Mental Illness Hasn't Stopped Chris Shelton from Becoming a World-Class Boxing Historian
Photos by Jamie Peachey

About six years ago, a brilliant and troubled soul named Chris Shelton came to realize that methamphetamine was going to kill him.

In 1998, psychologists had diagnosed Shelton with a serious mental illness called "schizoaffective disorder," which causes periods of losing touch with reality and crippling mood problems, including severe depression.

That came as no surprise to the Phoenix man, now 43, who concedes that he had been teetering for years. He couldn't hold a job anymore, couldn't stop his mind from racing, and was living one precarious step from the streets.

Shelton with Queenie, a black Lab 
he considers a dear friend.
Jamie Peachey
Shelton with Queenie, a black Lab he considers a dear friend.
The controversial 1896 San Francisco prizefight that involved Wild West legend Wyatt Earp has captivated Chris Shelton.
Jamie Peachey
The controversial 1896 San Francisco prizefight that involved Wild West legend Wyatt Earp has captivated Chris Shelton.
Turkish medical student Ceren Sultan Altay met Shelton on Facebook.
courtesy of Chris Shelton
Turkish medical student Ceren Sultan Altay met Shelton on Facebook.
Italian artist Federica Coppolecchia drew this illustration of boxer Tom "The Black" Molineaux for one of Shelton's stories.
Federica Coppolecchia; courtesy of Chris Shelton
Italian artist Federica Coppolecchia drew this illustration of boxer Tom "The Black" Molineaux for one of Shelton's stories.

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Shadow Dwellers: A Series

What's the one image you took away from the Tucson shootings? We thought so. That mugshot of Jared Loughner is haunting. And for the world, it has become the face of mental illness in Arizona. Here, we know that's not true. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the story of what it's like to be mentally ill in this place cannot be told in a single photograph.

Tens of thousands of seriously mentally ill people live in Arizona. Some of them look just like you.

Other stories in the series:

Tucson's Cafe 54 Is the Real Face of Mental Illness in Arizona, Not Jared Lougher, by Amy Silverman

Phoenix's Most At-Risk Homeless Find Their Way, Thanks to a Team of "Navigators", by Paul Rubin

Meet Raven, a Homeless Man with More Community Than Many of Us Have, by Paul Rubin

Why Did the Arizona Department of Corrections Put a Mentally Ill Man in Cell with a Convicted Killer?, by Paul Rubin

Jan Brewer's Response to Jared Loughner: Slash More Than 35 Million in Services from an Already Beleaguered Mental Health System, by Paul Rubin and Amy Silverman

"When they told me I was SMI [seriously mentally ill], it wasn't like they were saying I had won the lottery," Shelton says. "That's when I officially became one of 'those' people. It was like getting a stamp that said my brain was officially damaged, or whatever you want to call it."

Shelton doesn't appear different from anyone else: He's a nerdy-looking white man who favors well-worn golf shirts and khakis, and seems about as menacing as a friendly, if somewhat wary, dog.

Even when he was doing meth — a drug that can turn milquetoasts into pit bulls — Shelton says he steered clear of the law.

"How did I stay out of trouble? I did not go anywhere or visit anyone," he says. "[A friend] has the best answer. 'You were a speed freak, not a tweaker. A speed freak is an addict. A tweaker steals for the drug.' I never stole and would go days without eating and sleeping."

Shelton doesn't "act crazy," "out of control," "dangerous," or any other phrase often used to describe those who suffer from serious mental illness.

Probably his most off-putting characteristic is his tendency to speak loudly when he gets excited. Inevitably, he apologizes afterward.

"Most of us are a lot like me," Shelton says, the "us" referring to people with mental-health issues. "We are not Jared Laughner. We get hurt a lot more than we hurt. We may be angry and upset about our lives, but we don't take guns and shoot innocent people any more than the 'normal' population does. I'm pretty sure we hardly ever hurt anyone but ourselves."

For sure, the Chris Sheltons of the world rarely make the news, even when they die at someone else's hands.

Shelton says he convinced himself at one point that his life was destined to spiral downward until it ended, which he strongly suspected would be sooner rather than later. His descent into the meth netherworld was an inevitable step along that road to oblivion.

"I have had a lot of anger and rage inside of me and around me," he says, "and I've tried different ways of [dealing] with it, some of them pretty stupid. I just have this mania."

Shelton has written poetry on and off for years, though he calls most of his efforts "lame."

Some — including rowdy limericks about Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Shelton's no fan) — are lighthearted.

Others, such as a self-portrait of his life titled Mental Abuse, are dark:

Knives are understandable

They cut you

Mental abuse isn't understandable

It cuts you but yet it is not visible

If a person is cut on the outside

They are bandaged with tender loving care

If a person is cut on the inside

They aren't bandaged — they are told that the wound is not 'real'

But in 2005, Shelton says, he caught a couple of breaks.

The first was when he decided to heed the words of a young Phoenix woman, a close friend he will identify only as "my guardian angel."

She told Shelton that a tragic end was coming if he didn't quit messing with meth.

"She was a one-person intervention," he says. "She is very loving but can be tough if she is mad." Also around that time, Shelton joined an old pal, John Neal, for a rare night out at the Rhythm Room on East Indian School Road (both are Phoenix Central High School, class of 1983, alumni). A topic of conversation at the club veered at one point to Daniel Mendoza, a late-18th-century British boxing champion who wrote the pioneering book The Art of Boxing, and to another old-time bare-knuckle prizefighter, celebrated American ex-slave Thomas Molineaux.

Shelton is both a lifelong history buff and a boxing fan.

"I worked on boxing research all the time when I did meth," he says, "but I did it purely as a hobby. I would watch videos of [boxing greats] Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Muhammad Ali, 'Jersey' Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles . . . and would write down what was happening in the ring punch-per-punch."

That night at the club, Shelton says, "Something hit me. I guess I decided to become a boxing historian, to do real research and see where it went. It was a 'moment.'"

Remarkably, that moment has evolved into a passion.

These days, Shelton "self-medicates" by doing serious research on boxers, especially those "sweet scientists" who toiled in the 18th and 19th centuries.

"I actually don't miss meth one bit, honestly," he says. "My mind is wild enough as it is."

Shelton is making his mark in the arcane world of boxing research, an arena where self-described "historians" too often parrot long-held beliefs about fighters and fights without doing due diligence.

To the contrary, Shelton hardly is one to regurgitate mainstream thinking about anything — he does his own legwork, a time-consuming, sometimes frustrating, task with no financial gain. He bristles, as an example, at the legions of boxing writers who repeat what he says are unsubstantiated accounts of the 29th round of the storied 1810 fight in London between white British champion Tom Cribb and Tom "The Black" Molineaux.

"I have an edge over a lot of researchers because I still use the library system and not just the Internet," he says. "It's just a matter of doing your homework and not believing what you read in Wikipedia, which is wrong about just about everything."

Boxing websites have been publishing his colorful and deeply researched articles for a few years.

"Chris is an outstanding researcher who has similar views to [mine] in that he goes back and does the homework and knows that, as a historian, you can't trust everything that's come before," says Tracy Callis, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) and director of historical research at the respected cyberboxingzone.com website.

"The farther back you go, the harder it is to get to the truth, but Chris never takes the easy way, like so many folks, and rewrites someone else's work," says the Roanoke, Virginia, resident. "The hours he has to put in are impressive. I don't know much about his life, other than I understand he hasn't had it easy. All I do know is that he is an outstanding gentleman, honest, and a huge addition to our work."

Shelton doesn't just pore over microfiche of old newspapers and surf the Net in search of information, legitimate or otherwise. He has conducted several interviews in the past few years, some with descendants of his subjects (a 2009 chat with the 90-year-old daughter of welterweight champ Jack Britton is one delightful example).

His interview technique is natural and disarming: He lets his subjects know up front that he's done his homework, and then gets out of the way, allowing characters such as onetime Phoenix amateur pugilist Bill Thompson ("Wallace" of Wallace & Ladmo fame), late local promoter/manager Al Fenn (who managed Chandler resident Zora Folley, one of the Valley's greatest all-time boxers), and others tell their stories.

Shelton also appears on Internet radio shows to discuss boxing and boxers, ancient and modern.

In May, he was interviewed by Dennis Taylor, whose weekly show (with co-host Joe O'Rourke) from Monterey, California, airs on ringsideboxingshow.com and an area AM radio station. Shelton chatted easily about famed lawman Wyatt Earp and a wildly controversial 1896 bout in San Francisco that caused Earp almost as much grief as that little spat in Tombstone back in 1881 known as the Shootout at the O.K. Corral.

Radio host Taylor, who has a regular gig as a journalist for Monterey's daily newspaper, introduced Shelton this way:

"He is such a meticulous historian. He drives himself absolutely crazy. The toothpick doesn't go all the way through the hot dog with this guy. If he cannot verify things, he doesn't consider it history — basically he finds all kinds of mistakes in history."

Earlier, Shelton had penned a piece for cyberboxingzone.com about Earp's role in the prizefight that pitted two of the best heavyweights in the world, "Sailor" Tom Sharkey and Bob Fitzsimmons.

Shelton spent months scrutinizing the fight through materials he found with the assistance of the Library of Congress, the San Francisco Public Library, and other resources. The national library shipped microfiche of yellowed newspapers and other pertinent historical materials to Phoenix for Shelton to study (he was allowed to peruse the data at the Burton Barr Library).

By 1896, Earp's gunslinger days in Arizona were long past him, and he was living comfortably in San Francisco when, curiously, the fight's promoter asked him to serve as the referee for the 10-round fight.

Sharkey was a decided underdog, and Fitzsimmons knocked him out in the eighth round after punishing him with body shots for much of the fight — described in excruciating detail by the many sportswriters who were there.

But Earp awarded the decision to Sharkey (who was on the canvas, either unconscious or feigning to be) because of an alleged low blow by Fitzsimmons, as an estimated 15,000 spectators hooted their disapproval.

The fight and its aftermath made front-page news for days, with what later became known as "team coverage" in the San Francisco Chronicle and other papers.

Shelton's conclusion: Earp conspired with Sharkey's people to steal the championship from Fitzsimmons in return for a secret 25 percent cut of the winnings, or $2,500.

Safe to say, not all the historians are on the same page as Shelton, which doesn't faze him in the slightest.

"I don't care where the information takes me," he says. "I just want it to take me somewhere where I'm comfortable saying, 'This is what happened and I can prove it.' I did that in the Earp case, and in every other story I've done. I don't write anything that I can't back up."

While doing his Sharkey-Fitzsimmons research, Shelton uncovered a letter that Earp wrote in 1909 to old Tombstone pal Bat Masterson —another legendary Wild West figure who improbably spent the final three decades of his life as a sportswriter. Earp insisted that he never would have thrown the San Francisco fight for money because he was flush at the time.

"At the time of the Fitzsimmons-Sharkey fight, I owned and raced a stable of thoroughbreds on the tracks at Oakland and Ingleside," Earp told his old associate. "Take my tip, Bat, and never referee a prizefight. It's a thankless job, and you're sure to make enemies no matter how fairly and honestly you may act."

Chris Shelton doesn't buy it.

Dennis Taylor of ringsideboxingshow.com says he holds Shelton's research abilities in high esteem.

"His passion and obvious enthusiasm for history makes it entertaining for us and for the audience," Taylor says. "With boxing stories, you hear them a million times, and you tend to accept them as true. Christopher doesn't take anything at face value, which makes him somewhat unique as a boxing historian. Unique is actually a good word to use to describe him as a person, and I mean that in a good way."


This is not the story of a man who "beat" serious mental illness.

Yes, Chris Shelton has found an unlikely niche in this life by immersing himself in the nuances of boxing antiquity.

But Shelton's substantial day-to-day problems are not about to vanish because of vigorous intellectual activity and attention to minute historical detail.

He has to check in regularly with his caseworkers at Magellan Health Services, the firm that contracts with Maricopa County to provide behavioral-health services for thousands of local residents. He goes on and off psychotropic drugs, saying, "I don't like being a zombie — being numb to things — the weight gain, the sleep problems. It's not a win-win situation for me."

Shelton tries to make do on about $600 a month in disability income provided by the state of Arizona. The government pays two-thirds of his rent because of his mental disabilities, and he remits the remaining $192, which leaves him with about $100 a week to cover the rest of his needs.

He eats many of his meals for free at a nonprofit day center called CHEEERS (yes, with three Es). Near 19th Avenue and Indian School Road, the center also provides the seriously mentally ill with a safe haven, self-help programs, a computer with a working web connection, and a nice pool table.

CHEEERS is funded mostly by a contract with Magellan.

Shelton lives in disarray at a west Phoenix apartment complex that won't be featured in Better Homes and Gardens. Actually, his funky second-floor unit would be a better fit on an episode of Hoarders.

Shelton spends hours there squatting in front of his laptop computer (a gift from friends) on his living-room floor. The Internet connection at the complex is sporadic, which frustrates him endlessly.

Several large cardboard boxes that are overflowing with his boxing research, books, and memorabilia dominate the living-room décor.

The word "messy" is a gross understatement, yet Shelton's apartment is devoid of furniture, other than one rickety lawn chair. He sleeps (though not much, he says) on a floor mat in what passes as a bedroom.

"This isn't exactly living the good life," Shelton says, "but it's my life."

He is a gracious host, happy for the company and the opportunity to discuss boxing history.

"It's what keeps me going," he says. "This thought has grown in me that you have to have a goal and a dream, and that sometimes it takes years to get there."

Those precise goals and dreams are difficult for Shelton to define.

"You remember The Truman Show?" he asks, referring to the existential Jim Carrey movie about an ordinary guy who discovers that he's a prop in a popular reality-TV show, and subsequently tries to escape into the "real" world.

"I can relate to the Carrey character, who wants to open that door and sneak out and face a real future, no matter what it brings. I am more than just some diagnosis. I can have a life, too."

Shelton is quietly proud that he has turned himself into a legitimate boxing historian — a contender, if you will — with a sense of purpose that had eluded him for a lifetime.

Still, his day-to-day struggle remains lonely and difficult.


Chris Shelton answers directly when asked whom he counts on most in his life.

"I have the most interesting support system you can imagine," he says. "I have people out there who want the best for me. I know that."

First, he names a young woman he describes as his "sister," a medical student from Turkey named Ceren Sultan Altay, whom he befriended on Facebook several years ago.

(Ceren seems to be a real person. She sent New Times an e-mail, writing, "I never accept 'friend' requests from strangers, but Chris had sent me a kind message and asked me about Turkish rock groups. Then, we started to talk about Turkish rock singers, bands. I realized that Chris knows lots of things, and I wanted to benefit his experiences. We shared many things with each other. We know our lives deeply. We have never seen each other, but he is the biggest supporter of me. When I am about to give up, he immediately makes me refocus on the things I have to do. When I go into some difficulties, I just share [them] with Chris because he also shares some points of his life and says, 'Tomorrow, you start again. Never give up!' I'm a strong girl standing on her feet, but sometimes I need a stronger person to be supported by . . . Chris is a saver and supporter for me.")

Shelton also speaks well of two Parisian women, artists Stephanie Venerande and Sabrina Helene, also Facebook pals he never has met in person but says he relies on for emotional support.

His list of supporters includes his "guardian angel," the very private Phoenix woman who, he says, forcefully urged him to quit meth in 2005.

"I can tell you she ended our friendship as part of her intervention," Shelton says. "She has never officially become friends again, but three years ago, she began guiding me to hang in there and continues to do this today."

Finally, there is Queenie, a black Labrador retriever whose Central Phoenix owner is a former neighbor of Shelton's.

"I know — the crazy guy who says a dog is part of his support system," he says. "But Queenie loves me unconditionally."

Shelton is less enthusiastic about his actual family.

"I love my mother, but I'd rather not talk about them," he says. "I try to move forward, not backward."

As for in-the-flesh friends, Shelton says he has longtime pals who often come through for him — John Neal (the Rhythm Room guy) and wife Laura and another school friend, Phil Hodesh, immediately come to his mind.

Says Hodesh, "Chris is a very intelligent and funny guy who happens to get very obsessive about things, to put it mildly. He has problems just like the rest of us, but so what? He would never hurt anyone and has a lot to offer this world. It hasn't been an easy ride for him."

Born in California as the youngest of three brothers, Chris Shelton moved with his divorced mom to Phoenix when he was in second grade. He is of Mexican and Irish descent.

His mother, Carroll Roarty, who now lives in Bullhead City, says, "Chris always had idiosyncrasies — he didn't eat baby food or, later, he'd go to school wearing a coat in hot weather — but he was a smart kid. Or was I so non-observant? It makes me so upset that the DNA cocktail that his father and I gave him has left him in such a struggle."

Shelton went to Solano Elementary School, south of Christown Mall near the Yucca Public Library.

"I have known that library since 1973," he says. "I love libraries. Being in a library is where I do some of my best thinking."

Shelton later attended Central High, where he says he was an honor student and occasionally even took tests for other students — for a few bucks.

"I think I was a regular kid in most ways, and I wasn't the worst-looking guy in class," he says. "But I just couldn't get a girl to go out with me. I didn't know what to do. I felt different than pretty much everyone else."

So, surely, did many of his adolescent peers.

But it went way beyond that for Shelton. He says he left home for good a week after graduating from high school — "My stepfather kicked me out," he says — and he moved to Southern California, where he stayed for years with his paternal grandmother.

A Los Angeles-area law firm hired him to do clerical work. He says he did well there for a few years before taking a job as a waiter at UCLA's faculty restaurant, where he served such luminaries as Eddie Murphy, John Lithgow, and basketball's James Worthy.

"They all knew my name," Shelton says.

He quit the restaurant job in the mid-1990s and moved to San Ysidro, at the southern tip of San Diego, where he found work, but only briefly, at a sandwich shop. By then, Shelton says he was suffering uncontrollable tremors and was having racing thoughts that made it difficult for him to sleep or to think clearly.

"I was having a really tough time," he says, which sounds like an understatement.

Shelton says he moved across the border to Tijuana for a few months. He says he loved it, even though his money situation was grim and his mental situation was getting worse.

He returned to Phoenix in the late 1990s.

His mother says she did her best to help him.

"When someone is mentally ill in your family, it's so hard to know what to do," Carroll Roarty says. "Chris is a good person, a gentle person who has a harder time in life than most of the rest of us. It just tugs at your heartstrings. When it came to trying to get a job back in Phoenix, he couldn't get one. He tried, he really did. But this is his life, and I tried to be there for him."

She paid the rent for his apartment for a time (this was before he officially qualified for disability income) and gave him $20 a week in spending money.

But his mental illness was getting the better of him.

"Eventually, I took a psychological test," he says. "They asked me if I had bad thoughts against the government, stuff like that. They told me I was mentally imbalanced and wouldn't be able to work anymore, that I was SMI. I felt like I had leukemia."

Shelton says he sometimes didn't have enough money to eat in those first difficult years after he returned to Phoenix. Some days, he recalls, he had only enough money for one hot dog from Circle K: "I'd load it up with lots of peppers and whatever else they had, because that was it, food-wise."

It was during this time that he fell prey to methamphetamine, which wreaks havoc on even the most stable of minds.

"Meth is a bad, bad drug, and for a guy like me, just no way," he says. "A part of me knew, or at least hoped, there was something for me out there. I just didn't know what it was."

Of all things, "it" turned out to be researching, writing, and talking about the lives and times of old-time prizefighters.


In recent months, Chris Shelton has been examining the lives and times of a slew of new subjects.

He is looking into the fascinating Elizabeth Wilkes Stokes, an early-18th-century British woman who professionally fought other women and men with her fists and deadly weapons such as swords and knives, all while wearing a long dress. Stokes, Shelton says, would have fit in with today's MMA (mixed martial arts) crew currently stealing much of boxing's fan base.

He also is in the early stages of a study of African-American heavyweight American boxers during the 1880s, most of them Chicago-based.

Perhaps his most profound effort has been to dissect the life and boxing career of Tom Molineaux (1784-1818), a compelling character who would make a perfect subject for a full-length feature film.

Billy Cologero, another boxing historian and the host of an Internet boxing show, talkinboxing.com, says Molineaux was Mike Tyson about two centuries before Mike Tyson was born. Unlike Tyson, though, he didn't live long. A charismatic and somewhat terrifying prizefighter who scaled the top of his sport, he endured the hardest of falls and died at a young age.

Cologero, of Lake George, New York, recently finished writing a book about Molineaux titled From Slavery to the Baddest Man on the Planet, which he is self-publishing after what he says has been six years of research and writing. He repeats mainstream views about Molineaux's origins, that the heavyweight was a slave at a Virginia plantation before being freed and going onto great fame, if not riches.

But Chris Shelton's own research has told him something different, that Molineaux was from Maryland or New York, not Virginia.

Disagreements such as these are not unusual for historians, though for Shelton it is a personal matter.

"I hear, 'What difference does it make where someone was from or what exact date did they fight someone and so on?'" Shelton says.

"To me, it is not just boxing history, but African-American history and American history, so it makes me unhappy that the untruth has so much power. Everything I would have written about Tom Molineaux before I did my own research would have been wrong. It just bothers me when people spend a little time on Google and write something up like they have really done their legwork — it's just wrong."

Shelton is unlikely to make much, if any, money as a boxing researcher.

More unfortunately, his existence in Arizona, a cruel state where devastating cutbacks in services for the poor and disabled are a recurring story, is bound to remain a monumental task.

For now, however, Shelton still has his beloved public library (though hours are getting cut back there, too), his myriad writing projects, his refuge at CHEEERS, and his unique focus.

"For me, a great day of research is to find a bout that has been forgotten for more than a century," he says. "I have recently discovered George Godfrey [a superior Canadian heavyweight slugger] fights from the 1880s that were lost for more than a century. This is thrilling for me. I look at it as an archeological treasure hunt. It is strange to have a discovery and briefly be the only one who knows about it.

"I remember when I began putting the puzzle pieces together of the 1720s English boxing scene. It was tough. I began with a few pieces. Then you find more, but they do not fit together. Then you find one or two more pieces. You read the small print in old, old newspapers until your eyes get blurry. You have an idea of where things might go, but they do not fit. Then the pieces finally come together. Not always, but when they do, it is a tremendous relief. It is a feeling like no other."

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43 comments
Carl Toersbijns
Carl Toersbijns

Excellent story and enjoyable to read - sure gives you another opinion of the SMI and how functional they can be and are in many cases. HIs reality with life is both inspiring and educational for those who are SMI and wondering what the impacts are for having the illness. Thanks for a great story and a great read Paul.

odyssey
odyssey

uuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, 'lord' thank you so much, still giving a chance to 'drugusers" to stay alive!!!! we lost so many humans, since earth exist, for many many common sense and worthly reasons, i see, even drug user like shelton want to share their lil crazy thoughts from their mind, and acting and thinking its funny! they' should be thankful to god, that they/he didnt die, by toxicating its own body!

but an article written without positive interest/lust to the public and consumers, like schitzo himself Dave about 'shelton" where every non drug user, perhaps drug user would and lost attention, interest, reading and reading without an ending-statement, ruined morning breakfast and coffee for my ass, I had to smoke one on this shit...

Non profit Editors, they say: " they truely are the best, because the dont profit/use of people... But not in this case, this editor I assume went to school and hated his major/editing, cause he obviously does not know when to stop! gets paid some some good good maybe bad bad money, but thats not how you keep your readers

'Divine Design'

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mat
mat

Hey you guys check out Yahoo news.... they have had a link to this story every single day for the last week. Yahoo likes meth. Either that or this Chris person is givin a BJ to somebody over there so he can sell a book about his trials and tribulations as a meth warrior. LOL

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horace pendragon
horace pendragon

Meth heads are in a class all thier own, abased women are thier handlers, if I knew subhumans were held in such high esteem I would of started a religion instead of a Riech!

Ajuliagulia
Ajuliagulia

I have a history of typen1 Bipolar Disorder (aka manic depression). I can tell numerous stories of my stays in psychiatric hospitals with serious delusions of grandeur. Aside from the disasterous effects mental illness took on my emotional well being, one of my biggest concerns was that I wouldn't be able to have children.

Then in 2003, I disovered a multivitamin from truehope {dot} com. It's called Empower and it has enabled me to have two babies. Since going on the vitamins in early 2003, I've taken no psychiatric medication and have had no problems with mania or depression (not even post partum). My psychiatrist told me that it wouldn't work but I'm delighted to report that he was wrong.

A medical doctor is trained to use medication to treat health issues of the mind and body. They have no training in vitamins and alternative methods of treatment. It would be great if someone could coordinate an FDA approved study on the effectiveness of vitamins in treating mental health issues but sadly, that would cost millions of dollars and pharmaceudical companies aren't interested because there's no money in it for them to do studies on vitamins.

Elizabeth Gullikson
Elizabeth Gullikson

I'm not letting my disorder get me either! I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder w/ psycosis, & PTSD. Friday I am going to sign up for boxing or MMA training, Ive been told its a great outlet from your day!

Michele Dahl
Michele Dahl

Chris, I absolutely loved this article. Thanks for sharing your life story and putting it out there for us all to read and relate to. SHAME ON MAT! (If you paid attention Chris lived in seclusion in his meth days and to be quite honest you did not recognize the fact that someone with his disadvantage quit the drug, thats quite an accomplishment. Chris deserves recognition in a positive way here not your critical views. We have seen perfectly coherent people do horrible crimes so you really have no leg to stand on and nothing was mentioned in the article about unkind acts, only the mans trials and tribulations) I had the pleasure of being Chris' classmate at Central High School & he was a most kind and gentle soul. Always pleased we took time out to chat with him and he seems to be a person that requires very little from others than some friendship, I am happy to oblige. Chris is always the first to offer support to me and another mutual friend from high school, he pays attention & it's nice. Nice makes the world go 'round.. For a person to still be so connected with old friends says alot about a person. There are many more positive life experiences for you Chris because you are thirsty for it, so drink up my friend. You need some support just give a shout out...you know how to get ahold of me. We all need to be supported and lifted up at times. You should be proud how accomplished & independent you are given the circumstances of the meds they put you on. You didn't ask for this and you are coping to the best of your ability. Unfortunately the states system is not the best & you get shuffled. For this I am sorry. Rock on Chris!

ADIS1224
ADIS1224

GOD BLESS U Chris Shelton

mat
mat

Interesting the article quotes him as someone "who didnt hurt people" but he actually did put many people in danger. You mean to tell me this ass klown never stepped into a car during his meth addition? He didnt go anywhere or talk to anyone and you believe it? Does he have children? Typical liberal journalism missing the point that you dont need a gun to be a danger to innocent people. Also, the author finds it necessary to mention this persons race. Liberals always preach lets not judge / identify people by race then they say "hey look at the black man crossing the street"... why isnt he just a man? Very typical hippo sized hypocrisy.

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Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

What exactly is a mental illness? Thinking that is not socially acceptable to all the "normal" people? What are the scientific factors that determine mental illness? There are none. What treatments have been shown to cure mental illness? None. You can't treat or cure something that doesn't exist. So, treat it with psychoactive drugs? There you go. They numb the neural pathways until the symptoms go away. Psychology is not a science nor does psychiatry do anything but push drugs.

mark v
mark v

who wants people to find purpose, in winterhaven ca.and yuma,az where do they want people to find purpose? GOOD for Chris Shelton that he can live unmolested and unhindered, not so in yuma,az and winterhaven,ca where people who are not mentally ill are discouraged from being mentally healthy and alert,and sort of forced into depression and mental illness, GOOD for Chris Shelton, keep up the good work and GOD BLESS

J M
J M

At least he has found a purpose that help him live from day to day. Isn't that all that counts? One day at a time. I wish my son and my grandson could fine a purpose that counts for them, they are still wondering around trying to understand why they are the way they are, different. I tell them that we are all different, that some can manage better then other is what makes the difference. Most of us don't care about the whys, what, where, when and the howcomes it's not a big deal, we just except things the way they are. Which is right , which is wrong? Maybe they are the lucky ones.

Mike Thrash
Mike Thrash

You know, Speakintruth, I found this article to be a breath of fresh air. I suffer from Bipolar ll/Depression, and while I take a mutitude of meds to control it, those same meds do not always work properly. Like the subject of the article, I also did my share of drugs and alcohol in an attempt to control my symptoms, before I was ever diagnosed.

I believe that your comment about having a bullet put in their head is quite insensitive and rather juvenile. Just because you used massive amounts of coke and didn't suffer any long term affects, does not give you the right to bash others who actually have true mental illness. Most of us used drugs and alcohol in order to cope. You just seemed to have used it because you were an idiot.

Actually - let me clarify my last statement - you used by choice: we used because we didn't understand that we were ill. We just didn't know it at the time.

Bbshop
Bbshop

I enjoyed reading the article, and concidering how rampent Meth is in the phoenix area it's nice to read how someone was able to get of the drug I hope Mr Shelton can stay off the meth and find peace and purpose in his life with his illness

Rorewood44
Rorewood44

Nice comment, ass. Write your real name before you open your pie hole like this. By the way, it's "their," not "there"

Speakintruth
Speakintruth

Ok, this is stupid. I did my share of drugs for a long time. I was buying coke in quantities to do that would make most think I was dealing. But this jackass gets an article because he's losing touch with reality? Whatever retard reads into this should go out back and put a bullet in there head. Hell, this guy should do the same.

Marykcroft
Marykcroft

Each of us needs to find a passion in life. Mr. Shelton is no different than others who throw all their energy into art, or music, or exploring the desert. This is a lovely story, and I'[m happy to hear about someone who is a historian with a passion for finding the truth! The other parts of his life may still be tough, but he is much better off than someone with a comfortable but dull life with no passion.

Bob
Bob

Mental illness has not slowed the New Times staff.

mat
mat

Hey Michele ...no worries New Times removed my constructive non vulgar comment criticizing Mr. Shelton and the journalist who wrote the article.

mat
mat

I caused you to write all that...i feel so powerful !

goosemeyer
goosemeyer

Matt, I agree with everything you said. I am going to add something to what you say. He didn't go anywhere or talk to anyone? Did the meth magically appear? He didn't hurt anyone? Other than injesting poison, he also kept a drug dealer in business. The same S.O.B. that supplies meth to children. Just a word to this wonderful and thoughtful SMI gentleman. You are and ignorant self-centered bastard.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thank you Mike for the affirmation. I've had my share of alcohol abuse and chose to stop several years ago. And although I've not had the same struggles as my son. As for the comment I won't even respond to about being an ass and my providing my real name; I learned many years ago that mine and my sons problems is no one's business...! And there are too many bullets in too many heads worldwide to even consider answering the post. At least you've walked in similar shoes which is more than I can say for others out there...including my own son!

listenhere
listenhere

Hey at least he actually doing something with his boxing research other then drugs. He discover a lot of things from the past that boxing historians didn't know of. What about you douche? You still snorting? Is that why your talking a lot of shit about him?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I'm intimately familiar with this kind of Mental/Nervous disorder that happens to affect my son whose in his 20's. Except he tried meth along with many other substances to "self medicate". His actual diagnosis was "hyper manic". Or some have called it "borderline personality disorder". He's off hardcore drugs, but still struggles with the outbursts, ranting and raving etc. The poetry this gentleman wrote about how a knife can wound you on the outside which can heal, but the wounds inside are much worse, is spot on! Especially with someone like my son who doesn't believe in synthetic/prescription drugs. There's always been a stigma attached to a mental/nervous disorder, however much research has shown a chemical imbalance is present in the brain. It's like an addiction...some people would like to trivialize it a sign of weakness or "he/she's just "crazy". But believe me, it's a disease. After reading this article and having to manage crisis/care/intervention for my son for over 13 years, I have to say it has been one of the most difficult things a parent can struggle with. I appreciate the article and like Shelton, my son is a historian, very well read and a bright guy. Hopefully, one day he'll use his talent for good and make positive changes in others who need help! Anonymous.

John Severs
John Severs

May not have stopped Chris, but it's stopped a lot of folks who are locked up in jail.

mat
mat

Thanks Goosemeyer .. i appreciate it. If you check out Yahoo news they have had a link to this story every single day for at least the last week. Very strange.

 
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