Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Life in Recovery

It is hard to tell someone not doing well that things will get better.  When you do not have a job or a way to pay bills and you tell them hang in it will get better.  I’ve been on the down side of life before.  I know it is hard.  I was once facing twenty four years in prison.  I did not take a deal.  I was in trial and just before lunch the prosecutor said he was going to put a witness on the stand in a case that I had already did time for.  I went to a fast food restaurant for lunch but my mind was not on anything but my trial.  There was a server that told me hi and don’t I remember her.  I could not my mind was not there.  
When I was back in the car, I remembered who she was I knew her for years how did I not remember her in the restaurant.  I know now what worry can do to the mind.  Well I went back to court and we went in the judge’s chambers and my lawyers had worked during lunch.  The judge was not going to allow that witness to testify because we would have to retry the other case as well as this one.  Although she said she was not going to allow me to use the provocation law.  Of course I was acquitted on one count and found guilty on the other where she would not give me the law.
Maybe I smiled to fast when they said guilty, because I knew that on appeal I would win.  The judge would not give me an appeal bond and I did two years before I won my appeal.  That is where and when I had my first bout of mental illness I prison.  I have been down before.  It is not forever.  I knew in prison I would have to do some time although I also knew that once my case was heard I would be out.  I have always had hope.  That is a key to recovery that things will get better.
Another thing in recovery is time.  I know that this one is hard even for me.  People say I need a fast fix I do not have ten years to read positive books and wait for change.  What are you doing in those ten years?  Would it not be better to do something than nothing?  I know when I was in the state hospital; I did not want to hear it takes five years.  There are groups there and there is A.A. and you have to build a foundation that will not blow away like straw. I can say my medication works very well.  I read for some it does not and I feel for them people when I have it so easy.
I did the work in A.A. and I do not miss drinking or want it.  I can go into a bar and not want to drink I have done this and I did not want it.  I went once to a bar and it was my first time back in a bar and my last.  I had to do it to prove to myself that I would not drink again and that it would be my last time ever going to jail or anything because of alcohol.  I would not recommend this I just had to find out. In April I will have twenty three years of sobriety.  I would not for the life of me exchange it for a drink.
I know life can be hard although you have to look at what you have to be happy for.  My grandkid succeeding where I did not even though I was smart I took the wrong road.  I could have had a lot more material things by now if I would have went to high school or college.  Although I do not know if that would have prepared me for my breakdown or my eventual recovery that is where I can help my grandkids succeed in life through experiences when life gets tough.  Another key to recovery is you do not have to take everything a person says to recover.  If you take one thing from a lot of different people and can form your own recovery.  Everyone is different and not everything works for everyone.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Cup of Coffee Please

It has been said that diabetes which is not controlled properly can affect the brain causing memory or learning problems, even incidences of dementia, though how this occurs no one knows. There have been studies with individuals with Type 2 diabetes and in these studies it has been discovered that a part of the brain called the Hippocampus is affected causing memory loss. The culprit, neurodegeneration, caused by diabetes also occurs in the first stages of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease and caffeine can possibly help.
I usually have 2-3 cups of coffee a day, though I suspect the amount of caffeine is much greater in these cases of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson disease. I do have a slip of memory loss, and being the kind of person I am with Type 2 diabetes, I have gone out of my way to try such things as coffee extracts and other supplements including changing my diet and life style to overcome not only my weight gain, yet to also improve my memory. As you know diabetes is caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. In Type 2 diabetes the body becomes resistant to insulin, which is a hormone that allows the body’s cells to take sugar from the blood using it as a “fuel”. High levels of sugar become toxic in the blood which damages nerves, blood vessels and creates other complications. As scientist and doctors alike have studied the effect of coffee/caffeine on diabetics they have found that even though the drink doesn’t cure diabetes, caffeine does in many cases lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Coffee/caffeine has been studied and found to have a protective effect and has been suggested that it prevents memory loss and possibly with those with diabetes. It has been projected that nearly a third of Americans over the age of 65, nearly 11 million people, have diabetes and that by the year 2034 nearly 15 million people 65 years or older will have diabetes. Diabetes is not as simple a disease as many think with cognitive functions at risk and aging as well. Doctors or psychiatry and neurology are now studying the effects of diabetes to help find a cure or at least a deterrent to the disease, because of its ability to deteriorate mental functions at a certain age in a person’s life. Coffee please!

Written By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Counter Punch the Movie and Recovery

I rented this move called counter punch about boxing and mental illness.  I did not know that it dealt with mental illness when I rented it.  Whenever a movie has a Hispanic actor such as this one did with Danny Trejo I rent or buy it.  They usually act in good movies. This one dealt with a Cuban young man and his young life going to a mental hospital.  It dealt with family his grandma and his uncle.  They would do anything in their power to help this young man succeed in life.  It dealt with boxing and life on the streets and how his mental illness affected him.
It brought up memories for me of my own two uncles one which died of alcohol and the other who died of a heroin overdose the one drug he made sure I stayed away from.  I often wonder if people in the back of their minds do not know how they are going to die and try and save someone else.  Heroin can ruin your life and no one grows up wanting to be a heroin addict.  My uncles always did anything I asked for and would help me out of jams I would get myself into.  No matter what it meant if it ruined their lives.
When I was in psychosis in the state hospital I called and was lucky enough to talk to my uncle who died of a heroin overdose two year later.  He told me not to worry; don’t they always get me out of jams?  I knew they could not get me out this time although it gave me hope.  Also the courage to know I had to do it on my own this time.  I had to make it not for anybody but myself.  If they loved me that much then it was time I loved myself.  I was always in trouble before the state hospital.  My mom prayed to God that if you could do it for others you can do it for my son.
My life is different due to the fact that I do not drink or do drugs.  It is like night and day.  That alcohol turned me into a doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. I do not miss the drinking nor do I crave it.  All I have to see is what I was and what I have now.  My grandkids and my daughter I am grateful for and the rest of my family that stood by me even when they told them to let me sink or swim on my own.  The movie dealt with family and that is what hit home for me.  Boxing was all he had to succeed.
Life is full of ups and downs and we all get in situations that we think we cannot make it through.  We can find the strength to carry on and succeed.  Sometimes you have to pull all your experience and all that you have to get over that hump and you will.  The movie shows that recovery is possible.  He had a counselor that he could relate to and I believe that really helps a lot.  I think more movies where they show the true life of a person with a mental illness and have them succeeding will do a lot to get rid of stigma.  Always have hope of  a brighter day because it will come.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Are your worries becoming an Anxiety

Have you ever noticed when you are worrying about something, that you have a spell of anger when you notice others seemingly being cool as early spring, and verily “laid back” without a care. This troubles me as I tend to worry about some of my problems in odd places and being in a crowd of people who are smiling or just being casual, I tend to get upset about what I am seeing and what I am experiencing in my life.  There are people who worry all the time, about money their families, jobs, their health or just about anything they can dwell upon.  The anxiety becomes so intense that it becomes a person’s way of life, even their own death to live in this manner, living with worry or Generalized Anxiety Disorder or (GAD).
People with (GAD) worry about worrying and this is what makes these people different from the ones who are “normal” or who are able to cope with what worries them.  Having thoughts is fine if you are thinking on a concrete basis, yet people suffering from (GAD) wonder why all the thoughts are there and why can’t they stop them. Sounds a bit schizophrenic to me, as I have similar episodes when I worry, I can’t keep a single train of thought without worrying what is wrong with me that I can’t find answers or control the many thoughts I am having.  Yet chronic anxiety has physical symptoms most people do not think of those are, muscle pain, headaches or neck pains, shortness of breath and abnormal tiredness.  If you were ordinarily worrying about something in general such as an ice cube melting you wouldn’t have symptoms such as these, yet there are other symptoms, such as, dizziness, sweating, restlessness, having difficulty in concentrating and irritability.  I relax after understanding knowing I don’t fall into this category of symptoms and that ordinarily, a little frustration doesn’t mean the world is going to end if I use some problem solving techniques and learn to relax to change the thoughts which cause me to worry before I reach the state of anxiety.  Exercise also helps reduce the stress of worry, and also distracts you from falling into that snare of anxiety.  (GAD) is found to lead people into depression and this comes from those who think they can live their life with such and without treatment.
The sooner you get treatment before your little worry becomes anxiety, the better off you would be and any cares you can leave behind will take you into the realm of being normal and free.    

Written By Donald Sammons

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dopamine Regulates Motivation

I found this article to be very interesting. “The widespread belief that dopamine regulates pleasure could go down in history with the latest research results on the role of this neurotransmitter.  Researchers have proved that it regulates motivation, causing individuals to initiate and persevere to obtain something either positive or negative.”  I thought it gave pleasure that is why addicts used drugs.  Now this article is saying it can give the motivation to use drugs or anything positive or negative.
It says that: “The neuroscience journal NEURON publishes an article by researchers at the Universitat Jaume I of Castellon that reviews the prevailing theory on dopamine and poses a major paradigm shift with applications in diseases related to lack of motivation and mental fatigue and depression, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, etc. and diseases where there is excessive motivation and persistence as in the case of addictions.”  They shifted their whole way of thinking in terms of dopamine.  They are looking at a lot of diseases that will be viewed differently.
If it does not give pleasure how does it work?  “It was believed that dopamine regulated pleasure and reward and that we release it when we obtain something that satisfies us, but in fact the latest scientific evidence show that this transmitter acts to act. In other words, dopamine is released in order to achieve something good or to avoid something evil, ‘explains Merce Correa.”  You act to achieve something good. They have been studying this for the last two years.
The article says: “The level of dopamine depends on individuals, so some people are more persistent than others to achieve a goal. ‘Dopamine leads to maintain the level of activity to achieve what is intended.  This principle is positive, however, it will always depend on the stimuli that are sought: whether the goal is to be a good student or to abuse drugs’ says Correa.  High levels of dopamine could also explain the behavior of the so-called sensation seekers as they are motivated to act.” It is positive although the behavior could be bad.  You would abuse drugs or alcohol or does that fit in it? You do get addicted to alcohol just like drugs.
How can this knowledge now be used? “To know the neurobiological parameters that make people be motivated by something is important to many areas such as work, education or health. Dopamine is now seen as a core neurotransmitter to address symptoms such as depression. ‘Depressed people do not feel like doing anything and that’s because of low dopamine levels,’ explains Correa. Lack of energy and motivation is also related to other syndromes with mental fatigue such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia, among others.  In the opposite case, dopamine may be involved in addictive behavior problems, leading to an attitude that dopamine of compulsive perseverance.  In this sense, Correa indicates that dopamine antagonists which have been applied so far in addiction problems probably have not worked because of inadequate treatments based on a misinformation of the function of dopamine.”  This new knowledge changes how scientists look at a lot of things. It could help a lot although we will have to wait and see.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hypnosis as a Therapy

Hypnosis is one of the oldest forms of therapy in the world and one of the least understood.  Though it has always been linked with the mystic arts and magic’s or vaudeville performers, it is by truth a form of self hypnosis.  No one can be hypnotized against their own will.
There are different forms of hypnosis which combine relaxation with imagery.  There are people who may go into a trance which is like a daydream or deep meditation and is actually self hypnosis, a state of intense concentration.  The object is to focus the mind and rid yourself of distractions and become open to suggestions which may help in isolating the problems being treated for such as for Mental Illness and various other physical ailments.
In the late 1950’s the American Medical Association approved hypnosis as a form of therapy and the American Psychiatric Association approved hypnosis as a therapy in the early 1960’s.  Hypnosis can be used to alleviate the pain in chronic headaches and migraine headaches as well.
For Mental illness such as Depression, Schizophrenia, Smoking and Over Eating, hypnosis was not conclusive in the healing process and there was a fear that psychosis could be induced especially in schizophrenic clients.  The cost of seeing a hypnotist is unsure to me though in order to find a qualified hypnotist, you first have to find a licensed hypnotist.  You can search through the offices of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis which is one of two recognized organizations for licensed hypnotist in this country.  There are several kinds of hypnosis which was first coined as “suggestion” and has since been known as hypnotic induction.  There are different forms of “suggestion” in our society which include, direct verbal suggestion, voice intonality and physical manipulation.  Hypnosis or suggestion is seen as a form of communicating with a subject’s conscious mind, though some people think this is a way to communicate with the unconscious or subconscious mind.  These are concepts which were brought about by Sigmund Freud and others during the 19th century.  There is a cognitive behavioral approach to hypnosis in that cognitive behaviorism overlap and hypnosis influence one another as they share similar concepts and terminology. 

Written by Donald S

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A New Year

A new year and a lot of change I thought I could handle a lot of new change by now. Although it still upsets me when my bus is late, even though I will not be late and the bus driver will miss his break. It bothers me because I have a routine that I am used to. Although so far this New Year seems like it will be good. I’m planning to do a lot of new things this year. Hopefully this year we can lessen the stigma of mental illness. Last year they put the blame of mental illness on most of the shooting and bad things that happened.
It looked like every time a person turned around there was someone with a mental illness doing a horrible crime. To me it is senseless to want to hurt someone whether or not you are mentally ill or on substances. When you are sane or not under the influence of substance you have to have some remorse, I know I did when I was drunk and always getting locked up. It was not just getting locked up and sometimes destroying my own property. Although to hurt someone and know you would not do it sane or sober brings a lot of guilt.
To be locked up for life you have to wonder is getting high on substances worth it. It only takes one mistake. Hopefully there will not be that many mistakes made this year. Hopefully we can have a discussion of the good people are making in recovery from mental illness. People will not have to hide their mental illness; because of every mistake they make is part of their mental illness. People say see they can be trusted. They can be productive members of society. It is a brain disease no fault of theirs. Hopefully in this New Year there will be change and I hopefully can handle change better. Because it all does work out for the better and with time things usually get better.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Positive or Negative: Self-Diagnosis

One of the benefits of finding health care, which might be, mental health or any other is that a professional is much better suited to be accurate in his or her diagnosis and would know what would be the best for your treatment. A diagnosis is a term given of an illness and are defined by certain symptoms. Mental Health diagnosis can be found in the DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and each diagnosis has a category, such as mood disorders, schizophrenia, psychotic disorder, or anxiety disorders and others.  From the start of your visitation to a clinician or therapist, the first thing they do is to perform a diagnosis. They listen to you about any problems or complaints you have and place them into a certain category in the DSM. This is important because it lets the therapist know what to suggest to you and what will help you recover from your illness. They have a vast background of information to match with what you have described and many diagnoses to sort from.
If you were to diagnosis yourself or think to do such, you should know that you may lack the knowledge to understand your problem or problems. You might not have the objectivity or perspective to make true judgment about your possible illness and their causes and you should know there are many ways people distort the truth or even deny such about their lives. In such matters we use defense mechanisms and rely on a type of denial to suit our needs of not facing the truth. Some people resort to varying extremes so they have no time to think of their personal problems. Even though we may lack the ability to “fix” the problem or problems we have, we accept in ourselves to try to solve them. Yet it takes resources and the willingness to read and study before you can determine the best way to help yourself. Even so we may lack the motivation to stay in tune with a self help plan and creating a self help plan is very hard to do, because not everyone has the motivation or discipline when confronted with problems that are painful that they may want to solve.
We should accept the fact that Therapist and counselors are trained to be objective in their observations of people who pay them visitation and that they are trained to know concepts relating to illness and are capable of guiding their clients in ways that would help their clients find solace. These therapist and clinicians can help their clients with the proper feedback which, they or we as consumers might not be able to give ourselves, through self-diagnosis.

Writtena by Donald S.