Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas

Please help me extend a warm welcome to Natasha Thomas.

Welcome to the PBS Blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Natasha and I’m from Daytona Beach, Florida. I’ve been living in the metro Atlanta area for the past 11 years.

Cool beans. Are you employed outside of writing?

I am! I have worked as a psychiatrist for eleven years. I treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and psychotic disorders. But my specialty areas are posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and peripartum mood and anxiety disorders. Those are disturbances in mood that happen during pregnancy or in the postpartum period.

Over the course of doing this work, I’ve learned the postpartum period is much longer than the six weeks women are usually taught to consider postpartum. I walk with women through their entire pregnancies and at least the first year of their baby’s life to make sure they adjust well and their mental health is supported.

I start treating people at age 15 and have patients in their eighties!

Wow! You are doing such important work.

Now, I just finished binge-watching this (I’m late to the party), so you know I gotta ask, with you being in Atlanta and in the medical space…

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…are you a fan of Married to Medicine, and have you met any of the women from the show?

So funny you asked about Married to Medicine! I’ve never met any of the ladies. But being a psychiatrist, I have met and share patients with Dr. Lunceford (Quad’s husband). He works at a local inpatient facility. So at times when patients aren’t doing well and have to be hospitalized, they’ve been under his care. During those times, he typically reaches out to me so we can collaborate on their outpatient treatment after their hospital discharge.

In addition, Dr. Damon Kimes (Dr. Heavenly’s husband) is an absolute joy to share patients with. He is extremely compassionate to the mental health needs of his patients that also have issues with pain management. Having the opportunity to collaborate with local docs is one of my favorite things about building a medical network here!

That is so cool! See, I knew I was watching that show for a reason, lol. And Chile, they fight like real sisters, and the shade!

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Any siblings Natasha?

I technically am an only child. I have a very close cousin and very close friend. They have been my “sister” and “brother” since I was two years old. They were both raised as only children, too. So, though I grew up without siblings at my home, I have never really felt alone.

That’s precious. Speaking of growing up, what was your childhood dream?

When I was six years old, I developed a strong interest in biology. And this came from reading the children’s encyclopedia series my parents ordered for me. The last book was a guide for parents to understand their children’s health. It was the most interesting part of the entire series to me. But interestingly, I decided in fourth grade that I would attend Yale Law School. I have no idea where that aspiration came from. That lasted a few years, but science just continued to interest me so much that I began to consider medicine around age twelve if memory serves me correctly. By the time I was getting ready to attend college, I started feeling the pull to write. My mother and father encouraged both – but medicine first!

I was a very daydreamy and quirky child. So, from that angle, I had dreamt of doing everything from finding Smurfs in the tree in my backyard to oddly wanting to become a maternity model in the JC Penney’s catalog. That’s the most bizarre realization I’ve ever had about my childhood dreams! Oh goodness.

Lol. That’s what we want to hear! We want you to dig deep. What’s your favorite color?

Green. Kelly green to be exact!

Nice! Favorite food?

I am a true seafood lover. Fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster, crab – I mean, I could just go on and on. My favorite meal, altogether, would be white rice, with fish and collard greens. Interestingly, I was told that was the exact favorite meal of my grandfather, who passed away before I had the chance to meet him.

I love that about genetics. How we could inherit a trait from family outside of our mothers and fathers.

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You mentioned the pull to write, so let’s go there. What genre do you write and why?

I write psychological suspense. I guess, with what I do for a living, it’s not all that mysterious why I have chosen that genre. I’m fascinated by the human mind. Absolutely. What happens to the psyche through one’s life story is incredible, and nothing intrigues me as much. Whether I’m reading, writing, or watching movies or TV, suspense and thrillers with a psychological component are always my favorites. I think we learn a lot about ourselves that we may not want to express when we consume thrillers and suspense. They give us an opportunity to look at our moral compasses and question what, if any, absolute truths we hold.

I love the education your are giving us right now. Do you blog? Does blogging help with writing?

I actually feel like it’s the reverse for me; writing helps me blog. I started a mental health blog called Hope Grove in 2018. It was inspired by the cool work I get to do with my patients, and many of the questions they ask me. I figured if they had these questions, others would as well. That’s especially true for those who, for whatever reason, do not have access to mental health care. And even though the questions drive my blog postings, sometimes I would feel it required a real push to finish a topic.

I have found that writing a post has flowed much easier since I’ve been working on my novel. I think that’s because I’ve been working with a different part of my brain, my imagination, and that tends to mobilize me in general. I also am an intermediate level Haitian Kreyol speaker. I have found my use of the language drastically improved since I’ve been writing my novel. It makes sense but I wasn’t expecting that to happen!

Why is writing important to you?

Oh, that’s a big question. Writing is my outlet. But it is also the way that I take all my life’s experiences and distill them down into bite-sized pieces that I can process and understand. Just like everyone else, I have pain, regrets, doubt, successes, joy – so many emotions to turn over and over in my head. Writing helps me do that in a healthy way. And to turn some of my life lessons into a story that benefits myself and my readers is a gift. The writing of others is also massively important to me. Through the work of greats like Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Edwidge Danticat, and Nikki Giovanni, I started to see writing as a window and a healer. Can you imagine a world without it? I’d certainly rather not!

I love it.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is honesty – honesty that allows you to see yourself and grow into your highest potential.

Thank you, Natasha, for spending this time with us.We enjoyed you!


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Natasha Thomas, 2021

Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in private psychiatric practice exploring the individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.

Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. In 2010, she moved to Metro Atlanta to work as an outpatient psychiatrist and has the continued honor of providing clinical care as owner & CEO of Hope Grove Psychiatry, PC. When she is not doctoring or writing, she enjoys her family, home, or corner of the couch.

Be Sure to Follow Natasha on Social Media!

Social Media Handles:
Facebook  – @natashajeneenthomasauthor
Instagram – @natashajeneenthomasauthor
Twitter – @JeneenAuthor
 

…and preorder her Psychological Suspense Thriller coming this fall!

 
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About the Book:

Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in South Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes.

When Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar.

But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find.


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. 

Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – Laughter

I am so excited about this week’s writing challenge! Today’s theme is on one of my favorite exercises. But first, I want to say welcome everyone to another Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge as hosted by Ronovan of Ronovan Writes and Colleen of Silver Threading.

fileNow, about laughing. I have chosen multiple quotes for this week. Here are some of the best laughing quotes I found:

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142ce0263f0876e1ec67aa4d4701aa8eAnd now, for the serious quotes (Just Kidding, there are no serious quotes)

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Find-It-Funny

be55695067e0820840b9dae4880bc74cOK, seriously, here’s some serious ones:

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That’s all the laughs I have for you today. Until next week, yall be great.

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Books Every Woman Should Own

One of the things very few people know about me is that I’m a Certified Medical Assistant with a focus in Phlebotomy. I’ve also been trained by the American Heart Association for Pediatric First Aid, and Adult CPR. No one knows this because I simply don’t talk about it. I don’t offer too much information about myself unless I feel it is warranted. Plus, writing is way better.

Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I was really sick. Whether we’re talking about flu’s, colds, it’s been awhile and it’s been awhile for my husband as well. That’s because if you look around your house, there is probably a cure to almost everything you would normally run to the doctor for. In fact, there’s pretty much nothing you cannot cure with Herbs and a little bit of common sense.

Below are some books I have collected over time that I think every woman, especially every mother, should own:

Herbally Yours by Penny C. Royal:

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I call this book the “No Strings Attached” Herb book because it is literally a complete list of Herbs and Herbal combinations you could use for a variety of ailments without an agenda. With the exception of the introduction (which I opt to just skip), it is an alphabetized list of natural herbs to help with anything from High Blood Pressure to Infertility. It is also easy to follow. You can probably find it for real cheap on Amazon. My mother’s name is also Penney so it’s possible I’m just being biased :).

Home Remedies Health Handbook by John H. Renner, M.D., and the Consumer Health Information Institute:

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This book is a great compliment to Herbally Yours. If you buy Herbally Yours you have to buy this one too. That’s because while Herbally Yours gives you the list of Herbs to use, this one actually shows you how to use it! It’s got a lot of cool tips and gives you practical knowledge on how to care for over eighty common health problems. From constipation to tooth aches, the common cold and even diaper rashes, this book’s got you covered.

Natural Cures and Gentle Medicines by the editors of FC&A

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This book is great on information about diseases and common aches and pains. It has information on Alzheimer’s disease, Asthma, and even exercises to escape back pain. And get this: there’s even something in here on hiccups! That’s right, there are things you can do to stop hiccups. One exercise I do that works for me is that when I feel a Hiccup coming on I hold my breath. I know I know you’ve heard this before. But the trick to it is being able to hold your breath long enough. Hiccups occur when a ripple contracts the diaphragm, a large sheet of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. This spasm causes an intake of breath that is suddenly stopped by the closure of the vocal cords. This closure causes the “hiccup” sound because there is a blockage of air. That’s why while hiccups happen out the blue; most people get them (myself included) when they eat too quickly. But if you relax, breath in, and hold your breath for a few seconds it’ll help stop the hiccups. This isn’t in the book this is just what I’ve found works best for me personally. You can actually feel the food going down too if you do it right and the hiccup goes away.

Now, there’s one book I do have, but that I do not want to recommend. The only reason I have it is because we’ve had it for awhile. To each it’s own so if you feel like confusing yourself you can go ahead and Google it. Llaila O Afrika’s African Holistic Health. It has some interesting health information in it, however he mixes too much of his own doctrine in with the information. I don’t like when people take stuff too far, you have to maintain a proper balance in your life. It’s one thing to want to learn more about your health as it relates to your cultural and ethnic background, but when you start assuming that everything black is good and white is bad that crosses the line. That doesn’t even make any sense. If you’re going to give information about how unhealthy white bread is do that. But don’t just say that it’s unhealthy because it’s white. Denote the unhealthy aspects of this food to what actually makes it unhealthy. Tell me that white bread is made from refined white flour containing several unwholesome constituents; tell me that though it’s produced from the whole wheat grain it is then subjected to the refining process which removes all traces of the husk, or bran and along with it all the goodness contained in the grain. But also tell me that it is not that which goes into the body that defiles the man but what comes out and that there are still some good aspects of the white bread. This is called balance. Don’t take it too far and don’t take it too lightly. To put it mildly, the books A-Z Herbs for Diseases and explanations on what causes them is good information, but too much of the book is filled with his own philosophy and that’s a dangerous combination in the research department. There are actually right and wrong ways to research and those who are not careful can easily get themselves highly confused. For example, in section 16: Holistic Perspectives the man said:

“Kissing is a European sexual and friendship custom…African men kiss each other and African women kiss each other because kissing is a spiritual custom. Caucasian kissing between men and women is primarily sexual.”

What?

Where are you getting this information from? This is what I’m talking about. You can’t go around just making up stuff. In the end I get the feeling I’m being indoctrinated into some Afrocentric Egyptology instead of learning about health which can lead astray those not rooted in the truth and is in turn counterproductive to the purpose of picking up the book in the first place.