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