Q & A With Matt McBride October 1999

Following is an edited transcript of a videotaped interview with Matt McBride, who has paranoid schizophrenia. It was conducted in October 1999 at Fulton State Hospital. Some questions were asked by Mark, Matt’s older brother. Other questions were asked by filmmaker Art Holliday.

  • Q. You got into a couple of fights.
    Matt: Yes, I did. I got into a couple of fights down there.
  • Q. Is that because somebody came towards you or you went towards them? What were you thinking?
    Matt: The voices were telling me…the first fight I got into was with this one guy and he was laughing at me, and I’m like why’s he laughing?
  • Q. You used to get very mad and angry. And you control it better now. Why do you think you control it better?
    Matt: Medication, family support, staff support, doctor support. Just more support helps you relieve your tensions.
  • Q. When did your symptoms begin to get worse?
    Matt: I was nineteen years old, right around there. I was going to college at Meramec and I was sitting in courses and I’d go in the classroom and I’d be very nervous, really high, tense, and having my heartbeat rate, heartbeat would be racing and I’d sit down and I’d be like ‘man, why’s my heart racing? What are these people thinking about me? What’s this girl over there thinking? What’s this guy over there thinking? It would just make you very paranoid and I wouldn’t know.
  • Q. Did you hear voices?
    Matt: The voices that were inside my head, that’s what I was hearing.
  • Q. Why didn’t you take your medication?
    Matt: The reason I was off the medication because I thought it wasn’t going to help. I thought it was going to make me…I thought it wasn’t going to do anything for me. I thought it was just a bunch of crap. Now I see…it’s just like with anything. If you don’t stay on your medication just like with any kind of disease. If you have cancer and you don’t take your pill, if you don’t get chemotherapy, it’ll get worse.
  • Q. Tell why you’re glad you’re taking your medication.
    Matt: I think I’m on the right kind of meds.
  • Q. Because what’s happened in your life?
    Matt: I committed a horrible crime.
  • Q. And by taking your meds now, five years down the road, what has it done for you? What has taking your medication and being here at the Biggs Center done for Matt and Matt’s life?
    Matt: It’s given me a whole better understanding, a better way to improve myself, help myself. You’ve got to take your medication, got to take it. And you’ve got to listen to your parents, gotta listen to your family, people who care for you, ’cause that’s all you’ve got.
  • Q. What’s been the hardest thing for the past five years for you to deal with?
    Matt: My parents’ death. That’s been the most hardest thing to deal with.
  • Q. And when you say your parents’ death, what’s the hardest? Remembering the morning?
    Matt: I don’t remember the morning perfectly, but what I remember…I don’t remember it perfectly at all. The hardest thing in the last five years…if I could tell other people…is that what you want me to do? Don’t ever act out or do anything against the law. That’s the main thing. Just find help if you can.