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The Faces of Mental Health: Thad’s Story

This story was shared by Thad. We are publishing it here as part of our Faith in Action education series on mental health.

My name is Thad  I am in my 40’s and have had much stability in my mental health life since 1996. I was given the name Thaddeus by my Mother who had great devotion to St. Jude. She had difficulty during her pregnancy, and felt St. Jude, also known as Thaddeus (which means a courageous heart) helped her through that time.

As an adolescent, I was diagnosed with A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder), but I also developed many phobias and distorted thinking during that time. A phobia is an acute fear of a social situation.

By age 20, I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

I had much disbelief regarding my mental status and was using alcohol as a way to escape those awful feelings. I was not taking medications on any regular basis, and what I was taking was not right for me.

In 1991, I was living with my Aunt in Boston. I was not functioning well there, so my brother brought me to St. Louis. He was able to have me admitted to the Oxford House, a residential center in St. Louis, where no alcohol or drugs were allowed. Medications and psychiatric help on a consistent basis lead to my eventual placement in the Independent Center in St. Louis. There were medication changes and electro shock treatments during that time.

I had some temporary jobs while there and eventually began working as a landscaper at the Cathedral in St. Louis in 1996. By that time, I was finally on the right medication combination and was functioning better in my work situation. I enjoyed this work, was doing pretty well with my mental health, and was eventually hired by the landscape owner. I was able to move into my own apartment, cover my expenses and have continued to work for that same employer ever since.

I am very thankful for my brother. He was responsible for my coming to St. Louis for treatment. He and his wife have been there for me all these years, and I am so grateful for all they have done for me.

I feel like I have come a long way towards fairly stable mental health. I still see my psychiatrist, and am glad to be functioning as well as I am. I enjoy my work, and in my spare time, I watch sci fi movies and enjoy cars.

We are thankful for you Thad and appreciate you sharing your life long issues with your mental health difficulties. You were well named -Thaddeus- a courageous heart, as you have been courageous taking steps toward the current stability you enjoy. Although you’ve had much to endure in the past, you have made great strides in your health journey. We are happy that you are gainfully employed, have a job you like, have some enjoyable free time and have people in your life that are so supportive to you. We will keep you and so many others in our prayers for continued stable mental health.

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