Preferred name: Paddy
Age at Interview: 35
Age at diagnosis: 14
Background: Paddy is single and lives with his brother in a suburb of a metropolitan city. He was born in Australia and identifies as having an Anglo-Celtic background. Paddy is currently studying.
Paddy received a diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder when he was 14. He has spent time in mental health units and tried a variety of medications. Paddy sees a GP, a psychiatrist, and is currently prescribed an antipsychotic, a mood stabiliser and an antidepressant.
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More about Paddy
Paddy described himself as having experienced 'a mental health issue' since he was a teenager. During his teens, he said he went 'bananas' and that this was exacerbated by periods of stress at school. Paddy explained how he wanted to leave school, despite it being a 'bit of a shame', as his family was paying for a private school. He described his parents as 'sacrificing a lot' to help him through these periods.
When he was 14 and a high school student, Paddy described receiving a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and was hospitalised for the first time after his behaviour and thoughts became 'irrational'. He said the situation 'wasn't pretty' for his family during this time. A psychiatrist had a meeting with Paddy's teachers at school and had them 'rubber stamp' him for Year 11, because he was 'not able' to complete it or Year 12.
In his late 20s, Paddy explained that he received a new diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder which he described as a 'mixture of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia' when a nurse in hospital noticed symptoms of voice hearing. Paddy has had three hospital admissions, experiences he has found to be 'quite confronting.' However, his interactions with hospital staff have been positive. In particular, the nurse who noticed his voice hearing has been important to him and he said her advice to 'focus on getting well' put things into 'focus' for him. He explained how visits from a variety of priests during his time in hospital were also 'really important', because 'it was just a spiritual thing' to pray with them.
Paddy is currently prescribed an antipsychotic medication, a mood stabiliser and an antidepressant. After a priest encouraged him to trust doctors, Paddy said he does his best to 'try and obey with the tablets' that he is prescribed and is compliant with medication. He explained that he tried several other medications whilst mentally unwell, and said some had side effects like akathisia (a movement disorder) and weight gain. Over the last several years, Paddy has established a positive relationship with a psychiatrist who 'asks the right questions' and is a 'ripper'. Paddy believes discussions about medication should be a 'two way street' and said he has found his psychiatrist receptive to his input about medication.
Paddy currently lives with his brother, who has also been diagnosed with a mental health problem, in a flat bought for them by their parents. He said this living situation had its 'ups and downs', but that those fluctuations were 'normal anyway'. Paddy described recovery as 'an ongoing process', but said 'there's definitely hope for the future'. He emphasised how faith, stable housing, enrolling in a teacher's aide course, and exercise have played an important role in helping him to maintain his mental wellbeing.