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An American's Resurrection: :My Pilgrimage from Child Abuse and Mental Illness to Salvation by Arauz, Eric C (2012)

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  • By Astra Lorance on March 12, 2013

    I have known Eric since 1991, which is over half my life. We were in A school together in the Navy, studying to be Electronic's Technicians. Though, I haven't seen him in years and we've talked infrequently, he is always someone I think about often and highly of. He is dear. I was with him during that fateful night in Tijuana. I've cracked his poor little hammer toes in a barracks room in San Diego. We were a close knit group, which included my then-husband. We were young. Many of us came from broken homes and had only each other to cling to. I'll tell you, it was one of the best times in my life. Though I knew 'some' of Eric's history, mostly through his razor-sharp wit and self-deprecating humor. He was one of those people who I knew was strong, not in a 'tough guy' sort of way, but in spirit and character. I never had an older brother and felt he was there for me in that way. I may not remember all of our conversations, I may not remember all of the time we spent together, but if you ever meet Eric, you will NEVER forget the way he makes you feel. Protected, loved, appreciated. He is a born story-teller and brilliant humorist. He can make you laugh until things you don't even want to talk about fly out of your nose, until you're wiping tears away with your shirt-sleeve. This was my experience with Eric.I knew Eric had had 'some sort of breakdown', he called my ex-husband and I one day and explained the situation. I had no idea of the severity. I had to put the book down several times, because I couldn't see the words through my tears. It was too much to reconcile. That care-free, brilliant, strong boy put through forms of torture and humiliation that should be reserved only for members of the Taliban.The reason we don't know the stories of people with mental illness, who are this sick, is that rarely, if ever, do they get better. Much less do they succeed and have a voice. If they do speak, it is dismissed, like the grandfather we all have who relives the war through his Alzheimer's ravaged brain six times a day. If Eric proves anything, it's that everyone has a voice.I have no discernable mental illness, though I do believe humanity in itself can be considered one. We're all a little ill, aren't we? We've all experienced a disassociation from self, labeled ourselves or been labeled, billboarded ourselves for protection from judgment and just generally been at the lowest point, where you are so broken you feel that it will never, ever get better. I am a nurse, working with end stage renal patients, and communities with chronic conditions are more likely to suffer depression, a gate-way to more serious mental disturbances. I feel this book is so relatable, and Eric's Applied Existentialism, can be adapted to anyone's life to make changes for the better. To be there for loved one's who need you, or to depend upon those who love you. And, to find concepts in literature, from those who have walked this path before and used their voices to assist us now and in the future, is genius. I am now reading all of the books prefaced in `Resurrection' and, I hope others will follow, but start HERE first.

  • By Frank L. Greenagel II on January 3, 2013

    Eric's magnum opus begins with him waking up in an unknown psychiatric hospital in 1995."The first time I woke up in four-point restraints, I was tied down to a mattress on the cold, foreign floor of a locked ward in a maximum-security psychiatric hospital." (pg. 3)"Where am I? What the hell is this place? Whose wrists are red and raw in these restraints? What poor [email protected]#$%^[email protected]#$%^& was going to have to wake up to this? I knew it was me, but who was me? Who was me? That question was much more terrifying than where was I?" (pg. 5)At the age of 25, Eric's time in the Navy had finished and his marriage was in shatters. He kissed his wife and step-daughter goodbye forever, ingested a lot of substances, stayed up for 13 days and had his first full blown manic episode. He has no recollection of the time between boarding a plane in Dallas and waking up at Lyon's VA Hospital in Central NJ (where we later find out the book begins).It's the story of his life, death (mania & addiction) and recovery. The book is brilliantly broken down into 3 parts (the aforementioned life, death and recovery), but it's also more than the story of his life: it's a both a microscopic and telescopic view of the mental health system in America, a story of PTSD & trauma, a veteran's tale, a harrowing journey for a family that had already been dealt a series of deathblows and how someone can get sober and come alive again on a college campus through fellowship, literature, mentorship and spirituality.In Chapter 2, Eric helps us see the mental health system from the client's perspective:- "But at the time, my initial diagnosis hit me hard. It was traumatic. It was a death sentence to me." (pg. 8)- "...you're not always really engaged in the decision-making process. But it is always nice to be invited to observe your treatment. Instead of being an active participant, you become an audience member watching the movie of your life. You become the rootless other." (pg. 9)- "There is a time after the first hospital stay when life is apt to fly out of control." (pg. 10)- "We are everywhere and we die in ways hidden from open society: in maximum-security hospitals, prison hospices, and on hard city streets at the hands of strangers taking the little we have." (pg. 10)- On his father, Einar Arauz (who died on the streets at 57): "The doctors explained that he had a chemical imbalance, but he did not accept the diagnosis. He was trying to do the impossible. He was trying to fix a diseased mind with the same diseased mind." (pg. 11)Near the end of chapter 2, Eric's major theme of the book jumps out of the page: "There is treatment and there is recovery." Eric was absolutely lost. He was in hell. His family was told that he would never recover nor even leave the psych ward. Today, he is a son, husband, father, brother, lecturer, author, student, teacher, guide, speaker, advocate and friend.The people who have written on the inside and back of Eric Arauz's book reads like a who's who of international mental health experts: Dr. Lou Baxter, Dr. Jill Williams, Dr. Mary Moller, Dr. Ken Duckworth and Anthony Stratford.Eric will be (really, he already is) a national force in the field of mental health for the 2010's and 2020's. He's an amazing speaker and presenter who reaches tens of thousands of people each year. Finally (and thankfully), he has written a book that will reach the multitudes and will outlive him (and all of us).Full disclaimer: I met Eric in the fall of 1997 when I enrolled at Rutgers, and we became close friends in the fall of '98. Eric got his Bachelors in American studies and eventually his Masters in labor relations. A Gulf War One naval veteran, Eric has won national advocacy awards, holds a faculty appointment at a medical school, has appeared in the New York Times & the Today Show and has lectured at Yale, Purdue, Rutgers and a host of other lucky schools. We have served on a Governor's Council and a State Task Force, and he is the only person that I have ever let speak after me at trainings, lectures and meetings. I owe him a profound debt of gratitude: he spoke numerous times for me at Integrity House, Elizabeth High School and Rutgers University. He's one of the two broadest readers that I've ever met, and I consider him one of my ten favorite people in the world.

  • By katie on April 19, 2016

    The book was amazing, and I was able to meet him. He is so inspiring, and if you get the chance, take it.

  • By Beezy on July 27, 2017

    The best information I have read to help me work with mentally ill clients.

  • By Sharifa H. on February 24, 2013

    Arauz's details of his personal tribulations, in conjunction with education, serves as a platform to encourage Social Workers, family members, and survivors of mental illness to advocate on behalf of this population and commit to providing supports, whether emotional, physical, or mental, despite its challenges. The tone and style of the writing, the author's argument for mental health system modifications and improvements, and the role of the book in the Social Work field and families were all strengths of the book. Overall, the book is an excellent read and reinforced the importance of my role as an active therapeutic support of individuals with persistent mental illness of approximately four years. Arauz teaches his audience not to minimize unconventional forms of communication and utilize critical thinking skills when recognizing crisis and intervening during its occurrence. Buy it!


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