Recovery and Healing for Matt

Matt is a kind, creative and empathetic young man whose struggles with mental illness and depression have prevented him from living a full life. His condition has caused him to have to put plans for the future on hold, including his education and marriage to his fiancé of seven years. We, his family, want nothing more than to help him find happiness again.

Following the sudden and tragic death of his best friend in the Fall of 2004, Matt fell into a downward spiral of depression that lasted for years and was not fully recognized or addressed medically. He was unwilling or unable to seek out help as his mental state deteriorated into paranoia and psychosis. He has since been diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder and has come to recognize and accept the fact that he has an illness.

When Matt started hearing voices and losing touch with reality, we responded by taking him to the emergency room, desperate for help and answers. This began a cycle of hospital stays followed by periods of relative stability, however the underlying issues caused him to fall back into self-destructive patterns. Matt's struggles caused such physical and emotional pain and confusion that he was drawn to self-medicating. Drugs and alcohol made things worse.

A year ago Matt overdosed on pain killers and almost lost his life. “It was a mistake”, he told us– words that gave no comfort and explained nothing. After yet another hospital stay that left us frustrated with a health care system poorly equipped to treat the mentally ill, Matt went home and inevitably relapsed. We recognized that in order to save Matt's life, we needed to stop enabling him. We gave him an ultimatum and Matt made the decision to enter a treatment program.

Now Matt wants to be well. In order for therapy to be effective, he can’t be confined to a hospital. Past hospital stays have left him feeling out of place and afraid, willing to do or say pretty much anything to get out. He needs a therapeutic setting where he can form bonds with people who understand what it is like to suffer from mental illness and addiction.

Matt has been offered an opportunity to live an work at the Gould Farm in Monterey, Massachusetts where he can be part of a community and learn to navigate a normal day. He has been at the farm for only a few weeks but is engaging in life again. He has shown that he wants to be a contributing member who will battle to get better. The wholesome setting and a welcoming, nurturing staff give us hope that for the first time he has a real chance at healing.

We will do anything in our power to help Matt, even at financial cost far beyond what we can afford. We have taken out loans in order to meet these costs. We are asking for help from this community so that we can ensure Matt's continued progress toward happiness.

Thank you.


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Dan Phelps 
Ashburnham, MA
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