Tell us a little about yourself.
The St Louis neighborhood I grew up in was a mixture of Italian, Irish and Germans and super Catholic. I went to Catholic grade school and high school before starting at the University of Missouri. I was in and out of schooI during my twenties and moved around a lot. I studied international relations and learned Spanish and German. I eventually settled in New York where I got a job analyzing claims and directing a program as part of the Swiss Banks Settlement. I met my wife at work and we moved to Bloomington in 2005 and I have been working in administrative positions at Indiana University since moving here.
I enjoy spending time outdoors doing yardwork, going on hikes and looking for trinketty stuff in Tupperware containers in the woods (aka geocaching). I have dabbled in sculpting with wood and stained glass and hope to more in the future.
How has mental illness affected your life?
My life was first affected by mental illness when a fellow passenger on a bus attacked a friend and I and murdered my friend. Voices in his head told him we were demons. He was judged guilty with a mental illness and spent about 20 years in prison. I have lived with symptoms of PTSD in varying degrees since the attack and am currently receiving treatment for it via medication and psychiatric consultations. One of my brothers was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and my parents and I have become advocates for people with mental illness via a national advocacy organization.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I am inspired to maintain mental health to be a good father and husband, to contribute and progress in the work that I do and to advocate for improving treatment for mentally ill in my community and our society.
Why did you want to be a part of This Is My Brave?
I want to be part of This Is My Brave to share my story of living with PTSD and learning how to address the symptoms. I greatly benefitted from reading the courageous accounts of others who were assaulted. I hope the audience takes away a better understanding of PTSD.
Join us in Valparaiso, IN on May 19th @ 7pm at the Memorial Opera House Theater as we shine a light on true stories told by brave individuals - Paul and his castmates - who are overcoming mental illness and talking about their journeys to end stigma. Tickets on sale now!