I am a rhetoric scholar and a person with lived experience with schizophrenia. I am also a prosumer. My identity aside, the status of Disability studies and narratives, memoirs, and stories that aim to reclaim the writers lost authorial voice are in demand. These stories offer catharsis—Upon reflection, after writing this novella, I am still not sure how to feel about my chosen path to healing through writing. Except maybe to say, I am privileged that I have been given the opportunity to find catharsis and re tell my story in a genuine and authentic way without privileging the reader.
Others writers don’t have the same opportunity.
My story is shocking. My story is also very frank. I hold nothing back. My novella University on Watch is a vivid accounting of my struggle with the onset of my mental health disorder in college. The word anosognosia means that the afflicted person does not recognize or understand the nature of his illness. With this said, I was still privileged, and without the help and support I did receive this book might not have been written.
People sometimes experience anosognosia after strokes or brain injuries, and with diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s. In my case, the onset of my schizophrenia was observed and mishandled. This novella needs to signal attention and rethinking of how Anosognosia is understood and can impact the level and effectiveness of support someone gets when their symptoms first activate.
University on Watch tells the story of how this aspect of schizophrenia only further complicates people getting the help that need when they need it. In my case, I needed immediate support, connection to care and treatment, but due to my own symptoms believed otherwise.
The novella is personal and shares with you without hesitation how friends, professionals, and collaterals not only deferred my connection to care but also put my health at further jeopardy. I evaluate these moments with a clinical lens, and as a person first experiencing each of the progressively more complex, debilitating, and otherworldly symptoms led me on a mission to eventually both challenge and change the mental health system.
To truly expose and reveal what happened at New London University ten years ago I take on the pen name J. Peters.
Fighting a metaphysical war against language itself, with the help of my doctoral guard, University on Watch exposes what happens to students in college when they are struggling with a major mental health disorder. I hope my story signals the need for further re-evaluation of mental health services, access, and integration of people with psychiatric disabilities in major universities and higher education.