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.