Thursday, December 30, 2010

A New Year

It feels like 2011 will be a better year than 2010 to me. Some of the things I am looking forward to in the New Year are to continue to work. It helps with money and my self-esteem. It also helps my mental illness; I hardly think about having a mental illness, because there is so much more to think about: work, and life. I am looking forward to having my youngest grandson, two years old, start coming to my apartment with my other two grandkids when they come to visit some weekends. It will keep me busy and happy to have him join us. I am looking forward to learn new ways to keep healthy by reading blogs like the healthy skeptic. I’d like to see fewer stigmas about mental illness in the coming year. People like Ron Artest of the Lakers supporting it and talking about mental illness helps a lot. From what I read in blogs and the news it will still take years to achieve less stigma. Some of the news about teenagers thinking they are cool by faking a mental illness like Britney Spears and others have is not helping either. Also in the New Year I hope our economy gets better and more people get jobs. There is a lot to look forward to in the New Year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shadows in the Stairwell

Have you taken a walk up or down a stair case recently, without losing your breath, or leg muscles cramping; even then each step a thought and unfinished at a certain stair well landings to another floor. Mental Health is like this, one step at a time, one thought before another to be examined and then vanquished, while reaching the landing becomes the exhilaration of success.

I have many times found myself creeping up and down stairs, and within their turns, and have seen the shadows of my life, even thoughts within the dark recesses of unlit corners, within the turns of the stair wells; the shadows of my life. Ancient thoughts resting upon a single stair, which are unmoving; await footsteps to turn and descend and review the past once again, the laughter or pain, with or without scrutiny. When you reach this epitome of being, you are seemingly lost, no concrete thought established as to the next stair to be assailed.

In Mental Health we are taken into the hallways we have been waiting in to understand what changes we can make to find revelry instead of the gloom we have been living with. With different psychiatric techniques we can begin to perceive with our minds, the anguish and fears of which we begin to leave behind, daring to take a leap upon the flight of stairs and beyond the shadowy memories which caused our maladies to begin with. We move slowly at first upon the stairs, yet those single footsteps become leaps and bounds, coming and going because we believe we can be free, without standing at the base forever waiting if we can ascend our reach. Have you ever thought to stop riding the elevator and instead take one stair at a time in facing your mental illness?

Written By Donald Sammons

December 26, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Voices in Me

I sit in my chair

In the darkness

Being the light,

Sullen am I of the day past,

It’s only a memory now

As I don’t know if I can travel

To the cacophony

Of dreams only half fulfilled

While I smile inside

These are emotions that pass me by

As I close my eyes

While sitting near a window

Open to the world of ideas

And pedestrians,

Who never look inside?

To wonder my gaze within

As if re-tuned to old songs

Those that make me dance

With memories far away

Turning the sorrow of loneliness

Into a joyful melodic barrage

Of I am young again

Dreaming with memories

Not all so bad

Only truths

Which I can sing

While sitting alone

With what I believe is silence.

Written by Donald Sammons

December 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Optimistic Approach

When times get tough and you think there is no way to get through it. Just remember when in the past there was a similar situation and you were able to weather the storm. I was reading somewhere about the optimistic approach to life. It is a belief that people will get through tough times. We always seem to forget when a new problem comes along that it too will pass and be forgotten. I noticed that I’ve been getting angry lately over situations and I know it is not right to exspend that much energy over something. This morning I decided to step back and look at the problem from the outside looking in. I came up with this idea, because in the past I made some decisions that were not right. If I could have stopped and looked at the big picture, it might have turned out different. It made me realize I do not have to get angry, because of someone else. I have been through a lot tougher situations and they have worked out O.K. If I can remember before a bad situation becomes worse, I will try and stop and look at the situation. I will take the optimistic approach.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Changing Pace

I was sitting in my 1st floor apartment, alone, my mind a blank slate as to what to do. There was plenty to do, shop for groceries; wash clothes, clean the apartment, and most of all write this blog for December. It had gotten darker as the minutes passed and I wasn’t in the mood to do anything; I was beginning to procrastinate, back-slide on my reality, let myself down and others.

In mental health programs, a lot is spoken about back-sliding or letting yourself down; this is also true of A/A and N/A programs, not keeping your promises and not working toward your goals. Being a mental health client, with the kind of diagnosis I have, I as well as others tend to drift, sometimes into negative thoughts, sometimes without any thoughts at all. I began noticing this, when I wanted to accept an invitation to a shopping outing, realizing I was having negative feelings about being in a crowd and walking for hours knew this was going on inside me, and being that upset, and thinking I wasn’t going to feel well I had to back out the invitation and understand what the problem was.

I waited awhile, at home, alone and began to search for something to do; still I sat quietly with all there was to do, finally reaching for the sewing needle and thread to begin to sew a pair of pants that had been hanging in the closet for weeks on end. I began to relax, and it felt good. I was taking control of the negative emotions I was having by focusing on something that made me feel relaxed. This doesn’t mean you have to darn your socks, yet something as easily, can relax the conscious mind and that what was needed, not an escape, yet something calming to clear the mind of excess baggage. Often times, books, or television or even walks won’t calm the high tides of the conscious mind yet something quieting as a pen and paper, paints or clay can unleash the negative thoughts anyone is having, if you’re willing to find the silence within to smile again.

Know that fear, and anger cloud our minds and if you realize that to keep your goal in mind to overcome your illness, you will become that much stronger, because you know you want to succeed at what you want to achieve, being better without being hostile or bored, growing with patience and pleasure.

Written By Donald Sammons

Monday, December 6, 2010

How Far Do We Go

There was an article in the newspaper a few months ago, where a football player committed suicide. He was no longer playing football as he expected to be playing; 1st string, he was in debt, and he was only 23 years of age. He was an impressive football player in college and was growing in the National Football League. So, why did he commit suicide, after two knee surgeries, his finances squandered, with his family problems escalating? Why could he not find help, was life too intolerable for him? It is said desires are unconscious, in our young man’s case those desires could have been changed. I thought about this, his age, his career and began thinking what if he were 20 or 30 years older. We think of suicides of the young, the notables in society, especially amongst minorities, very seldom do we think about suicide in people who are in the mid-fifties and later on in life. There happens to be 17 deaths (suicides) per 100,000 people in the 75-85 years of age group and this may not even be a correct figure. There are silent suicides such as deaths from overdose, starvation or dehydration, these methods stemming from unworthiness, insecurity or low self-esteem. These emotions destroy the positive ideas and make positive the negative ones. The elderly have a greater rate of completing suicide, because they own firearms, this is usually found to be in double suicides, married couples, spouses whom have aged. What has this to do with a 23 year old football player? The elderly and those in their middle aged years have lived a long time, most without any notoriety and have raised families or never have. Our football player never gave himself the chance to envision and live life in a positive aspect, nor did he want to conquer his fears which had led to his untimely demise. What’s the reason for suicide in the elderly? Loss of interest, lack of self caring, refusing medical help, heartbreak, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, even putting their life in order, there are lifetimes of memories with the elderly which can cause the one negative thought in life to change it all. The high risk groups are the aged, white males, and the divorced and the strongest factor is having a psychiatric disorder, such as depression which is often the culprit. Society looks at the suicide of youth as a tragedy greater than those of the middle age or elderly. So, why is it not preventable? One reason is that the public sees depression and suicide as normal when it comes to aging or even notoriety in youth. Seemingly treatment for depression seems to be the necessity to keep anyone from suicide and though there are many treatments for depression, the best thing anyone person can do if they realize a friend or family member is suffering, from sadness, grief or loss, even with temporary moods of depression, is to help them realize they should accept professional help with other family members that care and hope that psychotherapy and medication can help them recover from their depression, which in the long run is better than self destruction.

Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I was watching “Three’s Company” a 70’s show last night they had a guy that showed up with a laughing box. It reminded me that I had not seen one of those since my uncle had one in the early 70’s. It is in a bag and laughs and you laugh at it or the person who bought. Either way it does bring laughter. I do not know if they still sell them or have better models now. I still have not found a newer show to watch besides “America’s funniest videos” that make me laugh. I also read an article online about recovery titled Laugh. In the article they say that “One minute of laughter is equivalent to five minutes on a rowing machine or eight minutes on an exercise bike.” Laughing is good for you. The article goes on to talk about how laugh groups are forming across North America. It is good medicine and the article also states that laughter is good medicine is found in Proverbs of the Bible. I try to laugh as much as I can. I can remember when I was on a ward in the State hospital. They asked what I did at home so they could make my stay better. I told them me and my brothers and sisters use to tell jokes and laugh a lot. The staff there started joking with me every day and it did relieve stress. I am always on the lookout for newer shows that can make me laugh, like my old 70’s shows. Also in the article, they say that world laughing month is in April, I will have to remember that. I would believe that proves that laughter can provide benefits, whether you are in recovery or not.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

I sit at work sometimes wondering how to continue working a project that has me stumped. I become agitated my emotions change; I even become afraid that I am not capable of doing the work I was assigned. I want to run away at that point, just get up from my chair and leave everything behind. The computer programmer I share the office with calls it some sort of “fight or flight” syndrome, I call it “giving up”. This has everything to do with developed and undeveloped skills, and it’s what I perceive in my mind, not being able to focus on what is expected of me. My attention span dwindles and I become confused when there is no answer, and as I try to think, everything spins down different avenues, I am ready to run! This reaction is as physical as it is mental, a sort of Bi-Polar (manic) reaction.

Such reactions have been known as tools to survival and there are people who will say that no one person can persevere with such emotional responses as these, which is true in extreme cases. We need to stop and take time to clear our minds and think, with a reference book on how to take our next step! With all of the information that exist in the world, word of mouth, TV, news paper, computers, radio, just to mention a bit of the media of communication, I often wonder where is there to run for that quiet instance when we need to clear our minds and find a change of pace to carry on.

The will to overcome such anxiety, on the job, at home, at the airport comes from the belief that you can accept what must be done at that moment. Don’t run, clear your mind, set the world apart from the beginning of what troubles you and relax with only the one thought that it’s easy to feel the breeze of that thought which can change the ignorance you are feeling. You might think it’s silly to just walk outside the office (outdoors), or anywhere outside of where you feel you are closed in, even if your are at home or even set your work aside; yet know you need a minutes space greater than where you are and go there beyond disparity. That instance you have begun to relax what has been troubling you, and you are putting aside impatience and your gaining calmness and enthusiasm to finding your way beyond the “fight and flight” of confusion; finding space outside that cell that is giving you negative vibes is not wrong, it’s the running away that keeps you in that sphere as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way, and the first step is to believe you answer is real and at hand…relax.

Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What is Stigma?

Last week I wrote a little bit in the blog about stigma. I will try and define stigma in this blog. Stigma is when someone has a preconceived notion about a person or condition. The Mayo Clinic defines stigma as it is “based on stereotypes, stigma is a negative judgment based on a personal trait – in this case having a mental health condition.” I believe judgment starts when you are young and do not understand or heard from someone about mental illness. We grow up to be adults and watch movies, and read newspapers or people who have a mental illness, and they kill or hurt someone. This reinforces what we already believe. We are portrayed as dangerous and not understanding what we are doing. We are not seen as human beings. In another article about stigma it says, “For many Americans suffering with a mental illness, a fear of stigma often keeps them from seeking medical help they need….the sufferer can experience discrimination in employment, housing, medical care and social relationships, and this negatively affects the quality of life for these individuals and loved ones.” It is true; I have experienced it as I said in last week’s blog. Where I told someone I had a mental illness and they stopped talking to me. You learn to keep your mouth shut and never get to start new relationships with people outside of the mental health field or family. The other time I told that had a mental illness was in a classroom, and they already knew me for a half of semester before I told them. I believe the fact they had seen how I acted in class and they were young and open minded classmates helped a lot. I did make a couple of good friends in that class. They saw me for me. Although I never felt that I could repeat that in any other class. I believe for a person not to make a preconceived notion about a person with a mental illness, they would have to see that you are an ordinary person with dreams, and life problems like anyone else. It does not help how we are portrayed in the movies. I believe there are a lot of recovered people with a mental illness that are successful, although they never mention they have a mental illness. How has stigma affected you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Stage in Working As Mentally Ill

My illness began in 1983, I was diagnosed with a mental illness in 1985 and in 1986 I began living on Social Security. The drugs I had been using and alcohol, had taken their toll upon my mind, though I was not virtually a useless individual. I would relapse occasionally, even though I was taking Psychotherapeutic medicines, I considered myself as a stagnated person. In the year 1998, I began taking computer classes after finally coming to grips with life and several mishaps with the court systems through MHCD’s 2Succeed program. I had overcome using drugs and alcohol, due to my being receptive to ideas about my potential of being able to use both hardware and software programs and the possibilities to enhancing my life. I began to explore the world of Computers and networking, I wanted more.

I finally quit drinking when I was diagnosed as a potential to diabetes and as I worried awhile as I sat at home with my own computer, and internet resources, searching for work, MHCD came to my rescue again, through Vocational Rehabilitation in Denver and MHCD’s 2Succeed. I began working part time as a Data Entry Clerk at MHCD’s Headquarters; a desk job, a smile.

I have worked for 3 years now, being promoted to Evaluation Research Assistant, yet when Social Security, took away the SSI I was receiving income wise and the State of Colorado ended the Medicaid Insurance, I began to fear the kind of life I had once lived before all that, would begin again. The director of our Evaluation and Research unit assured me nothing can go wrong. That the process I was going through was a part of becoming self sufficient, having to rely on new skills and a new heart. I saw myself letting myself go without relying upon what I have learned and maintaining my faith in those that believe in me. Anybody that’s mentally ill and new to the working world assuredly has the same emotions as those who are not mentally ill and working, losing their position on the job, reduced hours, layoffs and cuts in pay. It’s just harder because we have lived through the let downs, and through the congratulations of bearing this world with some strength and heart.

Don’t let the rumors and “I told you so’s” keep you from your potential as big as the world is, know you’re as prepared as you care to be for success, no matter the field you choose to work in. It’s your choice where you want to go, or where you want to be, it’s how you’re going to get there that makes it all a piece of cake.

Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I’ve been reading a lot about stigma on recovery websites. I know stigma is still very much alive, and very hard to change. I can remember back in 1994, when I was first looking to rent an apartment for the first time since my mental distress. I was with my sister looking at a nice apartment when I mentioned to the manager showing the apartment that I had a mental illness. She immediately stopped talking to me and started talking to my sister. I knew I would not get that apartment. Although because of disabilities Act, she had to make up another excuse why she could not rent to me. I know a lot of people with mental distress feel a lot like me. If you mention that you have mental distress, people suddenly change on you. I know that there are a lot more recovered people out there, besides the ones we read on the blogs and websites. They hold good jobs and have families, but know if they tell they have mental distress their whole world will change and not for the better. Besides this blog and friends that have known me for a while I do not announce I have a mental illness. A lot of the time they do not look at what a person has accomplished, once you say mental illness the way they look at you has changed. I know it is because of the misinformation in the news, and in the movies about mental distress. People will always have something they will be afraid or hate something. Maybe years from now and slowly things will change.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Determination and the Mentally Ill

There are determinations which exist for the mentally ill, by the court systems and by many mental health systems themselves. Yet these court actions (determinations) and mental health rules governing medications and mental health holds are not what I am implying when it comes to anyone who is “mentally ill”. What I am inferring to is the intention and purposes of the consumer (“client”) and their limits to decide and change their lives themselves.

At the Mental Health Center of Denver *(MHCD), the staff, doctors, clinicians and nurses believe it’s their “mission” to “enrich the lives and minds of consumers (“clients”) through focusing on the strengths of their clients and their recovery”. I am one of many who sought help through the will of others to overcome the barriers of drug addiction, drunkenness and distrust, of which I had lived for many years. Why did I change to become a more tolerant person when I could have lived “free” of responsibility and without any caring attitude whatsoever? I was determined to get away from the bonds of complaint and destitution, and rebuild the foundation of belief and wonder, instead of living in a world of great disorder.

Recovery and determination go hand in hand. In Recovery you reach out to rebuild yourself; to become stable in the throes of mental illness. You seek treatment and you learn to grow with the helping hands and minds of others who care. With determination, you are intent upon closing the doors of ignorance and you want to change the pain into something as real as a smile that others can respect. Its hard work, what work is not demanding as you learn to demand from yourself so that you don’t live in fear, live off a placebo, which marks you other than a genuine person.

Determination is controlling a part of your own life, so that the lives of others become a part of the heart beat that once stuttered within. There is no hopelessness with determination because you want to win, and leave ignorance in the mist that once covered your mind.

Written by: Donald Sammons

November 14, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010


I have always had an untrusting nature, generally of the human species. I just cannot find any other word except fear. This is probably because of the drugs and alcohol I have consumed, the damage was evident, I thought I lived in a world of paranoia. If I had learned earlier that simple fear which is not to be taken lightly or suspicion, because of my experiences were only compounded fears, I would not have understood paranoia, which bound me to the world of fear, I sometimes live within.

There are three different instances of Paranoia. 1. Paranoid Personality Disorder, 2. Delusional (Paranoid) Disorder and 3. Paranoid Schizophrenic. People diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia have often times very strange hallucinations or delusions; they may hear voices when other people do not or believe their thoughts are being controlled. Other people with lesser diagnoses of paranoia or its disorders may have delusions of being persecuted or jealousy. These people can function in society and they act with reverence according to their belief, in all, they act and think with an orderly demeanor, yet the person with paranoid schizophrenia, cannot think with righteousness and is constantly confused.

There are states of mind which are treatable with medications, such as with an antipsychotic drug. Yet, the abuse from drugs can lead to certain types of paranoid thinking and behaviors. Stress is thought to be a cause of paranoia, amongst the poor, the rich, military personnel and others living or working in a stressful environment. Some of these people acquire “acute paranoia”, which doesn’t last very long, yet the thought exist that genetics, a brain abnormality or some sort of processing problem of thought can lead a person into paranoia and in any instance stress can be the main factor of someone suffering from this illness called paranoia.

Written by Donald Sammons

Excerpts from Paranoia – THE WORD

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Do you know if Recovery Happens?

I was remembering last night about my stay in the State Hospital. And wondering if a person knows when recovery is starting to happen. I had been at the State Hospital about three weeks in the first ward there. I was not completely sane at the time yet, but close. They were walking me over to the next ward I was going to be in for a while at nighttime. I asked the guy walking me over and whom I talked to at the old ward, what the new ward was like. He told me “there are guys just like you there.” On this new ward I was half sane there in the beginning before they gave me stellazine. That is the ward I wrote about it the suicide blog, where they asked me if I knew this kid who had been there before me. I told them I did not know him. While I was there I made a telephone call to my Aunt in Oregon. I told her in one of our conversations that I was tired of being locked up. She told me “this will be your last time.” I did not know how she knew or if she was just making me feel better. Although with all the time on my hands, I started thinking about life and where I was at. The State Hospital was a new and scary place to me. I kept writing by aunt even when she could not write me back. I wrote to her when I was released and in my own apartment finally. One night, which also happen to me the night my Aunt died. I went to a local bar that I frequent before I was sentenced to the State Hospital. I had a seven up and sat with an old drinking buddy. After a while, I just said goodbye and left the bar. Walking home I was thinking, I would not be back even to drink seven up. It was just not the same and held no appeal for me anymore. The next morning they told me my Aunt had died. I will always wonder if she knew.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Self Medicating or Self Destruction

These are some of the facts I have found as a tobacco user requiring mental health services:

Smoking causes a myriad of deathly ailments such as peripheral vascular disease, and hypertension. Smoke contains many carcinogenic products that combine with DNA and cause genetic mutations within the human body. Tobacco also contains nicotine which is a highly addictive psychoactive chemical, the smoke of tobacco, when inhaled causing physical and psychological dependency. This habit may cause also miscarriages and premature births.

Cigarette smokers often speak of cigarettes as relieving stress, though a cigarette smoker’s stress level may be higher than someone who doesn’t smoke, while lessening the amount or quitting the habit of cigarette smoking actually lessens the stress level. Habitual smokers need nicotine to feel normal. Nicotine has a half shelf life in the human bodies system of only 2 hours and withdrawal symptoms can appear after smoking 4 or 5 cigarettes. A smoker with a severe dependency will find that nicotine is removed after 10 – 20 days in the human body though psychological dependence may last months, even years.

A very large group of schizophrenics use tobacco as self medication. Nicotine patches have been thought to be used for a treatment for not only schizophrenia yet also to help them to reduce even quit smoking so that they become healthier, though this is not conclusive for treatment. Smoking linked to anxiety disorders maybe related and not limited to only depression and ongoing research is attempting to explore the addiction-anxiety relationships. There is evidence though that when a smoking treatment program is inserted into a client’s treatment plan, they can (the mental health providers) help their patients to cut down their smoking or even quit. Behavioral therapy and pharmaceuticals have been known to help the mentally ill to cut down smoking, though they have a harder time quitting alone.

By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Do we need discipline to change and/or recover? I think it is a big part in setting your mind to the idea; it is what you would need if you are going to change an attitude or belief. I speak from experience, when I decided to change from my old ways. I first needed discipline, because without I would have started drinking and seeing old friends, and never would have changed. I had to say to myself no matter what happens, I am going to continue on this road to recovery. There were a lot of pitfalls along the way. I got ill again and had to pick myself back up and keep going forward. Finding the right medicine that worked right, as I have mentioned in an earlier blog. There were therapists along the way, which I did not believe in their ideas. I fought them until there was a change in circumstances; even when it looked like I was doomed and nothing would get better things changed for the better. I think that also is the difference between young people who commit suicide. I wrote concerning young people and suicide in an earlier blog. They do not know from experience that if you weather out the storm it will pass. You can also read about suicide on the Mental Health Research blog. Just like the weather here in Colorado, if you wait awhile it will change. I know that is why I always have the discipline to keep moving forward. Because no matter how bad things look, if keep your head high, and keep pushing forward the results will turn out right.

Monday, October 25, 2010


· 40% - 60% of people with depression smoke
· 61% of people with bi-polar disorder smoke

People who use tobacco, who don’t quit can or will die of smoking related problems, especially those with a serious mental illness who may die 25 years earlier than the “normal” non-smoker.

We hear a lot about smokers who exist in the mental health category, yet not very much about cigarette use amongst adults who work full time or adolescents. The two categories cannot be readily compared yet it can be stated that in the food and restaurant occupation, cigarette use is nearly 50% in that work force, the highest of most occupations where 33 million full time employees from the age of 18 to 64 do smoke, the lowest being 15% for those in the physical, psychological and social science occupations.

There are many studies of cigarette smoking amongst adolescents from the age of 12 to 17 years of age who may be smoking 1 – 2 packs of cigarettes a day. Studies such as these have taken place over a 27 state range throughout the United States. Cigarette smoking cause more than 400,000 deaths every year and most smokers begin in their adolescence. There are many prevention programs throughout the United States, not only from the private sectors of businesses yet also the government and state level as well. Cigarette use has a major role in the health of many citizens in every state in this nation, and to reduce making and changing the attitudes of smoking in people will have achieved progress in maintaining the health of these people.

People who are clients within the Mental Health system, who have a mental illness, are known to smoke more than all other people in other occupations; twice as much. The reasons for such high smoking statistics in schizophrenics and other serious mental illness are social, psychological and physical; and smoking amongst people with mental illness is viewed as not just smoking, yet self medicating as well.
It is hard to tell the difference between nicotine withdrawal and the symptoms of mental illness, when people are being treated for a possible mental illness, in all this treatment for mental health is a bit more difficult.

These are just a few of the unnoticed attitudes about smoking that have been established in the United States and abroad. So while most everyone I have ever met smokes because of nerves, or a friend got them started, the fact remains that smoking tobacco takes its toll, even amongst the mentally ill.

by Donald Sammons

Monday, October 18, 2010


I was sitting at my computer at home, trying to understand creation of databases by arranging one of my own. My mind was blank as to what I wanted for data. The afternoon outside was comfortable, yet the children who live in the building and the teenagers and some younger adults were obnoxious; I couldn’t think for the noise they made on any extreme. I slowly urged myself on to designing the fields and setting different types of data that were necessary and had reluctantly finished the table design. I had to endure a world outside my own to accomplish a task, I realized this was perseverance.
As a client of MHCD for many years, I was just as noisy, and headstrong as the children and others whose loud persistence kept in the way of my achieving my goal, only my attitude was drunken and drug induced and I let this attitude get in the way of the clinicians and case managers way of bringing me back to reality. They perceived and steadfast in their belief that I could survive as a better person. I could have turned my back on them, yet I remained with the ideas they had given me without unceasing belief that I could change.
We all have ideas that we can become better individuals, with our own mercy, we want to continue living for the better and with our hope. We prove this even if we are down in the gutters of life; we prove it by trying to reach out to others when we are not strong. Deep inside we want to succeed and overcome the strife and no other word describes this light of strength than perseverance.
In MHCD’s Outcomes, there are professionals who look at our past and show not only we who have fallen into disrepair, yet others of whom have the ability to rebuild those broken doors and show us what can be possible if we continue to seek what we imagine through truth what will console our lives. For years I didn’t believe in myself, yet overcoming obstacles is to reach beyond them despite the difficulty and believe in those that believe in you with insight.
Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I am writing concerning a blog I read on Mental Health Research. It was a blog about the suicide of the Denver Broncos wide receiver. That had me thinking about all the suicide I knew about in my life time. Including the latest back east with a guy who committed suicide, because his roommate took pictures of him having sex with another man. I have a theory about these suicides lately and in the past. All these people who commit suicide seem to me young. To me they lack experience with hope and internal stigma. I will give a couple of examples: As I have said in earlier blogs, I was at the state hospital. While I was there they moved me to another ward, and that night I was out on the porch having a cigarette, when this young man asked me “ have you ever worked at a job” I told him yes I had, he said “ I never had” I thought that was strange and I did not know him. Although if he would have told me his name. I would have talked to him, because on another ward they had asked if I had met and knew this person. Well that night this young man hung himself. I later found out it was because of something brought up about him in therapy called gaming group. I was in this same group after he died. They brought up a lot of imaginary things about me that were what ifs. I know how he felt. Although I will always think what if he told me his name and we talked would that have changed things? Could we have fought together in that gaming group? What they brought up in that group is the same thing the others in the group also did. Why pick on someone else because they cannot handle it. I met his dad ten years later and he is a marine veteran. I have told him what happened and how I felt. Another young man that committed suicide at a young age was my cousin. He had a mental illness like me. I met him grown up when my aunt died. Who was his grandmother, after I was released from the state hospital. He was also released from the state hospital in the state of Oregon. They told him if he messed up and went back to the state hospital he would never get out again. Instead of going back for the rest of his life, he hung himself. Were they trying to use reverse psychology on him? I will never know, although it took a life. Why do I say internal stigma? My breakdown happened in prison. As I have said all my friends were still supporting me. When the doctor asked where I wanted to go after the breakdown, I said here behind the walls. You see my friends still believed in me, but I did not believe in myself or understand what had happened. I was a different person even behind the walls and when I was released. I think these young men just lack the hope that things will get better, and the experience of seeing things in the past get better. I will remember my cousin and that young man in the state hospital for the rest of my life. Do you think they also commit suicide because of young age?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Becoming Creative

One of the joys I have always been enchanted with is creativity. In this technological age we live in, I find information going in, swirling around and reaching my mind in so many new ways. This happens with everyone, one time or another.
Whatever it is you want to do creatively, do it while it is on your mind. Hiking, dancing, writing, even gardening in your own windowsill, there are a lot of crafts a person can entertain his or her ideas with.
It doesn’t matter how perfect you are to begin with, what matters is that you have begun to express yourself in a positive way, and that it makes you feel good and is fun. You begin to become in touch with the creative side of life and that opens the mind to the nature of yourself.

Getting in touch with your ability to create is wonderful, it is a part of the system of the universe around you, as if you were a child again, creating something with which to have fun and enjoy. Our imagination is a part of our creative ability; we nurture our ideas to understand the results of our dreams. This is how we become happy, through the experience of letting the garbage go and focusing on the knowledge within that helps us to share what we have learned what we have created. In mental health, there is always the embellishment of thought for consumers to share in what they have created, it’s part of the process of healing, become one with your ideas, make your dreams come true.

Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Paranoid Schizophrenic II

As I wrote in earlier blogs, I was sentenced to the State Hospital for a crime committed while I had a mental illness. Now I will tell you about some of the symptoms I had before I committed the crime. My first mental distress happened in prison. The first time I ever seen or talked to a psychiatrist was there. I talked that time and told him what I believed was happening to me. He put me on halcyon a sleeping medication to help me sleep. I do not know why but that pill at night helped be get back to being normal again. I was released from prison six months later because my appeal finally came through. After court where I was set free finally, I was going to leave town. Then a computer training class opened up and I joined it. It was intensive training for three months. It was the last week at the class, and I was supposed to bring juice to a celebration party for completing the class. I rode the bus to go to the party when I became paranoid. I never made it and just went back home. I was not the same after that. I would go outside and see things, which I thought were signs telling me to go this way. I would walk around the block. Then just go home and lay down and not move, until that night. Finally not understanding what was going on I went to the liquor store and bought a six pack and a bottle of tequila. I thought getting drunk would fix things. Instead I committed a crime and wrestled with the police when they came to arrest me. Then I was sentenced to the state hospital.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Understanding Diabetes

I recently wrote about diabetes and Mental Health, without going into detail about the relationship between the physical health and the mental well being of a person suffering from diabetes, I failed to mention the avenues of the two.
Depression has many symptoms, being sad or anxious, feelings of emptiness, hopelessness or being pessimistic, intense feelings of guilt, loss of interest or pleasure, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, remembering, making decisions, thoughts of death and restlessness, even irritability. Any of these symptoms present for a period of time, which may interfere with your daily life maybe signs of depression, often times due to a physical illness or trauma. These can be found as symptoms within people suffering from diabetes and they may be candidates for treatment for depression. Diabetes heightens the risk of depression and becoming depressed leads to poor health and a dysfunctioning mentality. Psychotherapy, MHCD, aims to treat depression and improve the well being and ability of those with depression as well as diabetes in those suffering from both diseases.
Depression might develop from stress, yet it might also develop from the result of having diabetes and its effect upon the brain. Increasing evidence is showing that diabetes has serious effects upon the brain and mind of those with diabetes. Insulin may also be related to important brain functions as well as glucose both being tied to the cells survival in the brain and low levels of glucose can lead to irreversible brain damage as well as strokes.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage, it is known as Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. It is found in people who have high blood sugar levels. Some of the symptoms are tingling in the toes or ankles, burning sensation in the feet or pain when wearing shoes, socks or standing; these symptoms are associated with nerve damage. There are differences between nerve pain and muscle pain and the numbing or stabbing pain which comes from diabetes and the increasing electrical signals along the nerves which cause your body to feel pain. Besides nerve damage, diabetes causes blindness, dry skin and other illness ‘as well as impairing the memory in older people. Claude Messier, Asst. Director, School of Psychology
This may not be all good news, but the best news is that exercise, eating whole wheat products and Omega-3 (fish or Supplements) decreases the odds of negative brain functions, also following the advice of your doctor or therapist and maintaining a healthy diet, keeps you going a whole lot longer.
Written by Donald Sammons

Friday, October 1, 2010

Healthy Recovery

I am writing about being healthy and not necessarily losing weight. Both would be great to achieve. Medication makes you gain weight, and that does include Psych medication as well as other medication. What if a person takes more than one kind of medication than it can be a double whammy. In the online article “10 ways to manage your weight on Psych meds.” One of the paragraphs is about eating slowly. I live alone so when I eat and the grandkids are not there. I usually eat very fast. Which is not a good idea, because they say it takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell you your stomach is full. I always use just pieces of articles I read, and not everything they say literally. The other paragraph of this article is do not try to be perfect. Some days you will have a not healthy snack or not exercise. Do not get upset. You do not have to do it vigorously everyday. Another thing I noticed when I exercise before supper is that I am not as hungry. That helped me to cut down on the portions I eat. I even started eating less at lunch. Articles I read say that the best weight to lose is between .5 to 2lbs a week. If you lose that little the more likely the weight will stay off. Although even if you do not lose weight, it is better to just be healthy. Taking care of your heart and not getting diabetes is the right thing to do. Beyond Meds says it is hard to lose weight from medication. Do not blame yourself if you cannot lose it. Just stay healthy in a way that is good for you.

Monday, September 27, 2010


What is an addict? An addict is a person who gives oneself over to a habit; a person who has a consistent use of a drug, alcohol or even an idea or philosophy. As human beings, we are said to be creatures of habit, yet this does not go alone to be said of just humans; animals of other classes in life can also be as addicts, creatures which are of a higher thinking order than others.
We always look to the worldly reason of why people become addicted and we have also sought even spiritually to cure those who have obtained a compulsion to acquire and use any substance which satiates a thirst; generally to either alleviate an emotion or makes oneself comfortable, even to achieve a higher sense of spirituality. But does this work? From the lowliest of humans to the monarchs of kingdoms has addiction taken place and almost always causes them to succumb to the honors of poverty, loneliness and even death.
So what causes human beings to lust for the glories of dreams through the use of substances which cause obscurity, defamation and senselessness? Only one word in my mind comes to being, pain, and only one reason; and that is to know!
Negative thinking becomes an addiction. We as humans have our reasons, from being perfect to being happy, we want to be, we want to become. Our emotions rise to certain levels, whether we are depressed or are in a state of exhilaration, we cheer for the intensity of our feelings, we want to feel good! To have an even level of beingness instead of the compulsion to use something other than our true thoughts to make us “high”; we must have a commitment to life, hope , the will to live without destruction, we must be forgiving and believe that recovery is real.
To become of a habit,
Is sometimes to cease being true!

Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Relapse in Recovery

Does a person always relapse, when they are trying to recover? It happened to me twice. The first time it happened I was out of the State Hospital for two months. I had just started college, and on my second day there a Tuesday I was sick again. I remember that day. There were 1,700 students on campus in the fall of 1993. It seemed that I had to walk through all of them to get downtown to catch a bus home. I was new to the bus system then and did not know any other place to catch a bus. As I was extremely paranoid with all those people it was not easy. I finally reached downtown and a bus. That Thursday they picked me up to take me back to the State Hospital. I thought at the time it will be along time before they let me back to Denver. Although all they did was increase my medication and I was there for the weekend to stabilize. On Monday they dropped me back off at campus. I had to rearrange classes and start a new class. I had already missed too many days in the other class. The professor let me start late in the new class. After that semester I never took a full load of classes again just went to school half time. The second time I relapsed was not as bad as the first. At the time of the second relapse only my granddaughter was born. I had a turtle my only companion for about a year and a half. Well he died and the symptoms came on. Although I knew what to do this time and took a PRN. (That is extra medication) and lay down to sleep and I was O.K. the second day. Then when I had my next appointment I told my doctor what happened. Those relapse happened with an older medication called Moban, which is not manufactured anymore. Today I can say that is good, although at the time it was the only medication that worked for me. I had tried them all. As I’ve said in earlier blogs, I could not even drink coffee with that medication without the symptoms happening. I am extremely happy with my new medication Geodon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Beliefs or Belief

There are two kinds of beliefs. One is the conviction or faith one has in one self or some other agent; the other is an opinion, of someone or a subject. Though many of us know about the physical diseases that beset us, through the media or through public association, we know very little about the mental disorders of mental health; of which the concepts of mental health have gone barely noticed. Many people cannot see what disorders exist mentally, nor do they know the different types of mental disorders that exist, hence the common individual of the public have different opinions than the experts about the causes of mental distress and such the treatment there of.
There are different attitudes which keep recognition of the disorders from being spontaneous and accurate; and most of the information on Mental Health is misleading when it is discussed within the public especially in the media. So what can we believe as consumers, as clients?
Like any person who is of ill health, you find a doctor who can diagnose the problem. You research the diagnosis and get a 2nd or even 3rd opinion, or you go by the diagnosis of your doctor and accept the treatment he or she prescribes.
In the late 1990’s a term was introduced into the world of psychiatry, “Mental Health Literacy” and has been defined as, “knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management and prevention”. What does this mean? In short, it is about the knowledge, and beliefs of the causes, self help, professional help available and the attitudes which lend to the recognition and seeking of mental health help and information. This came about as mental health disorders had arisen sharply in our lifetime which means many people will develop a mental disorder or will have associations with someone who has one.
Knowledge in helping others is related to mental health literacy. There is self help; people seeking support from family or friends, finding a connection with others through taking up new activities, and hobbies as well as physical exercise. All of this is building up ones beliefs not only through the public yet also through family and friends, and this is not only building up beliefs, yet strength as well to endure the distress by those who are unfortunate. What people believe in, they do so by association and word, what we accept, we do so by trust and we build our own views; through use of medication and treatment and through reflection whether we are a Third World citizen or of the Western culture.
Excerpts by A.F. Jorm “Mental Health Literacy”
by Donald Sammons

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When to have Hope

I was reading a few pages of “Mans Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl and came across a section about hope that I think helps. It basically says to me that a person should not give up in recovery even if they had relapsed. Victor says in his book “One day a fellow prisoner confided to him that a voice in a strange dream had promised to answer whatever question he wanted to ask. So he asked the voice to tell him when the camp would be liberated. The dream voice replied, March 30th. The man awakened from his dream absolutely thrilled and excited- March 30th was only a few weeks away. Under the torturous conditions in the camp, the man took the dream seriously, believing with all his heart that March 30th would bring salvation. But as the day approached and news reaching the prisoners remained discouraging the man took sick. On March 31st, after the deadline and no liberation, the man died. The physical cause of his death was listed as typhus." But Dr. Frankl believes it was the sudden loss of hope (the severe disappointment) which lowered the man’s resistance to infection. This experience- along with many others like it convinced Dr. Frankl that if you have nothing more to expect for life, you begin to lose life. I’ve wrote an earlier blog about Victor Frankl and his book. Also wrote about the State Hospital, which this story reminded me of. I had to go back to the State Hospital to interview for my unconditional release. I had to go to my old ward to meet the doctor. I see everyone still there and they tell me hi, like not a day had passed. Nothing had changed; even there you have to have hope. Two of them that told me hi that day are out. Although I wonder about where the others are sometimes.

Almost Taken

I am writing this week about something that happened to me a week ago. The first part of how it happened was a coincidence. I had let my daughter use my credit union debit card to get gas. She of course brought it back. Although that was what I was thinking that something happened when she used it, when I received a call. Whom I thought was the credit union calling and telling me that my debit card had been locked out and I could not use it. Until I gave them my debit card number, this was a recording and not a live person. I gave them the number and they asked for it again. I gave it to them again and they asked for my pin. I gave it to them and they said your card can now be used. I hung up and thought I better call the credit union and see if this was a legitimate call. The credit union asked if I had talked to a live person and said they had not made the call and it was fraud. I had to cancel my debit card. I called the police, because I did not want this to happen to someone else. The officer told me it happens so often that he feels like just packing up and using only cash and moving to Alaska. He said never give your information out to a bank calling unless they have your password. We checked the phone number they called from and it was an unknown number and just had the numbers 201 on it. It was untraceable and the police officer told me I would not have been out money, but the credit union would have. Although it still did not make me feel any better about what had happened. It made me feel like my mental distress happened again. As I have said in earlier blogs, my mental illness was hell because I lost control of my life when it happened. I had again almost lost control of my life that I feel I had just gained recovery from, and would not have to go back there again.
P.S. We now have a second blog with the latest research news about mental illness. It is called Mental Health Research. It is also on the right under other sites.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Grown Up and Growing Old

Twenty-five years ago my first encounter with Mental Health began. I was 29 years, a drug addict, and a chain smoker, drank alcohol when I couldn’t get drugs and thought society was screwed. There were a lot of internal conversations on my part, along with the mixing of colors of the world I didn’t mind. Most of all I couldn’t keep a job past 5 months, six at the most and I was forever searching for somewhere to sleep.
I finally reached the age of fifty-five; with gray and balding head, and numerous treatment centers, a state hospital, and several AA and N/A meetings in my pocket. I finally curbed the alcohol and drugs. In between the age of 29 and fifty-five, I learned I would grow old and there would be nothing, and there would be no one. That’s a partiality of truth, and one that raised hope. Old acquaintances have passed on, I am taking responsibility of keeping my own flesh and blood from “losing it” and I am working; most of all I sigh in the evening before I sleep, with a memory.
I gave up on life, to become a part of it, without feeling anguish, I yielded to the concepts of Recovery, AA, N/A and viewed Outcomes in MHCD without dredging within the crevices of my conscious mind, at last; forcing myself from the pretentious games of mind I played on myself, that others so whole heartedly laughed with me about. I learned gray hair isn’t worry, it’s growing, in truth and wisdom, not all mine, there is the touch of spirit and I keep going, even in fear, realizing I am being stronger without going overboard; just growing old.
I will probably live the rest of my life taking prescribed medications. I am a diabetic, yet I am also schizo-affective, can you tell? I am also bi-polar, my friends laugh because I know where I can hide, never knowing where I have been, and I never know where I am going, but I’ve gotten to be fifty-five years old because someone else believed and I let them; that’s part of Recovery, knowing someone who cares and others who have faith!
Written by: Donald Sammons

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mental Health and Integrity

What do I know about mental health? I know I get tired of looking at the world about me, where I live, what others say, what others fail to admit, and the laughter of supposed foolishness. This is not what they impress upon me at mental health centers. There are dos’ and don’ts’ in every part of society in order to exist, in order to maintain even your physical health and welfare, and we have to find our place in respect to living righteously. Where? I sometimes want to give up on the rat race of being “real”; meaning respectful, caring, and most of all honest. Within I am quiet, and discerning, not verily an overtly smart man, yet I try to carry my weight. Where I live there is not so much that kind of respect for me to say amongst others that I was strong enough to put drugs and alcohol aside and stop pretending I was a man of the world. Maybe foolish yet not then a man to say my integrity was meaningful. That’s what I am seeing today, a lack of integrity; honesty, even in myself, yet as I write this, I begin to see how much more the weaker I have become than even my own neighbor, or what friends I thought I had. Integrity is honesty.
One definition I have read is that “Psychiatry is a treatment of souls”; it is a concept of the consistency of a person’s actions, their values, principles and outcomes. Integrity is a sense of honesty and truthfulness; it is not hypocrisy, the opposite of true beliefs. Integrity is the wholeness of qualities which make up an honest and good person.
Physics, in the realm of science and other principles, have integrity and values. There is consistency in knowledge and learning therefore integrity; honesty. In medicine there is a sacredness, and integrity which is its wholesomeness, which is linked to unity and again honesty. This is a part of behavior as well as the principles of virtue and logic and this works together to make a person of belief and of good quality.

I guess we all need to realize our potential for what is right, and begin to try to live not so much for immortality and wealth, but for the beauty that exist within our own souls, finding that experience which is elusive called perfection, and finding it honestly, with integrity. I feel challenged every day in what I want to believe, and I am often saddened when I ask myself what have I quit using drugs for, why have I stop drinking and living an immoral life style as a beggar, as a thief as a fool.

Honesty, a caring heart and the willingness to understand what you are and what you can become can prove that you are stronger than someone who may say you are not; “but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. A part of the treatment of souls and the flesh, and I have understood myself, my weakness.

Written by: Donald Sammons

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life after mental illness

Is life different after my breakdown? It did a 360 degree turn for the better. Although, I could not have known at the time that it would get better. Then being brought back to being sane in the State Hospital who could have guessed. I’ve been thinking when things do not turn out right, where would I be if I did not have a mental illness. I can truthfully say that I would be in prison for life or possibly a homeless alcoholic. I would not want either of those scenes. I was once asked if drinking was so miserable, why did continue to keep drinking then. I said, I knew no other way. That was the only way I knew how to deal with life and thought everyone did the same. I say I would be in prison, because when I did drink bad situations always happened whether or not I tried for them. I look at all I have now and even though it is not everything I would want, I would not trade it for my past life. In all those years I could not have imagined that I would have three grandchildren, and they would bring me so much joy. I also could not have imagined that I would have a mental illness. I remember as a paperboy going to the Winchell’s on west Colfax across from the Bernie Valdez center. I did not know the name then. I remember seeing the people who had mental illness that lived there. That one day I also would have a mental illness. I have accumulated quite a bit of stuff since I left the State Hospital. Also quite a bit of knowledge and would not change a thing.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Discipline: Overcoming Self Defeat

Many years ago, as I can see, I had broken the mold my parents set for me to be able to live with the abilities I had learned. Going to school, maintaining good grades, caring about family members, siblings and others as well is important in any family from third world countries to the urban ghetto. Thinking before acting, being righteous and of a moral character was and is necessary and I lost it all due to drugs and alcohol and had no one to blame, except myself. In essence I had no discipline in my life any more, no priorities or established rules for living then or in the immediate future.
When I hit the gutter, and did not understand what goodness was anymore, I was given the chance to understand instructions which began to give my life order again. This was “discipline”, which at first explained to me sounded, well like; YUK, stupid moralized rules; yet my heart kept me in the realm of thought that I needed order in my life, so I accepted!
The life in me became filled with a willingness to understand, I knew nothing to begin with. I lacked respect for myself and others and slowly I began to know self and reliance and trusting not only in myself, yet having confidence in others as well. I have learned to remold the broken character I had become and learn a bit more self control. I no longer use street drugs or alcohol, my behavior changed because of material reality, the have not’s, having no where nor anyone to trust. I have changed my behavior, and have accepted what others would accept of my order. Discipline is in one way a punishment, the drugs were killing me, the street life taking me apart, yet I chose a newer discipline, one of knowledge, one which gives me a new pattern in which to live without pain in this realm.
Be motivated, discipline is not a wrong, yet a way to control your life.
Written by: Donald Sammons

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Hope is something you need if you want to recover. It is hope that that situation will get better. Even prisoners or people in the state hospital need hope that they can win their case. Or even get out someday and have a better life. Hope has always been around and will continue to. It can start with hoping you will recover from mental distress. You start by setting goals. The first can be stabilizing with consistency. Then you can decide what you would like to do with your life. It might be school or work. Some people can start full-time and others may have to go part time. For myself doing something everyday helps me stay recovered. I do not have to think about my mental distress all the time. There are other things to think about. By exercising, music and reading as well as work help my mind in a lot of ways. Also I like watching comedy shows that make me laugh and release stress. I do my best to eat healthy and exercising has really helped. When I am done exercising if the mail is there, I take a walk around the pond in my apartment to pick it up. All of what I have today though started with a lot of hopes. There were a lot of obstacles along the way. There will probably be more in the future, although I can get through them and continue to hope and be happy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

With Hope we can Change

I have been a part of the mental health system since 1985. For 25 years I have been both client (consumer) and for 3 years an employee as well. My position in MHCD is as an Evaluation and Research Assistant (Data Entry) and every day I have learned something, not only about others who are consumers, yet also of myself as well. My respect for what my life has become has grown a bit more, with the helping hands and minds of MHCD I arose from the streets as a homeless person, alcoholic and addict; now handling statistics on an entry level not only of consumers, but of clinicians, case managers and nurses as well. I feel at times I am living for the future though in the past I never thought of what entails of Outcomes, mine or any one else’s.
Through Outcomes,we search for ways to curb /stop the addictions of the drug addict/alcoholic. We peer into the lives of those who suffer from maladies unknown and give solace not only to the homeless, yet also hope to those who find it hard to cope in the real and learned world.
I have my days when my old behaviors begin to creep up on me. Wanting to fly away from the seemingly impossible I do not understand, yet I come back to earth believing in what I understand that is more the righteous, I am only hue-man, with frailties’ and dreams.
“If you can’t perceive you can do it
Do it so you can perceive you can”. --Anon

Written by Donald Sammons
August 22, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Positive Thinking

I wrote about Self-Efficacy last week. I just want to add more about what I read this week about positive thinking. The Ann Sippi clinics in California are a residential place for people with mental distress, most with schizophrenia. They teach their residents self-efficacy, self esteem and social skills. Which are all good skills which to learn how to adjust reentering society. I also read where it is not always good to just think positive about every situation. I believe they are right every person is different and looks at situations different. You have to look at obstacles and problems in your life. They do not just stop happening because you think positive. They will bring you down sometimes no matter how positive you are. I think that is why I liked Norman Vincent Peale’s books so much. Even though he wrote the books there were stories when he had to be reminded that he was a positive thinker. I just think you should not hit rock bottom, because there is an obstacle. I think what helps me is looking at both sides of a problem. Then I look at what I have been through and say this problem to will pass. Nothing can last forever. Sooner or later it has to get better. Again I think you just have to balance both the negative and positive. Just like dieting, exercise and mediation it is all done best in medication.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Living because you Dream (Goals)

I thought my life was fairly uncomplicated. I eat, sleep, work, shop for groceries, read occasionally, enjoy my computer, watch a little television, listen to music, and walk around through the neighborhood for exercise. Basically my life is not as complicated as it was when I was addicted to drugs. Wrong! Though I have had help in changing my life style, and though the thoughts of fear, and the craving for bravado in a bottle or a baggy have vanquished into thin air, I have gained time to wonder what to do with my life and what will my future become. In other words, I have to set meaningful goals to continue to live, where as in the past I didn’t care.
Goals are defined, the points along the road to success; whether it is something great or something every day and small. A goal can be something that is fulfilled, something which can be achieved because you want. It becomes a part of the logic to gaining something meaningful in your life, of which to continue to live. As there are steps to how many bananas you want in a bag, you must first go to the store or the banana farm before you place them in a bag. Then you might want to climb a tree to get to the bananas, or find the aisle where fruit is kept to begin retrieving your fruit. In all, this is a particular goal to be achieved to satisfy a part of your life.
My goal is to let others know, that counting numbers, or bananas is not the only way to overcome, addictions. In setting goals know they may be short or long in terms of time; they may take one day or many years. We set goals every day, in our case must set goals that are acceptable and are accomplished with others in mind respectfully for a positive result. You are beginning to set goals in order to achieve your new found freedom by setting goals which are the “end of which effort is directed."
The way you formulate your goals is important too and the mean extreme is that you have worked toward that goal and accomplished what you set out to reach for. Don’t set yourself up to fail, it it’s a big goal then create smaller parts of that goal, don’t climb the banana tree, wait for them to fall. Be flexible, and don’t give up, if you have a problem reaching your goal(s) then modify them and if it’s no longer important to you, then don’t be afraid to let it go.
Written by Donald Sammons
August 14 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I was doing some research earlier this week, when I came across an article that was titled “Schizophrenia Training Program On Self-Efficacy Improves Lives” The articles said “When stress was reduced, patients reported on improvement in symptoms, which meant enhancement of their well-being and quality of life.” They did this by learning Self-Efficacy. I believe I have had the same experience. As I’ve stated before in earlier blogs, I was at the State Hospital. One of the things I did to relieve stress and to think positive, was read and study positive thinking. Because we shared dorm rooms and I could not always play music, so reading was quieter. I read a pamphlet called “Positive Living” it was published by Norman Vincent Peale. I had read his book entitled “Positive Thinking” before and knew about these pamphlets and wrote him and asked if he could send them to me. He only charged me a dollar a year, because I did not have much money there. They had stories of people who used positive thinking and how it changed their lives for the better. I like reading stories how something changed some ones life around or they beat all odds. I than say to myself if they can do so can I. That monthly magazine helped me survive the hospital. I shared it with others there also. When I was released from the State Hospital, I bought all his books and donated money so others could receive that little magazine for a dollar a year. His books helped me change my life a lot, because before I was a negative thinking person. When you are an alcoholic and told you have a mental illness for the rest of your life. That is not positive. His book also helped me through college, especially speech class. By using the positive thinking it gave me the Self –Efficacy to communicate and social skills in the class, to meet and talk to people I normally would not have. I did the entire class about positive thinking, including using audio cassettes of Norman’s books. I received a B+ for that class which I thought was pretty good. Since I am a quiet person and did not at the time like giving speeches. It was also hard to overcome the stigma of a mental illness. I also told the class that I had a mental illness and it was not received as bad as I thought it would. It really was one of the best classes and met some of my classmates out of class. It was the only class I ever told that I had a mental illness. The research on this Self-Efficacy is right I believe. Do you think Self-Efficacy would help symptoms and reduce stress?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Tree

There is a tree that stands not far away,
For ten years it has stood withered,
Amongst other living trees and flowers.
No water has it taken within,
No pine needles have ever fallen,
Yet it stands vigilante,
Through rain and snow and summer heat,
This tree has not the will to become of dreams.
I have stood beside this tree,
Looked within its branches,
Only wondering is this me
Within the city,
Or is this a tree awaiting destiny,
And I am a liken to its being free.
Will this tree ever become green?
Soft within the breeze,
Growing within to be
Will nature accept what it is bearing?
Standing never alone,
With only an ounce of life to keep being
A tree of life never un moving
Forgiving the rains for forgetting
As it stands waiting to become born.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I was reading a recovery story yesterday about a guy who could not even go to the store and buy himself some green tea. Doing something different was not on his agenda. His therapist was going over to his house to work with him. The therapist started doing an exercise with the client, and he did not like the exercises, and would not do them. The therapist comes back the next week and the guy offers him some green tea. The client said something happened when we were doing those exercises. Something happened to me its like in the movies when the doctor, say something and changes happen. That is the way I felt, now I can go to the store and buy green tea. That reminded me how hard change was for me. If I had to catch a new bus, and go to an appointment somewhere different in town it was hard. I would think will I make my appointment on time, will I get lost. Change was just hard for me. I had a therapist here at MHCD that helped me through all of it. Although at the time I was not happy going to see a therapist. Now as I look back it was not all that bad. He helped me through a lot of problems. Now I look forward to change. It would be boring if things were always the same. Also you have to believe that you are going to recover. I think believing is the first step in changing any kind of situation. When you believe things do change.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What is a belief

What is Belief?
Belief is a state of mind in which a person holds the meaning or truth of any attitude or desire to be of truth or meaningful; this includes hope.

How do we Believe?
If we believe in something that is the way we think of such an instance, our minds are filled with the thought of something being true or becoming true, near to us. This is thought of which we can become dependent on. We have a right to believe in the truth, since truth is a part of all we seek, some one knows this!
In psychology belief is the “simplest form of mental representation and one of the building blocks of conscious thought”. There exist the believer and the “object” of belief. We have the common sense of belief as we believe in the meaning of an idea or in the truth of an idea. Some people think that belief is something mystical and certainly being of the mind, how mysterious is such thought, it is not all so 1 + 1, in a world where you are amongst many people, it is the idea we seek which is the mirror of knowledge and the subject we search with meaning.

Do not be disillusioned by what truths you seek, disillusionment is “empty”, and false, which is a disturbance of the truth. Be vigilante; be ever more “confident”.

Written by Donald S.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I’m writing again about happiness, because I do not think we get enough nowdays. As I have said in earlier blogs that I watch 70s shows to make me laugh on weekends and even on some weeknights. I also watch newer shows like TMZ and the new one with Betty White “Hot in Cleveland” They make me laugh also. I had to find new shows because I had already watched all the episodes of “All in the family” and “Good times” and all of “Sanford and son.” I try and watch newer comedies, but they do not make me laugh as much as the old shows. I do not laugh when John Ritter or Tim Conway trip and fall or something. Just when the situation or they say something funny, there is just something about those old shows that are funny to me. I also get happiness from my grandkids. I had my eighteen month over this last Sunday, and all he did was play. We watched all his programs on T.V. or I did. I took him to feed the ducks and geese. He did not stop from when he came to my house at 8 am till he fell asleep at 1 pm. I enjoyed being with him even if he cannot talk and I have to watch his programs. Along with exercise and multi vitamins and fish oil capsules, I am in good health. I know laughter also helps. I am hoping I do not have to see my doctor for another year. I also hope I can continue to find shows that make me laugh. What do you do to stay in good health? What makes you happy?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Knowing the sun rises isn’t your confidence, we just know it does. Knowing you will get out of bed when it does isn’t confidence, you just do, or you don’t and time just passes on by. Confidence is trust. Confidence is belief and caring, and expectation of what is wanted will happen.

Things happen because we want them to happen. Everyone wants the sun to rise, and we all wait for it to set. Some people want bacon and eggs for breakfast. Others care for cereal, yet we all hope and expect this will be, just as we seek salvation from our dilemmas and illness’. We trust in our responsibility and we have hope in something that we can care about – ourselves and others.

Having confidence is having a positive attitude in that all you care about and this is as wonderful as the sun rising itself. With this trust, life is a joy; because you can trust and care about your expectations, you are self-reliant; you are secure in your beliefs.

If you see dirt, where it shouldn’t be; it makes you think something is disgusting, which is chaotic, yet when you have a caring, trusting attitude and you can see the dirt as a catalyst to something greater, by moving it; you have become reliant and your trust has created. This too is a part of recovery.

With confidence you create
With self-reliance you overcome
This is caring

Written by Donald Sammons
July 25th, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Friends and Recovery and addiction

I was reading an article on the internet yesterday, about addiction. In the article, they do not believe that addiction is a disease. They tested mice by giving then alcohol. When the mice were going through withdrawals, they were offered more alcohol, and they would not drink it. The article said though that if you put on low lights and soft music to mice, then they would drink the alcohol. The article went on to say they believed addiction is tied to the reward system in the brain. They also took some heroin addicts away from their environment, and they became clean from heroin. Although when they went back to their old neighborhood and friends, they soon relapsed. That part reminded me of me. All the state hospital drilled in to me was you cannot have your old friends. Right I thought, it’s not their fault, I get into trouble. Then I would remember something my best friend’s mom told me once and I always tried to figure it out. She said “it’s not you, it’s your friends” As you know I was released from the state hospital. While I was there one girl from the neighborhood kept in touch with me. She was supposed to come and see me in Denver. Although we soon lost touch with each other once I was back in Denver. After a few months in a group home, I found an apartment in the old neighborhood. I moved in and soon my old friends started coming by when I was not home. I was home though when my best friend came by. I told him we could not see each other anymore. He told me “you are blaming me for the past.” I told him I was not blaming anybody, which was just the way it had to be. I can watch a stranger drink and not care at all. To watch a friend and remember old times, I would have started drinking again. I had tried to stop on my own before and was soon drinking with old friends. Do you have a substance abuse problem and what would you do if you did?

Monday, July 19, 2010


We all make decisions, everyday of our lives, almost seemingly every minute. We live and die making decisions. Our decisions are our commitments, what we wish to uphold to being, to maintain our lives. We choose to commit ourselves to life productively so that we may enjoy the fruits of our labor. We promise ourselves and others, with others to live and to enjoy our lives.
When we promise ourselves and others to do something; change our lifestyle, climb a mountain, learn to swim, we know these are attitudes that we want to explore, and with the desire, these ideas become accomplished. Ten years ago I wanted to learn to use a computer, nothing extravagant such as programming, just use the computer, turn it on and understand what I have done. I never thought of being employed as a customer service agent or data entry clerk before or after learning to use a computer. Yet despite, the addictions, the medications, of which I look at as the weakness’ I suffered from which would keep me from achieving my goal, I kept my word, I maintained a commitment, a pledge to learn and as of such, enjoy learning about it ever the more.
Making a pledge to oneself, to grow beyond the boundaries one might suffer from is the same as learning in a classroom, or from a clinician or case manger, even your own psychiatrist. You are making a trusting binding word with yourself to make a change in your life, or maybe, to help someone else with an opportunity. “Willingness is commitment, never giving up, that’s why there is always another day.”
Written by
Donald Sammons
July 18, 2010