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. 

Revolution

Revolution comes from the German word Umwalzung and means a complete change. It is a complete change or replacement of a system. The destruction of the old for the new. What the so-called Black man and woman have been doing is seeking to be included in a system that already exists. We have been fighting to be accepted into a current system even though said system has excluded us for nearly 400 years. This is not revolution. This is not a separate system. This is the same system. Until we are comfortable having our own we will never truly revolutionize. There is nothing wrong with being a separate people and building a nation and until we understand this without the fear of being labeled discriminatory, we will never truly revolutionize. All other people have done it but as soon as the Black man says he wants to run his own businesses, as soon as he says he wants to live among his own people, as soon as he says he wants to build Black schools that teach Black children about Black history now he’s acting funny. He’s a supremacist, a racist, a separatist, extremist, and every other “-ists” in the dictionary. He’s radical and he’s militant because he wants his own same as others have their own.

Only in America is so much emphasis placed on color and other countries to which she has infected follow her traditions. Only the dishonest will fail to admit that the social, political, and economic atmosphere of this country (U.S.) encourages racism. Doesn’t matter where a man is, if he is rich or poor, skinny or fat, smart or ignorant, black, white, Chinese, or Asian, whether he is a plain man or an artist, if he reads books or not, if he is intelligent or simple, whatever he is he must be able to think for himself. As long as the so-called Black man and woman has been in America he has not been encouraged to think for himself or to seek anything of his own without America’s permission. He has not been capable of fully revolutionizing. He has been emancipated but his freedom only meant a transfer of ownership. He has gone from the property of the plantation to the property of the state. Then he was amended into society. He’s an add-on. He was added to the Constitution since before then he was America’s slave and unworthy of sitting down at her table to eat. So these people she referred to as Black had to be included into the system and still he was a slave and what to the slave is the Fourth of July?

He is taught to fight for a country that has never fought for him. To honor heroes who were never heroes to him. Twelve U.S. presidents were slave owners and four of the first five presidents were products of a Virginia society in which slavery was a part of everyday life. So while Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were all considered patriots who valued liberty, they were also all slave owners. Yet this people given the name Blacks are encouraged to regard her heroes as his own. This is not revolution. This is not a new system. This is begging to be part of a system that has long since rejected him. But before a people can revolutionize anything that people must first have a revolution of self. A shifting of perspective and complete change in thinking and if a man cannot change the way he thinks then he cannot change anything. Everything begins in the mind and so the revolution is in our thoughts. The revolution begins in the mind of the revolutionary first. If you cannot change yourself then you cannot change me.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” – Marcus Garvey (he said it before Bob Marley’s Redemption Song)

GET OUT

This is probably the most powerful movie out right now, specifically for the African American and I highly recommend it. This is not conspiracy theory, political, militant, or a religious type deal here and its even a step deeper than racism itself. This is real. I won’t go into it now because I want to give you a chance to go and see it. I’ll just say this: the movie is symbolic of the traumatic experience that black people have been subjected to in America since we got here. Your mind has been put into subjection since the moment you stepped foot into this land and the exposure of such high-level witchcraft is present in this movie. You have been under a spell since stepping foot on these shores. Or from the movie’s perspective, since you’ve stepped foot into that house.

Carter G. Woodson said that once you control a man’s mind you do not have to worry about his actions. You don’t have to tell him to go to the backdoor. Control his mind enough and he will carve one out for his special benefit. Why? Because his education makes it necessary.

The silent auction itself was very powerful. What is a silent auction and what is it symbolic of? Where do modern auctions of today descend from? Oh, so you think there just happens to be people bidding on paintings and furniture and that just came from, what? And what is silence? Silence is representative of a secret, something being done without someone else knowledge. Something hidden. What are they trying to tell you is still going on? Why did Martin Luther King Jr., say that he ran into people who had never seen money? Farming, but have never seen money? This thing is real. Watch the movie.

If you have not already read The Willie Lynch Letter, I recommend that too. Read that and then watch this movie and we’ll talk about it later.

I won’t say anymore, I’ll wait. Go see it. It’s worth the money.

“Black people are viewed as pawns in an international game of control and manipulation, and our worldwide misuse is an accepted by-product of business as usual.”

– Haki R. Madhubuti
The Psychological Racial Personality, Bobby E. Wright

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews SICK (Part One) by Christa Wojciechowski

Title: SICK
Author: Christa Wojciechowski
Publication: October 1, 2015
ASIN: B014RQXI88
Genre: Psychological Suspense, Thriller, Suspense

“SICK” is a psychological suspense novella surrounding a woman with a very sick husband who lives in a constant vacuum of life-threatening illnesses. The offspring of wealthy parents, John and Susan Branch married and settled into an affluent life that eventually dwindled after John took over his family business upon the death of his father. Soon, the family business plummeted and so did John’s health. Diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a complicated blood disorder, Susan is forced to take care of her ailing husband while trying to maintain a livelihood of basic necessity as a full-time medical clerk of a podiatrist. Immediately it is apparent that John’s illness is taking its toll on Susan who from the onset appears to neglect part of herself to be his full-time nurse.

“A marriage made in medicine, John’s and mine. He was the victim, and I, the slave to his diseases”. – SICK, Christa W.

As the story moves along, I started to notice something very unusual about John. His wife reads him books as he drifts off to sleep, feeds him baby food, sings him lullabies, and says that he’s a “Good boy”. If that’s not weird enough, John pouts, throws temper tantrums and whines like a three-year-old. I became annoyed at Susan’s inability to see the signs and felt sympathy for her sense of low self-worth. Eventually, I began to associate John’s behavior and his speech with that of mental retardation; surely this man couldn’t be serious. And as Suzie slaved to be his mother, wife, and nurse, I could not be prepared for the story’s ending. John, the progeny of old money, an Ivy League education, and a keen intelligence behind his eyes was far from a learning disorder. John Branch, the world’s most sick man, would turn out to be far sicker than I could have anticipated.

“The wealth, the disease: they were part of him.” – SICK

As I read this book I knew I wanted to give the author a four-star rating, but then I got to the end and it blew my mind so I had to upgrade her! I love the psychology of the story. How the persona and personal background of Susan and John helped me as a reader and as a person understand the outcome of this sad situation. There are people in this world who grow up with silver spoons in their mouths and yet they have no love. Whether that is self-love or love that wasn’t given to them as children, a lack of love can transform a mentally stable individual into a monster.

At the conclusion of the read, the author provides some very informative and educational information about one of the world’s least talked about conditions which I won’t mention here as I think that will give away the story. In any event, SICK is a must read.

Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Be sure to grab your copy of SICK from Amazon today.

Yes, right now.

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Bloghttp://christawojo.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@christawojo

Facebook: Facebook.com /WebbellaChrista 

Writing Therapy

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Do you write for therapy? Also known as Journal Therapy, Writing Therapy is the act of writing down thoughts and feelings to either come to a deeper understanding of self, or of the world, or just to provide a kind of healing to the stresses of abuse, insecurities, or everyday situations. It is a form of therapy that I am not sure that everyone who participates is even conscious of. Do writers who write recognize a form of healing from the process? Perhaps that is something we may explore in great depth at a later time. “What drives you to write? What makes you write? What kind of stain does having written a piece leave on you?” These are questions you may feel free to respond to at your own leisure; it will be interesting to see what our answers are to these questions.

In the meantime, below is an excerpt from a piece on Journal Therapy that may be of assistance in the exploration of this topic. This article first appeared in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mind-Body Medicine, The Rosen Group, accessed from http://www.journaltherapy.com. ©1999 Kathleen Adams. I hope it is of help to you in your writing endeavors. Enjoy 🙂

The Philosophy of Journal Therapy

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In the 1980s many public school systems began formally using journals in English classes and across the curricula as well. These journals, often called “dialogue” or “response” journals, offered a way for students to develop independent thinking skills and gave teachers a method for responding directly to students with individual feedback. Although the intention for classroom journals was educational rather than therapeutic, teachers noticed that a simple assignment to reflect on an academic question or problem often revealed important information about the student’s emotional life. Students often reported feeling a relief of pressure and tension when they could write down troubling events or confusing thoughts or feelings.

Journal Therapy in Practice

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Although there are many psychotherapists who incorporate journal therapy into their sessions by assigning written “homework,” there are relatively few who specialize in journal therapy. Therapists who utilize journal writing in a session often begin by asking the client to write a short “check-in” paragraph or two on “what’s going on” — how the client is feeling, what s/he wants to work on in the session, and what’s happening in her/his life that impacts the therapeutic work at hand. This writing is usually shared with the therapist, and an “agenda” for the session is set. The therapist then guides the client through a writing exercise designed to address the therapeutic issues or tasks that the client has brought forward in the check-in or warm-up write. This writing usually takes about 10 minutes, and the remainder of the session is spent with the client and therapist exploring the information revealed in the longer write. The session generally concludes with the therapist offering several suggestions for journal “homework” to be completed between sessions. Journal therapy is also very effective in groups, and it is common for group members to establish a sense of deep community as writings representing authentic expressions of self are shared.

Benefits of Journal Therapy

It is believed that by recording and describing the salient issues in one’s life, one can better understand these issues and eventually diagnose problems that stem from them. Journal therapy has been used effectively for grief and loss; coping with life-threatening or chronic illness; recovery from addictions, eating disorders and trauma; repairing troubled marriages and family relationships; increasing communication skills; developing healthier self-esteem; getting a better perspective on life; and clarifying life goals.