What Happened to John: A Memoir of Love, Lies, and Loss

by Denise Collins


Synopsis:In those gritty TV dramas, when two uniformed police officers appear at the front door, everyone instinctively knows it is bad news. Not me.”

When the unthinkable had happened, Denise Collins didn’t expect it could get any worse. And then it did. Her husband of more than thirty years had taken his own life. Violently. Shockingly. And if the grief and loss from the death of a spouse weren’t already too much to bear, Denise—a psychological therapist—would soon learn that life-long beliefs about the nature of mental health and mental illness were just myths. Lies. And the very treatment that was supposed to help had likely caused John’s death.

She learns the truth about psychiatric diagnoses, about prescription drugs and their rare side effects, and about the overworked doctors in the medical system. She learns—the hard way—about victim supports for families left behind after tragedy strikes. She learns about the cold, unfeeling world of coroners’ inquests, and ultimately, she learns what really happened to John.

As Denise Collins learns the truth, in order to move on with her life and learn how to heal from grief after her husband took his own life, she must also face the lies: those her husband had told during their thirty-three years of togetherness, those she might still be telling herself, and other lies we’re all told by people and professionals we trust.


My thoughts: This gets rather intense, a very fraught subject – suicide of a spouse. Super interesting though, as the wife and grown kids deal with things after the event. It’s just so shocking when it happens in the story. A moving retelling of the author’s becoming a widow. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


What Happened to John


Publisher: Ingenium Books Publishing – 241 pages

Publication Date: Nov 15th, 2021

My rating: 5/5 STARS


Denise Collins

About the author: Denise Collins was a failure. Leaving school with no qualifications she became a single parent living on state welfare benefits by 21. She developed a fascination for how the mind works. Against the odds she returned to education as a mature student, achieving an honours degree and then a post graduate masters degree in coaching psychology. She had a successful 18 year career as a psychological therapist, coach and trainer. Then John, her husband and best friend of 33 years, killed himself and her world fell apart.

Since writing, “What happened to John: A memoir of Love, Lies and Loss” her focus has turned to raising awareness of practical suicide prevention, non-medicalised ways to improve mental health and helping people survive the traumatic impact of sudden, unexpected loss.


Denise Collins MSc, BSc (Hons) has been described by others as, inspiring, authentic, and deeply passionate. She describes herself as a melancholic, dog loving, red wine enthusiast.




4 thoughts on “Book Review ~ What Happened to John

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