Apology/Explanation Speech: I want to apologize for the hate filled angry rant. I found it disgusting and frightening. I'm especially sorry for the children who heard it and were possibly damaged by it. It is too much to ask for forgiveness, I understand that. I only ask that you try to understand where these awful statements came from, and why they were made. In 1995 I was teaching ESL and while traveling to Guatemala during spring break I became sick. I had surgery to remove a tumor but didn't recover. I developed an autoimmune disease where my own body was attacking itself. My immune system was destroying the myelin sheath, the tissues that are the insulation for the nerves and the white matter of the brain. If you strip the insulation off of electrical wires they don't work so good. This was the same principle. For years I felt like something was eating away my central nervous system. In nature a wasp will lay it's eggs on the back of a caterpillar. When the eggs hatch, they eat the caterpillar alive, saving the brain and central nervous system for last. This description captures how I felt during my illness. At times it felt like I was being eaten alive. After five years of slow deterioration I reached a point where I thought I might die or become mentally destroyed. At this point I had been unable to sleep for six months. I would pass out for two hours, but never really rest. If a human being goes without REM sleep for 3-4 nights they can begin to exhibit symptoms of mental illness, like seeing and hearing things. Normal light and sound caused me intense pain. So I sat in the dark with my eyes rolled back in my head for months and took nearly a year to recover from the worst of it. Trying to watch TV or listen to music overwhelmed my ability to take it in and understand it. The images and words were coming at me too fast to be understood. My time sense broke down and while sitting in that chair it seemed that 15 minutes had passed and when I looked at my watch four hours had gone by. During this period I swung back and forth between suicidal depression and anger. Intense anger turned inward leads to suicide, anger turned outward leads to murder. I was saying things out loud like, “I wish I was dead” and “If you had any guts you would kill yourself”. I was saying these things spontaneously and it felt as if someone else were speaking, not me. I felt like I was going to die, or commit suicide to end my suffering. I was having a physical and emotional breakdown due to a neurological condition. A wasting away of my central nervous system. At the end of one angry rant while on the phone with a friend I came out of it as if in a dream state and asked him how long I had been speaking and what I had been saying. He told me I had been ranting for 30-40 minutes and said yes it was an angry, hate filled, diatribe. My friend of five years never called again. Eventually after much effort, a doctor gave me medication, 10 milligrams of Elavil, and I was gradually able to sleep again. My illness has put me through incredible suffering that I don’t even know how to describe. It lasted years and almost cost me my life. I rapidly lost over 60 lbs and weighed 120 lbs. My parents thought I was going to die and had me move back home to recover. I can only say that I don’t hate anyone.

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