Wales High School shares your journey in high school and the events that led you to a psychiatric ward. What inspired you to write this autobiography?
I have spent so much time processing the challenging experience I had in college from my book University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy. I overlooked the importance of going back and revisiting what happened in High School. As a therapist, I appreciate how trauma works. Going back and getting a better understanding of the trauma I experienced before helped situate why the events, later on, manifested the way they did and gave me a better idea of the behavior patterns I kept repeating, which were so destructive. Also, I wanted to write a book that all people experiencing mental health struggles could relate. Not everyone goes to college and would appreciate University on Watch. Everyone goes to High School and struggles at some point.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about mental health?
I think a common misconception about Mental Health is how it looks or appears/presents to others observing someone who is sick. Mental Health/illness looks very different depending on the diagnosis and how the person handles him or herself while sick. I have seen people of all dispositions and demeanors with various illnesses as a therapist.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The hardest part was truly capturing my desperation. I was a desperate teenager and in a desperate situation. It wasn’t easy to both find the correct language and read what I have written without cringing.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
I have two other books available right now. One is a more petite ebook, Wales Middle School: the rise of J. Peters and Small Fingernails: Even Less love, both autobiographical.
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Beloved one at the rim to the other side.
Today, I bring you my companionship with words,
for I will never claim to know your journey to this point.
Before we converse, I ask you to put away the rope,
the rope you are holding so tight as a bridge away from this world.
It is dark, and we are going to need some light to be seen.
I am lighting a wood fire to invoke all our guardians to join us.
Let us praise and thank them for protecting and guiding us to here.
Before we speak, lend me your arms so I can pray for our life.
Allow me to unburden what is weighing you to this moment.
Speak it or not, but I shall remain here holding hands ’til dawn.
The night is vast, and we will not be rushed to light.
What matters is we stay here together, facing this darkness.
I will not let us die emotionally in helplessness.
I have brought my heart and mind to drink them, and I hope
you will allow me to refill yours with spoons of hope and love.
The bridge before us is unknown, and I would have flown if I knew.
But we are still here, together, gazing at this fire, and I pray
it will not die before we have untied the knot in your heart
and the thoughts fencing you away from hope and worthiness.
Lend me your heart and mind so I can give mine.
I don’t know what tomorrow has in store for us
but on this night, I vow to keep you safe in my arms.
This night is ours only; we will own and claim it like the moon.
I hope you will take it and decide to keep, and it is all right
to visit in phases—sometimes full and sometimes waning.
Thank you for taking this night and allowing me to be in it.
The fire is still burning and the night blushing with hope.
The embers of life ignited; I see you choosing to stay.
Weary, battered, and bruised, you have chosen to stay.
Tomorrow can come, and I see you walking back to life.
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Tags: A Poem for Suicide Prevention, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, CHOOSING LIFE, ebook, Gloria D. Gonsalves, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mental health, nook, novel, Ordinary Suicide, poem, poet, poetry, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
The Wales High School: First Diagnosis, by J. Peters, is a memoir talking about the first diagnosis of his mental disease. Who could’ve guessed that the blue-haired, chain-smoking teen Jacques was once an academically bright kid straying far away from any social interaction, let alone drugs. The account starts with freshman year at Wales High School, where Jacques is any other academically bright but socially challenged teenager, trying to fit in with the cool kids. It follows his development through high school, and how he ultimately wins the recognition award for “Most Changed”.
The language of the book is crisp and engaging. It hooks the readers right from the first chapter. The book does a fantastic job of describing how mental illness is seemingly invisible to the patient, and how in their mind, their actions are perfectly rational. The book talks about life before the mental health issues arose and shows readers the events that led up to them and then explains what was going through the patient’s mind during treatment.
This is a true to the soul account of a mental health survivor, the book is free from all the glamorization and undertones of extreme morbidity that often are found in books on similar topics. Rather than catch the readers’ eye, the author simply states his story, a true account. This honesty hooks the reader and made me want to know more and dive deeper.
While this is a thought-provoking and authentic story, I felt that the book did not provide a deeper insight into the feelings of Jacques. Even though it does a brilliant job of talking about the thoughts and explaining what a mental health patient thinks, I wanted it to be more emotive. I felt that a deeper dive into the emotions and subconscious of Jacques would have added a greater depth to the entire account.
I really enjoyed Wales High School: First Diagnosis for its extreme candor and simple yet engaging language. With a relatable plot, and short and crisp chapters, the book is hard to put down. It resonates with teenagers going through a similar phase in life and to friends and family who struggle to understand their child, help them, and be there for them. This is by far the truest account that I have come across about mental health issues.
Pages: 110 | ASIN: B086381MYV
Tags: author, autobiography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, college, college guide, depression, ebook, goodreads, health, j peters, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, mental health, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, Wales High School: First Diagnosis, writer, writing, young adult
Someone’s Story follows a teen struggling with depression along with a host of other high school challenges and finds a group of weirdos that save him from the dark depths of his mind. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I went through a rough patch in life and this started as a journal. After about a half-year of reflecting and journaling, I decided to turn it into fiction. I combined many people from my past to get the robust characters we have at the end. I also play with the timeline as all this did not happen inside a year but rather over 5 or 6 years. As an adult, you get older and you fall out of contact with those people from your past. In a way, this was me letting them know I was always paying attention.
Someone is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Originally it was me. The anxiety and the cleverness, combined with the running. I am a deep-thinking introvert and that side of me comes out in Someone for sure. Where the character took flight was when I combined two people from my past with myself. By bringing in their flaws and trauma I was able to create a firecracker of a character. The decision to leave the character named Someone was because I didn’t feel it was fair to make this from my perspective or to call the main character myself. By just leaving them as Someone, I better honor all the people that rolled into this character.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Mental health, friendship, love, loss, pop culture, drug use culture.
I wanted this to read pretty normal for the first 60% so I tried to pull from my past and give genuine heartfelt chapters from my past. I think I also do a good job showing broken homes and “busy” parents. Of course, the ending hits hard and mental health becomes the central theme. Jogging and writing are tools to help with mental health. I am not an expert on mental health in any way but I can say that jogging and writing help balance me. I know when I struggle the most it is because I have let those two things fall off my schedule.
This is a fantastic debut novel. What were some surprising challenges you faced while writing?
I do not have any technical English training. I used a pair of editors to help me with tense and spelling. The editors are critical to my process and both came back to help on my second novel. The plot and characters come naturally to me and I can write 50K words in a few months, then I spend 6+ months going back and forth with the editors. I went down a 2-year rabbit hole learning how to self-publish and then self-market. I had no idea how hard it would be to market a novel. You have to get on social media every single day for years to get steam. My second novel release is going to be so much bigger with all the skills and connections I made along the way though.
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Individuals are burning out at alarming rates. People feel constant demand to deliver, so they’re either burning out or they’re leaving their jobs, due to high stress and burnout. With COVID-19, this is becoming more prevalent and amplified, due to all the demands from working from home (WFH).
In Michael Levitt’s Burnout Proof: How To Establish Boundaries To Avoid The Negativity of Stress, you will learn how to:
- Recognize burnout signs in yourself and in others
- Understand how you became burned out in the first place
- Implement burnout prevention techniques that go beyond taking a 2-week vacation
- Launch immediate steps you can take today, to stop the burnout from growing
- Establish boundaries in your life, so that you can fend off potential burnout from external factors
Michael Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout media and consulting firm. He is an in-person and Certified Virtual Speaker, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, bestselling author, and hosts the Breakfast Leadership Show, a top 200 podcast on iTunes. Michael’s A Top 20 Global Thought Leader on HR & Culture. and a former Healthcare executive, overseeing $ 2 Billion budgets.
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A Memoir of My Descent Into Borderline Personality Disorder
“What will the neighbors think?” “Keep your voice down, or the neighbors will hear you screaming.” I never knew The Neighbors, but, more importantly, they never knew my family. Right next door was a house of horror, and they indeed never knew. This is the story that was carefully concealed from you. This is the story that can happen even if you do grow up with neighbors watching.
From author Cindy Collins comes an unblinkingly honest, poignant, and often heartbreaking firsthand account of what it’s like to live with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) . . . and the pervasive trauma she endured as a child that led to her descent into the dark world of BPD. Gaslighted by her mother—who cultivated an outward appearance of being the perfect wife and mother—Cindy suffered ongoing sexual abuse by multiple family members, abandonment, and cruelty at the hands of the one person who should have loved and protected her most. The resulting fits of rage, extreme thinking, difficulty maintaining relations, and depression would set Cindy on a path of destruction until she finally found the hope and courage to fight her demons.
Chronicling her childhood of abuse, her diagnosis of BPD in her twenties, and her ultimate road to recovery, Born Under the Gaslight is a memoir like none you have ever read before. Offering a rare and insightful glimpse into the inner struggles of someone who lives with BPD, Born Under the Gaslight is a must-read for therapists, others living with BPD, and anyone wanting to understand the complexities of BPD and how to offer practical and emotional support.
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University on Watch is your true story detailing the obstacles you faced in academia and how you were forced to overcome your disabilities while facing bias and ignorance from people at the university. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I fell in love when I was in college in New London with language. If I was ever going to put process the trauma and move towards healing I needed to recapture the events in the book through the very words that were so precious to me years ago.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
The impact of a major mental health disorder on a person’s life. Specifically, for young people alone and isolated from supports, and other vulnerable people. They needed to know what it takes to survive, and the various threatening intersections there are in the health and healing.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
Always keep in mind your behavior and the goals that you are setting out to accomplish. The behavior has a direct impact on us and the outcomes in life. Sometimes, without doing everything we can do to keep moving is all we have to hold on to in our darkest hours.
You are a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Has your time helped others informed the development of your book?
Without the clinical language, I wouldn’t’ be convinced I had what it took to write the book. Prior to healing and becoming a social worker, I had only one lens through to see the world. Back then, I also felt a certain way about my grip on the world (shame, guilt, all of it). The point is without a whole new way of understanding the world, what else was I offering but a closed-off and a non-illuminating text.
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University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy by J Peters is a unique reading experience. It is the author’s true story of what he endured going through the world of academia and how he was forced to overcome his disabilities AND the biases and ignorance of those at the university to achieve his education goals.
It is a stunning examination of those dark things that should not be tolerated or accepted on any level, but ones we all know occur when backs are turned or no one is looking. More than that, it is the story of hope. Of how we can achieve our dreams no matter the obstacles thrown in our way. Despite the almost horrific exposure of academia’s underbelly people choose to ignore, this tell all confession is a message of inspiration for those with disabilities and mental health issues. Author J Peters wrote University On Watch after enduring a major crisis at New London University. It took ten long years for him to come to terms with what happened there. No, I won’t spoil that for you with this review. During that time he took a closer look at who he was and who he wanted to be. J Peters has since gone on to become a rhetoric scholar and, in his own words, a person living with schizophrenia.
This book is written in a straightforward manner, both open and easy to follow. J Peters pulls no punches in his recounting of his time at the university. His book is a journey of self-discovery that will engage your emotions on a deep level. If you don’t walk away questioning the how and why of this scenario you may need to go back and reread it. University on Watch is unlike anything you will read. Do yourself a favor- walk a mile in J. Peters’ shoes.
Pages: 150 | ASIN: B07NP2891M
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