ACTUALLY, VIRTUAL by Howard Diamond, CPS

Originally posted by Well-Being EX on November 19, 2020 at 5:14pm

Actually Virtual or is it Virtually Actual? No problems here. Stating for

the record, this is what I am trying to figure out, actually. Perhaps an

ideal way to begin here was by using virtual means, my tablet. Daunting

task that this was, I challenged myself which made me more confident in 

my overall abilities to write. Despite what was going on around us, I also

agreed to grab the virtual bull by the horn and take on this quest by telling 

an actual accurate article. Say that five times fast.

With COVID19 still running around without a glimpse of an end in sight, 

there are many people that remain out of work. For me, I am a New York 

State Certified Peer Specialist. Currently,  I am on disability and sort of

looking for part-time Peer Specialist positions. Also, while searching 

for employment, I noticed that openings were posted with the future 

interviews being held in both actual and virtual formats. So, it is up to

Sherlock Holmes, (me of course), to solve this mystery. 

Virtual means almost or nearly as described. However, not completely 

or according to a strict definition. It is merely feasible or imagined. Not

anything to be afraid of, but it will take practice to use the media gizmos

that are used. For me as well. Sometimes, virtual is fabricated or made up 

in someone’s imagination in an effort to embellish a story. Recently, in 

this 21st Century, virtual is used by computer techs and many average

individuals to simulate an item(s) or person(s) that are not there. Wave, 

everyone. All of us, including Peer Specialists, like myself, live in a world of 

many modern conveniences, like virtual meetings where we don’t leave the 

house to attend.

An example is a series of virtual events that has been happening in 2020

until November 3rd. Yes, I am talking about Election Day. What occurs 

virtually, is that most pollsters go around the country gathering a lot of

their information on a variety of different issues. Then, it is interpreted 

and reported virtually what was found and finally they make assumptions 

why and which candidate people voted for. Now this is how the process 

starts. Predictions reign supreme here. 

Let us discuss the word actual. It is shown as a concept or idea that

exists entirely in fact. This is done quite typically by what was intended 

to be as a contrast with that was possibly expected or even thought of 

or believed. Always actual is known to be correct or precise. Also, actual 

happens now and in current terms. Going back to the elections, November 

3rd is Election Day (actual fact). Each vote is painstakingly counted 

(actual fact) and the exercise continues.

However, in the 2000 Presidential Election between Al Gore and

George Bush, there were allegiance discrepancies in the ways actual votes

were counted. It felt like to me as if some people caste their ballots in a

virtual device, playing with the flippers quite similarly to a pinball machine or 

tapped keys on a computer. Perhaps, it was regarding a variety of queries 

incorrectly or these votes were not totaled. Eventually, most or all of the 

tabulations were both finalized and revealed. George Bush was determined 

o win and a few months later he was inaugurated as the President of the 

United States. The rest, shall we say, is History. Go ahead, everyone fact 

check this actually.

Virtual meetings are real-time interactions that take place over the Internet

combining audio and video, chat tools and application sharing. They offer a 

way to engage people in fully interactive, online learning experiences such as, 

lectures, discussions and tutoring. Also, during a virtual meeting, it becomes

significantly harder to discern people’s facial expression and feelings about 

the topic being mentioned. 

As a Peer Specialist, I have gone to many meetings, both actual and virtual

ones.  Personally, I have no preference. There are advantages for each way. 

Virtual meetings gives me the space where I am to do other things or even 

leave with minimal distractions. Often times, meetings are held and seen

in different cities or states and people do not have to travel. Since COVID19, 

more virtual conferences are common place and can be seen and heard 

anywhere plus anytime. 

At many actual seminars, one can share thoughts and opinions to a live

person besides them. Commonalities are seen on the spot and as written

earlier, facial expressions and gestures are noticed more easily. When we 

are in front of someone, expounding of thoughts and ideas occur, which 

leads to a more effective dialog. In addition, these actual statements can

occasionally turn into long term professional relationships.

In the paragraphs above, we might have learned about the differences

between actual and virtual. Before this article concludes, I will try to give 

two additional examples. Hopefully, effectively too. Election Day was 

actually this week in the United States, so it is was our constitutional right 

as citizens to vote. This year we can vote virtually with absentee ballots or

go to a polling place on that day and do our duty and put in an actual vote. 

Also, I am talking about my significant other, Maureen, who actually died 

on June 12, 2015.  When I think about her here or somewhere else, it can 

only be virtual, but my feelings are actual. Of course, these feelings are 

most definitely and actually true! Sweetie, I love you, I miss you and I still

wish you were here. See you in the News Blogs.



Howard Diamond lives in Long Island, New York.  Howard is a New York State Certified Peer Specialist.  He enjoys writing and contributes written pieces regularly to the Well-Being EXchange.


What Is Your Keystone? – Video

What Is Your Keystone?

What is the most important thing in your life to keep you moving forward toward your goals? What #habits are you building during this #quarantine period? Let’s talk about it…

#keystone #mentalhealth #peersupport #wellbeingtoolbox #wbtb


You can check out the original blog post here from 2018 that inspired this video:

LIVE Digital Peer Support Journal No 001: Back to Basics Six Tips & Suggestions to Support a Balanced State of Mind During Stay-At-Home and Physical (Social) Distancing 2020

Originally, a Facebook LIVE broadcast on the organization’s Facebook page.

In the video clip below, Well-Being Life Coach & Certifed Peer Specialist, Don West, Jr., (Founder, K.O.T.S), offers some tips and advice on how to develop a routine that supports being in balance.  In this video Don explores how the loss of a job, the feeling of security, or of being in control is indeed a loss which can result in grief.  Encouraging us to be aware and make space for this new reality with a sense of self-compassion.

Here is a link to Don’s morning music playlist that he references in the video:

In the video Don references Generational Chic, which is a group of ladies from Huntsville, Alabama that are also his Mom, Sister, and niece. Here is a clip of the video he is talking about although in this episode his sister is missing due to physical distancing.

Continue reading “LIVE Digital Peer Support Journal No 001: Back to Basics Six Tips & Suggestions to Support a Balanced State of Mind During Stay-At-Home and Physical (Social) Distancing 2020”

What Is The Role of The Peer Support Specialist?

In today’s Well-Being Lesson, Don West, Jr., CPS, shares his views and insights on the role of a Peer Support Specialist in the mental health recovery process.

The most unique qualification of a peer specialist is that they have invaluable “lived experience” which goes beyond the clinical and academic training other counselors and professionals relie upon. Don is a duly Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and refers to his team as Peer Support Superheros aka Well-Being and Recovery Coaches.

#mentalhealth #recovery #recoverymodel #wellbeing #wellbeingtoolbox #peersupport #knockoutthestigma #depression #peersupportspecialist #certifiedpeerspecialist #recoverycoach #wellbeingcoach #lifecoach #selflove #selfcompassion #selfcare #dbsa #prpsn #mha #depressionbipolarsupportalliance #projectreturnpeersupportnetwork #mentalhealthamerica


Kobe Bryant on The Power of Sleep & Meditation

Kobe Bryant had a legendary fitness routine that started at 4am with his first of 3 workouts for the day. Here, Kobe shares that sleep and meditation were essential to him being able to perform at his legendary levels of basketball greatness. Check it out and see if you the massage makes sense to you. If it does, how are you going to incorporate the lessons into your daily program?

Yoga is an Evidence-Based Tool for Well-Being and Science Agrees

In my own journey I found yoga in the summer of 2001 at a studio in South Miami.  Those initial sessions activated and shifted something in my body that I sensed immediately and I was both convinced of the benefits and hooked on this life-altering practice.  While my practice has not been constant over the past 19 years my conviction in it benefits have never wavered.  As I have become more resolute in my own self-care routine, yoga and meditation again anchor my daily routine.

This is a clip I found on YouTube by Laura Plumb exploring the science of yoga. You can find the full documentary HERE

Accessible 2-Minute Breathing Techniques That Will Change Your Life

“Breathe” – a street sign along a path in Laguna Beach, CA (USA)

Who hasn’t experienced a moment of stress or anxiety when someone close by who notices or situation gives us a simple one word instruction, “Breathe.” What do they really mean when they say, “breathe?” I am going to guess that what they are seeking to communicate is that our breathe is one of our most accessible self-regulatory tools and if we have a properly practiced breathing routine it would allow us to arrest moments of anxiety, stress, and anger simply by our knowledge and understanding of breathing. With that said, for me personally I spent close to 41 years on planet earth before I ever encountered an actual how-to lesson explaining a so-called, breathing technique. Oy vey!!

#GivingHope on #GivingTuesday, #KOTS Announces 1st Annual #GivingHopeDay

KOTS Giving Hope Day 2018 - ALT

Calling all BADD AZZEZ,

On Giving Tuesday, November 27th Facebook and PayPal are matching the first $7 Million Dollars in donations made to non-profit organizations made through Facebook. Want to join us in supporting a good cause? We’re raising money for Knock Out the Stigma, Inc., (“KOTS”), and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps.  For example, if you donate $10 during the match period on Tuesday, KOTS will receive $20 in funds from Facebook & PayPal’s match of $10.

This #GivingTuesday KOTS is #givinghope, November 27, 2018 K.O.T.S. is fundraising for #mentalhealthawareness. #Hope is the 1st stage of #mentalhealth #recovery. Join us by donating or creating a fundraiser to support Knock Out The Stigma, Inc. on #givinghopeday2018.

Donate easily today on Facebook:

4 Stages of Recovery HopeDay

#Hope is the first stage in the four stages of mental health recovery. We were introduced to the 4 stages of mental health recovery as proposed by Dr. Mark Ragins, MD through Project Return Peer Support Network as a part of their six-week Peer Professional Training & Placement Program, (PPTP). Our founder, Don West, Jr. graduated as a member of the PPTP Fall 2018 Cohort.

The four stages are:

1 – Hope;

2 – Empowerment;

3 – Self-Responsibility; and,

4 – A Meaningful Role In Life.

Donate easily today on Facebook:

Donate easily today on Facebook:

Additionally, K.O.T.S. has achieved the 2018 Bronze Seal GuideStar USA #NonprofitProfile Check us out:

Thank you for your support,


K.O.T.S. Holiday Help Lines

We know someone out there is having a tough time right now, share this info this season, it will help someone. Remember, you’re not alone!!

Download this pic on your device and save it somewhere convenient, pass it on to anyone who can use the information…

Join us, and help #KnockOutTheStigma surrounding #mentalhealth. #help #hotlines

You Are Not Alone! – Knocking Out The Stigma in Omaha, Nebraska

Our founder, Don West, Jr. has spent a lifetime developing strong bonds to amazing individuals who are making the world a better place in their own unique ways.  Below is a spotlight of one such individual, Sara B. Dappen, of Omaha, Nebraska.  Way to set an example, Sara!  You are a Peer Support Superhero, for sure, a role-model, and an inspiration to our entire #KOTSFamily.