my death. But the God I asked to relieve my suffering was a power I no longer trusted or even feared…(Eric Arauz, 2012, p. 32).”

Mr. Arauz no longer trusted or even feared God because he became that God himself, a deity that could not save him in his dying moments of institutional crucifixion, as he was physically restrained to a hospital bed for a minor infraction he had committed, for which he was abandoned in a bed without food and denied access to his bathroom. Rather, he looked up to Occupational Divinity, a transcendental ontology which he defined as “a god with utility, a god of action, one that could give him power…and transgress my fears” (p. 231).

He had found incompleteness in the intrinsic characterological ontology of the distant, impersonal, nonchalant and Eurocentric Judeo-Christian God, a deity that looked on unconcerned as humans suffered. This deity was a total stranger to his unique experience of suffering, causing him deep painful disappointment.He no longer felt any sense of attachment to this God. Neither did he hold himself accountable to this God.

This is interesting because his step-father had impressed upon him, that one does not need God and religion if one does the right things in life, when he said, “I did the right things in life, Eric, because they were right” (p. 273), in response to a question about making peace or re-establishing a relationship with God in his last days. This response constitutes a profound philosophical statement.

Still, without the omnipresent oversight of this Occupational Divinity, self-stigma, shame, social stigma, poor hygiene, seclusion and restraints, self-hatred, suicidal ideation, inferiority complex, and the side effects of medications killed him, devoured him and buried him alive in the grave of his fractured consciousness.

However, his true resurrection arrived at the doorstep of his mental oasis when he unconditionally forgave himself and his late father, and made amends with his family and everyone else he believed he had hurt or wronged one way or the other, a staggering number in the upper neighborhood of 150 (p. 227); when he diligently sought creative answers to the challenging queries of life in literature, in human relations, and in Eastern philosophy (Hindu, Buddhism, etc.); when he made a determined effort to stop smoking and drinking (twelve-step recovery program); when he finally decided to make compliance an integral fixture of his new-found identity of self-recovery; and when he remarried and had a new daughter who filled the mournful yawning vacuum his step-daughter left behind some years back following his painful divorce from his first wife.

And then, suddenly, he seemed to be at peace with himself—finally. How did this come about? His newfound inner peace and renewed interest in his recovery largely derived from non-pharmacologic therapy, lifestyle modifications, support groups, the innate goodness and fallibility of man, family support, self-forgiveness, his intellectual brilliance, self-knowledge, a positive mental attitude toward life, and the power of touch―all of which gave him a new definition of personal worth.

He even discovered redemptive power in the rich resources of his own mental capital, of the powerful language of self-definition and self-recovery and rebirth in the sheer narrative power of the writings of America’s first urban sociologist, W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk (Chapter 12).

He found in Du Bois—who is buried in Ghana—the noble language of metaphor, of the veil and double consciousness, of the redeeming power of what Du Bois called Sorrow Songs, the so-called Negro Spirituals. He found favor in the suffering and remarkable resilience of enslaved Africans in what would later become the United States, using that as a sound track to his meandering journey of self-recovery. These metaphoric tools eventually deflowered him, tearing and separating the umbilical cord of his sufferable hymen of inner contradictions and demons from his irksome shadows of dichotomized consciousness, and in the process lifting the heavy scales of his self-stigma, hopelessness, inferiority complex, suicidal and nihilistic tendencies, self-defeating thoughts, and self-flagellation off his mournful eyes.

Alas, it is interesting that Mr. Arauz did not feature female writers in any critical sense of comparative evaluation with their male counterparts in his book An American’s Resurrection, forgetting that women know as much about the human condition as men. Thus, women who appeared in his immediate institutionalized or hospitalized orbit did so merely as symbols of domesticated affective softness in a Victorian sense. We are comfortable at home with patriarchal literarism. This is not to say he was misogynistic or hated women. There is absolutely nothing in his book that points to this conclusion.

Concluding Remarks
Coming to terms with the outrageous idea that Mr. Arauz had been—all this while—buried alive in the labyrinthine coffin of the veil, of double consciousness, was a long-awaited relief, an eye-opening revelation coming at a time he probably needed it the most.

The transformative power of this revelation did his existential illiteracy in!

Mr. Arauz’s struggles with mental illness came at a prohibitive cost to himself, his family, his first marriage and pre-marital relationships, and his friendships. In spite of this, he worked tirelessly to contain his mental illness through the active pathways of compliance and adherence, of advocacy (via mental health education), of getting himself involved with extensive reading and research activities, of remarrying and birthing a daughter who gave him hope, of becoming sober and avoiding illicit drugs, of coming to terms with his limitations, of putting a complete stop to his prevaricating proclivities, and of educating himself in the tricky ways of his mental illness.

In fact, he appeared to have done more than his fair share in life to bring about his relative success. This is exemplary. It is, however, disappointing to know antipsychotic medications do not work for many. This may have been why he and his care providers complemented pharmacologic therapy with non-pharmacologic therapy, an optimal strategy aimed at effective treatment. For instance, he mentioned how changes in his biochemistry correspondingly affected his particular pharmacogenomics.

Fighting mental illness became his war, death his peace―a painful reminder of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Still, he was smart enough to bring the literary weights of Ernest Hemingway, Herman Hesse, Albert Camus, Rudyard Kipling, Herman Melville, Joseph Campbell, St. Augustine, Carl Jung, Maria R. Rilke, Ralph Emerson, Dante Alighieri, Hannah Arendt, Fyodor Dostoevsky, J.M. Coetzee, Reinhold Niebuhr, William Shakespeare, Friedrich Nietzsche, Walt Whitman...,—nearly all of whom this reviewer has read—to bear on his life vision and tortuous, torturous journey. His literary allusions were more expansively eclectic, richer, and more inclusive than either Brown’s or Genova’s.

And given our close reading of the works of Du Bois, we have no doubt in our minds that his interpretation of Du Bois is in no way wrong. He forcefully spoke the mind of Du Bois as it should be.

These writers taught him he was merely human with all the trappings of fallibility—although Shakespeare may not have existed! Putting everything else aside, one has to appreciate moral philosophy and the political economy of America in order to acquire a deep understanding of the larger implications of Mr. Arauz’s lifetime work. There is therefore no doubt in our minds that this book should be required reading in nursing schools, medical schools, social work programs, social policy institutions, psychology schools, the behavioral sciences, think tanks, cognitive science, and research ethics.

I forwarded a copy of this review to some of my nursing professors on May 29, 2018, including the note below in the email:

Dear Professors
Good morning.
Please how are you all?
First, I personally want to thank Dr. Nicole Brodrick for giving us free copies of Eric C. Arauz's An American’s Resurrection: My Pilgrimage from Child Abuse and Mental Illness to Salvation. I decided to review it for my international readership after reading it.

I learned so much from this book as it complemented Dr. Reynolds' class and my own mental health clinical rotation. In fact there is so much I gleaned from Mr. Arauz's experiences which will be useful to me in my personal life.

Thus I also have to thank Dr. Reynolds too, just as I have to thank Dr. Spencer and Dr. Connolly. Please here is the review for your personal reading pleasures (Please note: Because the international websites I write for aren't academic journals, I do not follow any standard guidelines in my writings).

Dr. Nicole Brodrick, one of the two of my mental health professors, responded to my email on May 30, 2018:

Francis-I know Eric would be proud of your article. It was so good it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I wish you the best in your future nursing career. Nicole

Regards
Dr. Brodrick later sent me an email containing rapper Kyle Rapps’ 93-second speech on Eric Arauz’s death and asked me to listen to it. And I did.

Dr. Brodrick again on May 3, 2019:
Hi- Great to hear from you. I’m excited to read about this in more detail. Great job and I wish you the best success. Nicole

Dr. Brodrick’s colleague Dr. Kosuke Niitsu had this to say (May 30, 2018):

Hi, Francis,
Thank you for sharing your article with me! Well-written, great review.

I think Eric would be happy to read your article. I was shocked when I heard the news that he passed. He has inspired so many people, including both people with mental illness and providers. I cannot forget his big smile at the conference when he delivered his excellent presentation.

Thanks again, Francis!
Ko
Dr. Niitsu again on May 3, 2019!
Hi Francis,
Thank you for sharing your Chapter 30 and 31!

Eric delivered his presentation at a conference a few years ago, and I had an opportunity to meet him in person. He was very kind and nice… and he had very deep insight based on his own experience and as an educator as well.

We have “better” medications than thorazine, Haldol, etc., but we are not quite there yet… We also need better ways to diagnose people with mental illness in addition to the diagnostic interview. We obviously have a very long way to go for a better world!

Have a great weekend, too, Francis!!
Ko

Francis Kwarteng
Francis Kwarteng, © 2019

This author has authored 574 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: franciskwarteng

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