Preview of OK Danny Boy (Monster) vol. 2 by Felicia Johnson

monster full

After a couple of days, I got used to the routine at Bent Creek. Wake up, check vital signs, chat for a bit with your group and group leader while waiting for breakfast, take my insulin, breakfast, morning goals group with a mix of different counselors along the doctor leading the goals group, my doctor, Dr. Finch.

Dapper and chill as always, Dr. Finch sat with me in the room after morning goals group. It was easy to talk with him. I mostly stayed on the surface of things with him because when it was time to go deep, I felt like I couldn’t do it. I felt like if I did go down that dark path of what had actually happened and how I truly felt about it all, I would lose the comfort zone I was in and in turn I’d lose my ability to want to talk to Dr. Finch or even be in Bent Creek Hospital. What else was I going to do if I didn’t stay here? Go back to my home where Mom and Pop fight and make me feel crazy? Sit and watch reality fake tv with Mom-Mom and we take our insulin together and stay silent about the other medications that I need to function, too. There was no way in hell I was going back that church so that the scary priest man could squeeze my head and the bronze statue of the man with arms wide open would stare at me and watch and let them do those things to me.

“I want to talk about home, Daniel.” Dr. Finch said. “What is home life like for you?”

I put my feet up in the chair and rested my chin on top of my knees. It made it easier to untie and re-tie my shoe laces in that position. I don’t know where or how I picked up this nerve picking habit to mess around with my shoe laces. It seemed to have started at the beginning of that school year after I was shortly put on academic probation.

“Home,” I said. “Home. Home. Home.” I almost began to sing it as I belted the word out once more.

Dr. Finch blinked and waited.

“It’s okay. Mom-Mom is great. She is weird like me but different because she is into church stuff. I don’t judge her or anything. I just wish that she wouldn’t judge me. Pop, well, Pop is just Pop. I mean,” I chuckled. “He is in and out. He doesn’t have a job yet. Mom is working around the clock and she leaves it to me to take Mom-Mom to the doctors. Which, really, I don’t know what’s going on there because Mom-Mom has been going to the doctor’s office a lot lately and it worries me. It could be because of Diabetes. But she says that she is okay. You see, me, my Pop and Mom-Mom all have Diabetes. We got it when we were kids. I shouldn’t have kids because they’ll probably have it too. Plus, Theresa would hate that. She wouldn’t want to…”

Dr. Finch’s expression changed. He furrowed his eyebrows and cocked his head to the side. He looked thoroughly confused, yet concerned.

“Go on,” he encouraged me to speak more.

I shrugged my shoulders and leaned back in my chair. I said, “I worry about my mother.”

“Tell me more about that, Daniel. Tell me about what worries you.”

Dr. Finch was the first doctor that I ever had that wanted me to talk about it. Still, I felt uncomfortable as I sat in the chair across from him. I picked at my shoelaces and kept my head down. I desperately wanted to smoke. It was out of question to even ask for cigarettes.

Dr. Finch waited for me to answer him, but I had no idea where to start. It was frustrating, trying to find the right words to explain the hows and whys of everything when most of the shit didn’t make enough sense to try to explain.

“It’s okay,” Dr. Finch said. “I’ll ask you in another way. Why did you ask to come to Bent Creek? You could have went home after you were released from Egleston Hospital.”

“I guess…” I said with a heavy sigh, “I guess it was because I had no other place to go.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that I couldn’t go back home after everything that had happened. It was hard for them.”

“It was hard for whom?”

“Mom-Mom, my Mom and my Pop and Theresa…”

“What about you?”

“What about me?”

“Since you’ve been here, you have only talked about everyone else’s problems, but what about you?”

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

Dr. Finch didn’t look like he was buying it. He shook his head and gestured his hands out to me as he spoke, as if he was pleading with me.

“Look, Daniel,” Dr. Finch said. “I know that it’s not easy. Especially when you have been through all that you’ve gone through in the last week or so. The emotional stress on top of your physical stress from the complications you suffered with Diabetes, it’s-“

I don’t know what came over me. I put up my hand to stop Dr. Finch from speaking and I cut him off.

I said, “Having diabetes isn’t the real challenge. Sure, I have to stick myself with a needle about two times a day. I have complications if I don’t watch what I eat and take care of myself physically. Like, I can’t eat what everyone else eats like candy bars and birthday cake. I can live with that. I always have lived with it. It’s the Bi-Polar Disorder that messes me up. One minute I’m fine and as soon as something happens that makes me angry, I loose it. It’s like when I last saw Theresa talking to Ryan, I just wanted to kill him.” I paused and looked out of the window. Still picking with my shoelaces, I tried to calm down. It felt like my emotions wanted to get the best of me. I didn’t want to cry. I couldn’t cry!

Dr. Finch remained calm and quiet. He watched me and listened to me intently. It was a strange feeling to have someone listen and care the way that Dr. Finch seemed to care about what I had been through.

I continued, “I don’t understand Bi-Polar like I understand Diabetes. Diabetes is simple. It’s genetic. My grandmother has it and my father has it. Maybe Bi-polar is genetic too?” I paused. When Dr. Finch didn’t respond I said with a shrug, “I don’t know.”

Dr. Finch nodded his head and remained silent. I kind of expected him to tell me if it was true or not. I wondered if it was genetic. I expected him to hit me with some popular statistic or something. I looked at him and something about his concerned expression made me chuckle. He made me a bit anxious. The next few words out of my mouth seemed to spill out without thought.

“When I was a kid, I watched my father beat a man into a coma. I didn’t do anything to help the man. I just stood there and watched as my father beat the man’s face into a bloody pile of meat with his bare hands. I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream. I didn’t react at all. I even had a bad dog bite from the guy’s German Shepard. I still didn’t show any emotions. My dad just spent the last few years in prison for hurting that man. After serving seven years, he came home last week. We never talk about it. My mom tried to talk to me about it one time, but I didn’t know what to say. Mom concluded that I was in shock and she didn’t press me anymore about it.”

Dr. Finch’s eyebrows raised up. He opened his mouth as if he was about to say something, but I didn’t let him speak. I started to laugh and he shut his mouth. He looked at me questionably and asked, “What’s funny about that, Daniel?”

I continued to laugh as I said, “It’s funny to me because now it makes sense.”

“What makes sense?” Dr. Finch asked.

I answered, “I guess that I’ve been in shock for the past seven years.”

Coming Soon!

http://www.feliciajohnsonauthor.com

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Help Me! by Donna M. Zadunajsky Book Review

HELP ME! (HELP ME! #1)HELP ME! by Donna M. Zadunajsky

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Help Me! by Donna M. Zadunajsky was a very interesting read. I liked it because it read like a personal journal from the the first point of view of the main characters. I’m a huge fan of journaling, so the writing style felt voyeuristic. It was avant-garde in a sense that the writing style is not what I am used to reading in a book.

It’s like reading a book on social media. As the reader, you’re taken into the private thoughts and experiences of two main characters. Mick is suicidal and depressed after losing his best friend to suicide. Layla is Mick’s new best friend that he acquires after he moves to his father’s home following the loss of his late best friend. We get to see the perspectives of teenage life, love and friendship through the thoughts of Mick and Layla. I like the interchanging approach to the chapters so that we can see the point of views from both characters and know what they’re both thinking and feeling within each scene that plays out. We’re not left with many questions as both main characters cover their own thoughts and emotions, themselves, without leaving it to a third narrator’s POV. The style is unique. Therefore, it made it feel personal.

Overall, it was a fast paced, good read. I hope that there’s more to come.

View all my reviews

“HER” by Felicia Johnson Spin Off Novel “OK Danny Boy” Sample & Video Intro

“OK Danny Boy” by Felicia Johnson is a spin off of Felicia’s debut novel “HER”. “OK Danny Boy” is due to release in Summer 2016 during production of the book to film adaptation of “HER” the movie based on the novel by Felicia Johnson. Learn more about “HER” at http://www.herthebook.com and Felicia Johnson, Author and International Speaker at http://www.feliciajohnsonauthor.com.

OK, Danny Boy

By Felicia Johnson

Chapter 1

“My father probably would have killed my mother. Theresa probably would have killed herself, and I probably would have done it, too,” I say.

“Were you scared?” Kristen asks.

It is the first time anyone has ever asked me that question. I think about her question for a moment. I sit across the table from a girl who looks like she can break at any moment. I want to be careful because I have a feeling that if I say the wrong thing, look at her the wrong way, or even make an offensive noise, she will start crying. Although, at this very moment, I am holding in a serious gas bubble that wants to pop right out of my ass. I release it, silently. Relief. I don’t care anymore.

Kristen is a peculiar girl. She doesn’t seem to say much. Her emotional outbursts, dramatic facial expressions and bandaged wrists tell me a lot about her. She is broken, like most of us who are doing time in Bent Creek Hospital for various mental health issues. We are the lost and troubled teenagers with screwed up parents, a raw fetish for self-harming and sick regrets of our suicidal inclinations. It’s kind of like a messed up joke to think about how many times we fail each time we try to die, but we don’t really want to die. It feels like one more thing that we can’t seem to get right.

Kristen has scars up and down her arms and a frown that sticks to her face. When we first met, Kristen’s frown was the first feature I noticed. Janine introduced her to everyone on her first day. Kristen and Janine are roommates. We all have roommates. Unfortunately, even I had a roommate. His name was Rocky. He’s no longer here.

Patients at Bent Creek Hospital are separated into co-ed groups. The groups keep the numbers of jaded youth from growing too large against the smaller number of therapists and counselors who treat our mental health complexities. Their jobs are to shrink our minds from overwhelmed humans to zombified dust bunnies with state of the art coping mechanisms, new findings from studies of techniques that prove useful for young minds such as DBT and CBT along with the latest, shiny new drug. At least, that’s what I used to think about the system.

Right now, I’m off of meds. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe most of the things that I’ve seemed to overcome in the last few weeks. It seems as if the events that took place before I came into Bent Creek hospital happened years ago instead of weeks ago. That person who broke down and couldn’t cope with what had happened doesn’t seem like it was me. But it was me. If it wasn’t for Dr. Finch, Dr. Bent, Dr. Pelchat and people in my group like Janine, Kristen, Tai and believe it or not, even Rocky, I wouldn’t have noticed the difference in myself.

We were all together in Group One. It must be fate because all of us seem to have the same diagnosis of sorts. Diagnoses range from some form of depression, whether it’s Bi-Polar I or Bi-Polar II, mixed with something else; a dual diagnosis? While the other groups have their dissociative identities, hair eaters, schizophrenics and the demonically colorful personalities of the insane youth with sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies, our group seems to dwell right in the middle of those who don’t seem to fit just one single problem. We don’t have a problem. We have problems. Plural. Therefore, I was given a couple of diagnoses of Bipolar I (complete with manic episodes and Major Depression) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD. Having to deal with that on top of having Juvenile Diabetes seemed to be enough to keep the medicine cabinet full at home.

Looking at Kristen is a lot different from when I look at Janine. Janine is obviously thin. She could be mistaken for a model except she has some major flaws that probably would keep her off of a runway. She isn’t naturally thin. I can tell that she makes herself that way, unhealthily. Dark purple pools circle the skin around her eyes like bruises. Janine tries to wear make up, but she has to put on so much to cover up her discolored skin. Her hair is long, but it is thinning. Her teeth and fingers are discolored from what I figure comes from when she makes herself throw up, if she eats anything. Her mood fluctuates frequently, especially after Dr. Cuvo gave up and disappeared. After he left, she and I grew closer. Janine is beautiful and angry.

Other people seem to see what they want to see in us. However, we know that we’re nothing at all like how we see ourselves. In an odd way, I see Janine as a lot like myself.

Kristen is a different story. She doesn’t cover up her physical flaws. She shows her bandages. She doesn’t even try to hide her face with her hair, always pulling her hair back in a ponytail, as if to make you look at her. Ironically, she doesn’t look anyone in the eyes. She opens and closes like a broken cabinet that won’t shut all of the way unless you slam it hard enough.

I can tell that she’s like the others. She sees something in me. She sees something in Janine. She sees something else within herself but whatever it is, she won’t let it go. I can see it too. It’s dark and I cannot define it. Kristen scares me and she intrigues me because, unlike Janine, she’s not easy to read or understand. She was difficult from the very start.

It seemed like Janine tried to help Kristen feel welcomed. She tried to include Kristen in our group. However, Janine had insisted that Kristen must have disliked us because when Kristen first arrived at Bent Creek, she wouldn’t talk to us, nor would she smile. Janine and I made a bet against each other. I bet Janine that Kristen would smile before the end of her first week at Bent Creek and Janine bet that she wouldn’t smile. Of course, I won that bet. Janine had to give me her evening snacks for a whole week after I had won the bet! Little did I know at the time, the loss of that bet wasn’t such a huge loss for Janine.

Nonetheless, it was hard work to get Kristen to smile. Eventually, she did smile. After the day that I made her smile, she started to open up more. It seemed to help since we were all in the same group. I didn’t want to give up on her. I tried to make her laugh and talk to us about why she is here at Bent Creek, but she seemed too sad to speak about it without getting upset.

On today, of all days, the day before I am scheduled to be released, this broken and attractively mysterious girl decides to open her mouth and have a real conversation with me. It seems like it’s completely unprovoked on my part! At least, I don’t think that I did anything to draw her attention to me.

I am working on a sketch quietly in the commons area on the Adolescent Ward. Drawing helps pass the time. Only one more day until I can go home with my mom and Mom-Mom. I don’t want to cause any trouble or lose my temper or let anything trigger me into having a manic episode again. All I can think about is how much I want to smoke a cigarette. I can’t wait until tomorrow! I even asked my mom to bring me a pack of Marlboro’s to the hospital so that as soon as I am free, I can take in what I have been craving for over a month!

I haven’t told anyone in my group that I am going home because I want to be as inconspicuous about it as I possibly can. I don’t want the others to feel badly and then start acting weird around me because I’m leaving.

I don’t know. Maybe Kristen sensed something in me that gave away my secret because she walked right up to the table where I am sitting and started talking to me. She surprised me because I was concentrating on drawing straight lines without shaking. I haven’t tried to draw since Rocky killed himself. That was a messed up time. Kristen was there, but she hasn’t asked me about it. It’s a good thing. I don’t want to think about it, nor talk about it anymore.

Honestly, I am not prepared to talk about any of this stuff. Really, I’m not ready to open up about what happened with my mom, my dad and Theresa. I’m ready to move past all of that. But Kristen has a way about her that I don’t understand. It is the mystery behind her sudden interest that pulls me in and moves me to want to talk to her. When she asked me if I was scared, I may have seemed to open up to her right away, but in my mind, it seemed to take a little more than minute for me to answer. I am thinking about what she asked and the fact that she is the first person who has asked me if was scared.

Kristen’s eyes glistens as she waits for me to speak. I replay her question in my mind.

“Were you scared?” Kristen asked.

When I think about it, I remember everything very clearly. From the moment that I knew that I was in love with her to my dad getting out of prison, and when my mom almost gave up on our family to Theresa’s suicide up to now, this very moment. Here I am, sitting across from Kristen. She’s the odd girl that spoke up. Kristen is the inscrutable girl that scared me and amazed me and who dared to ask me the question that no one, not even Dr. Finch, had ever asked me.

Was I scared?

Once Upon A Bookshelf Book Review of Her by Felicia Johnson

Once Upon A Bookshelf

A Reader’s Blog

HER 
 
Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:08 am June 19, 2014.
Category: Young Adult
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s):      Her front cover
Author: Felicia Johnson
Originally Published: 2013
Publisher: 8th Street Publishing
Source: Received a copy from the author

When I did the interview with Felicia Johnson, I received a digital copy of her book. The topic really intrigued me. I’m a proponent for the end of the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, disorders, and all, so I was definitely interested. I was also however a little afraid to go into it, as sometimes reading about cutting makes a part of me long to start cutting again. I ended up reading this book within one day… and spent a very good portion of that day in tears.

With that in mind, it should be no surprise that this was a very difficult read. It was emotionally draining because of what the characters were going through. It deals with some hard subject matter – important, but hard. And I’m sure there are a lot of parents who wouldn’t want their children to read a book that starts with a failed suicide attempt… but there are going to be a lot of people who will relate in some way to this book. And for that reason alone, for the fact that there may be even just one person out there who has a mental illness who would read this and realize that what they are not alone and that other people have mental illnesses, well that makes this a wonderful book.

What I really like about Her is that even though the protagonist is working through BPD, that’s not all we get to see. We are introduced to people who were sexually abused as children, who are heroin addicts, who have eating disorders, who are schizophrenic. We see a lot, and I think that is really great for introducing readers to a large number of things that we may not necessarily come into contact with every day. It showcases mental issues that a lot of people have, and it does a really good job at making them more understandable, empathizable and accessible.

There was one thing that didn’t quite sit well with me about Her. There were characters that were obviously Christian, and they were the employees at the mental hospital. They spoke about their faith with Kristen, and Kristen automatically accepted what they told her without questioning or investigating on her own. On one hand, I know what it’s like to need something to hope for when suffering from depression and clinging to faith for that hope… but on the other hand, it would have felt a lot less like we were being witnessed to if there was even a character who was representative of another faith… or even who was an atheist.

The characters in this seemed thoroughly developed – especially Kristen, who shows the different aspects of BPD well. One thing I did find was that, because of the fact that Kristen has BPD and the story was being told from her perspective, I couldn’t always trust what seemed to be happening to actually be happening. Characters often seemed to go from calm to screaming in a matter of seconds with little to provoke them. Or seemed to be pushing Kristen to do or feel a certain way and not understanding that she couldn’t just hit a switch to make everything better. (This actually is how a lot of people react to mental illnesses, and so I’m really glad it was illustrated here how frustrating and agonizing it can be when someone tells a person with a mental illness to “just not be depressed” or whatever.)

The Bottom Line

I will definitely be looking forward to reading more by Johnson, and recommend this book to people who are living with a mental illness – whether in themselves, their family or a friend.

A review of Her by Lauren Stiles of Personality Disorder Awareness Network (PDAN)

ImageCAUTION: SPOILERS

Eye contact is well-known social norm. It signals attention, and can communicate a feeling of understanding and honesty. Kristen, who has awoken in a mental health institute after a suicide attempt, misconstrues and abhors eye contact. In the novel Her, by Felicia Johnson, Kristen feels a heavy negative connotation when people look at her, and lashes out at them for “staring” at her. Through her interactions with facility staff and patients, and eventually family and friends, it is found that Kristen suffers from a condition known as Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD. Recommended for those with BPD or those living with them, Her is a perfect window into the mind of someone with a mood disorder.

Although it is eventually the actions of an abusive step father that send Kristen to the point of suicide, it is clear that cumulative damage has been done by her mother over the years. Although not technically seen as abuse, a child forced into responsibility in a single-parent household is trauma in its haziest form. Appeals to support the family, and the sensory odor of threatening coffee breath call up all-to-familiar a memory from my own past and make me sad to realize that the conditions facilitating a BPD diagnosis are all too prevalent and are prone to repeat themselves.

For instance, Kristen’s stepfather abused his son because he had himself been abused. The histrionic behavior of Kristen’s mother is exhibited in Kristen herself, but is exaggerated by abusive conditions. This book deals honestly and openly with these hard subjects, and can certainly help a survivor of abuse to come to terms with what happened in an easily digestible manner. Any person would benefit from the anger management and coping skills classes described in depth in the book, and if practiced widely, maybe less abuse would exist in the first place.

Regardless of the current preference to only diagnose those 18 or older, this book talks about the importance of mental health at even an early age, as it is the youth that is affected greatest by domestic violence, mental or physical. The greatest tool we have in safety of our children is education for prevention. In the end, hope prevails, and her doctor provides a motivation to her and to thousands of others. “Now that you are aware of what it is – your illness, which is Borderline Personality Disorder – you have to think about what you know and use it for your survival.”

– Lauren Stiles of Personality Disorder Awareness Network (PDAN)

http://www.pdan.org

Her by Felicia Johnson Book Trailer – HOPE

There are two book trailers for my novel called Her. here are two trailers. The first trailer is heavy and dark. It is titled: Pain. This is the other trailer. It is a bit lighter. It is titled: Hope.

We made two trailers to illustrate the black and white thinking that people who suffer with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) struggle with.

In many ways, Kristen Elliott is a normal, seventeen-year-old girl. Kristen loves her family. She works hard academically, and tries to please her mother. She takes on the additional responsibility of caring for her twin siblings, Nick and Alison. She idealizes her best friend, Lexus, who not only seems to lead the perfect life, but also catches the attention of John, the boy Kristen secretly loves. However, as is the case with many teenagers, Kristen feels frustrated, isolated, and confused.
In other ways, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She knows something is wrong with her. Kristen feels like an utter failure. She is unable to please her abrasive mother, and scared to confront Jack, her abusive stepfather. She is also unable to protect Nick from Jack, making her fell all the more helpless. Adding to her problems, she knows she will never be as beautiful as her best friend Lexus. Kristen finds solace in self-injury, and the company of Mr. Sharp, her imaginary friend who encourages her feelings of self-loathing.
After a failed suicide attempt, Kristen is placed in the Bent Creek mental hospital, where she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. While in the hospital, she meets a group of peers suffering with their own mental illnesses, and a compassionate staff of doctors and counselors. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She discovers the circumstances that brought her to this breaking point, struggles to understand her mental illness, and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: her self-blame.
Kristen’s tale of endurance illustrates the complex illness of Borderline Personality Disorder. Readers — including those suffering from BPD and their friends and family — can glean insight into the illness from Kristen’s humanity. Her story is an example of how, if we try to push the past away, we are either doomed to repeat it or let it haunt us to our graves.

“HER” By Felicia Johnson Book Trailer: The PAIN

There are two book trailers for my novel called Her. here are two trailers. The first trailer is heavy and dark. It is titled: Pain.

The other trailer is a bit lighter titled: Hope.

We made two trailers to signify and illustrate the black and white thinking that sufferers of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) struggle with.

In many ways, Kristen Elliott is a normal, seventeen-year-old girl. Kristen loves her family. She works hard academically, and tries to please her mother. She takes on the additional responsibility of caring for her twin siblings, Nick and Alison. She idealizes her best friend, Lexus, who not only seems to lead the perfect life, but also catches the attention of John, the boy Kristen secretly loves. However, as is the case with many teenagers, Kristen feels frustrated, isolated, and confused.

In other ways, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She knows something is wrong with her. Kristen feels like an utter failure. She is unable to please her abrasive mother, and scared to confront Jack, her abusive stepfather. She is also unable to protect Nick from Jack, making her fell all the more helpless. Adding to her problems, she knows she will never be as beautiful as her best friend Lexus. Kristen finds solace in self-injury, and the company of Mr. Sharp, her imaginary friend who encourages her feelings of self-loathing.

After a failed suicide attempt, Kristen is placed in the Bent Creek mental hospital, where she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. While in the hospital, she meets a group of peers suffering with their own mental illnesses, and a compassionate staff of doctors and counselors. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She discovers the circumstances that brought her to this breaking point, struggles to understand her mental illness, and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: her self-blame.

Kristen’s tale of endurance illustrates the complex illness of Borderline Personality Disorder. Readers — including those suffering from BPD and their friends and family — can glean insight into the illness from Kristen’s humanity. Her story is an example of how, if we try to push the past away, we are either doomed to repeat it or let it haunt us to our graves.