0 0 lang="en-US"> Who exactly is J. Peters?
Mental Health Affairs

Who exactly is J. Peters?

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For a long time now I felt strangely about using my given name, Max E. Guttman. I’ve felt even more strongly about this when talking about 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. 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 the 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. Noone 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, others 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.

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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