My name is Brett Boudreau and I have paranoid schizophrenia. Mental illness has been a huge part of life since I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2012. Before I became ill I was a very outgoing individual, I grasped every opportunity that came my way. I took part in exchange programs and lived in Europe for a year and had the pleasure of touring China in high school.
As outgoing as I was when I attended my first year of university I began to notice changes. For some reason I found it difficult to be around people and crowded classrooms. I took to drinking to help take away the edge, but that only made things worse. Before I knew it I was hardly leaving my dorm room due to my anxiety, and I was becoming paranoid of other students. I thought they were constantly mocking me, plotting against me trying to ruin my reputation. Along with this feeling of paranoia I began to have hallucinations. I started to hear voices mocking me in a constant negative commentary, this only solidified my paranoid delusions.
As I grew sicker and depressed I realized I needed help, I knew nothing about mental illness,I did not know where to turn. Finally I went to the emergency and began the long journey of treatment, I was hospitalized in psych wards over 13 times. I spent the better part of three years trying different cocktails of medication. I am now in remission, my major symptoms have gone away. With my mental clarity back I have been volunteering and working on committees to help reduce stigma and raise awareness for mental health.