Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I believe fear and paranoid are two different ways to look at a situation. I believe paranoid is when you believe people are out to harm you or persecute you. Fear is afraid of the unknown or even somebody or belief. I’ve been thinking about this since I settled my case with my landlord. I wrote about this in an earlier blog in February called “What is the right way". I did make them hire a lawyer to defend themselves and they still had to pay me. Although for me it was more the principal than the money. I wanted them to understand that you cannot just push people around whether they are poor or whatever. The reason I settled though was because there was a different Judge than last time. I did not know if she would uphold my rights like the last Judge was doing. In the end she did uphold my rights though. I had no reason to fear. Usually when I fear though I push forward, although in acouple or earlier blogs in January called “Paranoid Schizophrenic” I told how I was once sentenced to time I should not have done. It was a lady Judge and I think in my subconscious I was not ready to trust again. Now I have one more problem and I am not happy that they keep coming. I have to try and settle Social Security; they are saying I owe money. They lost the record of my appeal that I asked for around eight months ago. I am trying to settle this without having to file another court case, although I will if I am pushed to do so. I do feel fear when I think of it, but I have to push forward. I believe it will be my last time I have to fight. I like my new apartment and the landlords.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Capabilities and Trust

I was sitting at the desk in the office at work. The supervisor ask me to do something I had never done before, and having only read parts of the book I carried with me, changing the scripts of numbers from one power to another became frustrating.
I began to feel incapable; and for a dual diagnosed person such as myself, that can be destructive in a sort of way; you might crawl back into a corner, or walk away very fast. I sat at the desk for a long while thumbing pages and feeling very little. I could find no one to help, and I was on my own.
A day later my supervisor left town. The question was not answered, still unconcieved was an answer, yet I felt less stress for the moment and had gained more time. It’s not that there was a deadline; no, my supervisor in essence wanted to know if I could be creative, and did I learn when I said I was learning.
Being capable of (1) solving a problem and (2) maintaining strength is like a ‘Herculean’ movie’; to a dually-diagnosed person such as myself. I know what I can do; I fear what I can’t and that’s when relapse occurs, that’s when the smile weakens.
I learned this about myself and promised myself that if I could answer this mathematical question, I would be a lot stronger a person and accept that I have other weakness to change. I answered his question and solved a problem that I did not know existed; my own capabilities and what I have to do to change and maintain trust.
“If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.”
Hans Reichenbach

Written by Donald Sammons
April 25, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Health & Recovery II

I’m writing again about health and recovery, because there are a lot of articles online about diet, diabetes, exercise and mental health. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, people with mental distress die approximately twenty five years earlier than the rest of the population. It is not because of the mental illness, but because of heart disease, complications of diabetes and other health risks. What I’ve learned though is that everything should be done in moderation. Exercise at least three times a week. I say that because of a news segment I watched in where young people were throwing a baseball everyday for hours at a time and they hurt their arm. If they had worked out in moderation, they would probably have not been hurt. I believe they will get the same effect if not better. I still ride the exercise bike, but I am moving this week and although I will still have a fitness center, they do not have an exercise bike, so I will mostly likely use the treadmill there. If I have to use a diet, I would use the Mediterranean diet, which implies exercise, activity, healthy nutrition and natural products. I do walk downtown and sometimes the five blocks here to work, when the bus is late. I could use more activity though. I still have chocolate bars and cheesecake once in a while. I also still have my fruits and nuts. I have incorporated blueberries once a week and take fish oil capsules not everyday just about three times a week. That way nature can give what they may take away. I also use organic milk and butter. I am also looking into eat wild meat that is grass fed and shipped in Colorado for free. As I said before I use olive oil now also fruits that are in season. I try not to get stressed, that is where music and meditation come in. Otherwise I eat food for comfort. I think that is how I put on that extra four pounds last month instead of losing. I haven’t weighed since then, but I am sure I lost those and hopefully at least two more. I will keep doing everything in moderation and am still open to new ideas. My daughter ask me how long do you want to live and I say till my sixteen month old grandson gets married. I hope it is a while.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Making Decisions

Have you ever taken the time to think a problem through? Wondering if the scenario of such was worth it? Wishing you had time to think or do something else? Decisions, decisions! The reality of deciding, solving a problem, making a judgment or determination is based on sharing thought, or just quiet time to add one plus one.
Being a consumer of mental health, I had just recently had to face a decision which to me seemingly changed my outlook on myself, and question reality. Having received Disability payments for nearly more than 20 years, and having given up drugs and alcohol to change my life, I began working; this was three years ago. I have never worked more than 6 months in my life, and I am still in shock. That’s a lot for a person who is dual-diagnosed! I recently had to decide if I wanted to continue to work, or go back to the disability payments I was receiving. This was no threat by anyone to me, my co-workers were kind enough to help me during this time, as the disability offices were denying me Medicaid, and SSI, because of the amount I was being paid on the job. I thought of comfort of not having to rise early in the morning; of not having to make lunches, of dressing the way I wanted to dress, of going to the parks around town, and basically hanging out with my old associates. Nothing began to add up! The world as I have briefly sketched began to look dim to what I had already accomplished and what of new friends; I couldn’t let my fellow workers down, with all the rhetoric on changing my life and how others had helped me. I suddenly became—trashed! Not with drugs or alcohol, but with indecision.
Decisions are a painstakingly set of mathematical intercises in word, each adding up to a summation of good, and righteous movements, or they can be disastrous; ‘Nelly the cow ran away because of demands, and not enough time’. What I am trying to say is that a person who is dual-diagnosed with a mental handicap or a person facing economic disaster has to determine what the best course to work towards is. As a mentally handicapped employee, I have assistance from case managers, therapist, nurses and those that do care about my well being; they can help me make a decision when I can look no further or "father" other positive thoughts to remedy any situation. We may be seemingly be dependent people, yet we are taught, even given the ability to ask and seek answers’, instead of reacting to a wrong situation, or even one which may be positive, even though we may not realize it at first.
The right decision means success and the experience of making the right determination means that you have overcome the worrisome plight you had been suffering.
“There is no failure, except in no longer trying.”
E. Hubbard
Written by:
Donald Sammons

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Feature in the Blog

Starting this week, every second week of the month, Dr. P. Antonio Olmos-Gallo, director of Evaluation and Research will be presenting some research-related topic. It will be either about a project conducted at the Mental Health center of Denver (MHCD) or some research project that may be of interest to readers of this blog.
Development of Instruments to measure recovery
I would like to start by describing how we got where we are now. About 8 years ago, MHCD decided that they wanted to do something about recovery. Back then, our center, like many others, wanted to become more recovery oriented. Every year MHCD sponsors a Recovery Conference that will feature well known speakers (in past events we have invited Priscilla Ridgway, Ed Knight, and more recently, Fred Freese) and always felt energized after the conference. We had critical mass, and the commitment, but we had little direction about to what to do next. At that time, it was decided to create a “Recovery Committee” that was formed by consumers, clinical people, psychiatrists, and administrators. The directive for this committee was to help MHCD become more recovery oriented. After some initial meetings, it became obvious that one thing we needed to do was to define what recovery meant for our center, and try to find a way to measure it. The plan was not only to be able to track changes over time in order to know if we were moving in the right direction, but also, to be able to know what of the multiple things we were doing, will help us or hinder our efforts, and be able to correct our trajectory as we moved forward.
Initially our objective was to meet with several groups of stakeholders, and try to create a definition of recovery that will fulfill our requirements. Our definition of recovery is: “a non-linear process of growth by which people move from lower to higher levels of fulfillment in the areas of sense of safety, hope, symptom management, satisfaction with social networks and active/growth orientation”
Some members of the committee were asked to do a literature review and try to find if there were instruments already developed that would help us measure Recovery. We found multiple instruments, but we were never fully satisfied because the instruments always seemed to fall short in one area or the other. Finally, after much debate, we decided to create our own set of instruments.
The decision was then made to create our own instruments. But we also felt we needed specific requirements: 1) Recovery is different for different people, and is affected by many variables, therefore, we needed to have more than one instrument, to be able to capture those multiple facets. 2) The instruments should be developed using state-of-the-art techniques.
With those two directives, and the total support of our center, we started the development of our instruments. We have:
1. The Recovery Markers Inventory (RMI), measures the factors associated with recovery. This is not an instrument that will measure recovery per-se, but factors like housing, employment, education, participation in services, that are usually associated with recovery. This instrument is completed every three months by the clinician/case manager who is helping the consumer
2. The Consumer Recovery Measure (CRM) which measures the consumer’s perception of their own recovery. Although there are many areas that are related to recovery, our stakeholders decided that we will concentrate in 5 areas: 1) safety, 2) hope, 3) symptom management, 4) satisfaction with social networks and 5) active/growth orientation. This instrument is also completed every 3 months by the consumer either by him/herself or with the help of a clinician/case manager.
3. The Promoting Recovery in Mental Health Organizations (PRO) which measures the perception of the consumer about the ability of the staff at our center (clinical, nurses, psychiatrists, even front-desk people) to help them or hinder their recovery. We complete this instrument once a year on a random sample of adult consumers (about 10-12%).
If you are interested in learning more about our instruments, please visit our Evaluation and Research website ( we have presented in multiple forums, and we have several manuscripts under review at several peer-reviewed journals

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stigma or Prejudice

Prejudice and stigma is the same thing. Why do people make fun of or pick on somebody because they are different? Is it because they do not understand them or fear they will be like them. Even if they are alright to begin with, they must not have no conscience. If they did would they not say but for the grace of God it is not me. Stigma and prejudice are bad whether it is for a mental illness, because you are of another race or if you have muscular dystrophy or anything wrong with a human being. It keeps repeating in society, because grown ups show kids how to keep on stigmatizing or being prejudice. It never stops. You would think everyone would celebrate everyone being different. If we were all the same would it not be a very boring world? Even though people do not understand mental distress, I am glad I have it, because it has taught me so much. All the people who I have met along the way of recovery, I learn from them and hopefully have touched their lives also. You can learn something from anybody, no matter if they are black or white, insane or sane.

Monday, April 5, 2010

With Patience I will walk

I thought I was upon my rock; above the sky, never alone. I found myself staring into the storm, without some kind of idea as to how to survive. I walked into the cold and daring world with nothing, as a child out to play into the day of morning without friends, without charity, without thinking. I didn’t take faith or patience or wisdom with me; there was no time, in order to keep living. Have you gone this way to achieving perfection in your life?
Patience is compassion for what is now and what will be! Because we have imagination, we see ourselves, as well as the world, upon mountains or crossing vast oceans. To get from one extreme to the next takes time. We often imagine ourselves becoming the image of being perfect, this is how we get from one shore to the next. If you are pressuring yourself to achieve your goals of perfection or a new life, then you have met with impatience. Someone else has knocked on your door!
It’s best to relax. Life as it is said is a journey and its one you’re never done with. We have desires and dreams in reality, its part of being human; so is the waiting, and this is a part of reality also. When we realize that a footstep from here to there is never complete, then we will begin to have compassion for the next. Patience is our journey, it’s not the motion of getting there; it’s the joy of the motion. Patience is thought.
By: Donald Sammons
April 4, 2010