This essay has been re-published with the permission of the author.
The fine line between sanity and madness blurs as a jittery librarian in downtown Miami with body sores, unkempt hair, and tattered clothes gives fiery sidewalk lectures.
Onlookers who recognize the senior librarian shake their heads as they toss a dollar or a get-well note into a tip jar with the hashtag #litwithfire scrawled on it. As the 57-year-old hippie throwback from San Francisco rambles on about spiritual warfare, chem trails, and legalizing weed, a struggle between rational and irrational thought plays out on the public stage.
I am Theo Karantsalis, a longtime college library administrator who has suffered from serious mental illness since childhood, or for about 50 years. This includes multiple suicide attempts, drug addiction, and bizarre behavior resulting in police standoffs, countless trips to jail, dozens of lawsuits, restraining orders, and lots of psychiatric intervention.
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