Benefits To Help Anxiety And Depression Disabled Man With Home Move
by Clay Richardson
(Osceola, Arkansas, USA)
My name is Clay Richardson. I am 30 years old and married since April 2005.
I worked for the State Highway engineering office in my area. It was an awesome, yet very stressful job, but I loved the new everyday challenges.
One day on a Saturday I was out working at home. When I stepped inside and lay down to rest, I was hit with a chest constriction. I had trouble breathing.
Before this I had been feeling very weak. I thought it was due to the physical and mental stress of my job supervising the construction of roadways and testing, with long hard days in 100-degree heat.
I ended up in Saint Bernard's hospital where everything looked normal, but when I returned to work, I was still shaken from the episode and feeling very weak.
My superior sent me to the nearest doctor who put me on a three-day leave until I could see a specialist.
On the second day, I saw a cardiologist who attached to me a 24-hour heart monitor after checking my vitals. He told me to return the monitor the following day.
The day went on as usual with the muscular problems, feeling very off-keel, shaky inside and unable to breath normally. I returned the monitor, went back to work and my problems got much worse.
I passed out on the roadside in my work vehicle and was found by a coworker. My uncle who lived nearby drove me to the hospital. They determined I had asthma and that I must have had a panic attack that triggered me passing out.
At the time I was not hyperventilating nor do I remember panicking before blacking out. I went from the emergency room to my primary doctor that day. He prescribed me meds for the asthma.
The next day I had another episode. The shaking and muscle tension continued. I was losing my footing, my vision seemed to be closing in and I was certain I was going to black out again. I did not.
Results from my Holter monitor showed everything to be fine. On my next trip to the doctor, he diagnosed me with panic disorder. I was told it is hard to overcome but I was very relieved.
A psychiatrist recommended taking a leave and prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety meds. I put in for my two-week leave and began the medicines and attempted to relax. This did not happen.
The meds (Citalopram and Buspar) made me irritable and did nothing for the shaking feeling or the weakness. I was told to give it a few weeks for the anti-depressant to take full effect.
I got to the point to where I called an ambulance. The hospital said it might be a bad reaction to the meds. They gave me Zofran to stop the vomiting, but it gave me a massive headache, something I had grown accustomed to.
The doctor stopped those meds and then put me on others to counter depression and anxiety. They did virtually nothing and I was still having day-to-day headaches, shakiness, muscle weakness and clamminess.
After the leave I had to take all of my vacation and finally catastrophic leave. It had been a few months now and nothing had changed. There were no good days or bad days, just bad and worse.
I had been on several meds and combos of meds that did nothing for me. My heart rate was always peaking and falling at random. I was coming out of my skin and at times out of my mind as well.
When my catastrophic non-paid leave ran out I took a forced retirement. This hit me very hard and I was devastated. Several months in and living off what was left of my quickly dwindling 401k, I was given two more diagnoses: generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Even more meds failed to provide relief. At the same time I was also still going to my primary care physician looking for an alternative diagnosis and seeing specialists, all being paid for out of pocket because I no longer had insurance.
I moved my family from my apartment and into a house with my family for assistance only to lose my truck a few weeks later because we could no longer afford that either.
I waited for two years living off basically nothing with no assistance other than living with family and my 401k which had long since been gone after year one.
We sold everything. We owned nothing and everyday was the same or worse than before despite all attempts to repair myself and all the doctors' visits and emergency room visits.
I went to the emergency room over 25 times in that two-year period. I have had at least four MRI tests done, about 10 CTs, and more EKG tests than I can recall. So after two years I put in for disability.
This was the nail in the coffin. I was sent to a psychologist to evaluate me and of course they received letters from every doctor I had gone to and each hospital visit and stay from three hospitals.
I was approved three months later. It was a relief but at the same time it just helped feed the doctors' payments. We were not making any progress really and Medicare would not help me until I had been disabled two years.
I was paying out more to doctors than I actually received per month. My health quickly has declined. By the time Medicare did pick up I was in so much debt to hospitals it was terrifying to look at my credit report.
I continued to see my family doctor and any specialist he would send me to for a test. The verdict was that I had bad mental problems, so my doctor was just humoring me.
I do believe that I have a bit of a mental problem, but there's more to it than that. I began seeing a new psychiatrist close to home, since I was unable to leave the house without having a panic attack.
In spite of the difficulties, I force myself to go to the doctors and to keep going forward. The new psychiatrist was appalled when she saw that I had never been sent to a neurologist and had also not been checked for MS or an inflammatory disease.
She said that all the symptoms are all pointing that way so this is the track I am on now. My current health and mental state is this. I am on shaky all the time, my mind runs circles around me, my joints are always stiff and inflamed, my muscles are always weak shaky and atrophied.
I constantly feel that I am losing my grip. I am now homebound mainly. I have phantom hallucinations of smell, sight and sound. I am constantly so tired it is hard to walk or even stay awake.
I have 24-hour anxiety symptoms but no relief from the meds. The new meds are Alprazolam, Depakote and Wellbutrin along with my asthma meds.
My doctors then diagnosed agoraphobia and pharmacophobia after having some horrible reactions to medicines.
Most of the time I feel so hopeless. It takes every ounce of energy to try to take a bath and walk around because I am so stiff and my heart beats so rapidly with exertion.
I have no idea how I fell this far. Even now writing this out, it is difficult for me mentally. It worries me and makes it a bit more hopeless. I am sorry I ran on so long. It is hard to describe the decline of a life in four years in one comment box.
From the beginning to the end I lost my home, my vehicle and all of my possessions other than my bed and a TV stand. The rest was sold. I had to retire from my job.
My family was forced to move to South Carolina and I was unable to follow because of my doctors in this area so I had to move in with my mother-in-law.
We paid rent and utilities, leaving little to pay on the over $50,000 in hospital bills I have especially since we are barely scraping by as is.
We are all kind of falling apart. None of the meds work and now that I have no family in this area I cannot get to the specialists that I truly think can help me.
I have applied for help in housing in that area but paying my current rent and utilities it does not leave any money to save for deposit, rent and utility hook up at a place in another town were the specialists are.
I am also trying to buy a charcoal air purifier to help my asthma. My allergies are vast and my asthma has gotten much worse living in an old house with mold and three cats all of which I am allergic to but thankfully I have a roof over my head.
I am currently on Social Security Disability. After my student loans come out, I receive $740 a month and I pay almost all of that just in utilities, rent, and doctors' bills.
I have tried to get loans to move but having to pay a little on each hospital bill at a time with the amount I have has destroyed my credit.
All of my friends and family members are living paycheck to paycheck. Even my mother-in-law moved out of this house leaving my sister-in-law and my wife and me to pay the rent and utilities on a very drafty house.
We can't keep the payments up. I fear we will soon be on the street. My sister-in-law is a student with no job, but us staying here is conditional on us letting her remain here rent and utility free. We cannot afford it.
We have gone to the local FHA offices and HUD and have waited months for an opening and nothing has appeared. I do not know what we will do if one did open seeing as we do not have the means to save the money to pay the first month's rent the security deposit or to have the utilities switched there.
We have no source of transportation and we live in a little town of 7,000 people with very few options. It is like a gauntlet of misery and a trap.
I am looking for any help that can be provided just to help me save the money to move to a town where my specialists are.
The nearest town that has them is 60 miles away. I am certain they can get me on track or at least get me a permanent diagnosis.