I joined the Army because I wanted money to go to art school. The Army was offering money through the G.I. Bill, so that was appealing to me. I wasn’t really doing much at the time so I thought it would be a good time to go into the Army, get the G.I. Bill and get out. So that’s what I did, I joined the Army. I wasn’t there for very long before I realized that I really did not like the Army. All the rules… I felt like I couldn’t really express myself as an artist in the Army. So on the weekends I started doing things to escape. I would take a lot of over-the-counter cough medicine. There is a drug that you can find in some of them and it is a pretty powerful hallucinogenic if you take enough of it. So on the weekends I would be doing that and one weekend I did it three times in a row, popping a whole box of cough medicine. It’s really horrible for you. But those hallucinogenic experiences were quite memorable and powerful and very interesting. The one that sticks out is this: I remember it was a full moon and there was a storm blowing through and it was rainy and then not, hot and clear, then rainy again. I remember looking at the moon and trying to manifest what I wanted in my life. Everything became so clear to me. I really wanted to get out of the Army and go to art school. I couldn’t sleep that night and the next day, I couldn’t sleep the following night, either. My whole chemistry, it seemed, had changed in my brain, my thought patterns. Everything seemed very primal and instinctual with my thoughts. I knew what I wanted and I knew how I was going to get it. It wasn’t being in the Army and it wasn’t following the Army’s rules. So I decided I wasn’t going to follow their rules and I wasn’t going to participate with what they were doing. Even the basic things like dressing in your BDU’s and shaving and shining your shoes and all that sort of thing. That was just not important to me. So they obviously knew right away because I just stopped doing everything. They knew that something was quite different with me and it sure was. They called me into the first Sargeant’s office and he looked at me and he said “Sit here. I’ll be right back.” So I’m sitting there and I’m thinking “I don’t want to be here.” So I walk out and I walk off the base. I was thinking to myself that I really wanted to start dating. There was this really cute looking female that was living a ways away and so I went to hit her up and see if she was available. I kind of freaked her out. I walked into where she was working and I confessed my attraction for her and she didn’t know how to react to that. I put my arm around her. She freaked out and ended up calling the police. They picked me up to take me to the MP’s (military police.) They knew something was wrong with me and they were trying to figure it out. I told them right away what I had been doing, taking the cough medicine. The MP’s said “You need to sit down here.” I said “I don’t want to sit.” Suddenly, the room fills with MP’s and, for a moment, it’s sort of like a stand-off. Then they rush me and they tackle me and beat me until I had to sit down, physically. The next thing I know, I’m being given breathalyzer tests, and they hog-tie me and put a gag-ball in my mouth. They put me in a prison cell and I sat there for hours. Finally they take me to a hospital. My thought pattern is totally over-stimulated, I haven’t had any sleep for days and I’ve been hallucinating. The hospital is trying to figure it out and I told them I would give them a urine sample and whatever they wanted but this is what I did. So they took me to the psych ward where I stayed for a couple of weeks. They diagnosed me with bi-polar disorder. They said I was manic-depressive and that I had this manic episode and that they couldn’t have me in the Army anymore. In fact, they said “you were fine when you came into the Army and so we must have done this to you, so we’ll pay for all of your college.” I got processed out of the Army, they paid for all my college, all my books, all of everything and they still give me money every month because of what I went through. I got out just before 9-11. A lot of my buddies went to Iraq. Some of them are dead. I could have very, very easily gone to Iraq and experienced that because my enlisted time was up a year after 9-11. When 9-11 happened, they kept all those soldiers for years after their duty time was over. Now I make my living being an artist. I lucked out incredibly.

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