Monday, April 30, 2012

Resilience is an Idea of Challenge

Resilience is adapting in the face of adversity; adversity is a state of hardship, misfortune, calamity or distress. Poverty is an adversity as well as mental illness and cancer patients require resilience during such distress. When we challenge these negative aspects of hardship, misfortune, calamity and distress, we are taking steps to overcome the negative, which can bring our livelihood to “slow motion” as well as our mental stability. When we reach out to adapt to situations which are negative or stressful, when we become resilient, we are in reality rebuilding our lives through an inner strength that involves behaviors, thoughts and actions which must be learned and these are instances we must have in order to maintain strength, trust and a sharing of our courage. With resilience we must have realistic ideas and positive thoughts about ourselves and confidence to make our ideas work. We must not fear to communicate or strive to solve problems. To develop resiliency we must know, not all people share the same problem or suffer traumatic episodes in life; what works for one may not work for another and we should know that everyone has a different way to solve a problem they are experiencing. Looking into your past may seem extreme yet this is one way to learn what may be a necessity in overcoming the adversity you may be facing. By looking at the answers you have of your life, how you react to the distress you have been facing you have begun to discover how to respond to the difficult challenges which affect you. Be open to finding other places for help as well as other people. This helps to build resilience and courage, which will keep you spiritually strong and filled with trust in your ability to work your way around stressful obstacles. Written by Donald Sammons

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Changing the Brain

In this article they would like to change the brain to be more empathetic, appreciative and compassionate. There are other ways to change the brain to feel better. “Practices like physical exercise, certain forms of psychological counseling and meditation can all change brains for the better…moreover, given advances in neuroscience, these changes can now be measured” They know doing these practices can change the brain. They say the brain is constantly changing. They would like to enhance the brain to other qualities and not skills. “Modern neuroscience research leads to the inevitable conclusion that we can actually enhance well-being by training that induces neuroplastic changes in the brain.” The changes enhance well-being and that will be well. They go on to tell you what neuroplasticity does to the brain. “Neuroplastic” “changes affect the number, function and interconnections of cells in the brain, usually due to external factors.” It rewires the brain. It is very good for people with mental illness if you can change the brain. Especially if you can change the way they have negative symptoms. They did not use the practices of modern neuroscience. “Although the positive practices reviewed in the article were not designed using the tools and theories of modern neuroscience, these practices which cultivate new connections in the brain and enhance the function of neural networks that support aspects of prosocial behavior, including empathy, altruism, kindness,” They do say prosocial behavior. I am wondering if it could be used to help people with mental illness. The article goes on to talk how brain training is the new physical exercise. “If you go back to the 1950s, the majority of middle-class citizens in Western countries did not regularly engage in physical exercise. It was because of scientific research that established the importance of physical exercise in promoting health and well-being that more people now engage in regular physical exercise. I think mental exercise will be regarded in a similar way 20 years from now.” When I was growing up you never saw joggers or anybody exercising. This might become a regular way of life for some. Most people think the brain ages and that is it. “Rather than think of the brain as a static organ, or one that just degenerates with age, it’s better understood as an organ that is constantly reshaping itself, is being continuously influenced, wittingly or not, by the forces around us.” I believe that this neuroplasticity and mental illness have a long way to achieve the good this can bring. Although it will be worth the wait if it is good news, I am closing with a youtube video that is a feel good story. It may have a little to do with this story as it is of an old man in a nursing home that does not come to life until he hears music that he likes. Does the brain react to this?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Using Drugs and Mental Health

The outlook in the Mental Health System today tends to differentiate as to the knowledge and attitude of the mentally ill in the system about illegal drug use and those who are of authority in dealing with illicit drugs. People with only a slight knowledge or no experience with Mental Health whom have a mental health problem are usually frightened, afraid or uncomfortable about the subject of illicit drug use. On the other side of the coin, consumers or clients who have a mental health problem or family members who are sufferers often believe this is a subject of stigmatization and usually feel they are being cast aside or are in need of further support because of their drug use or the illicit use by family or friends. Knowledge of the mental health system as far as mental health is concerned is also a matter of the media of which the youth of today and those whom have never been exposed to the mental health system find it both fearsome and are often awe stricken at the same time, having not much knowledge as to what causes mental illness and how such illness’ are controlled in consumers. Many people today only have the Media’s ideas of the practices and conditions to base their knowledge on and with this, some mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress are seen as common, rather than something which may be debasing or life threatening to and individual, consumer or client. Other conditions such as schizophrenia, bi-polar or psychosis are seen as extreme, especially when associating with people with such illness’, or those who have experienced drug use or are currently using. Most people do not seek help or treatment when they begin to experience symptoms of these particular illnesses until their experience becomes a serious problem requiring professional help as seen by family members or friends. The different drugs used today seem to equate to different mental health illness’, such as schizophrenia and depression which always been seen to be caused by certain illegal drugs. Much of the understanding in one aspect deals with mental health problems and the influences on people and their usage of drugs, yet this will vary by the kinds of drugs and the influence of acceptance or rejection of the used substances by users. There are long term symptoms and short term symptoms which result in the side effects from the use of illicit drugs as with any medication. Be aware your choice is a part of your health, where you can find a better life with fewer problems without self destruction or hearsay. Written By Donald S.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Aging Brain-More Shrewd

I came across this article about the aging brain. We did an earlier blog on training the brain. I thought this might be just as interesting. They give us the bad news in the article first: “Reaction time is slower,” for middle aged people. They go on to say: “We’re quick, but we’re sloppy when we’re in middle-age. We make more errors when we’re in middle-age,” It makes coming up with the word that is on the tip of our tongue harder to say. Sometimes for me when I see someone I have not seen in a while it may take a minute to remember their name.
Here is a graphic about the aging brain that might be of interest. There is not all bad news about the brain aging though: “..Points to a continues improvement in complex reasoning skills as we enter middle age…this increase may be due to a process in the brain called “myelination” Myelin is the insulation wrapped around brain cells that increases their conductivity- the speed with which information travels from brain cell to brain cell. And the myelination doesn’t reach its peak until middle age.” We can then know when problems might come up and reason them out.
Here is the part about brain cells dying off: “is that once a brain cell dies off you can’t replace it. But many studies have now shown … that there is, in fact, brain cell growth throughout life.” You may continue learning and changing your brain like in the computerized brain games. There is also another part that helps in changing your brain and that is exercise. They gave treadmill training to “aging couch potatoes,” this is what they found: “Those who’d trained had larger hippocampi, the brain area key for memory. Other brain regions too – central for decision-making, planning and multi-tasking- were also larger in the treadmill exercisers.” More reason to make sure you work out.
The two scientists that did this research also exercise four or five days a week and do crossword and numbers puzzle every day. “… not only talk the talk, they also, quite literally walk the walk.” It would not be right if they just said do it and did not also work out and try and change their brain. The treadmill is good to work out on it helps with your body and brain.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cognitive Behaviors Justification

Cognitive Behaviorism is called CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy and is a general term for similar therapies which are, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Rational Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Cognitive Therapy and Dialectic Behavior Therapy. Most of these therapies are based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors and can be changed so that we can feel and become better. Specific ideas are taught during therapy; the client’s goals, what they should tolerate, how to think and behave and how to obtain what they want. Clients are not told what to do, they are taught how to achieve what they wish to obtain.
Cognitive therapy helps reduce severity of distress among psychotic patients | Science Codex "Authors from several UK universities (Birmingham, Glasgow, Cambridge, Manchester and UEA), led by the University of Manchester, set out to determine whether cognitive therapy, combined with monitoring, is effective in preventing the development and worsening of psychotic symptoms which can lead to schizophrenia." Risk factors included having intermittent or very mild symptoms suggesting psychosis, or schizophrenia-like personality problems. Although cognitive therapy is not effective in preventing the development of first episode psychosis for those few that transition, it does significantly reduce the severity, frequency and intensity of psychotic symptoms in this help-seeking population. This leads authors to believe that many patients recover naturalistically, or with minimal intervention. The study also found that the effects of the sessions were greater than originally expected, mainly because they provided regular contact for the patients.
Being diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder with psychosis, I tend to think that I may have missed out on something which is being researched with the clients in the UK. That is the amount of time that is spent by therapist with these clients being researched to circumnavigate the possibilities of the clients slipping further into the abyss of psychosis and possibly becoming schizophrenic. Yet the time I have spent without supervision has been used in thought concerning how to make changes in my own life, especially the emotional aspects, which causes trouble in my thinking and enacting with other peoples concerned. The idea of the use of medications to curb psychotic episodes or even schizophrenic episodes may be necessary for many who have a lack of control of themselves and to those who work in the mental health field, yet the answer for clients of such illness’ who strive to control themselves’ is to begin to think clearly for themselves with guidance and with a clearer understanding than being medicated and therefore construed in their thinking. I personally do not readily accept what I am taking for a medication, due to the many side effects, yet it does help me to control my reactions to what I observe of life so that I can place situations in a perspective where I can tolerate reality, instead of being seen as rebellious and misconstruing of other people’s ideas and emotions.

Written by Donald Sammons
April 14, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Colorado Lawsuit

I was reading the paper yesterday and I came across this article about a lawsuit inmates made about being in jail and not knowing when they are going to get medication or if they are going to get a mental evaluation so they can use the insanity defense or be incompetent to stand trial. They can wait two months or more when they could make a deal and get out or go to trial. "All people accused of a crime are guaranteed the right to understand the charges against them and participate in their own defense. Those with mental illnesses sometimes require treatment before they meet that level of competency." They have a right even if there are budget cuts. It is a good thing that this was passed. “The hardest thing about the wait is you’re not getting any help” One reason is: “it’s dangerous to sit in jail.” It sounds different than when I was mentally ill and in jail.
When I was there mentally ill for seven months before I was sent to the State Hospital, it was the hardest being there. The psychiatrist told me she was not going to give me medication because she did not like me. This was in the late eighties. There was not that many mentally ill at that time. When I was on medication and went to the county jail, I enjoyed the status that being mentally ill brought me. No one bothered me or my stuff. I know it is different nowadays. "A court compromise announced Monday means hundreds of mentally ill people accused of crimes in Colorado each year could spend less time waiting for state doctors to determine whether they're ready for trial and to provide treatment if they're not." It is the first time in the nation that this has been done.
There are a lot more mentally ill in jail than at that time. I have not been back to jail since that time so I only know what I read. It sounds like this lawsuit brought a good result. They do not have to wait being mentally ill in jail that long. When I was mentally ill for those seven months it was hard. Normally I like visits when I was in jail. Although when I was ill and they came and visited me I never talked. Could not even understand why they were there and it was my birthday. This lawsuit should help a lot of mentally ill people waiting in jail.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Who’s the Blame?

I am schizoaffective. Who can I blame for my mental illness, who is responsible for my health overall? Who can I blame for all the medications I take, for holding my hand when my symptoms overwhelm me or for the advice I receive?

Overcoming Schizophrenia: Whose to Blame
I live alone. Sometimes my symptoms grab me when I am quiet or full of life enjoying such, yet my illness still lets me know I am not in control at that moment when I can no longer decide, when I am fearful, when I know I need to reach for something else. Yet I try to understand and use what quiet time I can find to clear my mind so that I can go forward. Who’s the blame for this stop and go world I live in?

I found myself at the end of a work day many years ago, exhausted, with strength enough to turn on the television and stare at the colors of a world of caring and sharing, buy and sell. I got fearful as the darkness fell. There were no street drugs to keep me strong, no alcohol in my glass to forget the days gone by; fear, paranoia both a part of schizophrenia became a part of my life. This is the illness I was diagnosed with, the delusional thoughts, my fear of facing reality. I began to isolate because I knew no one would understand what I was going through; so I thought so I ran.

Even though I was confused and frustrated, I came to grips with what was troubling me; I could blame no one not even my own family for my mental illness. I understood I wanted to live again and living without blame is as great as living without the illness I bare.

MHCD and Mental Health Recovery
The people who work in mental health make a great difference in Recovery. Those suffering from mental illness struggle throughout a lifetime to overcome the attitudes, the physical and mental anxieties of their illness and there is no one certainty to place the blame upon because there is no known causation for mental illness, and only the willingness to overcome the illness is the overcoming of the blame; being positive in the face of negativity; learning to become aware you are real and who you really are.
Written By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Instant Gratification

They sent me this link about the internet and instant gratification. It has nothing to do with mental illness. Although it is something we all want with high technology these days. I know for me at home I have a hard time on my computer because it is not that fast. I have to keep myself from hitting the button when pages are slow to load. This was very interesting in that sense.
This is more about speedy answers and instant gratification. On Google there are over three billion searches done each day. They answer 34,000 questions each second. They say: “When questions aren’t answered quickly, people ask less: Google found that slowing search results by just 4/10ths of a second would reduce the number of searches by 8,000,000 a day.” They would lose a lot if they slowed down. They also say that “1 in 4 people abandon a web page that takes more than four seconds to load.” My computer at home is so slow.
I do not abandon pages that much, although I have learned to wait longer when I need to get things done. I also have to be careful at home that I do not click too much when I am waiting for a page to load that I do not click too many times or two or more pages load and it is slower than if I just clicked once. Life with technology sure has changed the way we do things nowadays. “In a survey conducted by USA Today, the majority of Americans would not wait in line longer than 15 minutes. Half would not return to an establishment that kept them waiting.” People want it now not later.
This part though is a little sad “1 in 5 admitted to being rude to someone serving them" “Too Slowly.” Can’t you just move a little faster I am in a hurry. We are always nowadays in a hurry to go someplace. Even walking I find people in a hurry. They always pass me by. No time to slow down and enjoy the day and weather. Everything is always moving fast now days. As I said in a way earlier blog I wanted recovery to happen fast also. It is part of recovery though that it not happen too fast.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Overcoming a part of Mental Illness

Overcoming mental illness requires being supported by those who have understanding of the trials and tribulations of those who are mentally ill. Those who are of a mental illness must make known the stigmas associated with their lives that they care to overcome. Silence in itself is a stigma and so is the intimidation of the mentally ill. When mental illness is discovered of a family member or friend, we must first understand that the person may face a life time struggle and that we should not go without understanding their illness if we are to be a part of their life.
We as the mentally ill, as consumers have to be our own advocates as well, bringing realization to light that we are still human, struggling within the boundaries of stability and maintaining a balance to keep acceptance a part of our lives and respect as well.
As stigma is judgment made by someone or a group of a people towards a group or individual and we must understand that it is detrimental to anyone persons self esteem and that it only exist because of some personal quality or trait that is disliked of another person. So you may know the person passing this judgment may have a problem they don’t want to share or may want to keep hidden is then again a self stigma and this can be just as destructive to the individual creating a negative judgment of someone or group of people. You can even judge yourself, having a mental illness and find within yourself a lack of understanding, violence even discrimination.
Some of the ways to overcoming stigma is self admittance of having an illness and not being afraid to seek help. Don’t fear being labeled and carry no shame, don’t feel you are weak because you have a mental illness, education and counseling are strengths which you can use to connect with others who may have a mental illness and this is a part of your own self esteem in overcoming the judgmental.
Written by Donald Sammons