Monday, October 31, 2011

What is the Word?

I don’t have many experiences that are worth talking about. Most of my time was spent from the age of fourteen “hanging out” with older teenagers and adults of various walks of life, not all so good. Drinking drugging, destruction, and trying to forget what I had done, was all that was necessary for. I didn’t count on my mental abilities becoming wasted nor did I count on the cessation of learning or the need to support myself. Everybody I knew would help me, so I believed, yet I found out the hard way that even dreams can be hallucinations while trying to survive.
Schizophrenia is a dirty word in the real world. People tend to shy away, mostly very quickly at the mere mention of it. If you’re dirty and disheveled, watching people with crossed eyes, talking or shouting at no one in particular, or just sitting in a corner without reacting to the world, you may considered possibly schizophrenic. What is Schizophrenia, how did the word come to being?
“It is said the word or term schizophrenia is less than 100 years old, though it was defined as a mental illness in the late 19th century. There are written records though which suggest schizophrenia can be traced into ancient Egypt before Christ. Depression and dementia were described as symptoms having come from the blood, the heart, fecal matter, poisons of various sorts or even demons are thought even today to attribute the existence of schizophrenia.
“Many people were considered abnormal either because of mental illness, mental retardation or physical deformities or abnormalities, and all were treated the same.” The term dementia praecox is a term which was used in the 19th century to distinguish any psychotic disorder or manic depression. It was thought to be a disease of the brain in the form of dementia. The term schizophrenia came into use in the very early 20th century. It was during this time that schizophrenia did not always lead to mental deterioration and could occur late or early in a person life.
The word schizophrenia comes from the Greek, “schizo” meaning split and “phrene” meaning mind. The idea was to define a split personality or multiple personalities of which even today the general public still misunderstands. There are five types of schizophrenia given in the DSM-IV. Evidence that schizophrenia is a biological disease has grown in the last 20 years and because of dynamic brain imaging we are being shown today what goes on in the brain of anyone suffering from schizophrenia.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winter Exercise

I am going to start this blog with a quote from an article on exercise: "Imagine a pill that would dramatically lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Now imagine that same pill could help you lose weight, improve your mood, and boost self-esteem. Would you take it? Sure you would. Who wouldn’t?” Sounds good although it is not in pill form, it is exercise.
It helps with a lot of problems a person might have. It is not hard. I find now that winter is coming it is easier to get in the mood to exercise. If you do not have a fitness center that you belong to, you can always take a walk around a mall. Being that Christmas is around the corner you can window shop for presents. Exercise helps in many ways. One is to lose weight. I know I lost twenty pounds and I am still losing. It is not just cutting down on the portions I eat, although that helps. I was walking every night for a week.
Walking is free and it does work in helping lose weight. Even though I have a fitness center where I live and I use it during the week. I take a walk every Saturday and Sunday mornings. It lets me see how many people are about on certain days and times of the day. It is very nice and I am going to try and continue these walks this winter when the sidewalks are not that bad. Exercise is something to think about.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Can I draw a Picture?

The word lackadaisical is a loosely used word in this society. We as humans search for the highest of levels of human thought and functioning and what this leads to are studies between the artistic and the disturbances of mental abilities. This is one reason why I brought up the word lackadaisical. Lackadaisical is defined as showing a lack of interest, loss of self-esteem, or being without spirit. Can I draw a picture even with words with such reality?
We look for what is natural or the self motivated person as opposed to the normally defined individual by the authority of society or the socially approved person. Mental illness is viewed from a different perspective, which suggests that some people, who are thought to be mentally ill, have as great an artistic ability which may help them overcome their illness or symptoms, as the artistic abilities of such the normal societal individual.
There has always been a relationship of art and mental illness. As I was a teen-ager, I knew of artist with whom I had associated who were known to have at times spent a portion of their lives in mental institutions or under the care of doctors and taking psychotropic medications. “To compare the artist to the mentally ill” person we have to understand, what is the nature of an artist in relation to someone mentally ill and how do we look at the artist or the illness of a person who has the ability to create.
Artists as well as the mentally ill search for a sense of life, a universal embellishment of the self, and as consumers we are searching for a conscious awareness in communication with the depths of our being. Though the mental consumer is not accepted as a great artist, poet, writer, or even scientist we have to realize we are as fortunate as our opposites and so at times we feel we are with a predicament trying to express our selves through our artistic means.
If we live in our own world to create, we know we have chosen to share with a confidence, and with feelings that we are as much real as those who would tend to think we are different in this society, by maintaining a grasp on reality by expressing through a means which can be accepted by the many who care to share the expressions through art and the willingness to understand the grace of what is created to be communicated.
Written by Donald Sammons

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Week

This week has been a good week for me. I took a day and half off of work to rest. All I did on my day and a half off was rest and take a walk. It was a nice day and a half off. It cleared my mind and I am back ready to work. It also let me think about the good things in life. Like my grandchildren, they are doing well and are back in school. My youngest grandchild is getting big already going on three years old the end of November. I also thought about self-efficacy and how if you just hang in there things will always get better. I believe all problems can be worked out. I did not get to read what is going on this week in the mental health field. Last week one of the websites they were talking about movies and how their symptoms are bothering them. I guess I am lucky because my symptoms have not bothered me in over eighteen years. The medicine works pretty well for me. I am glad. I just wish they would work as well for everyone. Although everyone is different, that is why there is not just one size fits all when it comes to medicine. The same can be said about recovery. I am just glad for my job and life. I am pretty lucky.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We are one Together

We are one Together If you are willing to listen, have patience, take good advice and know that someone stands beside you, then you know you have a good friend. You can always accept someone who accepts you for yourself, someone you discuss your deepest concerns and fears; this someone is your truest friend. Whether you suffer from a mental illness or worse or nothing at all, between you and your friend is the act of overcoming the negative to become friends for life.
To be a friend for life, you must understand the support you give to one another, the kindness you share and the faith which is never shaken. Choosing a friend doesn’t mean they will from the start help you. What it does mean is that you and the person you have met, feel comfortable with one another and share an empathy which leads to trust. Being honest all of the time includes how you feel towards one another. It means never pretending or hiding the truth, if it’s true friendship you seek.
Give yourself over to freedom so that you may feel, think and converse whatever you care to share without ill feelings. Expressing yourself with someone lets you feel the comfort, caring and the sharing of faith of which you can experience with one another. Friendship is special, and we all are worthy of such.
We gain in many ways from the friendships we have, yet we must understand knowing someone does not always lead to a perfect relationship. Sometimes we don’t always share, or listen to one another; that’s the time we must put things into a new perspective. When a person has a problem and they are experiencing this with a mental illness, it’s always important to keep the bond you have with your friend. Friends help us overcome our symptoms, and the isolation we often suffer from or the worry which may bring us distress. Just because you are in Recovery or have a problem with your illness doesn’t mean you should stop sharing support.
Remember you are a partner in your friendship and if your friend doesn’t associate with you, know you are not totally responsible for how your partner or friend feels about your problem, or theirs and you must decide what’s best for you. Understand what your friend may be suffering, know whether you or they suffer from a mental illness and always give a friend space, you need it just as well to make decisions and give respect.
By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


After reading on a website about a woman who told her doctor about her symptoms that she was having he had her tested for temporal – lobe seizures. Although that was not what was wrong with her she did have schizophrenia after all. It brought up an article that someone sent me about being misdiagnosed.
The article says you have to be careful when diagnosing someone. One case I will mention was: “he examined a patient with daily panic attacks and noticed a swelling of her shins, a classic sign of Grave’s disease, a form of overactive thyroid that can cause severe anxiety.”
The article also says giving a brain scan first would be “prohibitively expensive and yield many confusing results.”
It looks like you have to look at and know about different medical ailments that can be confused with mental illness. It is always wise to know a person’s medical history and have a blood test. The article goes on to say clarifying a diagnosis can be a relief to clinicians and patients. It can be a tremendous relief in finding the right diagnosis. It can help in healing and self-esteem. Something as simple as a vitamin deficiency and drinking can change a diagnosis. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dual Diagnosis: Admittance

When you have more than one occurring mental disorder and suffer from an addiction or alcoholism, you have a dual diagnosis. As I was first diagnosed, I displayed the symptoms of several mental disorders, yet as I began treatment, it came to the doctor’s attention that I was also a drug addict who drank often and for many, many years before hand. The term dual-diagnosed was beyond me then, yet I did understand it was not a good thing. What made life even more difficult for me was that this was a complicated issue because I had two conditions to treat, one of the mind, the other of the body. My drug addiction existed with my mental illness, and from high to low, I walked for miles daydreaming without believing in anything or anyone, except that my needs must be fulfilled so that I could feel myself to be a part of the world that was as neverland. I dreamt I was special within a world connected to another. I spoke thinking I could relate to any creature or person no matter where they came from, I believed I lived in the beyond.

The drugs I was addicted to were my power, my crutch, my ability to survive. It became an intense ordeal, without the drugs I would suffer, or sleep for long periods of time without food or drink. I would at times awaken from some bad dream and run, trying to find that which would bring me contentment. I existed for the drugs and I had no idea I was actually medicating myself, fighting depression, experiencing bouts of hopelessness, withdrawing from society, friends, family, experiencing moods due to the lack of drugs or too many and living with hallucinations. It became hard to survive and quit using, even harder to understand those whom have love to share. I finally gave in and with acceptance in a voluntary treatment program which dealt with people who were not only addicted yet also suffering from mental illness.

Recovery takes a long time when your living in many worlds and because this was not just a drug rehab center I had entered into, it took me some time to become used to what seemed to be a pristine world of order and mindfulness, of which I had to learn to define to overcome the distortion which I lived with. The counselors in contact with my doctor knew I was one of the fragile contenders, at one time a heathen, who was dual diagnosed, yet they were kind and understanding and the first step was taken, Hope was next. It took a while for me to understand that my drug addiction was reason of my mental illness, I am one of those that changed in the course of life by others guiding hands and minds who dared to cross the threshold and untangle the web of a very complex problem of abuse and mental illness.

Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Optimistic Approach

When times get tough and you think there is no way to get through it. Just remember when in the past there was a similar situation and you were able to weather the storm. I was reading somewhere about the optimistic approach to life. It is a belief that people will get through tough times. We always seem to forget when a new problem comes along that it too will pass and be forgotten. I noticed that I’ve been getting angry lately over situations and I know it is not right to spend that much energy over something. This morning I decided to step back and look at the problem from the outside looking in. I came up with this idea, because in the past I made some decisions that were not right. If I could have stopped and looked at the big picture, it might have turned out different. It made me realize I do not have to get angry, because of someone else. I have been through a lot tougher situations and they have worked out O.K. If I can remember before a bad situation becomes worse, I will try and stop and look at the situation. I will take the optimistic approach. There are some thing’s you can change and there are others that you cannot change. Take a look if you have to change something in your life that is bothering you. When you are angry you cannot think right and that just gets you angrier, so try to calm down and think about the situation and what you may be able to do better to change the situation around.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stigma, Employment and the Mentally Disabled

There is a movement within the mental health system. This movement is to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness. Since 1990 it was seen that stereotypes and ignorance was great in association with the mentally ill. People avoided living with, associating, socializing, working with and renting to or even employing people with any kind of mental disorder. Stigma leads to discrimination and abuse both physically and verbally and it causes isolation and loss of hope.
People with mental illness are most often poor and often rely upon or are dependent on government income, rent subsidies, food stamps and hospital care. The unemployment rate was about 90% for those with disabilities and mental disorders and this was in 1992. Yet the standard of living and employment are growing, being associated with better clinical help and a better quality of life. Individuals with mental disorders who had employment were found to do better, with reduced symptoms than those who remained unemployed. “The focus throughout was also not only upon the consumer yet also on orientation into the work force and training of supervisors and support for both consumers and employees.
Overcome Stigma:
“Powerful and pervasive, stigma prevents people from acknowledging their own mental health problems, much less disclosing them to others. For our Nation to reduce the burden of mental illness, to improve access to care, and to achieve urgently needed knowledge about the brain, mind, and behavior, stigma must no longer be tolerated. Research on brain and behavior that continues to generate ever more effective treatments for mental illnesses is a potent antidote to stigma. The issuance of this Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health seeks to help reduce stigma by dispelling myths about mental illness, by providing accurate knowledge to ensure more informed consumers, and by encouraging help seeking by individuals experiencing mental health problems”.
While this exist, the social services and vocational rehabilitation strive to overcome the high levels of unemployment in the mental health sector where in many consumers were unable to work or did not want to work which was due to education and also interruptions by cause of symptoms interference, discrimination, not to mention jobs which do not pay well. Stigma and discrimination has a street which divides the wealth and the poor and the mentally ill and disabled. Strength is what is spoken of a lot at MHCD (Mental Health Center of Denver) and hope in overcoming the disabilities not to forget about faith, which is what is demonstrated to create change.
These are not my own words, these words are the excerpts from a speech on Stigma, Employment and Mental Health by the Surgeon General, September 2011, find hope and reassurance there is aspiration in what can be through faith.

Written by Donald Sammons