Interviews

First Name
Richard
Age Group
46-50
Gender
Male
City
Maugansville
State
Maryland
Zip Code
21767
Marital Status
Married
How many people share the living space with you?
1-5
What is your highest level of formal education?
High School
What race/ethnicity do you belong to?
White
What is the frequency of your visits to the health care provider?
Longer
Are you presently employed? If yes, what is your occupation?
No
Were you employed previously? If yes, when and where?
Earlier this year, january through Mid-May. Bardsley and Neidhart, Inc. in Portland, oregon.
What conditions have you been diagnosed with? When? Where?
major depression, anxiety disorder, schizoaffective disorder. 1997. Portland, Oregon
Have you ever been hospitalized? If yes, how many times? When was the last time that you were hospitalized?
Yes. three. 2002
Please describe everything you know about your condition(s) and how you obtained such information?
I was diagnosed with major depression for engaging in self-mutiliation and having suicidal ideation. I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder because I have great difficulty using public restrooms. I have panic attacks occasionally. I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder because I continued to complain about feeling cold even after medical tests indicated everything was okay with my thyroid and other organs. I sometimes have delusions of grandeur. I once thought I was a woman.
Please illustrate your life before, during, and after learning of your condition(s) and engaging in therapies, if any?
I went undiagnosed for a long period of time. My first suicidal thoughts were in grade school, proabably about age eight. I suffered from severe depression as a teenager, probably starting from the age of 15 and continuing into my early twenties. I first engaged in self-mutilation at the age of 22. Life from 22 to 37 was basically okay. I was first hospitalized with suicidal ideation in 1993. It would be four more years before I had health insurance and would be diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder and schizoaffective disorder. Psychotherapy, antidepressants, antianxiety medicine and antipsychotic medicine kept me going good until about 2001. then I started to fall apart. Prozac quit working. The antipsychotics had bad side effects and the antianxiety medicine quit working. I was hospitalized twice for self-mutilation and suicidal ideation in the space of about a year. I filed an application for disability after losing a job I worked for ten years. I lost another job in short order. I was heading for homelessness. Fortunately, my application for disability was approved by an administrative law judge in November of 2004. I am back on antidepressants and antianxiety medications that work and I have reduced my antipsychotic medication from ten mg of Zyprexa to one mg of Risperdal. I still have suicidal thoughts, however. I am doing okay right now. I am seeing a doctor more regularly than I have been for the last few years as I qualified for Medicare in June, 2005.
Please describe how you cope with your condition(s), if at all, and the effectiveness of each strategy?
Not having to work is agreeing with me. Having been released from the stress of having to work to support myself has reduced my stress level and the frequency of my suicidal ideation. It hasn't eliminated it, altogether. I still get stressed out because I am trying to take care of my wife who is in very poor health. I cope by trying to eat nutritious food and exercising when i can. I have to be careful when i exercise because sometimes it backfires and it makes me worse instead of better. I pray to get better, but I can't say that is an effective strategy by itself. I need to take my medications daily and eat healthy food. My diet seems to affect my energy level a lot. I sleep more than i would like to. However, I notice when i sleep a lot, i don't tend to feel nervous during the day.
Does the state of your health impede in any way your everyday activities such as work, housework, studies and so on?
The last reccomendation I got from my doctor was that I should not work at all. I have not worked since may 18, 2005. Not working really reduces the stress in my life. I am very much impeded by trying to work as it uses up a lot of mental and physical energy. Even when i was working only twelve hours a week, i would have to spend all day in bed one or two days a week to recover from the stress. I will never win the GoodHouseKeeping seal of approval. I try to keep up with doing the dishes and doing the laundry. Everything else is a low priority. I don't study much. I can only concentrate for a few hours at a time. then i need to take a break.
Does the state of your health impede in any way your social activities, such as inviting others to your residence, accepting invitations, going out with friends and so on?
I have no social life. Other than running errands that are absolutely necessary, i stay at home with my wife almost all the time. I'm not in the habit of inviting people over.
How would you classify your daily interactions with people in general? (Comfortable, neutral, awkward, unpleasant) Please describe in detail.
I am comfortable interacting with the people I interact with. Most contact is over the phone. I am comfortable interacting with my wife's relatives. these are the people I meet face to face the most. they are very nice and supportive of both my wife and I. I meet a lot of medical people and I am comfortable with them because I know they want to help me. I don't have any friends in this area, really. My wife and i just moved here from Oregon. I keep in touch with my oregon friends by phone.
How do you envision your future?
The possibility of my returning to full time work for pay is practically nonexistent. My conditions are chronic. They can't be cured as of now, only managed. i would like to contribute something to society. Doing volunteer work would be good if I can do it from home because I can do it at my own pace and take rest breaks whenever I need them. Knowing my performance will not be judged in terms of whether or not I'm helping the company make a profit is a big stress reducer. I've done some volunteer work before at hospitals when i was younger and healthier and found it to be a positive experience. My future will be limited both physically and mentally. I have three chronic mental conditions and six chronic physical conditions. This will limit me socially, too. I will try to do the best I can. I went to church for the first time in a long time a few weeks ago. My wife's family is very supportive so I may participate in activities with them more than I have in the past now that we're living much closer to them. I think I will live close to a normal lifespan. Being back on health insurance is helping a lot.
On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.
Agree
At times I think I am no good at all.
Agree
I feel that I have a number of good qualities.
Agree
I am able to do things as well as most other people.
Disagree
I feel I do not have much to be proud of.
Agree
I certainly feel useless at times.
Agree
I feel that I'm a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others.
Disagree
I wish I could have more respect for myself.
Agree
All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.
Agree
I take a positive attitude toward myself.
Agree
I can always manage to solve difficult problems if I try hard enough.
Strongly Agree
If someone opposes me, I can find the ways and means to get what I want.
Strongly Agree
I am certain that I can accomplish my goals.
Strongly Agree
I am confident that I could deal efficiently with unexpected events.
Strongly Agree
Thanks to my resourcefulness, I can handle unforeseen situations.
Strongly Agree
I can solve most problems if I invest the necessary effort.
Agree
I can remain calm when facing difficulties because I can rely on my coping abilities.
Strongly Agree
When I am confronted with a problem, I can find several solutions.
Strongly Agree
If I am in trouble, I can think of a good solution.
Strongly Agree
I can handle whatever comes my way.
Strongly Agree
With my illness experience, I feel I am:
More often relaxed
More often comfortable
More often at ease
More often composed
More often optimistic
Equally confident and unsure
More often capable
More often certain
My relationships help me feel I am:
More often valued
More often comforted
More often close
More often connected
More often included
More often supported
More often accepted
Towards those who are emotionally close to me, I feel I am:
Almost always forgiving
Almost always welcoming
Almost always accepting
Almost always encouraging
Almost always trusting
Almost always understanding
Almost always respectful
Universal beliefs and principles or a divine presence help me feel I am:
More often inspired
More often comforted
More often accepted
Equally guided and aimless
Equally embraced and rejected
More often in harmony
More often sustained
Towards universal beliefs and principles or a divine presence I feel I am:
More often listening
More often receptive
More often thankful
More often accepting
More often approaching
More often willing
Equally connecting and separating