Lost Chapter of UOW: Bombs over New England University

The next step in Contesting Admission seemed rather obvious to me. Pummel the English Department into submission. In the words of President George W. Bush, this will be “shock and awe”. The plan was to bombard the department with paperwork over all kinds. Inundating them with busy work to no end until the very machinery and inner workings of the department failed. This would be achieved with course petition slips, grievances, long rambling emails, hand written notes, and anything and everything I couldn’t find that required the department’s energy.

This energy was being depleted by the day, if not by the natural course of events of the semester, but my own doing. But what exactly was I doing? The disconnect from what I believed I was doing, and what was actually happening only grew by the day, and by semester’s end, a new reality was born in my eyes only.

“What did you do this time, Jacques?” Students would ask me as they passed me by the in the department corridor. I was almost certain they knew what I was doing. “Pufff!” I would say, gesturing with my hands as if a bomb was exploding in the department with only the gesticulations of my hands. But these students had no idea what I was talking about with my arbitrary noises and hand gestures. No idea whatsoever.

Everyday, I ramped up the bombing campaign. More notes! More emails! More everything! This was until my health worsened to the point in which my notes and emails were completely indecipherable. Unreadable. But by then the semester was almost at an end. And it seemed, through my eyes, that I had won.

Professor’s offices were shut or closed. Most the department was vacant, or vacated, I thought, by the dwindling presence of faculty in the department. Alas, this was due to the pending summer break, the university calendar, and not the metaphorical bombs over the English department at New London.

The Kindness Rocks Project

The Kindness Rocks Project, founded by Megan Murphy, is about discovering the beauty and profound possibilities of hope in acts of kindness, and has become a grassroots movement. Megan Murphy is the author of A Pebble For Your Thoughts and goes on to explain her work in her website: https://www.thekindnessrocksproject.com.

This entry in Mental Health Affairs honors the work of The Kindness Rocks Project and the work of Megan Murphy. A project with a heart warming story, no pun intended, inception began in the quiet torment of despair and unanswered questions needing resolution to move forward in peaceful healing, recovery or any plight surrounded by the toxic wake of negative emotions or energy. The Kindness Rocks Project deserves our attention because it puts gratitude ahead of illness, and love ahead of the chaos that could easily consume us all in the wake of negative energy in the world and our lives.

I first learned about The Kindness Rocks Project on Facebook. The project has a page which popped up on my newsfeed, as so many things do, when friends have similar interests. While not all all pages are worth looking at, this page is certainly worth your attention. That was when Megan Murphy did what she’s best, reaching out to me, forging yet another connection, and inspiring me to keep writing and speaking my message.

After speaking with Megan Murphy, I truly learned how The Kindness Rocks Project not only illustrates our feelings, making them accessible to the touch on rocks, but also creates a space where hope can continue not only persist, but grow in our hearts and minds when we so desperately need inspiration and encouragement. There is no question that this project inspires me, and everyone vested in its work.

Working with schools, hospitals, social welfare networks and charities, The Kindness Rocks Project, is accessible in the most critical environments where illness, doubt, and crisis intersect our lives. Intersection, and as the Kindness Rocks Project refers to it in their movement, as building connections. This project is simply about spreading a message of joy in the spaces where people least expect it. A simple message, but deeply profound, and one that resonates deeply with this writer.

In fact, the project’s message cuts to the very core of my beliefs in communication, giving and receiving empathy, and the importance of non-violent communication. Connecting across differences is what this whole thing is about, here at Mental Health Affairs, and everyone who reinforces and creates a new way of speaking so passionately about love where it is needed the most.

There is no healing without love. Either loving yourself, your body, and your mind, or loving your fellow person; love is what is needed to create a culture capable of supporting healing, respect for others and their needs, and understanding the needs of all people. I truly respect the Kindness Rocks Project, and all projects, which put compassion ahead of personal gain, and joy at the forefront of health and healing.

Who exactly is J. Peters?

Many people ask me, Max: Who is J. Peters?

For a long time now I felt strangely about using my given name, Max E. Guttman under publications. I’ve felt even more strongly about this concerning publications surrounding the events that unfolded at “New London” or to be more precise, Binghamton University. In a sense, deep down, I believe I died eleven years ago. Well, to be more specific, Max E. Guttman died eleven years ago. The book author, therapist, disability rights advocate, is not the same Max E. Guttman that his friends, family and everyone else in his life knew him to be as a student at Binghamton University.

J. Peters is more than just a pseudonym. J. Peters is an all altogether new person. J. Peters was born at the very moment Max E. Guttman died, and left his friends and family behind him. My understanding is extremely limited, given the nature of events that unfolded in the final hours in Binghamton in 2008. The only person that could possibly verify or contest this information, Dr. H, is in hiding, or rather, refuses to reveal her location to me or anyone else that solicited the information.

In May of 2008, riddled with tremors, hearing commanding voices, and completely delusional, Max E. Guttman walked outside of his new home, and at the will of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Administration (CIA), threw a rock threw his car window. Climbing inside the vehicle, now totally at the disposal of his voices, threw the same rock threw the passenger side window. After police arrived at the scene, Max took his last free steps in the community, pacing up and down Pine Street, and chanting “Register-Co-sign-Arrest” (J. Peters, University on Watch) to his imagined friends, under the auspices of a complex delusional system. This delusional system which had Max poised firmly between two polarities, juxtaposed in an extended metaphor coming to an abrupt end, would crescendo in the emergence of J. Peters and Max’s end, as he was handcuffed one last time in Binghamton, and taken to the hospital.

This was the last time anyone saw Max E. Guttman as they once knew him. For the man that arrived at Binghamton General Hospital wasn’t Max E. Guttman at all, he was J. Peters. Max E. Guttman disappeared unknowingly but not mysteriously that night. His whereabouts, unknown, and his fate, tragic. It is my understanding that Max was taken against his will to his worst nightmares, a vast rotating web of his most violent delusions now manifested in reality. This was the reality only Max E. Guttman knew, now, sardonically spawned by the very powers which destroyed him. A frightening new reality growing in his mind for last six months until his final arrest at Pine street. This was a reality that Max E. Guttman birthed through his so called schizophrenia. This reality, only a distant memory of J. Peters, and the story he came to tell years in University on Watch.

So, where is Max E. Guttman today? Dead, I hope. Because the reality he left behind was so dark and twisted that I certainly hope he isn’t living it. If he is still living it, in some military testing base, or secret government program laboratory, his body and mind must be so mutilated that I truly hope he is dead. None one can survive the horror, grief, and sadness that Max endured in his final hours, except for one man, J. Peters. J. Peters lives on to tell us about Max E. Guttman’s story. A narrative of tragedy and also of hope. But make no mistake about it, this man is not Max, he is Jacques Peters.

While J. Peters exists only in the literary realm, Max’s earthly body still remains in this world. His body, a cheap facsimile and shell of the former man. Only a ghost today, Max haunts us all, reminding us of his unexpected and unexplainable end in Binghamton. J. Peters was given to us, some say by the very spirit of Max, other say by nature’s love for irony. Regardless, J.Peters honors Max E Guttman as long as University on Watch persists in the history of rhetorical theory, putting “language on notice” (University on Watch, J Peters) from now until the end of time.

University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy

After University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy was first published, I felt extremely uneasy publicizing it. Oh, sure, I felt the book was well written, and captured the message I intended to pass on to the public. And yet, that feeling of uneasiness still lingered. The feeling was so intense I decided not to advertise the book. I only did one book signing, and this was with friends and family at a local library. After turning inward, and really getting underneath why this uneasiness continued to linger, I reread my book over and over again. While I turned the pages and reread it each time I began to “flood”. That’s right, I experienced retraumatization from reading my own book. Knowing I had to work through the content racing through my mind in order to truly complete this project I self examined the content racing through my mind.

To my surprise, the content was all new. Not new in the sense that it was unfamiliar to me. New in the sense that these were experiences buried deep down in my subconscious from the original trauma years ago I document in the book. These memories were the missing element, the aspect of the work that seemed unfinished. These were the missing chapters, characters, feelings and experiences I had left out of the original version of the book because I had not yet been in a space to process the trauma. For those readers that haven’t yet read University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy, the book is about my experience at New London University with first episode psychosis and the onset of my schizophrenia symptoms. The book was written over the course of ten years, and was self-published last March with Authorhouse. Despite my best efforts to keep quiet about the book, word got out, and it was reviewed by SARDAA (Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America) and in Psychreg Journal of Psychology and was given appraisal by everyone else that seemed to get their hands on the book.

Everyone seemed to be happy with University on Watch except myself, the author, J. Peters. So, when this flooding first occurred, and after realizing so much content was left absent from the book, I knew I had to republish another edition with Authorhouse. A few short months later, a preface, and over half a dozen new chapters interwoven into the very fabric of the text, with other sections revised and rewritten, the second edition was born. This new edition even gained the attention of new publishers. Recently, I signed a contract with Austin McCauley. This company will be republishing the book after going through the text and preparing it for sale to the general public over the course of this next year. Knowing all too well how important it is for readers to benefit from the story told in University on Watch as soon as possible, I decided to go ahead and make sure readers have continue to access to the new edition until it gets released next year with its new publisher. I couldn’t be more proud of the full length edition of University on Watch.

I also couldn’t be happier that such a transformative book is going through a transformation too. At this point, given the release of the new edition and the work in process at Austin McCauley, its time to begin talking about the book. We all need to talk about this book. The book which chronicles my life as an English major on a warpath against his department to reconfigure the very fabric of language itself, altering history and everything in his way to overturning his rejection from graduate school. This journey, which I refer to as “Contesting Admission”, also belongs in the classroom of English classes, mental health and wellness seminars, as well as on the syllabus of psychology courses. I have always believed in interdisciplinary studies and this book crosses multiple discourses around psychology, literature and the rhetoric of mental health.The book was designed to start a conversation on mental health, particularly in higher education, but also be a literary aide and guidepost for people experiencing schizophrenia and psychosis symptoms in their early adulthood.

I am the main character in the book, Jacques Peters. I am in my last semester of college at New London and my friends have almost all graduated. I am living in a house with two friends, one of whom also graduates early on the in the novel, leaving me with just one support when my symptoms first activate. Over the course of the book, “neither intervention nor my own will to fight on would help me in my effort to overcome the obstacles I faced as I tried to fight my way to continue my education and move on to higher learning” (University on Watch). Readers will benefit from a first hand account of my experience with first episode psychosis, and during the course of the book, have a front row viewing of its impact on my life in Liberty, New York. I truly hope this book clarifies more than just mental health issues. Instead, I hope this book brings greater meaning to all people, making their goals more recognizable and reaching each of them more possible.

The future of J. Peters and the next book

There is no mistaking it. The Revisionist, the third installment in the J. Peters series has run into excessive costly delays, and is now, fully stalled. This is not writers block. The story is simply unfinished. J. Peters life has not run its course yet, and the narrative around his recovery has not yet been completed in the natural world. Until then, future work will take a giant course correction. Some might call it a tectonic shift, others might say its the long overdue direction in Peters books.

Without further delay, I am here to reveal the next book in the J. Peters series: “Wales High School: First Diagnosis”. This book will shake the very foundation of young adult non fiction literature. This book will also get underneath the root of Small Fingernails, elaborating on the urgency of J. Peters mission to New London University and new life he sought to establish for himself after his heart-wrenching experience in Wales high school. Wales High School: First Diagnosis will follow the life of young J. Peters in his junior and senior years at Wales high school when the shadow of his mental health disorder first entered his young life and his primary education environment.

The reader will get a first hand look at Jacques attitude in the classroom in Wales High School. From English class, to Biology, Jacques Peters character will take on new life and meaning for readers interested in how this iconic character became the person who initiated Contesting Admission in University on Watch. Indeed, Jacques will contest admission to classes in this book, petitioning into honors level classes where he was restricted from due to poor performance as a result of his new mental health disorder and burgeoning social problem which will blossom into full blown stalking, warranting the attention of Wales police and the psychiatric hospital. Readers should be prepared for joy, hope, grief, and labored panic stricken horror as this book unfolds and is prepared for the public at large this fall.

This is the Ending I Always Wanted to Write for University on Watch

The dew on campus was moist with retribution. Or so it felt when Jacques Peters kneeled on on the grass and felt the wetness between his fingers. “It’s over, I’ve won” Jacques whispered to himself, as his eyes lay fixed on the bottom of the Bartle Library tower by the English department corridor. From a hundred miles away, by the location Jacques once said goodbye to Dorothea, Jacques watched the English department office from his pair of military style binoculars. From that distance, Jacques gazed at fleeing professors and faculty running from the building and getting into their cars, speeding off campus as fast as possible.

By the time he spotted some junior facility and visiting staff, adjuncts, and teaching assistants leave the campus, the sirens could be heard in the distance. That was when Peters began his proud strut towards the department office. Sirens blaring, and Federal agents, in coordination with local police, county, and state all began to pour into campus. It was dusk, but it could have been 12 noon. The scene was a flickering storm of emergency lights and personnel. As more and more police came on the scene, Jacques just pointed towards the department office, where all the vehicles began to assemble a staging point, for the liberation of the office of Rhetoric. The end of SIX MONTHS OF Contesting Admission.

Peters tore off his jacket sleeves, leaving on just his vest, with insignia marking his status in the operation at hand. Jacques Peters lead the charge, if it wasn’t apparent enough in the full quasi military outfit he had assembled, affixed with lightening bolts and “PhD” sewn into the very lining of the vest he wore for this day: final victory. It was a very different situation in the department office, where Dr. B and Dr. Harris stood over a large conference table covered with a map of the English department and small plastic figurines representative of staff still loyal to the department, and those loyal to J. Peters. The map was overwhelmingly clear as day when it came to the escalating critical situation on campus.

“It’s over, we’re finished” Dr. B said while sobbing, and looking down at the map in a state of suspended disbelief. “Fucking, Jacques Peters!” Dr. Harris screamed in style congruent with Mexican actor Ricardo Montalbán in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. That was when Dr. Harris moved her bookcase to the left a few inches to reveal a secret safe behind it. She entered the numbers “12-13-17” the date of Peters rejection letter to the Graduate School in English. The safe popped open. Inside, was just one unfinished manuscript titled with the words: “Meta-Power”. She took out the manuscript from the safe, and began making her way down the long department office corridor to the paper shredder in the bowels of the office, right next to Dr. B’s office, where Jacques was humiliated when Contesting Admission first began.

Now the sirens were louder than ever, and you could see federal agents outside the doors of the barricaded department office. “BANG!” The door jostled a bit as police rammed the door once. “BANG!” twice. “BANG!” The doors flew open. The federal Marshalls lead the charge through the office. “Everybody, hands up!” Full time faculty and a few associate professors still loyal to Dr. B and Dr. Harris put their hands up. Others, research and distinguished staff, now, forever tarnished in the annals of academe, took their lives silently and cowardly, each biting down on a capsule of poison provided to them by Dr. Harris and B for this very occasion.

“No!” Everyone could hear Dr. Harris scream as agents cuffed her, dragging her out of the department office in handcuffs, similar to Jacques Peters a few months prior. “What’s this?” Marshalls asked Dr. Harris moments before she tried to dispose of the plans and documents in her manuscript Meta-Power, the very agent of language designed to destroy J. Peters forever in academia. Peters could only smile, and breath deeply, as he saw the papers for himself for the first time, putting to rest a semester of paranoia and fear around what was finally discovered to be a massive conspiracy against him at New London University. The mystery, now fully revealed, was nothing more than an unpublished set of papers that would be read before the Council on Rhetoric Liberation months later by Dr. Harris and Dr. B themselves in front of the court, for CRIMES AGAINST THE ACADEMY, where Contesting Admission was finally reconciled and J. Peters would be remembered for as a hero in academe.

The J Peters Reality Tour🤷‍♂️

I’ve been getting a lot of questions, and I mean a lot, about the status of the J Peters reality tour. Let’s talk about it here and put to rest any outstanding rumors surrounding this historic event.

The J Peters reality tour can best be described as a hydra of increasingly concerning and poorly organized activities of daily living in the northeast quarter of Yonkers.

The tour begins sharply at 9 am preferably “9:30ish” outside the steps of Peters apartment building in Yonkers. Passengers will collect in the building lobby, where people will have an opportunity to listen to a short history of Mr. Peters many experiences residing at 411 BronxRiver road.

The history will be curated by Salvatore, the Buiding’s superintendent, who has a rich and robust knowledge of Mr Peters habits in the building. While Salvatore lectures to the forming crowd, Mr Peters will complete his transformation from Max Guttman to Mr. Jacques Peters.

Upon completion of the transformation, Mr Peters will greet the crowd and take over the show from Salvatore who will end his lecture with a slideshow replete with images from when Mr Peters dumped a bucket of feces down the incinerator chute.

Mr. Peters will answer lingering questions from Sal’s building history and then ticketed event guests will embark on a minivan voyage through greater westchester. The grand tour will make a sharp departure from 411 BronxRiver road and make its way to its first stop: McDonald’s across the street from Mr Peters building. There, passengers will have the pleasure of ordering their very own a la Carte snacks for the trip.

The bus continues to HDSW, Human Development Services of Westchester, where Mr Peters has weekly non scheduled meetings with Care Management staff and management. Passengers are encouraged to take pictures as Mr Peters demands better services from the agency, and with a haughty snare and privileged grace, accusing the agency of theft, neglect, and crimes against humanity. Mr. Peters will hold nothing back as he raises his voice just enough to be intimidating, but not enough to warrant attention from agency staff, staying just in between what’s acceptable and what’s performance for the benefit of the tour. After making a dramatic exit, and reminding the agency he will return next week to harass the staff further, the tour will depart for its next stop: Mr. Peters childhood home in Hartsdale.

Passengers will disembark the bus to watch Mr Peters urinate on the side of his parents house because “I just couldn’t make it to bathroom, mom” and the “neighbors don’t care and can’t see me, Jesus!”. Passengers are welcome in Mr Peters home. There, Mr Peters will request his mother cook him something and will subsequently make his way to a restricted area area of the house where Mr. Peters will take a short nap, have a cigarette, and perform cleansing rituals to maintain a healthy seeming bravado and socially acceptable level of cleanliness for the remainder of the trip. Passengers are encouraged to wander the grounds of Mr Peters childhood home at their own risk. Upon Mr Peters awakening, tour members will be redirected to the bus, where the tour will continue.

The bus will head to Phelps Hospital where passengers will wait in the Emergency Room Parking Lot for Mr Peters to get his monthly (Intramuscular injection-IM) .

Passengers are encouraged to write down their observations of Mr. Peters behavior before, and after he gets his mental health medication. Mr Peters will end the narrated portion of the tour by answering and responding to the guest observations of his behavior; and addressing each concern about his behavior throughout duration of the days tour.

The mini bus will ultimately circle back to Mr Peters apartment building where Jacques will urinate brazenly by its dumpster because: “the gravity in the elevator plays games with my bladder” and “I just can’t wait”… Tips are encouraged before the bus stops, so Mr. Peters doesn’t have to shake the hands of guests with dirty hands.

Tickets available on Eventbrite beginning next week🆘

The Revisionist✍️: Rise of the Prosumer (Chapters 1&2)

By J. Peters

Preface

The Revisionist describes events I experienced beginning in 2008, the year that I graduated from college at New England University. However, the actual writing began shortly after the completion of Small Fingernails Even Less Love, which chronicles the impact of my mental health condition on events leading up to my last semester at college. The Revisionist characterizes the legacy of my mental health disorder after returning home to Welsh County. In doing so, I evaluate both the long- and short-term impact of my mental health issues on various domains of life upon discharge from a state-level psychiatric hospital. Documenting the course of ten years of lived experience with schizophrenia, The Revisionist utilizes a broad brush to paint the life of a person suffering from chronic illness to the reader. Beginning with the last chapter of University on Watch, “New Vistas,” I utilize primary documents (e.g. emails from my Gmail account and academic articles I wrote and that were published in the Journal of Psychology) to highlight the personal and professional implications having a mental health disorder has had on my life as a social worker and a person in recovery. This book is truly a hydra of first-person narration, robust characterization, primary electronic documents from this period in my life, and articles endorsing my recovery. Building upon the premise that it is an unfair assumption that recovery, being cured and healing are one and the same, The Revisionist, similar to Small Fingernails, is a contestation of the modern narrative suggesting that complete recovery can happen for everyone. The Revisionist will also hopefully lessen the number of people falling out of treatment, relapsing, or succumbing to reactivating mental health symptoms due to not knowing how to put the right supports in place. Without the right support, and without being armed with the right information and facts, people might spiral out of control similar to me and so many others in life. This is seen visibly in The Revisionist. In addition to being a clinical companion to Small Fingernails and University on Watch, The Revisionist also concludes the trilogy of Jacques Peters, a person with a mental health diagnosis, and an individual in acute psychiatric crisis who ultimately becomes a social worker and mental health advocate. The reader should be aware that all names, locations, and identifying information have been redacted to protect the privacy of those involved in this very real and authentic story of my time recovering from years of ongoing psychiatric distress and a new mental health disorder stemming from the ravages of first-episode psychosis.

Introduction

Far too many stories and firsthand accounts of recovery are terminal and end with a cure or picturesque life for the consumer of services or “sick” person. This recovery narrative is different. This is a story about struggle, ongoing collateral pushback from friends, and internalized self-doubt. Chronic illness, either rooted in psychiatric or medical symptoms, can be a lifelong road with many critical junctures for risk of relapse, suffering, and systemic issues with access to treatment. I hope my story sheds light on not only the aspects of healing that serve as hope to readers but also the plight of the consumer riddled with making ongoing difficult life choices due to the severe chronicity of their symptoms. After finally returning home from college, after my discharge from the state hospital center in upstate New York, I began my long journey. This is a journey of heartache, despair, and all the negative emotions conjured by a chronic mental health disorder. Knowing full well that without applying the right measures and putting a plan in place I would be at risk of further issues, I applied the learning lessons of my past to my situation today. This is that story. After graduating and eventually becoming a social worker and disability rights advocate, I learned how to live with my symptoms (and, simultaneously, despite them). I am Jacques Peters, and I will explain to those reading Small Fingernails and University on Watch that chronic means just that. Ongoing, and a continuum of symptoms that will wax and wane as our life stories unfolds. These symptoms will impact the very fabric and quality of my life. My story is not unique, but it is largely untold—it is taboo for people in recovery to admit that when there is no cure, the only thing left to do is never stop fighting for life. As this book unfolds, the result of not stopping fighting, to never giving up, will become obvious to the reader and a warning to everyone with a longstanding and chronic illness to stay in treatment and never resign or surrender. The implications of doing will hopefully warn the reader in vivid terms to keep close to healing, even if a full cure is impossible.

First Steps and Setbacks

The weather and temperature were perfect outside. It was summer, and I had been in inpatient since spring. Everything was right about the world it seemed on the day of my discharge except for how I was feeling and the state of mind I was in after being released from Freedomtown State Psychiatric Center. The first moments out in the “free” world, outside the gates of the hospital, I still remember not feeling as liberated as I’d imagined I would. Instead, I felt strange and awkward in my own mind and body. As time passed, strange and awkward would become an understatement. I really didn’t know how to feel after being in the hospital for so long. I had an even more difficult time re-engaging with my friends. The last people from our little clique I spoke with were Jonas and Kim and that was in the hospital. Vito, Mcdaggot, and the rest, I hadn’t seen face-to-face since we were all together in Freedomtown almost a year ago. Given the rawness of everything that had transpired, the first summer was the worst. “Fuck you, faggot!” Spitting at me, Kim stared me down. Kim was the last-standing roommate from our group I lived with when everyone else had graduated. He kicked me out of our apartment due to the impact of my symptoms on my behavior and quite frankly, out of fear I might hurt and poison him. Like I said, this was my first summer out of the hospital. I’d never seen Kim behave this way. At the very least, I didn’t remember him behaving like this, even when he rejected me out of our apartment in Freedomtown. I didn’t know how to respond to this sort of display. “Pardon?” was all I could really say to him. I mean, what do you say when someone spits in your face? Most of my friends just watched Kim perform his little stunt in Vito’s backyard in silence. I suspect they were just as shocked as I was to see him act this way. Vito was my white knight. Unfortunately, when I got very sick in Freedomtown, he had already graduated. I suspect my circumstances would have been different if he had still been enrolled in classes at the University and we were living together. Back on Long Island, in the town of Northvalle, Vito’s parents’ backyard was large and could support a large gathering of friends and family. There were about ten of us there from New England. I spent most of the time at Vito’s party after being discharged from the hospital talking to him inside. “So, you feeling better buddy?” Vito would ask, when the conversation died down a bit or I couldn’t think of what to say. “They have me on a lot of medication,” I kept repeating. I did this to signal how bad the situation was for me, and because I couldn’t figure out what to say or even how to say it. I was suffering from the residual loss of language. I wasn’t the debate team captain or rhetoric scholar I was a year prior. I was tired, on half a dozen medications, and needing support. Even though I wasn’t feeling well in the early days, little socialization efforts and small parties were extremely healthy for me. I usually felt a little better, no matter how bad off I was, after spending time with friends. This posed several complex issues. Firstly, I had lost a number of close friends and acquaintances due to my behavior at New England during that final faithful semester when my schizophrenia symptoms activated. The behaviors I am referring, by in large, were the untoward psychological and sexual advances I made towards Cynthia, Patrick’s girlfriend. Kim was still upset with me, too, for my behavior in the apartment before he ultimately kicked me out, and I suspect from what he was hearing from Patrick about Cynthia and myself. I wanted to put all this in the past, and move on. To accomplish this, and begin resolving the conflict between myself and my college friends, I put several plans in motion. Each plan, and the strategy behind them would take on several phases throughout my recovery. The initial phase, when I was totally isolated and abandoned, I would bow to Patrick and Cynthia’s demands and accept full responsibility for my behavior when I was symptomatic. However, as time unfolded and my recovery continued, this wholesale acceptance of my wrongdoing during the tenure of my illness would replaced and revised. Overtime, as I understood my symptoms, I would take less and less ownership over periods of time when negative behaviors outpaced prosocial attitudes and interactions. Meaning, when symptoms clearly rooted in illness became more pronounced to friends, I learned, overtime, not to feel guilty, or upset with myself if my collaterals became irritated or would respond without compassion. This is the point of departure of my repression. Where years of undealt with feelings of loss and abandonment began to accumulate. Beginning with my ex girlfriend, to the English department, and Cynthia, Patrick, and Kim, loss and feelings of abandonment would trigger further episodes. These episodes would complicate my recovery, making the ten year journey ahead a layered sea of emotion. Some of these emotions were healthy, others, would be the basis of maladaptive coping skills and very damaging. Eventually the tide would come in, making everything visible to everyone in my social world. These are the vulnerable moments due to the extreme nature and visibility of my symptoms to others. In recovery, the prosumer must come to terms with this naked feeling and overtly visible aspect to healing. Visibility to everyone, including providers, family, friends, is product and legacy of the prosumer. Yet another issue was, due to my residual symptoms, it was hard to work up the energy to spend time with friends, let alone go out into the world and make new ones. This was the biggest dilemma of all. I had given my friends so much grief, and now all I had left was them to lean on. This issue would be the biggest hurdle during my recovery—re-forging relationships that had broken during my episode. Indeed, during the early phases of my “recovery,” I experienced breakthrough symptoms regularly. While this phenomenon usually occurs when a condition goes untreated for a long time without medication or psychotherapy, breakthrough symptoms also occur when a person is extremely traumatized and to new circumstances around living with their diagnosis, e.g. work, living space, or interpersonal conflict. This was the biggest hurdle early on for after returning home to Welsh County. When these symptoms manifest, it can be a devastating blow to morale and hope of recovery. Imagine doing everything at your disposal to heal, but continuing to experience intrusive and paralyzing symptoms. Breakthrough symptoms can start as early as before your discharge from the hospital, from the first onset of your disorder to months or years down the line. They can also start when a new trauma or negative element comes into your worldview. My therapist would teach me how to handle these occurrences. My friends simply did not understand these bizarre symptoms. For most of my friends, these breakthrough symptoms seemed like monthly setbacks. Unpredictable bouts where I experienced temporary loss of insight and judgment. With this said, it became difficult to win the trust and respect of old friends who were growing tired of repeated problems, and the same mistakes, over and over again. In these early days after discharge from the state hospital, there were very few people who believed that I would have a full recovery and even fewer that stood by my side in the distant wake of first episode psychosis.

Fear of Relapsing

The devastation of my “break” in Freedomtown signaled to me that I needed help, and lots of it, if I was going to manage my new diagnosis of schizophrenia. To be quite honest, while I was unstable emotionally in high school, I never believed I needed medication or counseling. I didn’t think I was sick or had a diagnosis. I attributed both episodes in high school to adolescence and my environment. Looking back, while both were contributing factors that exacerbated my symptoms, I still had an underlying condition that required management. After discharge from Freedomtown State Psychiatric Center, I wasn’t taking any more chances with my mental health or leaving anything to the hands of fate. Given the seriousness of my condition, and what was explained to me in the hospital when I regained enough clarity to understand what was being suggested about my new diagnosis, I knew the road ahead would be precarious. I needed to be more careful about my health than ever before in my short life as a young adult. As far as I was concerned, there would be no more relapsing. Sure, I knew I couldn’t control my illness. But I also knew that I could do everything in my will possible to not let it control my life, to do what I could to manage it. The word diagnosis was not foreign to me as a twenty-one-year-old. However, its meaning, for me, and in clinical practice, would become a journey of understanding myself better. In August 2008, I was both paralyzed by residual symptoms and in almost constant fear of relapsing. Whether you have a chronic, longstanding condition or are suffering from a new diagnosis, the fear of symptoms re-activating, or worsening, is a real problem. Most of us ask ourselves every day: 1) Will I always be like this?, 2) What if this happens again?, or even, 3) How do I know I am truly recovered? These are all totally normal questions to ask and wonder about—it’s normal to feel scared of our worst fears becoming a reality. The truth is people are in just about complete control over our own mental health. Despite what some people believe, our mental health is in our own hands. I suspect this is why my friend Mcdaggot reminds me that I need to take accountability at all times, regardless of my illness. I am not sure Mcdaggot truly understands the implications of his statement. To suggest I don’t take enough accountability in my behavior is a loaded statement, because it is far too unspecific and implies different things with multiple meanings. Mcdaggot of course is referring our little social circle. I had flirted with, and made sexual advances with my good friend Patrick’s girlfriend. I fully believed she was my wife, or so, the voices advised me as such during the short period prior to my hospitalization when my symptoms were in full bloom. I had also thrown a chair at my roommate’s Kim’s wall, and dragged my bodily waste across the floor of the apartment we lived in together. Mcdaggot wanted me to see my part in all of the madness my illness created the previous year when I was in crisis. I truly think we need to break all this down further. In fact, let’s make it simple and just get to the root of it. What should I “own” and what I should chalk up to “illness”? This is the question and task of the revisionist. The prosumer must differentiate, at all times, the environmental, biological, genetic and parental contributing factors to how we feel and what we think before and after our recovery. But are these markers the only indicators that speak to how we measure our own health and righteousness? The answer is, probably not. In fact, these contributing factors are just that. So, in the event your life circumstances are particularly limited and you feel restricted in your capacity to maintain good mental health, think again.For the most part, the capacity for people to maintain their mental health, recognize new symptoms when they activate, and work on eliminating the impact of extraneous factors that can contribute to limited or poor mental health, is truly in our hands. Self-determination, our drive and the very mobility needed to work on ourselves and harbor enough self-awareness to realize our own strengths (as well as limitations) comes from within. Sure, some of us are put in impossible situations, born into poverty, victimized, abused and maltreated, but even in these circumstances, there are those who rediscover resilience, and who make it, despite the seemingly disparate nature of their problems. So, why did I fear relapsing so much during those early moments in my path to healing? The answer: Regardless of the successes I already experienced with regaining control over my health again, and the positive aspects of enacting certain behaviors that served me well, I couldn’t see the bigger picture just yet. For people in recovery, the road ahead can seem long, especially with seemingly chronic diagnoses, and often, people with a diagnosis believe that persisting over the long haul (or in some cases, lifetime) is impossible. The rest of our lives, for many of us, is too hard to wrap our minds around. This is true especially for young and even middle-aged people. Simply put, a lifetime seems like a lot of work, like too much of an effort to sustain. This is why I made mistakes in the early days of my recovery. I would spend the tenure of my recovery thinking more in the long term, planning ahead, and not dwelling on day to day crisis management. To do so, would take time and healing. In the meantime, I still had to live, and be okay with making mistakes, even if my friends from college weren’t accepting of my new limitations. The fact of the matter is, maintaining good health, especially our mental health, will only make living easier in the long term, creating and allowing for more solutions during difficult situations and making everything more manageable. Aside from remembering this totally reasonable explanation for why people lose sight of their recovery plan, people continue to rationalize stopping or discontinuing behaviors that promote healthier decision-making. They stop putting into action self-management techniques consistently during their everyday routines, and self-care measures during the tenure of their illness. This can be due to several reasons. Sometimes we deem ourselves cured. Other times, we encounter a seemingly insurmountable situation created by our negative behaviors as a result of playing out symptoms of a disorder. The treatment of my new disorder would require a great therapist. The task ahead was getting underneath the trauma but also capitalizing on my strengths to drive treatment forward to out pace my symptoms. Whatever the reason, there are many, almost infinite self-rationalizations we can manifest to discontinue our self-care practices. My blessing and strength was I always harbored a never give up, fight to the bitter end attitude. In a revision of this old pattern of behavior, I would need to learn how to make sure never giving up didn’t mean repeat errors or take things into an extreme place similar to my crisis in college. Avoiding catastrophe, also means eliminating negative self-messages, which become future cognitive distortions, seemingly real and true, but at the root, they are untruths and outright lies that our minds manifest. They are maladaptive, unhelpful, and at times frightening. If we follow these negative thoughts to their horrific conclusion, they are disturbing to most of us experiencing them. Self-CBT, disputing and challenging these rationalizations every day (and when they first occur), will go a long way in terms of sustaining our positive behaviors, and persisting toward our goals for ourselves and for good mental health. In this vein, paranoia, fear, self doubt, self loathing, and self criticism would become revised through years of learning how to do all this in therapy.

To purchase Univeristy on Watch and Small Fingernails click on the hyperlink text.

Decriminalizing Mental Illness👿

This article was originally published in NAMI’s the Advocate Spring 2019

The Revisionist: rise of the prosumer, axioms, and future directions in Mental Health Affairs

When I first began writing about mental health, and topics concerning my own experience with schizophrenia, I was a bit naive. I thought since I lived through “this”, meaning, the various incidents, challenges, and pitfalls of my disorder people who struggled with similar hazards in their life could relate to my writing. I wrote, and wrote, and hoped, that something would resonate. Today, just in a review of what I already said, I know, given what I learned about the system, the peer movement, prosumer culture, and the world at large, I needed to be more carful with my language. Today, with politicians throwing langauge around like hot cakes on a grill for consumption by an ignorant public, I have a duty and obligation in my writing to be extra vigilant. But where is the line drawn between being hypersentive and critical, and the message becoming lost in translation to the general public.

I can hear my editor talking right now: “Well, Mr. Peters, rememberer your audience!”. This is where the problem comes into play. My audience is everyone that can benefit. In most cases, I’ve learned from being a prosumer, most of the people out there in the world could benefit from gaining more awareness and a deeper insight into their own personal mental health. So, given I’d like to stand at the world stage, and use the internet as my rostrum, how do I find the perfect formula for reaching such a mass audience? How can I speak to a divided movement, and a world even more divided about issues concerning mental health? I would hazard to say it all harkens back to language. Finding alignment language, connective tissue within and around my message to target a larger, broader audience. There will always be critics and criticism, but hopefully, the world now is fully aware of my intentions.

My intentions were always to rise above academe and the highly refined and distilled, often reductive papers I circulated in the academy. Sure, there are papers out there written by academics that aren’t purely techncial, but I also found the converse to be as difficult to navigate as a reader. The overly metaphor laden poetic discourse that is so open to interpretation, that people dont know what to do or are so puzzled as how to proceed in a psychiatric emergency or mental health crisis that the intended message of the author is lost and rendered moot. There is very little in between in academia, and this is a bigger problem, not just for academics, for but students that could benefit from a well rounded professor and scholarly approach to learning about and talking about mental health. This why the prosumer again must continue to infiltrate the academy and higher education to rebalance the conversation in the classroom for the next generation of social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists (anyone in the human services) or impacting mental health treatment and consumption.

I gesture to the prosumer to rebalance the writing and generally discourse of mental health because this is the agent of change that understands both sides of the coin. We now see a number of students, professionals, and prosumers out there revealing their lived experience. These are the people that are reshaping the mental health system and need our support. We must rally behind the prosumer. Living in two worlds, and bridging the gaps in treatment and ultimately, the entire discourse of mental health takes courage. The prosumer is up against the unknown. In my own experience, I have heard from collegues, supervisors, and others along my journey that “we didnt know how to behave around you or what to do in case of x, y or z given your lived experience”. These sentiments became all too familar, and sadly, recurrences during my career. Being a professional without disclosing your history has its convinces, and avoids conversations the prosumer is not afraid to venture into given his or her added insight and awareness. However, this requires special supervision, and must certainly oversight from a supervisor who also understands the burden and draw on the prosumer to deliver such rich, person centered, and close to home therapy or peer support outside the medicalized norm and yesterdays standard of care.

To harken back to what I was saying in the beginning about langauge. That mouthful where I used the world “diagnosis”, and “pitfalls” to talk about my experience with schizoprenia. I will make as many revisions, recalibrations and if need be, tectonic shfits in my writing to capture a larger audience pool and bridge the gaps I talked about earlier. My hope was and still is that even more people will benefit from what I experienced as a prosumer. The experience, no matter how many revisions, and beautiful words I use to characterize my journey with a mental health problem, was just that. A giant problem, for me, at least. I experienced heartache, grief, hallucinations, and the chaos of my mismanaged altered state on my personal and academic life as a student.

I think all too often people forget that those living with a mental health disorder, diagnosis, or issue with their health are unique and singular in the expression and needs as individuals, and people ingratiated into a large system of care. We all require different forms of treatment, support, and often help. This is why I will never understand why there are so many niches and cliques out there championing mental health reform yet disabling the voices of people with different sets of needs, opinions, and ideas on how to advance the discourse further. Our voices are diverse and should be diverse. Our voices should reflect our needs as professionals and consumers.

Only when are needs are truly articulated will professionals, and peers alike, reform the system progressively. It is up to all of us, to be clear about our needs, and throw our support to ongoing research to drive the discourse of mental health for of all people needing understanding forward. This is why I beleive, and still do, in bridging the gaps not only in academia, but among the prosumer, peer, and professional community of all people interested in improving the mental health system, with or without a diagnosis, requiring medication or just a supportive friend.

We all can benefit from advancement in the way the system handles plurality. Our voices must be as diverse as possible, instead focused on the agents which limit and marginalize us further away from our goals and dreams of tomorrow.

Interview with J. Peters: Small Fingernails Even Less Love

Interviewer: I am here with J. Peters, author of University on Watch and Small Fingernails. Mr. Peters, can you say something about the difference between these two books?

J. Peters: These two books couldnt be more different, and yet, in the end, they are the same book.

Interviewer: Can you say more about that?

J. Peters: No.

Interviewer: Well played, Mr. Peters. How has the reception been so far for these two books?

J. Peters: University on Watch seems to be getting more exposure in literary circles. The book is sparking discussion, and has truly had an impact on the mental health community. I cant say the same for Small Fingernails. I’m not shocked, given the target audience was a small clique of people I knew personally from eleven years ago

Interviewer: Pardon? A clique? Eleven years, Mr. Peters?

J. Peters: A very small clique. My friends from college. At New London University. These are the people I characterize in the book. The book is about my experience interacting with these kids, about six or seven of them. Some of these people were given more airtime than others. The people I really thought weren’t even worth talking about, I didnt. Others, that I spent more time with, got some air time, and others, who I liked, were given praises in the book. You’ll know who I dont like, and my favorites, quickly, when reading Small Fingernails.

Interviewer: You wrote a book about these people? Why Mr. Peters?

J. Peters: Vengence. This is my V-book, or “Vengence Book”. Small Fingernails is very much a hydra of spite, retribution, and unresolved anger towards people in college I never felt had the last word. With Small Fingernails, I do. This was all catharisis. Every page, another excuse to attack, reposition myself over these people, and do it publicly. As far as I am concerned, the world can judge them like so many of them judged me years ago.

Interviewer: Did you achieve your goal? Do you feel a sense of justice?

J. Peters: I feel great.

Interviewer: I had asked you, Mr. Peters, if you achieved your goal and about justice? Instead, your answered with how you felt. Was that what was important here? is that the real reason you wrote Small Fingernails?

J. Peters: My feelings aside, this book’s first goal was the hurt the feelings of those who hurt me so much. I wanted the audience, my readers, to laugh in the faces of so many of the characters in the book. The second goal, to rid myself of all guilt associated with the psychological and physical abuse I inflicted upon my ex girlfriend. Next, I wanted to let go of all personal grief I experienced years ago from inflicted the aforementioned harm. The final goal, in the process of doing all that, ruin as many lives as possible or at the very least, the life and marriage of my ex girlfriend. If this book doesn’t plant the seed of doubt in her marriage, the image of my seed in the book will do just that.

Interviewer: Mr. Peters, why?

J. Peters: Because I can. Small Fingernails was just an exercise in the politics of friendship in the wake of unrequited love. The challenge wasn’t writing the book. The challenge was living out its pages years ago and living to write about it years later. I survived Small Fingernails only to put New London University on Watch weeks later. What will be your fate and reaction to Small Fingernails?

Interviewer: This was J. Peters, author of Small Fingernails: Even Less Love. Thank you, Jacques, for this opporunity. I encourage you all to go out and read the book today.

Mentally Ill in the Catskills of New York😇

I have traveled all over the world. Before, after, and during my most psychotic episodes, I have been privileged in the realm of touring, travel and seeing the world at large. After I attempted suicide in high school, my parents took me on a Caribbean cruise on a premier passenger line. After my break in college, not one year after my discharge from a state hospital center, I traveled with my mom on a tour of Italy and another cruise across the Mediterranean to the very gates of the Middle East.

I am touching on my privilege to show off. I am talking about my privldige because so many of us with a mental health disorder feel their dreams and hopes of experiencing pleasure in life has been eclipsed. Many people with schizoprenia and those whom have experienced first episode psychosis in their early adulthood have had their 20’s robbed from them. Instead of socializing, cultivating social contacts, and accumulating wealth, many of these folks without means spent their young adulthood in an adult home, without means, and living off a goverment check from week to week. This was not my experience.

Instead, my recovery from first episode psychosis looked much, much different. A sharp deapture from living off a goverment check and hoping anyone, a friend, or worker would offer me a helping hand in my darkest dispair. No, after discharge from greater Binghamton state hospital center, I was placed in my parents care. Living in my family’s home in middle class America, back amongst my peers again, my convelesence was expedited, hastened, and much more tolerable than most people who’ve been discharged from a state hospital center.

When I later returned to graduate school, yet another privlidge many folks dont have the opporuntiy to do, or have enough support to be succesful enough to graduate, I knew I wanted to understand the lives of people less affluent, and connected to fewer oganic supports than myself. Consider it a study in resilence, or more accurately, a dose of reality in the lives of my peers, I wanted to learn how these folks keep going, and moving forward with their recovery with less, and be just as succesful as I was in my health and helaing. This is why when my Supported housing program, Search for Change, which subsidizes my apartment announced their yearly respite trip to the Catksills, I wanted to to join the rest of the participants in their vacation.

This vacation is something earned by the parcipants of Search for Change. Most of the participants, after discharge from long term units in the hospital, first live in a group home. After years of evidencing “stable functioning” to their treatment teams, they graduate to apartment treatment or the highest tier in the mental health housing system, supported housing. Like I said, this trip, and the privlidge of attending is a badge of honor, recovery, and insight into one’s illness. I didnt move through the system, though. My Medal of Honor was one of self-knowledge, and very much personal, if not distant and totally foreign to the system and its gaze.

I was a world travler before and after my disorder. So, why did privlidged me want to vacation with Westchester county’s most independent AND also most chronic people living in mental health housing? The truth is, I have never been better for it. Not because I learned about mental illness, or what its like to live with a chronic illness and recovery. I knew all of that as a mental health therapist and as a person with lived experience. Instead, I learned something more special. That decade I once felt was robbed from me, my twenties, in the words of the Apollo 13 Mission Control Director, was indeed my “finest hour” and ten years living albiet with a chronic disbaling disorder.

Evidenced in resileince, perseverence, and achievement, my illness may have hindered my plans intially, but I am more succesful, stable, and happy than most people on god’s green earth. That’s right, my adherence to my goals never wavered and continues to inspire not only people living with a mental helath disorder, but everyone around me who privlidges strength over disorder, and victory in the face of looming tragedy or misfortune. So, how did I learn all of this in the Catskills? The answer is profoundly simple in the wake of such complex issues.

People’s dreams, and wants, for themselves and their futures are much more similar to one another than we may beleive in a world brilliant diversity. We all want to be happy, healthy, and experience personal success and connection with ourselves and others. This trip and its pariticpants taught me whether I am cruising in the Mediterranean or just traveling with my program peers a hundred miles from home. Joy comes in all forms, and feels transcendent wherever I experience life, with or without a mental illness.

The Prosumer Technocrat🔢🔀

I’m am very much public about my status as a prosumer in the mental health community. I’ve outed myself time and again. People ask me about my book series all the time, which is also very much congruent with my prosumer identity: “Max, what is so different about your books/memoirs than any other person with schizophrenia that wrote about his or her recovery?” The difference isn’t just marginal, is a giant leap in the world of mental health affairs, too borrow the language of Neil Armstrong in an ironic summation of what is means to be the first or different. To get right down to it, every, and I mean every memoir that has any lasting traction or is deemed valuable in the mental health community is overly technical and very hard to read for the average consumer, and even prosumer of mental health treatment.

Too be honest, most of these memoirs are so technical I can hardly read them. I am a licensed clinical social worker and I’ve been hospitalized at the state hospital level. I also don’t have a clue what some of these memoirs are saying. Even their write ups, and reviews, are so technical that I don’t know what I am reading either. This is a huge problem on many levels. To begin with, I would hazard to saying most people going through a psychotic episode aren’t going to be able to read or understand what they are reading. This whole point of these memoirs is for the reader to gain insight into his or her illness or for the public to be more aware of mental health issues. Well, given these memoirs are so difficult to understand because of their highly, and I mean, overly technical style of writing, who is really benefiting from these books? The truth is very few people, except for the author, who has the privilege of appearing “smart, recovered, and insightful”. But the insights, the very benefits of reading these books, are small, and the audience pool truly gaining from reading them even smaller.

This hurts me. This hurts me as a prosumer. This also hurts the mental health community and the world at large who needs to understand mental health issues a lot more than picking up on some esoteric jargon and buzzwords. I’ll explain just why, right now: stigma. The reason I suspect the rise of the prosumer technocrat is gaining authority in the mental health community is the very reason I choose to be different when I wrote University on Watch. These technocrats are reinforcing the very stigma that is compelling them to write such esoteric narrow focused drivel. This is because we people with lived experience know what is feels like to not have a voice, to be disempowered, to be written off as crazy. Sure, I get it, the prosumer doesn’t want to their book to also written off as the writings of a crazy person. So, to overcompensate in a very, very, poor choice in judgment, the prosumer thickens his discourse until it is so dense, with over-meaning, and undervalue, that nobody benefits from picking up the book. If this trend continues it will be the death of the prosumer’s value to the mental health community, and a very sorry end for folks that have been through all of it, come a very long way, and given back nothing.

Like I said, I had a choice when I wrote University on Watch. Tell people what happened in a very medicalized, overspecialized didactic style of writing or let people gain the truth of what is really like having a mental health disorder from reading a story, a narrative accounting with metaphor, similes, down to earth rhetoric in a compelling easy to read book. My book isn’t just a story, either. The story, the narrative, is congruent with the mental health condition and symptoms of illness that I experienced, from first onset in my book Small Fingernails, to the crisis in the academy, University on Watch. That is the difference. If you think this was any easy feat you are mistaken. Before I was a social worker, before my illness, I was a student of the English language. I wanted to be a professor of the English language. I love language. I believe in the power of words. When I had my break and recovered I made a promise to my colleagues. I would never, ever, give up my passion to continue learning about language and teaching others how important language is when talking about and practicing mental health. That promise to this day has been kept and I will never break it.

I am not asking other prosumers to follow in my path. I am asking, and calling upon other prosumers to reread their manuscripts, take a look at what is out there and has been published in the discourse and think about what I am saying here. Did you write your book in the style you did because you felt people, the average person to the professional, or both would benefit from it? Or did write it this way because you felt, in some way, like you had to because of stigma? I choose to rise above the stigma. I chose to be a bit different. People have to see us as individuals, and understand our conditions with the same person centered eyes we profess to have in our peer connections and in our practices. If we don’t walk the walk people aren’t going to listen to what we have to say. I don’t care how esoteric it is written. You don’t sound smart to me you sound like the same naive person you were before and after your condition and certainly after your recovery. So, please, please, give something back, and I don’t mean anything, something lasting, something hopeful, because at this point, you are adding to crisis in mental health, and aren’t the enlightened savior you claim to be in your circles!

University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy, The Second Editon

To get right to it, I always felt University on Watch was unfinished. I am also a writer who believes in delivering information as fast as possible. Most of the blog posts which became chapters in the book were assembled to go, and the book was erected as soon as the story met my expectations in providing the reader something as vivid as it was valuable in scholarship.

The first edition left critical areas of the narrative absent. These aspects of University on Watch simply weren’t available to dispense just yet. Some might say I held back. Others would argue that I didn’t have the language to speak to the events I was considering to add to the book. My rationale, at the root of it, was simple. The novella released in March was constructed only for temporary and initial consumption by the reader. This version was meant to guide and orient the reader until the final version of the book was completed.

If I had released the polished full length version in March when pressed to offer more chapters the wellspring of material would have been depleted. Most of all, the material and density of the final version is far to rich for the reader to consume in one sitting. You can call it what you want, I did the reader a favor and assisted everyone in the controlled distribution of what I believe is a story far to bold to process at the length required to capture all the events the full version of the book has within its pages.

I couldn’t be more proud of the full length, polished complete version of University on Watch. Over thirty percent of the writing is new, other chapters, have been refitted and reconfigured for optimal reading for the benefit of the reader. Key elements and themes have been strengthened, and a signature chapter, titled none other than. “University on Watch” lets the reader to re-imagine the entire storyline in one mountaintop experience in literature.

The book even adds a character, and brings back a familiar name from Small Fingernails. Yes, this book connects the dots in a way the original novella only gestures to, but never quite takes the leap. In a few short months, this second edition will be available to the general public and the the original novella will be a first edition keepsake. Hold on to it, cherish its initial and lasting impact that called upon you to read more of Jacques Peters and his friends in New London University. There, in the city of Liberty, we learn the true meaning of oppression, injustice, and the will make the impossible, possible.

Lost UOW chapter: $50 dollar bills for Recovery

My perception was shifting everyday. At first the shift was gradual, eventually dramatically altered. The community appeared different. People seemed to behave differently and have different motives. All I wanted was to connect with the changing world around me in Liberty. This was increasingly difficult to do when my resources ran dry. For a while, when I had some money, I used the bulk of my financial reserve to pump money back into the city’s most deserving banking this would change the political climate in Liberty back in my favor

. To do so, I got back to my roots from my earlier college days and fundamental way of relating with others when I had first arrived at college. This meant truly talking with people like I had done during the early days of my radio show and learn what is really important. I was at a disadvantage though, due to my worsening speech becoming more stilted, and far more pompous when I spoke at my brothers wedding, it became harder and more difficult to communicate with people effectively. In the end, my goals for interacting were so lofty and grandiose none of this really mattered. I wanted to save Liberty.

I walked around the city flamboyant with rhetoric and making impromptu speeches about the re rising of Liberty. I believed I could make the city great again just by speaking passionately about their future and it’s ripeness for a comeback in a world that had closed its eyes to its hurt and pain. Similar to the way the the world, department, and everyone in my life shut their eyes to my worsening situation on campus.

The city of Liberty is located in the rust belt of the northeast. Trains, factories, work all had left Liberty. Outside the auspices of the college and the money it raised for the city, there was little else to go around for the people from Liberty. They needed help, resources and hope. While I was in no real position to help them I believed, if I could save these people from their own circumstances, the college and it’s graduate school would open its arms to me and allow me to continue on as a student.

So, without hesitating, I walked around the city and spoke to the poorest and most downtrodden people. First, I approached the people who had graciously extended me credit for household goods when I was a young college student. The store was called Cavenuaghs and located on Root street. The owner had suffered a major stroke and I wanted to give back and help him rehabilitate like he had done for me when I needed supplies earlier on in my years. I spoke with the owner’s wife briefly whom was running the store while her husband was sick and I handed her a fifty dollar bill “For rehab” I said, without further explanation . The wife took the money, thanked me, and I went about my business. As this self-run, one man campaign rolled out, the hand outs made less and less sense and were almost ultimately totally random in nature. Handing each of them fifty dollar bills without so much as getting an ID; their name, or address to repay me, I went through thousands of dollars in a matter of weeks. I wanted to help. Sure, this wasn’t a totally selfless act. I wanted the city to pay it forward and return the good faith and let me study at New London. In the end, I went ahead with my self run financial rehabilitation of the homeless and disadvantaged with good intentions and hoped for mutual aid. I would help the city and the city would help me. Together, we would move forward with our lives and our dreams.

By the time my funds were exhausted the environment was inhospitable. This was due to my own illness, and the altered perception of the disease. Overtime, Liberty became such a scary place I stopped leaving my house and walking by myself in the streets. This was extremely ironic and distressing as when I truly needed money as a means to secure my safety and ward of troupe, I didn’t have any as a result of my overly generous and radical idea of circulating free money to the city’s inhabitants.

Lost Chapter of University on Watch: The History of Rhetorical Theory

The success of Contesting Admission hinged upon my ability to make such waves in the English department that my status as a student could no longer be ignored. The department was resisting and defending their decision at all costs. This resistance included their decision not only to reject my application to the graduate school but also defend their decision to evaluate my safety and mental status.

The department wanted nothing to do with me. For the most part, I wasn’t allowed to take any graduate level courses in English. So, most of my classes during my final semester in New London were in other departments . There was one major exception. I was registered for a cross listed class. This meant the class was available to both undergraduate students and graduate students. The class was called the history of rhetorical theory and it was taught by none other than Dr. Harris, the department chair. That’s right, I was excluded from department life. Restricted from the office. So, I knew in order to the momentum going for Contesting Admission and to maintain access to the chair, I needed to take a class with him. This was that class.

The history of rhetorical theory was a survey course of the great rhetoricians over the centuries. Aristotle, Plato, to the modern era, we studied rhetoric by the greatest speakers and linguists of all time. I figured, if I were to prove how great I truly was with the English language, I would need to win the approval of none other than Dr. Harris the department chair. I sat in the very front row every class. Front and center, I would have my hand raised and spar with the chair every class.

As the semester progressed, the tone of the class seemed to change. At the onset of the semester, it seemed as though Dr. Harris was on top of his game. I mean, really orating to the class and communicating his points without missing a beat. But as time went on, and I continued debating the chair’s every explanation, and interpretation of the literature, Dr. Harris appeared to be much more subdued and despondent. On the first day, Dr. Harris’s rhetoric was impregnable, and few dared to contest anything he had to say about anything. By the time of my evaluation, Dr. Harris’s rhetoric seemed as weak as his voice which was also cracking with trepidation. I originally thought the fear in his voice was of me and my relentless Contesting Admission affairs across the university.

Well, when I had successfully completed and passed the psychiatric evaluation I returned to the classroom. The first class I returned to was the history of rhetorical theory. Arms crossed, sitting in the front row, shaking my head and starring down the department chair, I put my dad’s advice on hold. I wanted the chair to feel my rage, experience my anger, and truly regret his actions and every decision he had made against my academic status and ability to continue on in my education. By the end of the semester, Dr. Harris looked as feeble as an old man, hunched over, and largely depressed about what he had done. This is what I had thought or perceived of him. In reality, the chair thought very little of my ability and even less of my great overture to the university that semester.

In the end, I just got a few laughs from other and bug eyed double takes from other students. Usually before class even began. Every day, Dr. Harris would wear a red jacket to class. I would causally home “the red coats are coming ” to other students nearby. The joke was a reference to the American Revolution in which the colonists would remark upon the British soldiers attacking. Lately seeing Dr. Harris at the enemy, and a representative of the English department, the joke was definitely lost upon the other students.

Lost Chapter of University on Watch “The Dying Man”

After moving into my new home, I truly wanted to make it place of self-care, joy, and peace. Things went so poorly where I had previously resided, that I didn’t want to take anymore chances with my living environment. Shortly after moving in, I began reading Technologies of the Self, by Michel Foucault. From this text, I learned, theoretically how to better self-manage in the face of societal and departmental disturbances. However, the application from theory to practice proved rather differently.

In the beginning, I would lay out a bagel and cream cheese breakfast for the house from Dunkin Doughnuts. There was a table in the downstairs where everyone ate their meals by and large, and I couldn’t think of a better “I’m here stay folks! ” than welcoming the new members of my house with fresh bagels and cream cheese. This good will gesture collapse fairly quickly, after people in the house complained I was leaving food the on the table and misunderstood my offerings as just being a messy and inconsiderate eater. I didn’t let this stop me, in my roll out of good will gestures to the new house.

The roll out came to an end when my resources were so depleted that I couldn’t afford to feed myself. Right around the time I began to run in financial difficulties and was pretty much grounded at my new house due to lack of gas money and funds for transportation, Dr. H asked me point blank: “Jacques, how do you feel about a dying man coming to visit us here at the house?”. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what she meant. A person who was figuratively dying like myself? Or truly medically ill? Dr. H had a habit of speaking in metaphors so I couldn’t be certain what she really talking about.

Well, a few days later, I found out exactly what she meant. One day, the door opened two our house, and in marched Dr. H and a tall, grey haired man, hunched over, and very sickly looking. When they walked in I was sitting in my favorite chair in the house. It was an armchair, with high armrests. When I saw this man’s medical status I knew I had to relinquish control of the chair. The man needed a high seat so he could get back up, after sitting down. I also wanted to leave the room rather quickly as medical illness, and disfigurement, has long since bothered me.

I sat perched in the other room trying to listen to their conversation but made out very little of it. I couldn’t figure out why she brought this man to my house. Were they friends? Was she looking after him something similar to my relationship with Dr. H? Or was the reason altogether different? My theory was this was a lesson in self-care. Dr. H was showing me, in no uncertain terms, what it means when people ignore their body and its needs: death. Clearly, Dr. H was teaching me there is a lot at stake here. My health needs to be my first priority if I was to truly be successful pitted against the university. I would need to take extra special care of myself moving forward.

That is exactly what I did. Every night, I read more and more of Technologies of the Self, and took a long soothing bath afterwards. With my robe on, I would make my way from the downstairs bathroom to my room in the middle of the first floor. Cleanliness, unlike what the monsters at the University made out, was in fact, my first priority. Perhaps it was because I was already marked as unclean, or maybe it was the developing heat of summer ahead, but I loved the beginning months at my new home when I would enjoy looking my best in the face of criticism at the University. The criticism would continue to escalate as my situation escalated in direct relationship where the quotient was disaster ahead.

I knew in my heart that the road ahead would be difficult. I knew it wouldn’t be easy if I was to overcome everything in my path to victory at the university. The house had a lesson of its own to soothe my worries further. One of the first things I noticed when moving into my new home was a large picture in the kitchen. The picture had a saying written all over it: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead“. Dr. H was quick to notice my facial expression when I noticed the saying for the first time. I had this smirk painted all over my face, or so I imagine. Dr. H, seeing the smirk, gazed at me and said: “Ah! Yes!”. Dr. H loved my persistence and at the time, stubborn attitude when it came to acts of resistance. In turn, I found the same character traits in Dr. H and together we loved each other’s will against the inhumanity around us in Liberty.

New “Lost Chapter” Chapter of University on Watch: Register Co-sign Arrest

Handcuffed in front of my house, with broken glass from my car all over the place, I knew I had entered into a whole new phase of contesting admission. This new phase would not only take all my strength, but new mental powers which seemed to be emerging by the minute. Through the powers of hearing other peoples thoughts, broadcasting to others, I would need harness everything in my power to keep going and find the root of meta-power in Liberty.

To do so, I would need to work very closely with my friends in the FBI Witness Protection program. This would begin by signaling my distress and need for immediate help. With handcuffs on, I began walking in small circles in front of the police officers, chanting, “Register, Co-sign Arrest“. Meaning, in the process of contesting admission, and registering for further study, I was arrested, again, and needed the help of the federal government to keep my special project going.

The chant was also a beacon for my Doctoral Guard to be on notice. I had just spent a semester listening to this one particular doctoral student reuse and overuse the term co-sign. So, adopting the term, and using it as a signal to other doctoral students, I waited, and hoped, for the troops to arrive on the scene. But no doctoral students or otherwise came to my rescue.

The police gazed upon me chanting. I didn’t let up. I just kept chanting: “Register, Co-sign Arrest”. But to my avail, no federal officers appeared on the scene. None at all. Just more Liberty police, until I was finally taken into custody, and helped into the police vehicle. I couldn’t understand why no federal officers offered their help. After all, I had spent the last six months in their program, doing everything possible to further their purposes, and make visible to root of power in Liberty: meta-power.

The unfolding situation was particularly distressing for me. I had also just revealed to the United States government a secret Belgium operative, Dr. H. But she just stood there, with her broom, speaking quietly with the police officers. Frustrated I couldn’t hear her thoughts because her device was still at work in her secret laptop, I did my best to read her lips. I couldn’t understand anything though. I couldn’t understand how the Witness Protection program had screwed this operation up, or my own doing in the entire affair of Contesting Admission in Liberty this semester.

What keeps me pushing forward?

I am field instructor for graduate and undergraduate student in social work going for their bachelors and masters degrees. I am also a professor of social work in a university. As a field instructor, I am the point person in the field where social work students at the university level go to their placement or “internship” where they learn social work practice skills from working with real clients.

Due to my position as a supervisor in a mental health clinic, my students, at my site, learned how to practice in a mental health setting. The bachelors students learn case management, and the masters students learn how to practice psychotherapy and have their own caseloads with clients with various diagnoses. As their supervisor, I teach my interns how to be good therapists.

Being a good therapist is sort of a loaded sentence isn’t it? What is a good therapist? I think most of us would agree treating the whole person and seeing people as individuals is a step in the right direction. That person centered approach that situates diagnosis right where it belongs. Balancing a diagnostic clinical approach with empathy, support, and all of those good things is a step further. My focus, however, as their field instructor, isn’t to micromanage their ripening skill set, or tell them how to practice. Sure, I will guide, model, and lead, but telling a therapist how to practice is walking down the path to the same narrow focus the medicalization of mental health did to the system of care.

Today, one of my former students updated me on his present work situation. He said he continues to feel unsupported by the agency higher ups and feels alone in doing the work he does as a mental health therapist in a clinic. He asked me: “Max, what keep you moving forward?” Aside from grinning and bearing the entry level nonsense and plight of the worker who sets out against a learning curve, I told him the truth. Reinforcing I kept all this in mind, and the long term goal ahead, I said keep it all in perspective. Our work matters, and our impact matters. More importantly, how do we keep all this in mind and be successful in putting theory into practice?

In the mental health profession, this is so hard to do. As a field instructor, my main goal is to support my interns in how to survive the system of care. Setting out as an entry level social worker and working within the limits of an agency is my primary concern when monitoring the success and ability of my interns to succeed. Everyday, we mental health therapists expend our valuable energy to alter, augment, and improve the quality and level of care we can provide our clients with limited resources, time, and support.

Maybe this is my focus because I have a very systems approach at the root of understanding of how care operates in this country. But I also believe the job of the classroom, as a professor, is to supply the theory and knowledge for their students to implement in their placements. As a professor, I stop at nothing to explain clinical approaches to different theories of psychotherapy, differentiate between the abstraction and practice, and supply examples through role play and discussion. However, as a field instructor, my job is to take this work in the classroom, and direct its application the in the field. Point out weak points in practice, support reflection, and above all, explain how all of this learning and growth plays out in each students long term plan for practicing as a future mental health practitioner.

Without the right support, or the right people around us, no skill, no technique and no theory will save our jobs. Even worse, our clients will no longer benefit from out help when we get walked out of the agency because our political clout evaporated over a non clinical issue or contestation of our judgement because we get a new boss or team member that has a personal issue with our character. Please don’t get me wrong. I am no cynic, but I know and believe too much in my interns abilities to allow anything other than their innate skills shine in the face of systems issues and agency politics in mental health settings

Seeking the help of a Tertiary Care Hospital

As a clinical social worker, I am always interested in the level of care abstraction that defines systems in medical and mental health facilities. As a person who has had more hospitalizations than he can remember, I have learned how to navigate and understand systems of care as a prosumer. As a professional consumer of services, I consider myself really adept at speaking with and communicating with doctors, nurses, and medical specialists.

I diagnosed my father’s dementia five years ago. He was having memory problems. While my dad’s memory was never spectacular, I couldnt help but notice his memory was worse, and not following the normal slope for normal aging at the rate and pace he was forgetting. The dementia was slow moving, and I was finaly able to connect my dad with a neurologist, with a full diagnostic work up at a primary care facility, and on dementia medication. Five years have passed and my dad, while more forgetful, was driving a car, taking care of himself, and getting out and about the community functioning well.

A month ago, my parents were visiting my home and bringing over breakfast. I receicvced a phone call from my mom who was traveling with my dad to visit: “Max, you have to come downstairs…”. I had first thought my parents were too busy to stop by and wanted to move on with their daily activities. Taking the elevator down, and walking outside my apartment building, I found my dad clutched to a metal pole by the foot of my building. His complaint was he couldnt walk any further. He was shaking, and his voice was strange.

We knew something was wrong but didnt know what. My dad up until that morning was gardening, bending over, and walking around without restriction or diminished functioning. Both my mother and myself agreed to take my dad to a secondary care facility, a hospital, for evaluation at an ER. Going back to his primary doctor was out of the question, How would we get him there if he couldnt walk? We didnt have a wheelchair, and my dad didnt use any assistive devices. So we took him to the ER. The ER doctors were generally pleasant, but after a week in the hospital we didnt get a diagnosis. My mom said to me: “how do we prevent this from happening again if we dont know what it is?” My dad was discharged to inpatient rehabiliation. A week later, my dad returned home dependent on a cane, but generally better. Four days later, my dad bottomed out. He couldnt speak intelligibly, or sensibly. He couldnt walk at all, and kept getting up, and falling.

Because we were concerned for his safety and knew something was seriously wrong I called an ambulance and we had him taken back to the hospital. My dad went through more testing, targeting this time his brain, but nothing was discovered in the testing that was significant. The doctors decided he had developed Parkinson’s disorder, and the prospect for rehab, when the nursing care manager met with us, seemed less promising. It seemed as if they didnt want to rehab him or think it would help him much.

As family, we wanted to try, and hope, that rehab would help strengthen him, and with a new trial of Parkinson’s medication, slow down the progression of his confusion, and mobility impairments. He was sent back to rehab. This time, we witnessed even less improvement, and more confusion than ever. Knowing the condition he was in, and what we would need to do to bring him home and care for him safely, we installed a lift on the staircase, and brought in a hospital bed. Due to my dad’s increasing difficulty remembering his own condition, and that he couldnt walk without assistance anymore, we hired health aides to watch him at night and during the day so he didnt fall and really hurt himself further.

Not four days from arriving home, my dad is almost totally incoherent when he speaks, and more confused than ever. He can barely stand up. He needs feeding and 24 hour supervision. We had an appointment scheduled with his primary care neurologist a month out, because the doctor wanted to see how he would respond to the new medication for Parkinson’s. We knew in our hearts, that if we waited any longer, my dad would be in serious trouble. With our health aide, and my help, we got my dad to the neurologist.

The doctor was quick to note “He’s much worse…” than when they met after his first hospitalizations, and now very impaired compared to when they had met regularly during the past five years. After completing some tests, the doctor turned to us, and said: “At this point, we are looking at an obscure neurological disorder. Were going to need to get him to a tertiary care hospital. He wont survive outpatient at this rate of decompensation”. Tertiary care, advanced specialists, at a major hospital center, because a standard community hospital simply does not have the specialists, or equipment, to diagnose and treat his condition.

Telling the aide to go home for the day, we drove down to NYC to New York Presbyterian Hospital with a packet of papers from the neurologist, a special note explaining everything, and a script for a neuogogical workup at the ER. I hoisted my dad from the car to a wheelchair by the ER, screaming for help, because my dad was agitated and just cant stand up nevertheless turn and pivot. The diagnosis from the primary neurologist is rapidly progressing dementia. Like I said, I pride myself on communicating with doctors, and medical specialists. But this whole affair is just as exhausting as a social worker as it is my dad’s son. This is the third hospitalization and the lost stop on the train for medical intervention and hope of halting or treating my dad’s condition: tertiary care.

Speaking with ER workers, doctors, and other specialists about this rapidly progressing dementia is as taxing as it is beguiling to those listening. Doctors want to know the emergent acute problem. My dad doesn’t have an acute problem per se, but is, in fact, declining so quickly, that if we dont act quickly, this outcome will be extremely unfortanate for him and my family. We hope, I hope, that the specialists in this tertiary care hospital will be able to treat my dad, or at least, give us an answer on what really has been happening and why it is happening so fast.

I once understood levels of care as just about access. I now understand them as levels of hope, and the urgency of the emergent condition at hand. When you are in need of help, medical or otherwise, keep in mind the seriousness of what you are dealing with and the treatment you get. If you believe there is more gains or improvement possible, or hope of better care, do just that and seek the care you need for the quality of life you deserve.

My Ferret Clausewitz and my last pet in Binghamton

My last pet in Binghamton was a ferret named Clausewitz. While I often don’t speak of Clausewitz openly anymore, I feel it is time to reflect on his memory.

During the past few years, and after re-entering the social world and bridging new connections, I hear often suggestions that I get a pet or listen to questions about past pets I’ve owned and their status or my memories of them.

This is usually when the awkward silent pause will emerge in the pet conversation. To this day, when the conversation about pets manifests, I’ll give some explanation of why it’s just not the right time, or something ill make up about pets not being permitted in the building. Well, there are no building codes at my place of residence regarding pets. Regardless, there simply may never be a right time again for me to ever have a pet after the loss of Clausewitz.

Clausewitz was named poignantly after the German operation “Clausewitz” during the early months of 1945. The war was culminating to a horrific end in Europe, and Clausewitz was the final operation completed by the German war machine in Berlin.

Well, somehow along the way of learning about this operation, and the early moments of my “break” from first episode psychosis, I believed I needed a pet to soothe the agitation from an unknown and undiagnosed disease process at work and a bad breakup.

Months passed. Friends departed and graduated. My situation grew more out-of-control. Somewhere during that time, I discontinued care of Clausewitz. He lived a few feet away from my bed, but he might as well have been thousands of miles away. The smell of his lack of grooming and cage hygiene grew worse, and I began to grow afraid of touching and even playing with him.

During this time Clausewitz’s legs developed atrophie. I discovered this when a friend asked about him casually, “how is Clausewitz?”Looking into his cage I came to observe the loss of strength in his legs. He couldn’t walk anymore. Instead of nursing him back to health, I grew frightened, and left him to die in a box on the sidewalk far enough where he wouldn’t be discovered by anyone I knew or that knew him.

The life and death of Clausewitz has changed the way I viewed and understood animal cruelty, mental health, and the power humans have to both nurture and destroy so much that we love.

This entry celebrates the life of Clausewitz and the lives of star-crossed pets whose owners love them but who no longer have the insight, judgement and capacity to look out for their health and welfare.

The Revisionist✍️

Far too many stories and firsthand accounts of recovery are terminal and end with a cure or picturesque life for the consumer of services or “sick” person. This recovery narrative is different. This is a story about struggle, ongoing collateral pushback from friends, and internalized self-doubt.

Chronic illness, either rooted in psychiatric or medical symptoms, can be a lifelong road with many critical junctures for risk of relapse, suffering, and systemic issues with access to treatment. I hope my story sheds light on not only the aspects of healing that serve as hope to readers but also the plight of the consumer riddled with making ongoing difficult life choices due to the severe chronicity of their symptoms.

After finally returning home from college, after my discharge from the state hospital center in upstate New York, I began my long journey. This is a journey of heartache, despair, and all the negative emotions conjured by a chronic mental health disorder. Knowing full well that without applying the right measures and putting a plan in place I would be at risk of further issues, I applied the learning lessons of my past to my situation today. This is that story. After graduating and eventually becoming a social worker and disability rights advocate, I learned how to live with my symptoms (and, simultaneously, despite them).

I am Jacques Peters, and I will explain to those reading this story that chronic means just that. Ongoing, and a continuum of symptoms that will wax and wane as this story unfolds. These symptoms will impact the very fabric and quality of my life. My story is not unique, but it is largely untold—it is taboo for people in recovery to admit that when there is no cure, the only thing left to do is never stop fighting for life. As this book unfolds, the result of not stopping fighting, to never giving up, will become obvious to the reader and a warning to everyone with a longstanding and chronic illness to stay in treatment and never resign or surrender. The implications of doing will hopefully warn the reader in vivid terms to keep close to healing, even if a full cure is impossible.

Small Fingernails, Even Less Love💕

Sometimes, love finds us; other times, love is a trauma that hurls itself into the very fabric of our lives. My experiences at New London University explain how traumatic events and life’s unfortunate turns can become amplified and overshadow our understanding of how love and friendship should contribute to our lives.

The sages say love can blind us; however, sometimes, that love transforms our lives into radically altered states–states in which we must learn how to cope for the relationship to survive and thrive. These altered states are often difficult to manage without help from friends and family. If left to our own devices, without these critical supports, the very creative energy that once nurtured our passion has the potential to destroy the very foundation of our love and caring that was once manifest.

Small Nails and Even Less Love chronicles my life as a student at college in Liberty and in love. It evaluates the impact of toxic relationships on our well-being and our capacity to pursue friendship. Through transgressions, fear, loss, grief, and misfortune, even my profound love could endure. Ultimately, my ethics and belief in what is right collapsed on its head.

Love needs to be free and rid of all elements that can destroy its beauty. This book signals the need to reevaluate our closest and most personal spaces, friends, and family members. The complications that interfere with our pursuit of happiness will one day be more easily overcome by people who follow their hearts and seek only the best for those they care about the most.

From the Introduction to Small Fingernails, Even Less Love 💕

New Freedom: The Brave Experiment (British English Edition🇬🇧)

The Formation of a Post-National Society (PNS). This is a written prelude to our inevitable FUTURE.

Humanity wakes up…

Opening its eyes to a society that it believes it closes itself off to its own potential. No distinction needs to be made regarding the human’s race or belief systems, gender, sexual orientation or age. I present the human individual in the early twenty-first century. We delve into its writing, where the individual feels he is free. I speak of the right and power to engage in certain behavior without overt control or interference. This is a notion that should only be true if mankind chooses to believe it rather than if mankind feels obligated to believe it.

The vision I have in mind is of a Brave Experiment that we will one day be a part of….

We learn until the day we die, and after we die others are supposed to learn from our deaths and life experiences. Since we are all learning, then why don’t we treat others like fellow students? Students who try to teach each other and help each other can achieve more success and well-being than through antagonism. I’m not speaking of some the canonical image of a person walking around Manhattan screaming that ‘Jesus was a black man, not a Caucasian slave driver!’

That’s not a pupil-to-pupil dialogue. You walk down the street, and people look you over, up and down, and God forbid if you speak. Even your words are analysed. Searched for hostility and/or a conflict of opinion. I’m not advocating a society where you can’t walk down the street without being hugged or suffocated from positive emotion. That would be miserable. No, I envision a world where community meetings and forums overtake the vacant alleys and the sombre, lonely days in which some higher power intends for us to be alone despite our best efforts. I’m sorry for you, though, very sorry. And by you, I mean the ‘shells’. A word I‘m going to use to describe the soulless people. Those who can sit and laugh with a fellow human while secretly despising them. Or, even worse, liking the fellow human until another shell taints their image of this person.

I don’t claim to be a saint. And I am no martyr. I’ve done so much wrong in my life. So much so that every day my mind recalls a nightmare that I created.

The human race. And it is a race. Animals walking upright in a bitter competition, trying ‘get ahead’. Ahead of what? Me? You? Your neighbour? Your friend? We are all family. What comes out of challenging your own family members? Only bitterness, anger, and grief. Remember this when you mug someone, get that raise, put someone down or simply ignore them out of indifference.

Introducing: New Freedom and the Brave Experiment

We cannot deny the belief that all people have the right to think, feel and desire. In essence, feelings lead to thoughts, which lead to actions. If people were made to feel that all logical thoughts were accepted from birth, a greater sense of positive feelings would follow suit, leading to more purposeful actions. Of course, we neither live in a vacuum nor should we create one. A critic would ask how can we judge what a purposeful action is without creating Orwellian thought police or some sort of Big Brother system. What governing body would make the distinction between right and wrong? More importantly, how could they, a small minority, encompass the ideals of everyone they were speaking for? We must ask why people, in any and every society, should care about what is being outlined in this Brave Experiment? Most importantly, why can’t people see the need for the formation of a post-national society?

The Nursery Strategy

Simply put, if all feelings are accepted, we can make the leap to purposeful action through the a term I am dispensing called the nursery strategy. The nursery strategy calls for the majority of free minds, without tangential or external influences, will produce logical thoughts if their feelings are accepted and nurtured radically across the board. So, how do we achieve this in any current part of society or human community? More importantly, what is a tangential influence? How do we make this transformation in our own society without creating ill feeling? Is there an element that would nullify this entire cause? Past movements that championed great ideals were warped by their lack of balance between ideology and methodology, as with communism and democracy. Balance is key. Without it, the Brave Experiment will have neither the respect of mass culture nor of the groups leaning toward the centre of the political spectrum. It is also understood that centrist ideals are not accepted as necessarily correct. They simply lie between each end of the spectrum of thought.

Pragmatically speaking, the mechanics and machinery at work in New Freedom will dictate its design within our society. To be able to link ideas, one must first understand the rift that makes them singular. One must understand the phenomenon of a seemingly objective lens. It carries with it no authoritative or paternalistic sense but rather a rare sort of truth. Because humans carry predisposed notions, they have orientation points. It must be understood that a spectrum of thought is like the concept of multiple dimensions. There is simply no such thing as a completely objective view. It’s how we go about unpacking ideals that forms societies and the people they consist of them. If all societies were homogenous, the Brave Experiment would not exist. Individuals harbour different ideals. Understanding these differences is key. Note that even the centrist notion cannot be assumed to be acceptable. Change is the only constant in the universe. It’s how we adapt to it that makes us who we are today in the greater realm of history.

There is no organisation in the Western World, or the East, worthy or even capable of carrying out the nursery strategy. This statement, in and of itself, suggests why we have reached such a critical time in our history. The fact that the term New Freedom, in the minds of many shells, is a term that is not yet ripe for use indicates its importance. Before mankind reaches the point of no return set forth by Old Freedom. Old Freedom: the rise of a nationalism in which citizens are free within their nations. This concept has become a parasite for our species, and it will one day warp our minds beyond the point of no return, the point at which the justification of any idea becomes so clouded that humanity can never attain full consciousness. We will destroy our chance at evolving. Species can doom themselves; they have destroyed themselves before with their lack of foresight. New Freedom will provide a path to consciousness so that we can continue to evolve. New Freedom is our last hope, something that we must obtain before we can ever get to Third Freedom. Third Freedom will only come when humanity breaks free of Old Freedom and the animal kingdom.

The human race has scared itself into a frenzy. Every action is questioned to the point where people’s heads spin out of control. Liberals and conservatives alike, who once prided themselves on their solid principles, are falling apart because they don’t know which end is up. If people can live in a society that accepts boundaries, then self-defeating conflict will end. The concept of a boundary is provocative in New Freedom, as it seems to imply a loss of humanity. On the contrary, however, New Freedom offers a different definition of a boundary. A self-defeating boundary is one that curbs our individualism, which is the antithesis of New Freedom. The Brave Experiment recognises boundaries that destroy species. Such boundaries pride themselves on destruction and the propagation of the elimination survival method, like the creation of doomsday weapons and the birth of our own Armageddon.

A tangential influence would be any thought process that lives outside the realm of this cause’s ideals, which may or may not one day be incorporated into society. With an increase in tangential ideals, we would see a decline in balance, which would spin any new society out of control and past the point of remedy. Simply put, the sponging ideal is one that has not yet formed a bond with New Freedom. The sponge soaks the life force out of New Freedom, thereby warping its tertiary structure and rendering it useless.

The current whirl of our species has created two distinct notions. Either the next step in achieving self-consciousness is through some divine fiat or the conditioning of human behaviour is creating a dystopian society. The Brave Experiment does not plan to rub a magic lamp or take babies away from their parents so that the parents cannot inculcate their offspring in their accustomed wantonness. It is known that our children are our infinite selves; they carry us beyond our mortal lives. The Brave Experiment is not advocating that people give up their mortality for the survival of the human race. No, instead New Freedom advocates giving up self-defeating principles for the survival of the race. In essence, when a person comes to the conclusion that an idea is self-defeating, they will no longer believe in it, and it will no longer be accepted as something that should cross the threshold to immortality through their children. When people accept the nursery strategy, they accept this logic.

It is clear that change is a constant. Not accepting New Freedom because it will change the way we view the interrelated universe is self-defeating. It would mean blinding ourselves to reason. It is clear from past history what this leads to: holocausts and wars between nations. What does this break down to? Wars between ourselves. Thus, the propagation of the elimination survival method.

Believing that children make parents immortal just because their ideas are being passed down, whether these ideas are logical or not, is false. Parents become immortal when they pass down immortal ideas and thus achieve consciousness. This can only happen when the older generation and the younger generation reach an equilibrium of thought, where the young learn as much from the old as the old learn from the young. Thus, we can see the end of book burning as a visualisation of this concept. Tossing away history, in whatever shape or form, would destabilise the equilibrium that makes New Freedom viable.

The nursery strategy does not gamble that enough competitors in a system appreciate competitive codependence and that competitors still using the elimination survival method will not harm individuals practicing the nursery strategy. Anyone who wishes to partake in a final resource-denial attack on his own people would be successful only to the point that a loose fanatic would be. The relationship with the Brave Experiment and the government will explain this dilemma. This is where the umbrella model becomes so critically important.

The Umbella Model

Imagine the entire human race under one umbrella that protects us from the evils that we as a people create. In essence, it would be a social structure that protects us from ourselves, that protects us from both ends of a spectrum of thoughts that could potentially lead to actions that would cripple the Human Union. Therefore, I propose the umbrella model. This raises an important question: How can one entity construct a model that is representative of all humans with individual feelings, thoughts, and actions? Individuals come up with original ideas; this has been the trend throughout our existence, and it will always be this way. It is up to the other individuals to accept the original idea and embrace it.

The shells might say that the umbrella model is corrupt because it evokes something transcendent and that it distinguishes between the protectors and the protected. They will say that codependent survival does not have any clear dominator and that it will create a food chain or elimination survival method of living.

On the contrary, the umbrella model is the facilitator, the functional body and transformative arm of New Freedom. It creates a viable environment for the creation of the Human Union. Simply, it creates an infrastructure for the propagation of the cause, much as traffic lights are useful for directing traffic so that we don’t crash into each other. Once Third Freedom is achieved, the umbrella model becomes obsolete, but we need to get there first. A facilitator is not a dominator. Of course, this distinction highlights our current flawed institutions, like the United Nations, which is neither a facilitator nor a dominator. It does not tell us to adapt or compromise when it creates sanctions and creates an army of nations that propagate the elimination survival method. However, a functional body that clearly upholds codependence is by nature neither imposing nor dominating. It creates the environment for the Human Union.

The Human Union

The Human Union fund amentally refers to the bonds that form between individuals. Thus, if we understand how to create these bonds and what they theoretically consist of, we can hope to apply theory to this reality. So, the umbrella model and the nursery strategy would create the bonds that form the Human Union in the Brave Experiment.

Practically speaking, people will only entertain a concept such as New Freedom if they believe it can be practically applied to their life or it can serve as a model through which they can measure themselves. This model is not defined as utopian. This distinction is necessary. A utopian society cannot exist, at least for humans, because every individual has a different definition of the perfect society. However, the Human Union, once implemented, would create a tangible state of humanity that constantly struggles for progress. This is a basic human fundamental in applications through time. The Brave Experiment’s methodology is both theoretical and tangible, which subsequently provides a reason for people to adopt it.

It is key to understand that the aim of New Freedom is not to establish a means of world domination or the creation of a thousand-year Reich. This notion is contrary to the Brave Experiment. Domination implies, and is, assimilation into a single thought process, into a society that won’t change because its only means of survival is to sustain a constant to achieve balance and stability. The Brave Experiment recognises that societies are always changing because transformation is part of human nature. Therefore, the Human Union will lead to timeless bonding by adopting change through the recognition of human nature. The transformation of people from coexisting parts in tension to united parts.

The functional structure will correlate directly to New Freedom’s cause. This will nullify the hypocrisy that cripples people’s belief in the ability of a governing body to support the ideals of a new society. In all current governments, there is ideological conflict between the way they operate and the ideals of the society that encompasses it. This becomes problematic as we consider concepts such as war, economics and the concept of justice in relation to policing the people.

The formation of the Human Union in the Brave Experiment

For New Freedom to accept an idea as logical, in the sense that it will uphold, strengthen and further the implementation of the nursery theory, it must be voted on by all people with full capacity of contemplation. All voting will pass through freewheeling committies and full participation in voting is not only encouraged, it is mandatory if people feel new ideas should be considered for entry into New Freedom. The chancellor, or Committie Organizer and co-chair of all Freedom Ports of Entry is tasked with the final green lighting of ideas and their passage into the Human Union.

It is important to note that the functional body of the Brave Experiment has no powers over the original freestanding local governments of yesterday. Local governments are defined just as they existed in the preexisting society, but very much intact for the purposes of the movement and day to day operations. Although social trends are sure to influence the government, as they always do, the two institutions are to remain separate to maintain stability. This separation to justify Equality, Liberty, and Freedom of all peeople is the defining feature which stabilizes and maintains equilibrium in the government, while transformation and the creative forces alive through our social medium go interrupted. The Brave Experiment and local governments will simply be unable to structurally or politically coerce the other institutions in the land. This would ignite a tectonic shift which would inevitably rebalance itself.

Whether a person lives in a capitalist society or a communist society, there is no such thing as free money. The only difference is how one attains the money. The concept of free money is the antithesis to the Brave Experiment. Any struggle requires resolve, which is part of the fabric of this cause. A discussion of money is of great importance because money defines how most governments operate and their subsequent effect on economics. There is no new government in New Freedom. The government of New Freedom already exists. Its ideal is to evolve to become a living, breathing, self-sustaining entity. The universe is ruled by entropy, and the universe has been irrevocably set into motion. To harness this motion and determine the positive energy will will produce through New Freedom has always been the task ahead.

Ideals can’t feed people. The starving masses can’t fill their stomachs with theories. However, we currently live in a society that promotes the survival of the fittest. The Brave Experiment embraces capitalism’s emphasis on striving for greatness as well as communism’s unity through equality, but it shies away from their fallacies. People can easily fall through the cracks of society, and political doctrines are not always well-correlated with their applications. Governments must compete, but they must compete within codependence to ensure the survival of the species.

New Freedom recognises the multiple ways that people gall between the cracks of society, but the fiscal concern is emphasised in this discussion. Working together to achieve a better life as a collective unit, without infringing on those already on the path to freedom, is a fantastic goal and one we should foster.

The rich get richer because they receive the benefits of the collective unit, as does the middle class. As the income of a person decreases in this society, so does the sense of prosperity of principals. When an individual feels he has failed, he falls into a downward spiral. However, when he feels he is a part of a collective with accepted principles, a different cascade of events will ensue. Instead of a downward spiral, the solace found in the Union will give the poor the collective unity they need to attain sustenance. Hence, the image of vagrants stealing each other’s wagons filled with the remnants of their former lives will be obsolete if they feel it is no longer accepted as a way of life.

Simply put, as the umbrella model and nursery strategy take shape in society, the social bonds that will ensue will fill the cracks in ailing capitalist and communist societies by not only wiping out poverty but also by taking the strain off the government resulting from costly programs, such as welfare. As taxes the government imposes dramatically decrease, more money will be invested in the Brave Experiment if people feel obligated to do so. Why does the Brave Experiment need money? Simply because money is needed in any society to purchase the commodities needed for a social institution that is independent from the government. Money will be required to build infrastructure.

People united under a common cause will always try to better themselves. People united under the Human Union will better themselves. If New Freedom cannot coexist with a government, within the current economy, then the principles that New Freedom is founded on would be hypocritical. New Freedom simply acts as a catalyst that speeds up the rate of progress in relation to the ideals championed by both institutions. Entities that recognise shared resource–survival dependency will tend to band together against entities that are trying to effect non-survival through resource destruction. Thus, homicide is rejected, and governments will become increasingly introspective and critical of war.

Therefore, organisations would not be destroyed but protected under the umbrella model and maintained through the nursery strategy. It must be recognised that there are no guarantees that a final effort resource-denial attack won’t be launched. However, there are no guarantees in this universe. We must work with this contingency. A living entity must have competition to fuel the adaptation-survival process.

New Freedom does not wage wars; governments wage wars. However, when ideals supported by the Brave Experiment diffuse into governments, in the long run the principles of waging war would become increasingly questioned. Of course, this will not occur overnight because evolution takes millennia. However, the Brave Experiment outlines the path for change. On a day-to-day basis, one way to guarantee survival is through the non-survival of defeatist competition. However, history repeats itself because the current model is ineffective because we live in an interrelated universe. Let’s break free of a recurring history and make our own.

Those who accept New Freedom as logical but deny its existence are just as bad as societies that understand their ills but do nothing to amend them! They fail to embrace change, a fundamental necessity! They abhor what is logical and accept something stagnant and thus stale! They create an environment that allows the creation of holocausts, wars, racism and human suffering! They want to oppress humans, perhaps not physically but mentally. They want to keep us from achieving self-consciousness.

Logic in the past or present is still logic. It’s timeless, trans historical, and can’t be discarded. If we are ever to achieve timelessness, we need a methodology to do so. New Freedom does not state that it is the only path to do so. Such a statement would be antithetical to this entire argument. However, if we warp logic, warp the Brave Experiment, it will not work. Warped logic is not logic; it is something else.

To accept a belief as logical but indefensible is simply defeatist in nature, not to mention contradictory. For if something is logical, it is defensible by nature. It defends itself and becomes its own argument. On the other end of the spectrum, if we as a species fail to uphold an ideal that will carry us toward self-consciousness and the capability of achieving evolution before extinction, just because we incorrectly deem it as indefensible, we are cheating ourselves. We are denying ourselves our full potential. To deny ourselves our potential is a crime, and this is the big picture that the Brave Experiment addresses.

It is important to understand that the small problems we face are due to a much bigger problem. We have recognised this, but we have never come up with a strategy and model that are universal enough to cancel out the small problems, which thus become much larger than they really are. These include problems related to race relations, morality, the purpose of governments and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships among co-workers, family and friends. The list goes on forever, which directly correlates to why our ability to achieve greater self-consciousness has been blocked. Before we can fix the big picture, with any application, we must understand the dynamics of how the smaller parts relate to each other. Basic anatomy dictates this to surgeons. Mechanics face the same dilemma when they fix a car. The interrelated universe thus becomes New Freedom ideology.

The implications of New Freedom are obvious and its presence is necessary. Our species, without achieving consciousness, will never outgrow its self-destructive tantrums. In the present, there is plenty of room for another World War. Do we truly need another catastrophe for codependence to be burned into our bones? Or perhaps it will be, when we as a species die out. The Brave Experiment says this does not need to happen. Let’s not let it happen.

STAGE THREE: SOCIAL DIASPORA and the Free Movement of People Worldwide

We are alone with ourselves now as individual people, even alone in the larger realm of society. There is no human community, no human union. Communities can never be too independent but can become too estranged, and thus they will compete with each other through the elimination survival method. We need new communities, independent yet interwoven. Connected through communication and the flow of thought. Let us use technology to our advantage, so that cell phones no longer trap us in isolated worlds but are used as tools for independence in an interrelated society and universe. Our partners in life thus need not be our neighbours but can be from anywhere in the human universe. The closer home is, the more incestuous we are, and the shorter our line of survival. Do not try to change or warp another culture or become an alien in it. This is elimination survival: destroying them to make us. Live with others without coercion. What should rub off will on them and will. Nobody in the Brave Experiment will feel the need to change anyone.

The Social Genius

Not everyone can go everywhere. For whatever reason, movement has always been limited between the Western world and the East. This is accepted too easily by people of the East and the West. However, the more we choose to interpollinate American with European with Arabian with African with Latino, the closer we will come to creating a common social genius. People who live within the gates of other cultures, or experience them, do not have to be taught to respect them. Successful people in strong unions become complacent, indulgent, selfish and self-defeating when this basic problem of movement becomes shifted to ideology as nationalism. People in alien environments, or who accept alien ideals, can compromise, adapt and survive to create the Human Union.

Careful deliberate monitoring of the balance between what is public and what is private will move forward a lightening speed. There must be an equilibrium between the two basic spheres of life as well as an equal presence of each domain to finaly rid ourselves of this bipolar mode of being. Public and private modifcations to daily living will occur first on the level of basic transportation. Ultimately, it will be the mass transportation of all people and the ideas they harbour which will facilitate change at the most basic level of society to the very apex of transformation. The great diaspora of ideals, once structural adjustments are made to the fabric of society;s infrastructure, will be readily available to anyone in the Brave Experiment. Only then can we have the accepted rift between what is individual and what is a part of the Human Union.

Third Freedom and the Future

The task ahead is the formation of the backbone, the very infrastructure of the future Human Union. This will encompass the presence of institutions which harbour and safe house those who have slipped through the cracks of this crippled society and create a terminal environment for the dominators of Old Freedom to live out their remaining days in power . Only then can we achieve Third Freedom and a self-consciousness viable for the basic human principles that will propagate our future codependence.

Finaly, must write our own epilogue…

‘I am under the impression more and more that this is not reality. That I will wake up any second and I’ll be in diapers or I’ll be married with kids. The list of possibilities is endless. I can be in a state hospital somewhere in a straitjacket or I could be a bum on some sidewalk asking for money. The worst possibility I can think of is that this is reality and I’ll wake up tomorrow with the same problems.’

‘First we were all migratory. Then we settled and separated. Again we began to explore. We created a home for ourselves. Some of us gained an advantage and reaped the benefits from our own people in distant lands. Some tried to be kings and rulers over their own equals. It was then, the Brave Experiment came, and we all became more human.’

The Trilogy 📚3️⃣

The time is upon us! I need to address the ongoing rumors circulating around my writing. Ever since I have announced a second novella, Small Fingernails, Even Less Love 💕 , there has been undeniable chatter in the literary world. Upon hearing the new novella was, in fact, the prequil to University on Watch👓, the chatter has increased exponentially. A litany of comments and all sorts of blog posts have been published calling upon me to answer the big question:

“Max, is this a Trilogy?”

So, I am here to answer the big question❗️

Yes!


“I learned from therapy a long time ago. Experience your emotions, my therapists have always said to me.  Don’t bottle up your feelings. On the walk up to the ER, even the drive the hospital itself, these words would hang over me, and remind me, gently, not too flood, but certainly, not to be afraid to tear up. I usually do, every so often, and I have never felt ashamed of doing just that. I have gone through so much during my recovery. Felt, experienced, and witnessed, so very much pain, triumph, and struggle to push past the obstacles I have faced that my controlled emotional experience on the walk to the ER was my badge of courage. Through all of this, I earned my badge, and I will never surrender it readily…” excerpt from The Revisionist 💉

That’s right. This book is the long standing response to requests that I finally write a novella about my recovery. THIS IS THAT STORY!

🅱️iologic Theory

Research must be wholly beneficial to the public, it must be free and rife for regard for society. As a prosumer and mental health interventionist researcher, I have sought nothing but a bold new model that works for the masses. Therapy that is both targeted, yet beneficial to all conditions and diagnosable disorders (impairments, both environmental, developmental and as this theory unfolds, at the root of it all: biological)

🅱️iologic theory is totalizing and yet person centered. Sitting a top a canon of research that suggests empirical driven, evidence based treatment must be as dichotomous as it is episodic, the vast continuum of working knowledge is mobilized and charged with the provision of care, treatment, and elaboration of mental health under the auspices of this new theory I am dispensing.

No limits, no frontier too unmanageable, just restricted and subsumed by nature itself. Biologic theory inserts itself with cautious regard for deterministic philosophy and the real limits imposed by nature and the finality of life itself. This is a prosumer approach to driving treatment forward. There is no question that the best and most effective practitioners must have a internal, real, and first hand experiential knowledge of how to implement this theory in practice.

The ultimate and proximate implications are thus not process or content driven, but wholly and inherently biological. Nature sets the quotient for change. Both self directed, internal, spiritual, and external, this is the person in his or her environment. The limits of our world mark the weak points and the strengths of each person. Our knowledge only drives us to the apex of understanding and is not defined but the process or content of the work. Meaning, only the therapist’s experience practicing and breadth of how the work works from lived experience as biological natural and interconnected people fundamentally are the real and final markers for outcomes and people’s journeys in life.

Rather than gesturing to overt or covert limitations biologic theory makes use of it instead of expelling determinism for its obvious reductionist and ableist underpinnings). Biologic theory has only two basic philosophical assumptions. These assumptions are 1) human capacity for change is limited by the biological nature of the bodies medical and psychiatric status and 2) all people are unique in their potential for change.

This dialectical approach satisfies not only deterministic, but categorical, diagnostic uses for treatment and sets the stage for empirical evidence to assemble legitimate canon of unbiased and differentiated future research. Even self deterministic views of people are satisfied and incorporated into the grand schema connecting biologic theory.

From untreatable, to the most canonical expressions of mental health disorders to acute and chronic conditions rooted in trauma. Biologic theory nurtures previous research and cultivates the conditions for lasting impact in definable treatment. Meaning, the limits of our capacity to retract, redirect or more biologically said, heal, is what this theory considers the aim of real mental health treatment. For people to be as successful in their mental hygiene as clinically possible, is both reciprocal to the material expression of their very DNA for healing will allow, and this theory implies sharply implies, driven by the reigns of the prosumer to enact this theory in practice.

For the prosumer: operating the therapist’s clinical scalpel is as important as his or her lens and gaze for interpreting the person being treated biological needs for healing. This is not based on content or process: but value. This value, for better or worse, must never be calculated for state sponsored selection for rehabilitation and assessment of greater worth to society. Instead, this theory must be applied to to society itself and the macro biological systems existent and ripe for change and urgent reform.

For 🅱️iologic theory to subsume all diseased and cancerous predating therapies much continue to harm the public and defer real, lasting, and natural means of treatment, we must test and research what I am laying out here in this constructivist argument for charging the canon of studies with biologic informed theory. We must work quickly and prudently. We must justify our work through our research.

The Cancer in Academia and Mental Health Research

I have made no secret about my skepticism in the clinical value of new research in mental health in the last decade. I am just not certain we are targeting the right areas or bodies of underdeveloped research and moving forward in the important or needed areas to truly impact mental health as a discourse or field of inquiry. As a social worker, I sit on a vast, layered, and profoundly broader body of knowledge, theoretical understanding, and foundation of information than some other more narrow-focused disciplines out there in mental health. This is why I believe it is up to social workers, prosumers (people with lived experience and professional training) and other more ornate backgrounds and experiences to jettison research into the next era.

ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), and other hot interventions like Dialogical Therapies, while sharing some commonalities, also share what has truly become a cancer in mental health research. This cancer, located at the metaphysical polarities of the clinical spectrum for accepted, empirical, and “evidence-based” research, continues to eat away, and carve out the discourse of mental health treatment from within. The acuity and esoteric nature of these hot, miracle modalities continue to overshadow what we practitioners are setting out to do. Instead of practitioners learning a vast, eclectic, and broad skill set to treat all diagnosable, or treatable conditions, the task at hand has become estranged from healing and the helping process.

Alas, clinicians are boxed into a small physiological space for learning new research, and identifying gaps in current mental health trends and community-based needs. In a sense, these mental health clinician-crats, and those that decide, what techniques, are in, and which are out, are ruling out, and marginalizing hope and healing for a segment of the population which could benefit and stand to profit from advancing research forward across the board, and not limiting future data collection to the in treatments and those practiced by those with more influence in the field than intellectual credence. I am very serious about the set of propositions I am laying out here. This is part of a restatement of claims I have made before, but this article needs to signal a giant tectonic shift in how we do things in our field.

So, who really is charged with appraising the clinical value of our research these days? Who is really validating the claims researchers are making? Scholarly work, studies, published papers, all of these outlets and mediums for dissemination good information in our field have bias. We must accept and own these biases. Peer reviewed work, blinded, however we tell ourselves our work is pure, intellectually and ethically solvent, needs to be overhauled if not torn down at the very ground floor we built the discourse on before we can call ourselves truly non bias, and platonic in our commitment to unassailable research in mental health. Let’s be totally honest here. Endorsement of peer work in academia is as rife with political intrigue, and back door funneling of money, and funding, as the White House. The difference with academia is that we refuse to talk about it, and there are no television dramas depicting our ethical and moral battles in the wings of institutions and library halls.

Similar to the perseveration of our patients, we must re-direct the very meaning-making, and re-target the areas of research which aren’t talked about. The missing or underdeveloped areas of research which continue to confound, and contest the very bodies of knowledge we hold as truly incontestable. Well, if we really being honest about what we do in mental health, we would do just that. No modality, no study, no manuscript for submission is truly above reproach. There are taboo areas of how we do things as researchers that are problematic. If we do not overhaul and turn academia, pedagogy and practice on its head sooner rather than later we are headed for disaster. I would hazard to say the destruction of this field as we know it as an accepted discourse of intellectual inquiry. So, before it is too late, ask questions, continue to go against the current, until the very armamentarium of new research moves with us towards a brighter, healthier vistas tomorrow.

The Right to Fail

The right to fail. To live our lives as people that are flawed, diagnosed, mentally ill the the way we see fit to do so. In New York State, and many other states in the United States, unless you are mandated, or in a AOT (Assisted Out Patient Treatment) or forced treatment program, you can fail out of society and be admitted to an hospital for psychiatric rehabilitation. Unless you have been labeled V-SPMI (violently and persistently mentally ill) you can cycle back into the system, from hospital to independent living, and the converse, over and over again.

I don’t think it should be any other way. This is a privilege not all of us have in the United States. There are states that operate differently, offer less freedoms, and in practice, offer less supportive services to people who want to live on their own. We must protect this privilege. The endorsement of this freedom and dissemination of this privilege, the right right to fail must be defended at all costs. We can never give it up. Next to the modern mission of dignity, hope, and recovery by NY-OMH, and other state mental health regulatory bodies, we must write into law and inscribe it with the right to fail.

This addendum in the history of our mental health system must read clearly. It should reflect the all important pendulum, some might even call it a continuum. This is the abstraction, the theory underpinning a right to fail put into practice. Professionals have another name for it. It’s called “Dignity in Risk, and Risk of harm”. This expression has been debated for years. And the debate still rages on. Since de-institutionalization, people just aren’t sure about the future of people living with diagnosed mental health conditions living out in the community.

Whenever you hear, should this person or that person be allowed to live independently, or be discharged from a hospital, it boils down to essentially where the identified patient falls on this continuum of being more of a risk, or capable of maintaining stable living? But what does stable living look like? What does failure look like? Clinicians can do their very best to assess and predict outcomes but do we never really know what people are capable of, do we? I truly wonder.

And yet, still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, clinicians assess for lots of concerns. Discharge planners in hospitals look at the full clinical picture of a person before they are released into the community. Depending on the precipitating event of the identified patient, the length of stay in the hospital will be different. Lethality, homicidal ideation, violent ideation, suicidal, strengths, weaknesses, past history, all of it is assessed, right? But is this enough? I am licensed clinical social worker with a mental health diagnosis, and I still wonder about the answer to this debate.

I have done unfathomable things during the tenure of my mental health disorder. This is why I truly wonder. I have done things I still cannot express regret for, or live down. And yet, I still, even as a clinician, wouldn’t want the system to be set up any differently. This is because I have have also done wonderful, beautiful things in my lifetime, since my diagnosis, and would never want to ever forget these memories. The light simply outshines the darkness, every time my freedom is involved. This is why we cannot ever give up this privilege.

For there is dignity in risk. Dignity in having choices. Dignity in failure.

I support the right to fail.

Use of metaphors in the therapy office 🕵️‍♂️

If you are a patient, or psychotherapist, the odds are you have been encouraged to use metaphors in the therapy room. I teach family therapy at the university level, and have been a family therapist for a decade. I can say that this overemphasis on utilizing metaphors to communicate, illustrate points, and evoke the imagination of our clients can be troublesome, if not very problematic. But this problem is also existent in profession. We rely on too many over-generalizations, platitudes, simplifications, and seems to always run the risk of being so reductive in our work. In doing so, we sometimes can trigger our clients, or upset them in the process of trying to help them. 
I am sure you‘ve encountered this before. Your client is speaking about something important to them, and you the therapist use a metaphor to either explain to the client what he is experiencing or how he can change his situation, feelings, or thoughts, based on this metaphysical manifestation you conjured up before the client was even done speaking. From there, the client is lost, misunderstands your point altogether, or feels like your explanation wasn’t adequate. When we use metaphors, and other reductive techniques, we will always run the risk of triggering our clients, or being so vague and indecipherable that the message lost altogether in the realm of the imaginary.
I read family therapy text books all the time. I also read journal articles, and attend the latest conferences on family therapy. Participating in professional development in my own discipline of social work, and with others, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and mental health counselors. My experience and fund of knowledge is as broad as it is complexly informed with the latest information and studies available. And yet, I continue to read texts, articles, and listen to other professionals using the same old metaphors to talk about the work. I love metaphors, I studied English in undergraduate school, and wanted to be writer, but heed my warning: beware of the dangers lurking underneath the metaphors’ thin metaphysical veneer. 
Whether it is a ship, or a car steering wheel to avoid disaster and its engine to drive therapy forward, the metaphor continues to be heavily relied upon to both educate therapists and instilled in therapists to utilize in session when calling upon the imagination and creativity of clients to visualize the solutions to their problems. But this literary technique and clinical skill, I am suggesting, is much more reductive than it is expansive in its power to conjure positive outcomes in sessions consistently. I would also hazard to say, outcomes will be rarely reproducible, and when the therapist calls upon the metaphor to repeat an intervention, you may run the risk of failing. 
The problem with metaphors, and using them in therapy runs as deep as the litany of problems practitioners face when practicing psychotherapy: knowing when to use what skill, and when, to best treat the patient and be as effective as possible as a therapist. Well this problem is rooted in the very construction and execution of clinical practice. Perhaps because clinical practice itself is an abstraction of a canon of discourses of knowledge in the allied fields of social work, medicine, psychology, and others that have built the profession with writing, research and practice.
Since abstractions exist in the metaphysical world, we aren’t just encouraged to use metaphors. In a sense, we are restricted to them! The very expansiveness, and creativity we think of when we use metaphors in the therapy room is truly more limited than we think. Since we therapists are restricted to using this intervention, instead of choosing it, I am again suggesting metaphors in the therapy room are truly reductive, often dangerous, and above all, problematic for both therapists and the clients served. 

Pedagogy and Practice for Social Workers🎓

I am a very, very passionate learner. I believe in education, and anyone who reads my writing understands my love of learning. Partially due to a trauma suffered in my experience in higher education as an undergraduate, I learned to love the pursuit of higher learning, again, and again. My story is the narrative of a young lover of language starved and blocked off, forcibly, and by his own doing, of education and learning more. 

When I entered graduate school finally, it was in social work and not English. While I firmly believe that language scholars in academe also have a moral imperative to be ethical in their use of words and rhetoric in the classroom, the same carries true for social workers, and social work professors doubly so. Social work students are directly impacting the world. They work directly with clients, even in macro based settings, they are influencing the community with their actions, behaviors, choices, and views of how the work should be carried out in practice.

This is why I truly was a passionate social work student. I believed in learning as much as I could, in the most prudent, and pragmatic approach to blending theory in the classroom with practice in my field placements and internships. I knew that one day I would be off on my own, without the guidance of paid facility and the oversight of a school program. I knew I needed to process as much content from my education, books, and readings as possible, and apply it to my practicum and clinical placement to test my knowledge and see where theory and practice collide. In doing so, I could troubleshoot the issues of transposing classroom learning and practice as a student learning how to make it all fit together into one cohesive and workable plan for embarking on a career. 

This philosophy of learning and practice followed me into my career. I knew I was young, untried, and untested. I had to learn quickly, again, if I was to help my clients succeed, practice without incident, and do no harm to the people I served due to lack of experience and being a new therapist. I also knew enough where I didnt want to move about learning so quickly, that I was practicing clumsily and without regard for the well being of my clients. This is and was, and continues to be a giant balancing act. I once had a professor who explained it to me, ” that I was caught between knowing, and learning more”. This still applies today to my status as a practitioner, professor, and mental health professional. We are always poised between knowing and learning more. The minute we stop learning, and yearning for more, our careers rot, become dated, and irrelevant in the wake of new and emerging data, trends, and research in the field. 

So, how do we achieve this giant but critical balancing act? How do we practice, without all the facts, learned knowledge, and do so without hurting anyone? How can we still hope to learn more about the process and how therapy works while already doing the work and calling ourselves experts? We do so by being honest, transparent, and open about our limitations as a therapist. I am not suggesting we throw our hands in the air and give up when we don’t have all the answers for our clients, because we will never have all the answers, and that isn’t our job per se, as therapists. Instead, I am suggesting we be authentic about what we do know, and what we can continue to learn more about, modeling the same approach to practice to our clients about their behaviors, maladaptive patterns, and cognitive distortions which don’t serve them anymore in their interactions and interpersonal landscape. 

This passion I talk about so much needed a plan to be effective in the classroom. My pedagogy is based on a eclectic approach which blends the traditional and non traditional classroom learning styles with an emphasis on the luminal spaces and areas of gray in between theory and practice. Since social work education already blends the two, theory, and practice, in the course of higher learning, my point of departure began at the point of praxis. Sure, all students need to discern when theory and practice collide, how they intersect, and what happens when theory and practice do not play out as planned. My emphasis is a true archeological dig into the gray area of praxis and cultivating an epistemological understanding of what’s happening, or not happening, to praxis as it functions in the careers and work of social workers and therapists when they embark on their careers. 

I am J. Peters and this is my story: University on Watch👁

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.

2008

2008

The Mobility of Recovery

There is an undeniable mobility to recovery. Moving forward in your path to health and healing requires an inertia. From rate of recovery, the very speed and velocity required to push life’s pash setbacks, to identifying a sustainable pace, is a space and feat that requires a high level of self awareness and knowledge of your diagnosis. Depending on your diagnosis, trauma history, and triggers, you will need to get to know how to lock on to a path which will hurl you towards better health, and avoid the undertow of relapse. This is a tightrope, and walking the line necessitates discipline, wisdom, and lives experience.

While having a strong clinical prowess can help frame your weak points, as well as strengths, only learning from lived experience will truly forecast how you will respond to stressors, and how quickly you rally back from pitfalls and risk of relapse. Unfortunately, this means a period of trial and error. Doesn’t sound very clinical, but it very clincial, as testing, and applied experiential knowledge are most  certainly apart of the clinical picture. Sometimes, we need to see what works, and what doesn’t work, before we can truly forecast the future from historical expierences.

So how can we understand the mobility that moves our recovery along in better terms? Mobility is movement. Above all, it is the energy that pushes us past holding patterns in our recovery in which people stagnate and feel trapped, without progress or hope. These can be the most frustrating moments in our recovery. When we just don’t seem to make any peogrss from week to week. Mobility makes progress possible. But mobility itself, isn’t progress. It the mechanism that drives peogrsss forward.

Think of a car and it’s engine. The engine moves the car along from point A to point B. But depending on the course and direction the driver takes, the journey in which the car takes can have several outcomes. The car can safely get to point B and experience movement towards its goal. Or, the car can crash on its way to point B and not make it to its destination. This is the stagnation, holding pattern, and deferred progress I was referring to which all depends on the knowledge, skills, wisdom, preparedness, and all things which push back against risk of relapse.

As drivers in our own recovery, or captains of the ship, if you prefer that metaphor, we all need to steer clear of pitfalls. More importantly, we need to truly understand, how far and how much we can push, continue moving forward in our recovery, without burning out our engine, or worse, getting injured along the way. I have experienced a number of injuries and mishaps along the way to my path to health and healing. But no injury so deveststing that I couldn’t keep moving forward. Why? Because I got to know my weak points very well. I learned, that when I am collapsing, to sit down, and take a seat before hitting the hard cold pavement of relapse and heartache.

Finding the energy to move forward in recovery can be difficult. With severe symptoms, can carry with it, lethargy from medication side effects, or even worse, setbacks from poor decision making from cognitive distortions which which can form from delusional systems which can become fixed or solvent depending on the condition. With all of these obstacles in your path to healing, finding the right course to avoid pitfalls can be problematic. Each successive setback can be even more demoralizing. This is understandable but not a license to stop walking the path to health and healing.


So, I recommend a few things to get the mobility moving in the right direction.

1) learn your limits
2) plan for the worst at all times
3) know your weak points and nurture your strengths
4) tally your victories, and each marker or indicator you are making progress
4) when you succeed, prepare to lose ground unless you get to know the mobility and momentum required to keep moving forward

Learning limits is a constant reminder of how far you can psychologically and physiologically push your body before accumulating negative feedback or outcomes. Truly know that not being mindful of this can lead to the worst of relapses. Keeping in mind a great stretch is this awareness of your limits can be limitlessly fruitful in avoiding potentially very harmful and difficult problems in your path to health. Keeping in mind, charting your victories, however small, is not only motivating but clinically helpful in raising your own awareness of what works and what doesn’t in moving the momentum of healing along.

Finally, always remember, Hope is never truly lost until you stop believing in recovery, today!

Learned Helplessness Must be Stopped🔴

One of my biggest struggles as a social worker in the human services is challenging learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is a phenomena in which clients, patients, or any person connected to a larger system becomes so conditioned by it that they begin to need connection to it as if being a recipient of services becomes part of their identity and way of living. As a person who never been that reliant upon any system, but connected to one for access to its available services (i.e. mental health treatment) I would never go as far to say I find people engaging in learned helplessness to be beneath me or anything of that nature.

On a deeper level, I do find this phenomena to be very disturbing. I am a social worker and a person with lived experience who uses the system, accesses it at various levels, but has never been so reliant upon its array of resources and services that I have been conditioned by it. What I mean by this is, if the system fails me, or my needs bump up against its interests, I will not be so jarred or shaken that my wellbeing, world-view, and quality of life are at risk.

I have worked as a peer, clinician, and helper with people who cannot help themselves because they are so dependent on the system to do it for them they forget, and unlearn how to do things independently. It pains me to watch a person so ingratiated into the system that being connected to it becomes more important than how they benefit from it. I have witnessed this manifest in different ways. I have seen clients yell and scream at their workers in the community on supermarket check out lines, in community centers, or in hospital waiting rooms and ER’s, just because they have no other emotional outlet to vent. Indeed, I have experienced being hollered at just because my clients are so isolated and disconnected from natural supports, that I am, as a representative of the system, and extension of its services, the only option for clients to release their extreme build up of negative emotions and disturbing thoughts.

Cases like I am describing aren’t as rare and far and few in between as you may think. These are not always the most dyregulated, most chronic, and most isolated people. I have work within in a very populated region which has a vast spectrum of needs and range of supposed functioning. In most cases, though, the converse of the scenario I described is what is occurring and really requires people like myself who have an issue with learned helplessness to get over this bias and judgmental view of interpreting the behaviors of our clients. For example, in many cases due to cognitive issues or disconnection to reality, people reliant upon the system do not even realize they are connected to it. All while, they are participants in a larger network of care, ether government funded, or operated at a higher level than a local non profit or community clinic.

Some people are so confused or persistently agitated that they cope by disconnecting from what is going on around them and in turn, do not even realize they have reached the very apex of care and system support their county or state has available. This is true also in the state hospitals where people are so disconnected they do not realize they are even in a hospital receiving treatment. For many people experiencing psychosis who are connected to the most intensive level of services but are so symptomatic that they don’t appreciate or realize the level of support that they are getting from their providers.

This happens very often with clients or patients who are so invested in caring for themselves, due to the extreme nature of their illness, that they’re focus is getting better and not thinking about or concerning themselves with the nature, or intensity of their care. The fact of the matter is though, as a clinician, putting a client like this back into perspective and making it clear, from a systems standpoint, how serious their case is, or precarious, in the event they loose connectivity to the system how at risk they might be to relapse. Even worse, a person can sometimes lose access to treatment, which, may jar him or her into making noise and complaining to their local community mental health board, but only have their services re instated if there symptoms begin to overtake their coping mechanisms and their behavior is alarming. In these cases, patients rebound into the system which is more interested in controlling the risks to public safety.

Understanding our problems and issues in a larger context is the first of many steps to finding more appropriate treatment fits, connecting with other peers with similar situations and creating a larger community at level in which participation and peer networking is possible. This momentum and mobility in the recovery process is only possible when people develop and tune into their problem in a larger more global context. This requires the type of insight building only made possible when clients begin to frame their situations through connection to others, e.g. therapists, case managers, family, or the larger community and leave their isolating, and patterns of behavior which disconnect them from other people behind. These are situations which extreme paranoia, depression, or other mental health disorders become so profound where the management of the symptom takes over a persons life and in order to cope, maladaptive patterns of behavior are put in place which mask the issue, but contribute, ultimately, to the extension and prolonging of the problem and its treatment.

Sometimes as social workers we want to fix our clients problems. Sometimes, due to the limitations or constraints of the system, we clinicians have to just go ahead and do things for our clients. Instead of teaching people to remember their appointments, or make sure our clients attend session, we social workers go ahead and make reminder calls or reach out to clients to check in with us instead of teaching clients to access services on their own. These are all micro-level and clinical examples of learned helplessness in play. Learned helplessness functions at the macro level too. There are cultural issues which feed into learned helplessness, whether they are due to immigration, race, medical, age and ageism, all of these intersections which impact learned helplessness contribute to its power over the population, furthering our reliance on systems which disconnect and estrange us from the larger community.

We need to get to know our neighbors, the people around us, who live amongst us. Whether we are helpers, or help seekers, living is about survival, and people are more likely to succeed banded together and looking after one another. Being reliant upon a system, and letting something else define the problem for us, instead of the community identifying its own issues, estranges us from network building and bonding with our peers. Sure, Meals on Wheels is important to some folks and serves a vital function for some families, but so does neighbors bringing a plate of food to the next house when we know that family is in need. We have lost the very essence of community building and the very fabric of humanity which isn’t afraid to band together and change what really needs changing. The less human contact, the less empathy, the less we care about one another and what’s at stake for our friends, families, and those we love to get what they need for themselves and be better for it.

The Titanic

I have a framed portrait of the Titanic in my mental health private practice. Many people ask me: What does the Titanic have to do with having good mental health and practicing self-management? The answer is, it has everything to do with exhibiting good mental health. This past holiday season I had the pleasure of sailing on the Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s ocean-liner. I boarded Queen Mary 2 in Brooklyn, where it sailed from New York to Southampton England. Aside from lots of pictures of the Queen, and old ships of the line, I observed a number of Titanic references.

While I wont talk about each specific reference, I can say this. The references were everywhere and throughout the crossing of the Atlantic. On my deck, by the elevator shaft I used most regularly, was a large “SOS” transcript with pictures of that faithful night when the Titanic went down in the North Atlantic. Even as we passed the location of the Titanic’s resting place, an announcement was made on the ship’s intercom that we were no “passing” the Titanic’s final location.

That’s when I realised, there is something to be said about all of this from a self-management standpoint. In self-management, we teach adequate planning and ultimately, when and if you draw the “short-stick” in life and its situations you discover yourself in, how to maintain peace when life seems too chaotic to self-regulate.

So, according to historians, and the Titanic’s operating company “White Star Line” at the time, it has been surmised by written documentation that the Titanic was not only believed to be unsinkable in theory but it was treated this way by engineers and the men that worked and operated it, e.g. the manner in which lifeboats and other safety mechanisms were put into place, and generally, how it was it explained to passengers, in practice.

How we live and operate in the world, in theory, is just as important, as how we execute our behaviors and put planning into practice. There was nothing wrong with building a ship to be “unsinkable”. As far as I am concerned, it wasn’t the ship’s size, grand scale, or ornate qualities that sunk the ship. The ship was already on a collision course with failure of epic proportions even before it left the yard in Liverpool.

As people, we simply don’t know how to live without calculating in possible problems, and ultimately, failure into the mix of our daily outcomes. Sure, we want the best for ourselves. Nobody wakes up and says. “After my credit card gets declined, I am going to buy a pizza with the cash I have left in my pocket”. People instead assume they will get the pizza from the beginning.

Maintaining good mental health requires a degree of planning, not clairvoyance, but at the very least, it requires people to differentiate when theory and practice aren’t congruent or don’t reflect what’s happening in the world around them. This means, in theory, I could be floridly manic, and still, wake up, and drive to work without looking around my vehicle and checking traffic patterns, and do so everyday without incident until the one day when not looking into the mirror signals my demise and I get hit my another vehicle. In this case, it wasn’t the mania, or the relative strength of the vehicle that caused the accident. Sure, these circumstances contributed to it, but at the very root of it, the gap between theory, and practice, which so many of us willfully ignore, or out of neglect, which can have just as devastating consequences.

Speaking as someone who has cruised all over the world in American ships, I can be quite candid about the difference in customs aboard the Queen Mary 2, and other American lines. It speaks to a deeper difference in tradition, and generally etiquette. After my experience aboard the QM2, I am not shocked by depictions of the Titanic in film, where pianos and harps were playing as the ship was actively sinking. While this touches on a larger, “hush-hush”, out of sight out of mind, taboo treatment ignoring what’s wrong, or socially unacceptable during polite conversation, I think it’s about time the bigger message is learned. Not just because there never has been, or will be pianos playing in the ER I discover myself after a terrible accident. But there will be a psychiatrist, reminding me, that theory, and practice, share a frontier in the self-management of my life and mental health affairs.

Continuing Education 🔄

I was asked to write down three things I cannot live without on a piece of scrap paper for a seminar on interpretation. At that time, I was floridly psychotic, self-referential, tangential, and totally detached from what was happening to me, around me, and despite of me. On the paper I wrote down three things : (1) Ensure, (2) Education, and (3) Language. My belief is that I choose Ensure, and each other word for their complex, profound importance in my life and multiplicity of meanings. Due to my symptoms, I was in basic survival mode, and my body was responding by signaling that I need to focus on my most basic needs if I was to survive and continue to follow my dreams. My familiarity into basic artificial nutrition has a rich past with the Ensure drink. My grandmother had passed away years ago, but I still remember the various life sustaining and life preserving measures our family took to keep her alive and ensure her healthy and vitality.

My family ordered cartoons and trays of the beverage which arrived at my grandmothers apartment for over a decade during her final years. I am no stranger to artificial nutrition. In the Oncology unit. Nursing homes. Keeping the body alive through any means necessary is something I have been exposed to as a profound ethical dilemma and continue to question for my own personal end-of-life plans. Capacity issues, my own situation and history with losing the ability to care for myself legally. Also, knowing that I have lost capacity once before, was told I might not ever get it back, and the associated thoughts and feelings of being totally powerless to make decisions on my own behalf was as devastating as it was frightening. The feeling of not being in control was something that I have always feared, like many people do, but are never put in a space where physiologically they are not able to control themselves.

But in 2008 I was young, unaware of my illness, and pulling on every and any survival method I could think of to stay alive, healthy, and seemingly able to take care of himself when I was told I was losing my grip to make rational judgement calls and increasingly, using bad decision making skills. Then, I heard these behaviors as life choices so I ignored this very loud warning bells which should have signaled to me there was a serious problem at work. I was a young adult though. I had just learned how to live on my own in the community as an adult, and function at the level of a college student in upstate New York.

Something was happening to me that was turning back the hands of time, both developmentally in terms of my own capacity to self-manage, exercise sound judgment, and be rational about my living situation and life circumstances. I knew that my situation was becoming more and more serious, and knew if I was to survive on my own I would have to be more resourceful and clever about managing my money, conserving food and energy, and living totally independently and choice became I was preceding to live a new lifestyle.

Indeed the drink Ensure, and other artificial nutrition drinks, snacks, medications even gasoline, and eventually sugar, basic glucose to keep the heart pumping I began to progrssively stockpile. if I would have to lose weight for an extended period of time due to limited access to local soup kitchen from lack of available affordable transportation, I began asking friends to bring me packages of fresh groceries from week to week. It got so bad towards the end of May that I was eating left over meals from the common fridge, not knowing whose meal it was, its freshness, or visibility when it goes missing and the owner begins to point fingers at the person who was eating his or her leftovers without permission. But this was a minor infraction in the litany of boundary transgressions, threatening gestures, and non verbal articulations and unrecognizable signs I would point to when making a point, or trying to broadcast a message to my peers through my thoughts at school, home, or when driving.

Ensure thus became a more and more friendly visitor in my fridge. I stockpiled everything that could potentially be depleted. I knew full well I may not have another opportunity to make up for the provision I would simply have to do without it to continue on the struggle, and work cross purposes with the university of which I I refused to accept graduation, and move on in my life unless the school overturned its rejection of my application to its English graduate school. Education, while it continues too be important to me, then, was regarded by me then as something above reproach and indefensibly pure in nature as noble, regal, and the highest gift I could give my school was to continue on at the apex of the academic affairs. The deepness of my belief in Education still echoes in the chamber halls and libraries I passed through then and hung up signs making myself out to be a victim of political academic game, and unfair practices in higher education.

The extreme nature of the victimization inflicted upon me by the English department went deep into the psychological wellspring of crimes that persisted to continue without retribution, the intervention of the law, and mediation by a party at the university or by friends and relatives. Collateral intervention and treatment could have put things into more accurate or relative perspective and if had been non judgmentally applied to my situation, might have helped in connecting me to treatment sooner before the psychosis was in full bloom. Instead, the very language I was seeking, the completion of my unpolished rhetoric and years spent learning about how words work would also fail me. About the time I began running out of medication, I began hearing voices. About the time I realized my body was so ridden with involuntary spasms and tremors, I went looking for any and all medication I could find to ensure I would continue as a student in the pursuit of higher education.

That was when I noticed the signs were changing all around me. Words were taking on double, sometime triple meaning. I was unable to read, or speak coherently without getting tongue tied on a phrase, common expression, or any colloquialism that was generally assumed to have a particular meaning. Given I was in the mindset of challenging everything , and everyone, and all meanings to de-stabilize and create a new altogether different language, I began to get confused when communicating with people, reading directions, and even simple hand gestures which we all have an unspoken understanding of their intended meaning.

But then again, I was bowing instead of saying hello or goodbye because it was in fact, non-verbal. Being that I was loosing speech a fairly substantial rate, I knew I would have to begin planning my responses, greetings, and salutations with limited capacity. This was difficult, especially because some language was becoming unclear, wholly useless at different rates, and trying to implementing basic interactions, or sustain situationally inappropriate language became increasingly a struggle. For example, since I wasn’t supposed to speak with my professor directly, and I had to communicate with him for class each week face to face, I began bowing instead of saying hello, goodbye, or anything that would orally contribute to tension between myself and the staff I was supposed to keep a distance.

Knowing full well my situation was precarious, I commissioned the Doctoral Guard. This band of imaginary compatriots in the battle against the academy and transnational freedom would be the subject of my many messages on voicemails, requesting the location, position, and success of my transnational freedom with friends and family. After being arrested, I full well believed I needed someone watching my back. Given the increasing number of unfortunate situations that seemed to keep happening. It was my last sincere hope before I lost all impulse control that these imaginary friends would somehow intervene in my personal affairs and move back into into a space of fortune and favor again. My very last hope was returning to the earlier manic periods. This was when I experienced extreme euphoria and little interference from increasing symptoms.

So, I began stealing medication at home. About the time I was searching through the drawers of my housemates and swallowing unknown pills that weren’t prescribed for me I was also hearing very commanding voices to keep taking more medication, all of the medication, or begin fortifying my home from the Binghamton police whom were broadcasting on the telephone poles from speakers that they would enter my home with force if I did not do one thing or another at their will. I refused to listen. Not because I knew they were just voices but because the voices were all the self-doubt, negativity, and shame I had experienced before in my life that I was determined not to let it follow or consume me. I believed if I continued on and lived a normal life it would mean, adjusting to my new found stiffness, a condition which would blossom into catatonia, and other physical complaints which were making it increasingly difficult to move around and ambulate without confusion and extreme agitation.

Ultimately, despite having all three items on my list: (1) ensure, (2) education, and (3) language I was still not able to survive without intervention from the authorities. Moments after I lost all control of my body I heard voices that resembled a bomb timer ticking away, and then, a countdown to what seemed like it was going to an explosion. Running out of my house naked and totally paralyzed with fear, I ran into the local police which were investigating the broken windows in my car. It seemed that in my confusion I had thrown a giant rock through my car window, and then according to a re-telling of the story, and written documentation of my alleged description of the events, I had crawled through the broken window, and taken the same rock, and threw it through the other window and side of the car of make the glass appear more even.

Anything for the semblance of normality. Anything to ensure education and the pursuit of my dream. To be a language expert. in the end, the very language I used to survive, turned on me, or became so inaccessible and ineffective to continue without eventually going into free fail and in need to immediate help. When I got into the police car, I looked at the monitor in front of the car. The monitor said “Suspicious Signs” and I knew then, as I know today, to be very suspicious of anything which goes without explanation or plausible rational solution. Anything that takes more than three words to explain, three to clarify, and another three to challenge the original meaning is nine words too long without producing or identifying a solution to the problem. Instead, we all need to let you each other know more clearly and urgently before symptoms become unmanageable. Always safely impart critical messages for a course correction in your new condition to avoid the path to relapse. Ultimately, listening, keeping an open stance, and being less blocked to suggestion might have supplied the right perspective to pause the rapid destabilizing and mental status free fall and spin out we are all susceptible to when in acute crisis.

The power of Social Work language: a linguistic analysis🔠

The power of the social work language is rooted in the very words we social workers use everyday. There is no question, that the language of the social work profession is a limitless lexicon that is miraculously positive in its composition, ability to connect across differences, and illuminating when signaling the relative urgency, scale, and impact of our messages. These messages are the very words and ideas social workers communicate to their peers, clients, patients, and people served by an entire field of study. A study which continues to be misunderstood, underutilized, and undervalued by allied fields and people who can even be benefiting by having access to a social worker and his or her services.

And yet, the language has not been studied closely by the rhetorical sciences and arts in the academy. This is a language which continues to intersect, profoundly, with many intersections of power, privilege, and oppression found within the rhetoric departments of major universities and by language experts across the globe studying and mobilizing language in his or her many endeavors. I highly suspect these are the endeavors of language elitists in English departments, schools with an enriched Rhetoric specialization, and in turn, a willful misrepresentation of the power of social work and its language to destabilize. I am suggesting the very library floor these English departments and language courses are built on will subsume and collapse upon receipt of social work’s contribution to the academic world, language, and rhetoric in modern English and critical theory.

These language experts, so-called rhetoricians and chairs of English departments persist in the same critical inquiry we social workers do in our passion to help. Instead of inquiring into novels, we inquire into the psych social novellas in assessment, treatment planning, data analysis, and community engagement. Our critical skills, inquiry into the very souls of our patients, clinical savvy, is the mobilization of finely tuned, sequenced, prescribed, and sometimes, conversely, totally spontaneous language. Indeed we social workers are experts in language, too. But unlike the rhetoric specialist and English studies assignments, our reading of the text, the corpus, is the body itself of the patients we serve. We social workers are the metaphysical signifier of the helper, caregiver, and ethical high-ground. When connecting with those whom are different than us, or simply to supply the needs when engaging in other pursuits in need of further connection and elaboration to make it clear what is or isn’t at stake.

For social work, everything is at stake, and yet, we social workers have no enemies. Our discipline, our craft, does not need to “other” those great are different, make little our known and unknown enemies, or even disparage those that are critical of us. Our language is wholly heterogeneous and yet, totally equalizing in its power to be the all leveler in what is unjust, uncertain, and misrepresentative of what is, and what is not something to be feared. With the social workers that speak of concern, categorize it, and identify and mark the very strengths to focus on to minimize risk, and the likelihood and success of our clients is visible and clear as day to anyone that use our language. This is a language that is nuanced, and enmeshed into the very physics of speech and the words social workers do sublimely choose when intervening in the world of those who continue to put limits to its system of signification.

These systems, the very composition we social workers pass through and disempower is the same lens rhetoric language experts use in their halls of study in academy, the arts, sciences, and other fields of so called critical inquiry. These people that can do and succeed in spite of the department chairs of English departments, and any person who uses language for evil and sadistic purposes, and the prodigies of today’s social work and its advancement among the professions. There is no question our ethical code sits at the very apex of justice, hope, and good will with the many disciplines we work alongside in our professional pursuits. And yet, our contribution in the world of rhetoric, and the rhetorical sciences goes unrecognized and minimized by others who use language for much less urgent, and critical inquiries.

We social workers are the true masters of metaphor. The same artfully spontaneous and yet mechanically predictability social work researchers strive for in their pursuits academics, linguists, and language experts also hope to capture in their writing. This writing, the case studies, patient records, and assessments we social workers aim to master in our clinical language, academics, and other field with a highly specialized language claim is the very proof in their credence and right to be called its own discipline. As social workers, our language, communicates its own justification and supremacy in any specialization we practitioners choose to work or study.

Indeed, any rhetorical device is within our grasp during social work interventions, and skills which reach beyond the classroom, a podium, and your neighborhood or mine. These are skills which have a deep breath of understanding of all the rules of so called higher language. It cannot be more clear where the metaphysical origin of praxis and its truth live if not for the pages of social work research, and our further inquiry into justice, and all higher education, which seeks to disrupt oppression, power and those which service the purposes of rhetoric without bounds. Our discipline knows only the bounds and the limits of rhetoric, the gate-keepers which continue to make good intentions bad, and heroism into something evil with even worse intentions.

This is research based on the platonic ideals that there is no good use but instead, only misuse of biases, judgements, and truly critical inquiry. This is the other side, face, of critical theory when rhetoric has no reigns. This is why the social work language must fully subsumed if rhetoric and rhetorical studies are to ever be checked. Until then, fear, lawless ethical stances, and valueless beliefs will never cripple the aspirations of social work, its people, or those that call themselves helpers in a world where helping is obsolete and justice is turned on its head.

For social work research, the pursuit of the highest high ground in academic, moral, and ethical belief in the chronicles of higher education and academic affairs must be nurtured, praised, and celebrated among the disciplines. Alas, the professional schools of universities, media, and the social apparatuses which can continue to benefit from forward idealism and other schools of forward thinking which are beginning to understand what is becoming totally clear among leaders in the English world. That, above all, these trends emerging in most effective uses of rhetoric and those which operate language at its deepest, most insidious level, chiefly, at the vast reaches and pits which continue intersect language and its rhetorical written and spoken companion. There is profound growing respect for social workers and the language we use.

Interview with Author of the “V-papers” and founder of Mental Health Affairs, Max E. Guttman, LCSW

Interviewer: Please tell us, Max E., why do you insist on writing about mental health when it continues to be so widely talked about and covered by talented authors in recent years?

Mr. Guttman: I write because my message continues to be different than all the other authors out there in academia and clinical practice, even from folks publicly sharing their lived experience in biographies and self-help books. At the very moment my readers interact with the text. A deep connection is forged. It is a relationship like no other. It is a deep psycho-social and spiritual connection between the reader and the world of possibilities, realities, and non-normal experiences from the eyes of someone who has lived in both worlds. Not a sick and a healthy dual-experience, but a very human, and very real, constellation of in-betweens, successes, failures, and tested knowledge in its most platonic form.


Interviewer: Your work continues to stand apart from your counterparts in mental health and academia. Can you say more about this?

Mr. Guttman: Well you have to understand my stance. My philosophy is no Pat Deegan flowery and sugar coated version of the reality of mental health disorders. I speak from my experience. You’ve heard it before I am sure. There is an entire discourse and cannon of so called strengths based jargon, and self-appraising, self-vindicating nonsense out there in the world of “recovery”. Ill never forget the first and last time I listened to Pat Deegan speak at a conference. It was as if privilege and consumerism had joined hands in the name of mental health and recovery. Well, Pat Deegan doesn’t speak for myself or my readers. I am not willing to give my readers any of that garbage or opportunist ideology passed off as hope and healing.


Interviewer: Why Mental health affairs?

Mr. Guttman: There is no question that the re-appropriation of the language used by the Nazi party to justify and organize the Hallocuast is fundamentally important to re-balance both the social impetus and human rights necessity, situate in the problem in a context of historical grand-scale and enormity, as well as the required organizational feat ahead of us. Whether it be the documentation and planning aspect of reform, or “final solution” we as a society need to solve it to finally move the discourse out of the 20th century. The implications are as clear as day. Without further delay, we need to act swiftly with institutional, systemic, and cultural reform in grand harmony and with the highest moral and ethical high ground when thinking about how to move towards universal access and integration. Nobody can deny these implications have global reaches, and effect us all as humans equally and without regard for the lines that all too often typically divide and distance us from peaceful co-existence. Yet, we continue to ignore the proximate and ultimate possibilities of deffering any final soluton in mental health and its treatment to expect a real resolution to this universal and truly worldwide crisis.


Interviewer: You said you give readers this and that. Tell us, please, what exactly do you give your readers?

Mr. Guttman: Authenticity. Anyway you want to describe or put language it. My writing is the most candid, transparent, and vividly analytical appraisal of experiencing first episode Psychosis you can find in a library or internet database. I hold nothing back. Even if it means admitting to my own ethical and spiritual limitations and biological flaws from anatomy to the governance of my human emotions. There is no way to have a conversation about the true experience of illness without talking about things in sometimes very overtly negative and alarming ways. In my own opinion, there is no way to prepare the world better than to be completely honest about my experiences even if it means losing the respect of a few members of my audience. At least, in the end, everyone will be the most prepared for bad times when if and when you draw the short stick in life.


Interviewer: You’ve said it a few times in your works. You are arming your readers with information. How does this intended aim fit with the aim of your so called V-papers?

Mr. Guttman: I’ve been public about my love of language, and advocacy, and how both intersect in mental health and forwarding the discourse for some time now. I’ve also spoken about the overtly visable urgency in achieving both of these aims, simultaneously, and in harmony, should there be any hope of lasting reform and progressive changes to the system of care. I’ve been less candid about my belief in moving forward at lightening speed and certainty, at all costs, until our global culture can declare word-wide victory over the fallacies and atrocities committed by negligent and outright criminal treatment of mental illness in the past. We need to be fanatical in our approach to reform. Blocking admissions, establishing mental health courts, and being aware at all times of the impetus to move the discourse beyond the limits of today’s shortcomings and the possibilities of a future painted in broad strokes of hope and recovery from whatever ailment we come across in our lives or need relief. Indeed, the vengeance papers are the metaphysical manifestation of my theory in practice and the convergence of praxis in working seamless harmony.


Interviewer: You speak of a great harmony. But there is no such harmony in the mental health research base. In terms of forced treatment, what harmony is there?

Mr. Guttman: Look, I am an overweight, self-identifying Jewish native New Yorker with an active schizophrenia diagnosis. My mother’s last name is Goldstein. I might as well pushed Kendra in front of that train when it comes to how much stigma and push-back I have felt when working in the world of mental health treatment and it’s enforcement on ACT teams and other modalities enforcing mandatory mental health treatment. In the end, Kendra might have died for us. Not in some Jesus-like, religious bend, but for society to realize how much farther we need to extend the research and reform measures before we can say mental health care is no longer in immediate crisis. I am suggesting that in this regard, I would have without hesitation pushed her in front of the subway train, too, if it meant the public finally accepting that we have no choice but to reform the system and find a solution to universal access and integration of mental health services before there is no real threat of immediate harm or danger from having a diagnosis as severe as Goldstein had when he went without the care he sought out so desperately before Kendra’s law became a lived reality.

New Freedom: The Brave Experiment [British English Edition🇬🇧]

A Manifesto™️

The Formation of a Post-National Society: A Written Prelude to an Inevitable Reality

The human wakes up; opening his or her eyes to a society that he believes closes its eyes to the entity’s potential. No distinction needs to be made regarding the human’s race or belief systems. Gender, sexual orientation, age, or ethnicity. I present the human individual in the early twenty-first century. We delve into his writing, where he feels he is free. I speak of the right and power to engage in certain actions without control or interference. This is a notion that should only be true if mankind chooses to believe it rather than if mankind feels obligated to believe it. The vision in his mind is of a Brave Experiment.

We learn until the day we die, and after we die others are supposed to learn from our deaths. If we are all learning, then why don’t we treat others like fellow students? Students who try to teach each other and help each other can achieve success and well-being. I’m not speaking of some guy walking around Manhattan and screaming that ‘Jesus was a black man, not a Caucasian slave driver!’ That’s not a pupil-to-pupil dialogue. You walk down the street, and people look you over, up and down, and God forbid if you speak. Even your words are analysed. Searched for hostility and/or a conflict of opinion. I’m not advocating a society where you can’t walk down the street without being hugged. That would be fake. No, I picture a world where community meetings and forums overtake the vacant alleys and the sombre, lonely days in which some higher power intends us to be alone despite our best efforts. I’m sorry for you, though, very sorry. And by you, I mean the ‘shells’. A word I‘m going to use to describe the soulless people. Those who can sit and laugh with a fellow human while secretly despising them. Or, even worse, liking the fellow human until another shell taints their image of this person.

I don’t claim to be a saint. And I am no martyr. I’ve done so much wrong in my life. So much so that every day my mind recalls a nightmare that I created.

The human race. And it is a race. Animals walking upright in a bitter competition, trying ‘get ahead’. Ahead of what? Me? You? Your neighbour? Your friend? We are all family. What comes out of challenging your own family members? Only bitterness, anger, and grief. Remember this when you mug someone, get that raise, put someone down or simply ignore them out of indifference.

New Freedom

We cannot deny the belief that all people have the right to think, feel and desire. In essence, feelings lead to thoughts, which lead to actions. If people were made to feel that all logical thoughts were accepted from birth, a greater sense of positive feelings would ensue, leading to more purposeful actions. Of course, we neither live in a vacuum nor should we create one. A critic would ask how we judge what a purposeful action is without creating Orwellian thought police or some sort of Big Brother ideal.  What governing body would make the distinction between right and wrong? More importantly, how could they, a small minority, encompass the ideals of everyone they were speaking for? We must ask why people, in any and every society, should care about what is being outlined in this Brave Experiment? Most importantly, why can’t people see the need for the formation of a post-national society?

Simply put, if all feelings are accepted, we can make the jump to purposeful action through the nursery strategy. The nursery strategy states that the majority of free minds, without tangential influences, will produce logical thoughts if their feelings are accepted and nurtured. So, how do we achieve this in a stable society or human community? More importantly, what is a tangential influence? How do we make this transformation in our own society without creating ill feeling? Is there an element that would nullify this entire cause? Past movements that championed great ideals were warped by their lack of balance between ideology and methodology, as with communism and democracy. Balance is key. Without it, the Brave Experiment will have neither the respect of mass culture nor of the groups leaning toward the centre of the political spectrum. It is also understood that centrist ideals are not accepted as necessarily correct. They simply lie between each end of the spectrum of thought.

Pragmatically speaking, the mechanics of New Freedom will dictate its design within society. To be able to link ideas, one must first understand the rift that makes them singular. One must understand the phenomenon of a seemingly objective lens. It carries with it no authoritative or paternalistic sense but rather a rare sort of truth. Because humans carry predisposed notions, they have orientation points. It must be understood that a spectrum of thought is like the concept of multiple dimensions. There is simply no such thing as a completely objective view. It’s how we go about unpacking ideals that forms societies and the people they consist of. If all societies were homogenous, the Brave Experiment would not exist. Individuals harbour different ideals. Understanding these differences is key. Note that even the centrist notion cannot be assumed to be acceptable. Change is the only constant in the universe. It’s how we adapt to it that makes us who we are.

There is no organisation yet worthy of carrying out the nursery strategy. This statement, in and of itself, suggests why we have reached such a critical time in our history. The fact that the term New Freedom, in the minds of many shells, is a term that is not yet ripe for use indicates its importance. Before mankind reaches the point of no return set forth by Old Freedom. Old Freedom: the rise of a nationalism in which citizens are free within their nations. This concept has become a parasite for our species, and it will one day warp our minds beyond the point of no return, the point at which the justification of any idea becomes so clouded that humanity can never attain full consciousness. We will destroy our chance at evolving. Species can doom themselves; they have destroyed themselves before with their lack of foresight. New Freedom will provide a path to consciousness so that we can continue to evolve. New Freedom is our last hope, something that we must obtain before we can ever get to Third Freedom. Third Freedom will only come when humanity breaks free of Old Freedom and the animal kingdom.

The human race has scared itself into a frenzy. Every action is questioned to the point where people’s heads spin out of control. Liberals and conservatives alike, who once prided themselves on their solid principles, are falling apart because they don’t know which end is up. If people can live in a society that accepts boundaries, then self-defeating conflict will end. The concept of a boundary is provocative in New Freedom, as it seems to imply a loss of humanity. On the contrary, however, New Freedom offers a different definition of a boundary. A self-defeating boundary is one that curbs our individualism, which is the antithesis of New Freedom. The Brave Experiment recognises boundaries that destroy species. Such boundaries pride themselves on destruction and the propagation of the elimination survival method, like the creation of doomsday weapons and the birth of our own Armageddon.

A tangential influence would be any thought process that lives outside the realm of this cause’s ideals, which may or may not one day be incorporated into society. With an increase in tangential ideals, we would see a decline in balance, which would spin any new society out of control and past the point of remedy. Simply put, the sponging ideal is one that has not yet formed a bond with New Freedom. The sponge soaks the life force out of New Freedom, thereby warping its tertiary structure and rendering it useless.

The current whirl of our species has created two distinct notions. Either the next step in achieving self-consciousness is through some divine fiat or the conditioning of human behaviour is creating a dystopian society. The Brave Experiment does not plan to rub a magic lamp or take babies away from their parents so that the parents cannot inculcate their offspring in their accustomed wantonness. It is known that our children are our infinite selves; they carry us beyond our mortal lives. The Brave Experiment is not advocating that people give up their mortality for the survival of the human race. No, instead New Freedom advocates giving up self-defeating principles for the survival of the race. In essence, when a person comes to the conclusion that an idea is self-defeating, they will no longer believe in it, and it will no longer be accepted as something that should cross the threshold to immortality through their children. When people accept the nursery strategy, they accept this logic.

It is clear that change is a constant. Not accepting New Freedom because it will change the way we view the interrelated universe is self-defeating. It would mean blinding ourselves to reason. It is clear from past history what this leads to: holocausts and wars between nations. What does this break down to? Wars between ourselves. Thus, the propagation of the elimination survival method.

Believing that children make parents immortal just because their ideas are being passed down, whether these ideas are logical or not, is false. Parents become immortal when they pass down immortal ideas and thus achieve consciousness. This can only happen when the older generation and the younger generation reach an equilibrium of thought, where the young learn as much from the old as the old learn from the young. Thus, we can see the end of book burning as a visualisation of this concept. Tossing away history, in whatever shape or form, would destabilise the equilibrium that makes New Freedom viable.

The nursery strategy does not gamble that enough competitors in a system appreciate competitive codependence and that competitors still using the elimination survival method will not harm individuals practicing the nursery strategy. Anyone who wishes to partake in a final resource-denial attack on his own people would be successful only to the point that a loose fanatic would be. The relationship with the Brave Experiment and the government will explain this dilemma. This is where the umbrella model becomes so critically important.

Imagine the entire human race under one umbrella that protects us from the evils that we as a people create. In essence, it would be a social structure that protects us from ourselves, that protects us from both ends of a spectrum of thoughts that could potentially lead to actions that would cripple the Human Union. Therefore, I propose the umbrella model. This raises an important question: How can one entity construct a model that is representative of all humans with individual feelings, thoughts, and actions? Individuals come up with original ideas; this has been the trend throughout our existence, and it will always be this way. It is up to the other individuals to accept the original idea and embrace it.

The shells might say that the umbrella model is corrupt because it evokes something transcendent and that it distinguishes between the protectors and the protected. They will say that codependent survival does not have any clear dominator and that it will create a food chain or elimination survival method of living.

On the contrary, the umbrella model is the facilitator, the functional body of New Freedom. It creates a viable environment for the creation of the Human Union. Simply, it creates an infrastructure for the propagation of the cause, much as traffic lights are useful for directing traffic so that we don’t crash into each other. Once Third Freedom is achieved, the umbrella model becomes obsolete, but we need to get there first. A facilitator is not a dominator. Of course, this distinction highlights our current flawed institutions, like the United Nations, which is neither a facilitator nor a dominator. It does not tell us to adapt or compromise when it creates sanctions and creates an army of nations that propagate the elimination survival method. However, a functional body that clearly upholds codependence is by nature neither imposing nor dominating. It creates the environment for the Human Union.

The Human Union fundamentally refers to the bonds that form between individuals. Thus, if we understand how to create these bonds and what they theoretically consist of, we can hope to apply theory to this reality. So, the umbrella model and the nursery strategy would create the bonds that form the Human Union in the Brave Experiment.

Practically speaking, people will only entertain a concept such as New Freedom if they believe it can be practically applied to their life or it can serve as a model through which they can measure themselves. This model is not defined as utopian. This distinction is necessary. A utopian society cannot exist, at least for humans, because every individual has a different definition of the perfect society. However, the Human Union, once implemented, would create a tangible state of humanity that constantly struggles for progress. This is a basic human fundamental in applications through time. The Brave Experiment’s methodology is both theoretical and tangible, which subsequently provides a reason for people to adopt it.

It is key to understand that the aim of New Freedom is not to establish a means of world domination or the creation of a thousand-year Reich. This notion is contrary to the Brave Experiment. Domination implies, and is, assimilation into a single thought process, into a society that won’t change because its only means of survival is to sustain a constant to achieve balance and stability. The Brave Experiment recognises that societies are always changing because transformation is part of human nature. Therefore, the Human Union will lead to timeless bonding by adopting change through the recognition of human nature. The transformation of people from coexisting parts in tension with united parts.

The functional structure will correlate directly to New Freedom’s cause. This will nullify the hypocrisy that cripples people’s belief in the ability of a governing body to support the ideals of a new society. In all current governments, there is ideological conflict between the way they operate and the ideals of the society that encompasses it. This becomes problematic as we consider concepts such as war, economics and the concept of justice in relation to policing the people.

Functional Structure of the Brave Experiment

It is important to note that the functional body of the Brave Experiment has no powers over local governments. Local governments are defined just as they exist in current societies. Although social trends are sure to influence the government, as they always do, the two institutions are to remain separate to maintain stability. If either the Brave Experiment or a local government tries to coerce the other institution, they would inevitably both fall apart because of the lack of balance. Avoiding the chain of events that would destroy two important institutions is surely the best encouragement to maintain the equilibrium.

Whether a person lives in a capitalist society or a communist society, there is no such thing as free money. The only difference is how one attains the money. The concept of free money is the antithesis to the Brave Experiment. Any struggle requires resolve, which is part of the fabric of this cause. A discussion of money is of great importance because money defines how most governments operate and their subsequent effect on economics. There is no new government in New Freedom. The government of New Freedom already exists. Its ideal is to evolve to become a living, breathing, self-sustaining entity. The universe is ruled by entropy, and the universe has been irrevocably set into motion. To harness this motion and determine the positive energy product is key.

Maintaining the Balance of Power

Ideals can’t feed people. The starving masses can’t fill their stomachs with theories. However, we currently live in a society that promotes the survival of the fittest. The Brave Experiment embraces capitalism’s emphasis on striving for greatness as well as communism’s unity through equality, but it shies away from their fallacies. People can easily fall through the cracks of society, and political doctrines are not always well-correlated with their applications. Governments must compete, but they must compete within codependence to ensure the survival of the species.

New Freedom recognises the multiple ways that people gall between the cracks of society, but the fiscal concern is emphasised in this discussion. Working together to achieve a better life as a collective unit, without infringing on those already on the path to freedom, is a fantastic goal and one we should foster.

The rich get richer because they receive the benefits of the collective unit, as does the middle class. As the income of a person decreases in this society, so does the sense of prosperity of principals. When an individual feels he has failed, he falls into a downward spiral. However, when he feels he is a part of a collective with accepted principles, a different cascade of events will ensue. Instead of a downward spiral, the solace found in the Union will give the poor the collective unity they need to attain sustenance. Hence, the image of vagrants stealing each other’s wagons filled with the remnants of their former lives will be obsolete if they feel it is no longer accepted as a way of life.

Simply put, as the umbrella model and nursery strategy take shape in society, the social bonds that will ensue will fill the cracks in ailing capitalist and communist societies by not only wiping out poverty but also by taking the strain off the government resulting from costly programs, such as welfare. As taxes the government imposes dramatically decrease, more money will be invested in the Brave Experiment if people feel obligated to do so. Why does the Brave Experiment need money? Simply because money is needed in any society to purchase the commodities needed for a social institution that is independent from the government. Money will be required to build infrastructure.

People united under a common cause will always try to better themselves. People united under the Human Union will better themselves. If New Freedom cannot coexist with a government, within the current economy, then the principles that New Freedom is founded on would be hypocritical. New Freedom simply acts as a catalyst that speeds up the rate of progress in relation to the ideals championed by both institutions. Entities that recognise shared resource–survival dependency will tend to band together against entities that are trying to effect non-survival through resource destruction. Thus, homicide is rejected, and governments will become increasingly introspective and critical of war.

Therefore, organisations would not be destroyed but protected under the umbrella model and maintained through the nursery strategy. It must be recognised that there are no guarantees that a final effort resource-denial attack won’t be launched. However, there are no guarantees in this universe. We must work with this contingency. A living entity must have competition to fuel the adaptation-survival process.

New Freedom does not wage wars; governments wage wars. However, when ideals supported by the Brave Experiment diffuse into governments, in the long run the principles of waging war would become increasingly questioned. Of course, this will not occur overnight because evolution takes millennia. However, the Brave Experiment outlines the path for change. On a day-to-day basis, one way to guarantee survival is through the non-survival of defeatist competition. However, history repeats itself because the current model is ineffective because we live in an interrelated universe. Let’s break free of a recurring history and make our own.

Those who accept New Freedom as logical but deny its existence are just as bad as societies that understand their ills but do nothing to amend them. They fail to embrace change, a fundamental necessity. They abhor what is logical and accept something stagnant and thus stale. They create an environment that allows the creation of holocausts, wars, racism and human suffering. They want to oppress humans, perhaps not physically but mentally. They want to keep us from achieving self-consciousness.

Logic in the past or present is still logic. It’s timeless and can’t be discarded. If we are ever to achieve timelessness, we need a methodology to do so. New Freedom does not state that it is the only path to do so. Such a statement would be antithetical to this entire argument. However, if we warp logic, warp the Brave Experiment, it will not work. Warped logic is not logic; it is something else.

To accept a belief as logical but indefensible is simply defeatist in nature, not to mention contradictory. For if something is logical, it is defensible by nature. It defends itself and becomes its own argument. On the other end of the spectrum, if we as a species fail to uphold an ideal that will carry us toward self-consciousness and the capability of achieving evolution before extinction, just because we incorrectly deem it as indefensible, we are cheating ourselves. We are denying ourselves our full potential. To deny ourselves our potential is a crime, and this is the big picture that the Brave Experiment addresses.

It is important to understand that the small problems we face are due to a much bigger problem. We have recognised this, but we have never come up with a strategy and model that are universal enough to cancel out the small problems, which thus become much larger than they really are. These include problems related to race relations, morality, the purpose of governments and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships among co-workers, family and friends. The list goes on forever, which directly correlates to why our ability to achieve greater self-consciousness has been blocked. Before we can fix the big picture, with any application, we must understand the dynamics of how the smaller parts relate to each other. Basic anatomy dictates this to surgeons. Mechanics face the same dilemma when they fix a car. The interrelated universe thus becomes New Freedom ideology.

The implications of New Freedom are obvious and its presence is necessary. Our species, without achieving consciousness, will never outgrow its self-destructive tantrums. In the present, there is plenty of room for another World War. Do we truly need another catastrophe for codependence to be burned into our bones? Or perhaps it will be, when we as a species die out. The Brave Experiment says this does not need to happen. Let’s not let it happen.

We are alone with ourselves now. There is no human community, no human union. Communities can never be too independent but can become too estranged, and thus they will compete with each other through the elimination survival method. We need new communities, independent yet interwoven. Connected through communication and the flow of thought. Let us use technology to our advantage, so that cell phones no longer trap us in isolated worlds but are used as tools for independence in an interrelated society and universe. Our partners in life thus need not be our neighbours but can be from anywhere in the human universe. The closer home is, the more incestuous we are, and the shorter our line of survival. Do not try to change or warp another culture or become an alien in it. This is elimination survival: destroying them to make us. Live with others without coercion. What should rub off will on them and you will. Nobody in the Brave Experiment needs to change anyone.

Not everyone can go everywhere. This is accepted. However, the more we interpollinate American with European with Arabian with African with Latino, the closer we will come to creating a common social genius. People who live with other cultures, or experience them, do not have to be taught to respect them. Successful people in strong unions become complacent, indulgent, selfish and self-defeating. People in alien environments, or who accept alien ideals, can compromise, adapt and survive to create the Human Union.

There needs to be a balance between what is public and what is private. We can have an equilibrium between the two as well as an equal presence. The mass transportation of people and the ideas they harbour is an example of how to facilitate change. We must make the diaspora of ideals readily available to anyone in the Brave Experiment. Only then can we have the accepted rift between what is individual and what is a part of the Human Union.

We must form the backbone of the Human Union. The presence of institutions that harbour those who have slipped through the cracks of a crippled society create an environment for the dominators of Old Freedom. Only then can we achieve Third Freedom and self-consciousness and create a viable environment for the basic human principles that propagate codependence.

We must write our own epilogue…

‘I am under the impression more and more that this is not reality. That I will wake up any second and I’ll be in diapers or I’ll be married with kids. The list of possibilities is endless. I can be in a state hospital somewhere in a straitjacket or I could be a bum on some sidewalk asking for money. The worst possibility I can think of is that this is reality and I’ll wake up tomorrow with the same problems.’

‘First we were all migratory. Then we settled and separated. Then once again we began to explore after we had created a home for ourselves. Some of us gained an advantage and reaped the benefits from our own people in distant lands. Then some tried to be kings and rulers over their equals. Then, the Brave Experiment came, and we all became more human.’

In Solidarity with J Peters

Known as University on Watch day, February 28th, honors the legacy of J. Peters in academe. In 2008, J. Peters put New London University “on watch”, forever altering the English language and the Humanities in Higher Education. Mr. Peters wanted nothing more than to move on to higher learning. Instead, Mr Peters was ostracized and humiliated by his department at New London University. Arrested, and chained to a pole in the university barracks, Mr. Peters proved that his will to persist in his education would reveal and expose the fear surrounding his mission: Contesting Admission.

Email from the Provost to J Peters

Contesting Admission was Mr. Peters original manuscript. This paper was his vision, dream and his belief that anyone’s will to rise above the powers that be can halt injustice in its tracks and create a new culture and ethos at the very level language. Contesting the admission decision which denied Mr. Peters admittance to graduate school in English, he continued to move forward, putting language itself on notice of his intent to continue learning.

The manuscript

Mr. Peters will to fight on until the end is what we honor on February 28th. Risking everything for what he believed was right and pure in academe is the cardinal virtue and hallmark of University on Watch day. Feb 28th is a day that reifies the very meaning of unremitting and persistence. Inscribing justice back into scholarship and the very heart of the Academy. On Feb 28th we stand in solidarity with J Peters, and anyone who has ever challenged the very apex of power with nothing more than good nature, the labor of love, good will and belief in the possibilities of the unknown. Together, we reveal Mr. Peters great unknown, as something very familiar, and real: hope in the future.

The arrest notice

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Behind the Mind with Kevin Meiselman

Kevin Meiselman interviews J Peters in his podcast, Behind the Mind:

podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/behind-the-mind/id1455163317

A Nation Divided Learns to Heal

What Does WW2 history inform todays world about Macro-Level healing in a global context?

The Psychological Occupation of France

In 1940 France fell to overwhelming German military superiority. The fall of France however and the unfolding French surrender are two very different stories. In Versailles the stage was set for the most elaborate conspiracy that ever existed to divide and conquer the French people. It began with a treacherous betrayal of the military and resulted in the formation of a phony government calling itself “Vichy” France. The years afterward until the end of the war would be characterized by general confusion, low level paranoia, panic & genocide.

Social Iconography & the Distortion of the National Image

Staying alive and surviving in 1940’s Vichy France meant understanding the new laws of the Nazi Occupation to reduce loss of life and maximize survival whenever possible. Regardless, the new laws made survival a daily struggle and for some, impossible. Some people choose differently and believed that righteous life meant the ultimate return to democracy and social & economic freedoms. But not everyone agreed it was better to live autonomously and choose to live under the auspices of a German occupied France. An iconic example of this type of pattern in self-destruction is captured with this image of the French government surrendering to the Nazi’s in 1940.

Rape & Genocide of the the Population

The French government knew further resistance and continuing the war would mean the loss of public & personal property as well as national treasures. Life in Vichy France after defeat would benefit some , exile others, & target many millions more transport out East. For many though it seemed like life would go on. Few would challenge the invaders but those that did believed in freedom despite the treachery from the people in the image.

The V2 Rocket: Hitler’s Vengeance Weapons & German Withdrawal from France

As the war waged on, Germany’s ultimate defeat became more and more a reality. With dwindling supplies, troops, and capacity to wage a offensive war, Germany was driven back into defensive positions across Atlantic Wall and ultimately Westward retreat. Hitler’s V2 rockets; known as Germany’s Vengeance Weapons, still had long range capability to hit targets in England. Built with Jewish slave labor in underground factories, these weapons never created the game changer that Germany needed to win the war. Like most acts of vengeance, on micro and macro levels, they are desperate ploys to change reality and overwhelming odds to overcome inevitable defeat. In the case of the V2, the weapon was built by the same slave labor targeted by the Nazi government for extermination.

In the end, these weapons failed to meet their intended aim, and the turn of the war favored the allies and US interests in what would soon be post war Europe.

Freedom and Resistance

The image of Hitler in front of the Eiffel Tower captures evil in its most platonic form and is reminder of complacency in ethical and spiritual barbarism. When enemies are destructive to life we must band together to lead the charge on their homelands and root out their evil.

This country is the home of a peaceful people but we demand our rights. The right to freedom above all else and the right to live independently of foreign enemies and their interests before the needs of our people.

The Bible calls it the apocalypse, scientists call it annihilation. Everything that stands between our allies and victory needed be called into service at that time.

The Path to Providence, Healing & Recovery

France and its Western allies have always been a people outpacing basic survival and thriving despite the hurdles thrown in our wake. France had learned to reconstitute it’s borders and economy after centuries of war in Europe . The US, taking is cues from its European allies in centuries of rebuilding, but also learning from the mistakes of misapplied diplomacy, would set the course for a new chapter in European and world politics across the continent.

This chapter is remembered today as our path to providence and belief in a future world-shaped by our will to survive past the dangers of today. These dangers are overcome not by the will of one man or the strength of one nation but the capacity for mankind to heal as a species and learn from our history before humanity’s time on this earth too becomes revoked by a higher power.

Macro & Micro Levels of Healing in France and Western Europe

On the national level, France was unified and liberated by the end of the war. Healing on the national level meant re-building. Loans, massive loans re built Western Europe and restored the county’s infrastructure to pre-war if not modern heights of operation to hurl the Nation into an economic boom. When everything is in ruins, everything has to be rebuilt. Just like people, nations must constantly balance the scales of construction and reconstruction of outmoded infrastructure to keep commerce circulating through the country and a Europe safe from its next threat: communism.

Seems rather cyclical: this pattern of creating and distorting images of the enemy, enacting war, and enabling reconstruction just for the renewal of nationalistic values which are so overzealous they spur new conflicts at home and abroad? Or, has our capacity to conduct a war like World War Two become obsolete in the wake new technology and shadowy new ideology which is so covert and insidious it cannot be marked or identified on a national level? Is this, the beginning of the end of the nation-state and its apparatuses to hail us one people and one nation under god.

Only time will tell I think. The ongoing instinct we have as a species to move forward into the heart of tragedy, and find guiding light in the inner reaches of darkness will one day tell us a new history.

A Fond Farewell to Mary✌️

The pictures posted are from a secretly videotaped meeting with my care manager and his director at a non-profit agency in Westchester NY. For three months, I have been calling and trying to reach my care manager. I left message after message for weeks for this person.

It’s the same old story in mental health and systems of care. The consumer is always in the wrong, “difficult” or problematic.

In the case of the meeting I am going to discuss, I was the consumer, and desperately trying to explain to staff that I had been making every effort to connect with my care manager without success. After, I was threatened repeatedly with discharge from the program and/or referral to another agency who could serve my needs better.

Prior to this meeting, I got a call saying I have not been in contact with him or the agency and my case would be terminated. After this outrageous claim, and outright lie, I went ahead and videotaped the meeting out of fear of future mishandling of my case and care and to push back on a system and program that has consistently been negligent and out of bounds with state regulations with OMH.

“I dont oversee every little case here, I am a director”

“We don’t have experienced care managers at this agency…”

“You’re difficult to serve”

“Maybe we should just refer you to another agency”

“The issue is you’re just too high functioning …”

Discharge Planning: Re- Entry into the Community🚸

I’ve experienced a number of serious planned and unplanned hospitalizations and subsequent discharges. Medical, psychiatric, physical rehabilitation, you name it, I’ve been discharged from it. Discharge planning should always begin from the moment you enter the facility and become a patient in the hospital. If the facility isn’t planning for your ultimate release and re-entry into the community, there is a BIG problem.

Whether its a question of lengthening your stay for unethical insurance reimbursement when it’s unjustified, or clumsy planning altogether, as a patient, you should always be inquiring into your projected length of stay. Social workers, or case planners, will love to defer answering questions around your projected time spent in a given facility, but you must always persist with asking your worker about your ultimate discharge.

There is a number of reasons why being relentless around discharge planning is important. Firstly, (1) staying focused on your recovery always means thinking about transitioning to a lower level of care, (2) reminding your treatment team about your pending discharge will keep them motivated to put together the best possible plan, (3) future oriented thinking suggests to your team you have a vested interest in your after care and thus, your in-patient treatment will more likely target how to handle ongoing and chronic issues which usually put people at risk of re-hospitalization. There are so many reasons to stay to stay focused on future discharge and your after care plan.

Depending on the reason, or precipitating factor which triggered the hospitalization will impact the work that you and your team will need to invest in discharge planning. If you are in an inpatient psychiatric setting, discharge planning can be very much dependent on your diagnosis, number of hospitalizations under your belt, relative chronicity of your symptoms, intensity of your symptoms, and prognosis given these and other factors which are largely situational and based on your personal life circumstances and psychosocial history.

Discharge planners, given the enormous task of interpreting the aforementioned factors, your current mental status, etc it is unlikely anyone will give a firm and concrete discharge day because there are too many uncertain and unknowns to be addressed. Aside from the known information which is difficult enough to gain a clear clinical picture without years of experience discharge planning for complex cases. Finding a discharge planner willing to commit to a window of time you will be released can be difficult given projecting a sound prognosis for psychiatric admissions is usually more unclear at day one and early on in your hospitalization than medical or rehab for acute injuries and substance abuse.

Upon discharge, you will need to hit the ground running when returning to life, and depending on your health, this may be a challenge. Being (1) realistic about your recovery, (2) understanding you are on a journey and discharge doesn’t mean cured, (3) open and honest with your supports about your situation, (4) ready to ask for additional help or cheering on, (5) allowing yourself time to heal. These are all critical agenda items for anyone who is facing discharge from a long or short term hospitalization. For a successful discharge, you don’t need to be completely healed, just very aware of the follow up and after care pan will greatly reduce the likelihood of relapse or re-admission.

“After Care” plans need to be (1) tailored to your personal circumstances and lifestyle choices, (3) realistic and accessible to use even if your condition worsens or doesn’t improve, (3) contain a plan “b” or what to do next when you have to divert from the plan from either insurance issues, transportation or re scheduling of doctors appointments, or any number of things that can wrong when re-entering the community and taking care of yourself again, living more independently, or adjusting to life outside of an institution. When adjusting, be prepared for anything and everything to happen.

Preparedness goes a long way when you show up for your out-patient care and intake and they tell you there is a six month wait list for services or they stopped taking your insurance. While these may seem like trivial snafus, many tines, these admin issues or technical problems de rail people from their recovery, and shift the focus away from their health. So, instead of focusing on the problems ahead directly problem solve the issue keeping you from connecting to your outpatient patient care. If you are too tired or exhausted and can’t work out these possible connection issues to after care, call the unit or case planner on the unit you were hospitalized and have them make some calls or suggest a new plan.

Re entry into the community can feel strange. It can seem surreal depending on the length of your stay in the hospital. Sometimes, extremely lengthy hospitalizations can create feelings of learned helplessness which can come from being institutionalized. Relying upon others and feeling less motivated to be self driven are some of the side effects of re entering the community after long hospitalizations. Be prepared for adjustment. Expect to feel strange, awkward, exhausted, and everything in between.

In the end, enjoy all of it.

There is nothing more profound than healing and recovery from extreme perilous circumstances and returning to a more normal life again💪