Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Paranoid Schizophrenic

This is the next part of an earlier blog from last week. I was released from prison and went to court. I made a deal where I would be completely free, no probation, or parole. I then entered a computer class that taught computers, confidence skills and faster typing. It was a fast paced program and they let me in even though I could not type. The stress to succeed and not go back to prison was on my mind. I knew after a while I could not succeed in this computer class. I became paranoid again. I started drinking again and committed a crime. I was sentenced to one day to life in the State Hospital. I later found out that means you are committed until they find you sane and you get an unconditional release. The day I was sentenced I called my lawyer bad names. After I became sane on the medicine, I looked for him to thank him. He did the best thing that ever happened in my life, to this day I have not found him to say thank you. While in the hospital as soon as they started giving me medicine, I started asking for one that would not make me shake. I had a dream already forming of working on computers and knew I could not shake in order to type. The doctor there tried two to three different ones and was giving up. I asked him to try one more time and he found an old medicine called Moban and a side effect medicine called Kemidrin. They worked for me, with no shaking and I could work on my dream. I was told I would have to be at the hospital a minimum of five years. I never forgot the outside world; I kept talking about it to everyone. There were people who had been in the hospital ten years. I did not want to be like that. Also while I was there a young man committed suicide. I have since met his dad and we are friends. It was not a good place to be at. A case manager that worked there asked what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I told her I wanted to learn computers. She introduced me to someone in Vocational Rehabilitation. He let me learn word perfect and do some of his work on his computer. The rest of the day I was going to school for math and they had an apple computer. On this computer they had a program called typing tutor. I started learning to type everyday until I reached 40 words per minute. One of the teachers there helped me get all the necessary documents together to start college. On a week long pass in March of 1993 I signed up for college to start in the fall. I was released from the hospital that June. If you want to know what happen after that look at an earlier blog titled My Recovery. Next week I will write about why I choose medicine.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Strength of Mind

Sometimes when I am waking, whether there’s quiet, or storm, rain or snow, even summer or fall; I have to force myself to rise, and begin the new day. The argument within my mind, caresses my being with negativity yet before long I have given myself an excuse for being a part of the realm of society which ask me the same question I ask myself, “why am I being”? Often times my answer is real, or silly, and what I get out of being conscious of my reality is somewhat suddenly preposterous. I now feel a bit stronger, because someone asks me what I was wondering and I knew I was not alone having these thoughts, and I could trust someone to help answer them.
Strength is more than just muscles or tensile construction, it is a bonding of oneself with the reality surrounding and understanding; it is also respect. Strength is thought, a surrealistic joining of the materiality of being and a willingness to share understanding. Some people are strong in a positive sense, sharing and giving and building at the same time with those they share their strength with. Others are negatively strong, destroying the weak and foundations of hope, maligning the faith of believers. It happens in the streets, in schools, in businesses, even in the church. There is positive and negative, there is strength and weakness.
Where I work we were given a book entitled, “Strengths Finder 2.0”. In this book, of which I have read several Themes, I find it has given me the opportunity to see myself, to understand some of my weaknesses and try to change them with new ideas. The main body of the book is called “The 34 Themes and Ideas for Action”, and within that body is a theme called, “Discipline”. Discipline is structure, it is focusing on the world about yourself so that you know what you want to achieve. Discipline is the need for self control, and control over what you feel to create. There is an “Idea for Action” in this theme which struck me as on time, “Accept that mistakes might depress you….”
In AA, NA, in Mental Health Centers and in Recovery, the clinicians during their recovery groups ask if you can “Accept the consequences for your behavior, can you accept the consequences for your mistakes, or negative attitudes of others or your own."
It’s like waking up in the morning, and asking yourself, “why am I being”, without a hand to raise you and you discovering it takes strength, your own as well as, those you can trust.

By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Paranoid Schizophrenic

I’m going to write about how I became a Paranoid Schizophrenic. It was in 1987, and I was in prison for a case that I eventually won on appeal. I should have never been in prison as the case should have been a misdemeanor. At the time all of this happened, I believe the combination of all these problems, plus stress brought on the mental distress. Including being locked up unjustly. It was on my mind as well as a couple of other problems. Besides those problems, they moved me from one section of the prison to another. I did not want to go to the other section, even though it was supposed to be better. In this other wing of the prison, I do tell a friend about the problems I am going through. I had also just finished an accounting program and received a diploma. I was now taking basic programming language on the computer and was a teaching assistant. I was gambling at nights, and was written up for gambling. I was sentenced to ten days in the hole and would have to start all the way back, and work my way up to the wing I wanted to be in. I was a very angry person going into the hole. I went to sleep that night and the next thing I knew I was on another tier and was a paranoid schizophrenic. Although I did not know it at the time that I was. I know everybody who goes to the hole would like to blackout the days. It was not a good experience for me. I did not comprehend what was going on with me. I ended up taking apart my razor and cutting my wrist with the blade. My friends were trying to stick by me, although I did not understand what I was going through. Nobody knew I had cut my wrist, until I told them. They put me in a cell with cameras and a regular doctor; I knew came by and looked in at me. I did not speak to him even though I knew him. The next morning they took me to their hospital in Canon City. There a psychiatrist talked to me and was going to put me in a cell by myself. He changed his mind and also changed his decision about putting me on medicine, except for halcyon to sleep. He came back to talk to me about a week later and asked where I wanted to finish my time. I did not want to go back to the prison I came from even though my friends would have stuck by me. I was too humiliated by the experience. In the hospital there I had watched inmates come and go. I told him I wanted to stay there. They brought all my belongings, and I stayed there for six more months until I won my appeal. While I was there, I had a case manager who kept telling me, she was going to deny me parole. She said I was a danger to myself and to others. I did not know at the time what she meant. She never explained it and I did not believe it. I did know because of my appeal they could not hold me. I will write more of what happened after I left and about medication next week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Compassion and Compatibility

Its meaning is congruent to every ones’ existing harmoniously or working with one another; even forgiving. In the Middle English language and Middle Latin language the word is ‘compatibilis’, in Latin another word is ‘compati’ which is compassion or sorrow for suffering with the urge to help; compassion then again is pity, compati in Latin then again means to feel pity.
Mental health programs nowdays are trying to provide direction for consumers who want and need to grow beyond their mental illness and live decent lives in the real world. As consumers we seek someone to listen to us, and lead us in a direction where we feel there is someone to help us learn to care for ourselves. We are like children growing again, learning again. We seek support spiritually, in our lives while in Recovery, in the beginning this is only sight and sound distorting images in our life. Then we begin to find through the different methodologies of treatment in a Mental Health Recovery Program that spirituality is the real life of our thoughts and actions and responses and that we can control our lives through understanding spiritually.
We try to overcome relapsing. Drugs and alcohol slowly become a realization of our lives that these substances and the way of life lived for such is only a poison of our true beliefs and visions. We take the time to begin to see, through not only social support but also through the mind and eyes of professionals, clergy, friends and family members while we are connected to Mental Health.
Compatibility and compassion are the words of romance and survival, of caring and knowing that through a Recovery Mental Health Program, people who are living in anguish whose mental distress hinders them can change and begin to focus on a new chapter in their lives. Through strength, structure and reassurance the negative aspects of which Mental Health clients were bonding to can diminish and consumers can be lead to stand again with pride and feel free to rebuild their lives without pain and sorrow hindering them with indecision and addictions.
Written By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Silent Knowledge

That is what Miguel Ruiz calls it in his book Beyond Fear. I never had a name for it. Although this silent knowledge has guided me and given me answers for most of my life. I’ve wanted to write about it for over three weeks, but did not know how to explain it. I let it sit in the back of my mind until I had the answer. That is what silent knowledge is that part of you that gives you the answer, when you do not know how to go about a certain problem. It is not intuition. I leave it in my mind and then when I’m doing something else the answer comes to me. I’ve been guided and have sought answers this way for quite awhile. The answer does not always come fast. Until I started writing this I always wanted the answer to come faster. I now realize the answer comes at the right time. Silent knowledge has been used since the beginning of time. I often wondered since they did not have modern noise, and could listen in silence if they used silent knowledge and relied on it more often. Miguel says, “This is not the first time silent knowledge has been revealed. What is new is that our contemporary interpretation of the ancient wisdom is influenced by scholarship and scientific knowledge from recent times.” If you listen, and trust that the right answers to your problems and the right guidance will come. Have you heard or used silent knowledge?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Personal or Personality

When people are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, many people assume that these people are very ill, incapable of understanding, incapable of thinking coherently, or lacking any creative abilities or lack any ability to care for themselves.
In Recovery, with the aid of case managers, I have learned that I have time to make the changes I need to make for my life to become better. As a mental health consumer, I had to learn to question the thoughts and feelings that exist within myself, and understand the reality of their existence, find answers. A long time ago I did not care to know about myself, within a mirror or within anyone else’s mind, I relied on alcohol and drugs, and these kept the waves from falling upon the shore; reality.
Personal; do I want to share, Personality; do I have the right words? In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, logic is the tool. Most and I might say many Mental Health Consumers do not have the knowledge of logic or the abilities to reason higher frames of thinking. In our mental health centers in Denver we have the opportunity to understand how DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) works as logic (understanding the principles of Zen Buddhism) to help us change our way of thinking and to make decisions to create a better self from a negative point to a much more positive aspect.
Personal; one’s own understanding and the capability to create, Personality; feeling good about making a change, is gaining self respect for one’s own recovery and rebuilding the self.
By: Donald G Sammons 01/09/2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Meditation has helped Me

I have tried meditation for many years, with varying degrees of success. The meditation class that Carrie Solano at 2succeed teaches has been particularly helpful to me.

We begin by spending about fifteen minutes talking and reading special cards, something similar to fortune-telling cards. We have angel cards and native-American cards. Those who wish to, shuffle the deck, and pull out one to read. The cards are intended to provide personal insight and guidance.
I rarely use the cards, myself, but have been amazed once or twice by how well they relate to my current situation.

Reading the cards is a good exercise to begin with, because it tends to get us to focus, and to make us feel that we are connecting to a spiritual or inner part of ourselves.

We then lower the lights, and Carrie puts on a meditation CD, which usually is a type of very relaxing music. Often the CDs have sounds of nature, or gentle-sounding instruments, like flutes, which I find helps to relax me deeply.

Carrie then instructs us to get comfortable, loosen tight clothing if desired, put both feet flat on the floor, and take three deep, cleansing breathes. We then begin the meditation, in which we try to gently quiet our minds, and reduce or eliminate the constant chatter that most of us have going through our minds all the time.

I often have difficulty persuading my mind to become quiet, as I believe most people do. If I can get it to quiet for several seconds, or maybe even a minute or so, I find that I become much more relaxed, both in my mind and body. I find that things don’t bother me as much. My body starts to feel a little bit better, and some of my aches and pains lessen. Sometimes, I don’t even feel the need to scratch an itch, but just let it be until it goes away by itself.

We meditate for about twenty minutes, and then Carrie lets us know that it is time to come out of it. We each open our eyes when we are ready, and then the lights are gradually turned back on. While we are meditating, there are several candles burning, as well as a type of incense coming out of a misting-type device. It is never completely dark in the room, but just a nice low light.

I’m always a little disappointed when the meditation is over, because it never seems quite long enough for me. I am always much more relaxed when it is over, though.

Even though I meditate at home from time to time, I have noticed that doing it in a group helps a great deal to keep my mind from wandering, and to help me stay focused. Maybe there is even some sort of group energy that helps to make the meditation more effective.

Afterwards, we all have tea, herbal tea or whatever we want. It’s a nice way of coming back to the “real world”. We often talk at that time about what we experienced while meditating, or about other spiritual or mystical things. Often the discussion is very interesting.

I personally feel that the meditation and the card reading, and the discussion afterward is completely compatible with any and all religious or spiritual beliefs, or with the lack of such beliefs. We all have the need to relax and quiet our noisy minds, and connect with that special something that is inside of our minds.

Todd Thorne


Some of the things that help people recover from a mental illness are you have to take responsibility for your mental health and behavior. You have to recognize your symptoms and know what triggers the symptoms. Some people recover with medication and some recover without it. You may not have symptoms if you take medication and it works well for a person. Also you have to learn what works for you. Even though you may have the same diagnoses, what you go through is different. Employment helps a lot in recovery by having confidence and it also helps a person interact with others. Support from family and/or mental health counselor or psychiatrist. It could even be a good friend who knows you and believes in you. Stubbornness, or self determination in the fact that you can succeed even if you have a mental illness, and you will not let anything stop you from realizing recovery, and you would also have to have hope that your dreams and recovery will come to realization. Recovery is an individual thing and to know you can recover. Some who recover and go on to be psychiatrists and such wanted to make sure nobody went through what they did. Some were in college before their breakdown and went on to finish college. Others started after their mental illness and finished and are lawyers, mechanics etc. Some talk about what they went through and some others do not. Finally you have to use your strengths.