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TWO BAGUETTES AND A GOOD HARVEST

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“Anyone who wishes to partake in a final resource denial attack on his own people would be successful…”

J. Peters (The Brave Experiment, 2005)

My room in Beginnings street was my sanctuary. I did not spare any opportunity to bring comfort, style, and utility to the room. Originally, the previous tenants has left a twin mattress in my room When I went up to Freedomtown for the summer with Dorothea, we looked around the house for opportunities to improve the status of my room and its appointments.

“He won’t need a full size mattress, he’s sexually inert,”

I said, pointing out that Kim wouldn’t need a full-sized bed because he wasn’t and probably never would be sexually active. So, Dorothea and I moved Kim’s larger more comfortable bed into my room and gave Kim my old twin size mattress.

This was one of many little repositioning acts performed by Dorothea and me before moving into the Beginnings street house. I wanted it to be perfect. After living in Bingham and then in my friends’ vacant room, I wanted to finally feel that things were truly mine. This was a restoration period for me in Freedomtown, what I later termed restorative social justice or the politics of friendship.

One day, when Dorothea entered my room, she looked at a new modification I made to the wall space above my mattress. She asked,

“What’s with the baguettes? Why are there two baguettes over the bed?”

They represent a good harvest, and plentifulness, here on Beginnings street, I replied back.

“I see,”

Dorothea answered in disbelief. But it all made sense. At this point, I had everything I wanted, and more. My dreams had come true, and I was living out my existence with a new found sense of happiness and purpose.

About the Author

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association.

Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia.

"I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others."

"In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."

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