Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stigma and Self-Stigma

I have written about stigma in prior blogs. Although not self-stigma, I believe it will be a long time before people with a mental illness will be accepted. Then they will be able to recover without stigma. I know from my years in college and lately researching about mental illness and recovery. There are a lot of people whom have recovered and are lawyers and such. Some tell they have a mental illness, although most do not. When celebrities and famous people tell about their mental illness it helps a lot. Here is such an article of 15 Famous People who’ve helped Demystify Depression. It is good. I encourage you to click on the links of each and see how they are trying to help end stigma. Now I will discuss self-stigma and you can read a very good article about self-stigma. It also has a very good definition of what stigma is. It is hard enough to deal with stigma from others. When you start believing what they say and turn that inward it is very sad. I do not believe that you can fully recover if you are believing that you are incompetent or other things they might say about people with a mental illness. I do believe that someday people with a mental illness will be accepted. I still believe that day is long in coming. Until then do not turn that stigma into self-stigma.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer and Mental Health

Summer time has appeared and as many perceive, it carries an attitude of being lax and free from the constraints of being shut in from the winter cold and the dusty winds of spring and fall. As Mental Health consumers tend to travel about, trying to keep active or even those who have not had the fortune of adapting to the mental health system whom may be troubled, we must be aware of the hazards both of nature and society during the summer season.
Before I became a part of Recovery, I wandered aimlessly through the city streets, not without a purpose, but with the intent to keep myself satisfied. I was a drug addict then and with a court record. I seldom worked even temporarily, so I had plenty of time on my hands. Being vagrant is not fun, and finding that people tend to look over the more unfortunate characters in life made it somewhat unbearable.
The best thing to do I found later on during my recovery, is to make sure you have shelter; an apartment, living with family or even a bed and rest or city/state sponsored shelter. Keep active for the better part in seeking a means to educate yourself, in finding a more permanent home, or entertaining yourself through social activities such as, swimming, bike riding or even gardening. You’ll find summer is the season to plant and tender the garden of your desires and that the beauty of its sunrise and sunset is the purposeful accomplishment of your wishes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dreamland: Is it Schizophrenia

A lot of people diagnosed with schizophrenia are not able to understand they have the disorder because of a part of the brain which gives thought. There is destruction of cognition and emotion, language, thought, perception, a sense of self and hallucinations of normal events, including false beliefs (delusions). There are positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms reflect a distortion of normal functions; negative symptoms reflect a loss of normal functions.
Anti-psychotic medications are traditional in the treatment of schizophrenia’s positive symptoms, producing side effects closely to that of negative symptoms which may be; loss of interest, pleasure, sleep disturbance, eating, different mood swings and difficulty in concentrating or with attention. There are as I understand 6 different types of schizophrenia (not listed).
Anti-psychotics can take weeks even months to begin working, “patience” is the key along with hope for a person’s life to become easier. In Recovery patience is emphasized with every consumer or client involved with mental health, “miracles don’t happen overnight”. When you have the right medication the symptoms may or may not go away, yet there are many people who choose to live with the symptoms rather than go through life using medications.
The illness and many of the medications used to treat it can make a person feel tired or slow witted. You will want to sleep more than you think, and it may be wrong to try and to live your once normal life again too soon. Recovering from schizophrenia is recovering from an illness. Have goals for yourself and find a routine that you enjoy. Don't expect too much of yourself while you are recovering in the way of socializing, and know if others are forcing you "get back into the world" – find the time and support you need.
This information is taken from: Schizophrenia
Donald Sammons

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Recovery

I am going to start talking about my recovery which started at the State Hospital. While I was there I was finally started on Moban and Kemidrin after a trial of other medications which had different side effects like making my arms and hands shake. I could not have that because I already had a dream of rebuilding my life and starting over. By going to the State Hospital it gave me a chance to put away my old life and start a new one. I did not like the fact that I had mental illness it was and is the worst thing that ever happened to me. One of my first steps was typing I knew from taking classes on the streets that was the only way. Although on the streets I did not have the time. I started from zero and worked my way up to 40 WPM on a apple program called typing tutor. One day I was sitting on the porch of the State Hospital and talking to a worker, whom was not assigned to my case. She asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I told her I wanted to learn computers. She told me she could help me. She introduced me to Tony the head of Vocational Rehabilitation at the State Hospital. He let me learn WordPerfect on his computer and I also did work for him to learn more. I had other teachers there also. They were teaching me typing and math and general studies. They helped me send away for all the paperwork, I would need to enroll in college. Before I left the State Hospital one of the workers there who also was a friend, he gave me the name of his brother whom worked at Metropolitan State College in Denver. I started college and had a relapse the second day there. I went back to the State Hospital for the weekend and they adjusted my medication. I had missed four days already of Spanish class and all you could miss was three days. I had to go to my friend brother and he helped me switch from Spanish to Creative Writing. It is in that class that I was working on an assignment and the Professor asked me a question that I could not answer and told her I could not. She gave me the following advice that I use until this day “Do not ever give up.” I will never forget and use it all the time. I received Bachelors in Human Services. I was studying to be an Alcohol and Drug Counselor, up until my last internship and (I had three). The first two went great and then I started the third one and I was not happy anymore. I had worked my internships at private agencies. I did not want to work in that field anymore. I started looking for something else to do and Public Administration accepted me and I chose them. Through those studies I learned to love two subjects they were Economics and Research. It was to late for me to go back and learn Economics. I decided I wanted to do research. One day before I graduated with my Masters, a nurse and me at MHCD were talking. I mentioned to her that I would be graduating soon. She gave me the phone number to 2succeed and told me to call them after I graduated. After graduating I went to a doctor to make sure I was healthy and nothing was going to stop me from working. I went to 2succeed and told them I wanted to do research. Well after applying for jobs they picked me to work implementing the REE Survey written by Pricilla Ridgeway. The survey team implementing the survey found the language to hard to understand and not written in at least a sixth grade language. They decided to change the survey the next year. The new one is called the PRO survey and it was written to implement the next year. We were told that this was a pilot and it would be whittled down to 13 questions in each subject the next year and it is. After the PRO survey was done in 2009, the Director of Evaluation and Research asked me to come and work for him temporarily. After asking what I would like to do working for him. I told him research and he hired me permanently on June 15th 2009. Around the time I started working full time they stopped making Moban and I had no choice but to change medications. I did not know that it would work out so well. Well I was using Moban to make it work I had to sleep more that eight hours a night. I also had to give up coffee and that was the hardest thing to ever quit. I drank more that two cups a day. I was on Moban for nineteen years. They switched me to Geodon and after two weeks of adjusting, I take 80mg at night because it puts me to sleep after two hours of taking it. It also allows me to get up early and start work at 6:15 everyday. It also allows me to drink coffee, although only drink two cups every morning. I find I do not want it like I use to. My two most researched subjects in the mental health field are recovery and health.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Part of Change is Trust

“Some people are made of plastic, some people are made of wood; some people are made of stone, some people they are up to no good…”These are the words to a song, which was on the Rhythm and Blues charts during the mid-late 70’s. I think about these simple words about people as I strive to maintain my Recovery. I have a basket of all of them, plastic, wood, stone, and things that are no good at all. As many times as I have sought an answer as to why people become mentally ill, the only thought which exist is that the world is filled with people and at this thought I begin to feel a twinge of insanity. It’s not insanity really that I am feeling, it’s more a feeling of indecisiveness, of whom do I trust; so I roll through the punches by escaping any way I can. I believe I am searching a strong bond in friendship, yet we all are, and not being able to decide if anyone person is trustworthy, we keep seeking, finally climbing that tree with someone we believe in.
Friendship is not only trusting someone, it is sharing honor and pride in the livelihood we share, and this is why Mental Health consumers maintain a bond with their clinicians, therapist, and nurses. As Recovery progresses we realize we have made foolish mistakes of which we cannot overlay, yet we also realize friendship is hard to come by considering the circumstances. Hip and cool is not the genre we seek, having been by the way side, yet time and space moves us to ascertain reality, and pain becomes weak as we become more assertive and creative, which is worth more the bonding with those that understand what we are becoming, trusting.
Is your life changing with respect?
“To become the spectator of one’s own life is to escape the suffering of life.”
Oscar Wilde
Written by Donald Sammons

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ordinary Week

Just another ordinary week only two good things happened so far. One I finally reached a goal, I was trying to achieve. It was to reach a weight goal under 200 lbs. I went to the doctor yesterday and when they weighed me I was surprised it was less than 200 lbs. That was a very hard goal for me to achieve. I know if I reached that goal the rest should not be that hard. I believe now all I have to do is keep it off and go lower. I do have a long way to go to achieve the weight I was before I started gaining weight. I know I can do it. It might take awhile but I will do it. I also did go out to dinner yesterday to celebrate at one of my favorite restaurants downtown. I do not go downtown as much, since I moved to my new apartment a year ago. The food was great even though I did not finish the whole plate. Second thing that happened today was I went to Social Services, because they told me that was the only way to get off Medicaid. I talked to someone and they told me they would send a letter when my case was closed. I received a call an hour later and she told me my case was already closed. I wish they would have sent a letter so I did not have to take the day off. Although it is good to be finished finally with Social Security, and Medicaid even though it took time. I will cook to celebrate this last victory.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


From the moment we are diagnosed with a Mental Disorder, the next we feel as if we are descending into a realm where there is no return. Some of us are left astray, without kinship, without friends, and others have no one to guide or teach them because we are seen as estranged. It is said, “time heals all wounds”, yet without a guiding hand how can anyone person see the light, being with or without a Mental Disorder.
Having worked for three years, I had a chance to leave the old world of drugs and lies behind. I haven’t relapsed, yet to enter into a new main stream has shaken me a bit. Trustworthiness is an issue as well as intellect, “for whom does the bell toll…” I face this new world as many other with a constant thought, will I be accepted for being me. Many people are making a transition, from the old to the new, and as a Mental Health consumer, the new is as fearful as taking your first step, or climbing a mountain.
The clock continues ticking where in I am still a consumer, learning to brave this challenge of remaining straight and sober, and keeping faith as strength; not recognizing or living old habits which might endanger my present being. With time the wounds will heal, and I can accept others earnestly without feeling I am alone in my growing.
Do you have any similar feelings?
“He who has a why to live can bear almost anyhow”. – Frederick Nietzsche

Written by Donald Sammons