Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd

Former Vanier client Bryan Boyd never thought about what life would be like a decade in the future. In fact, he never even thought about what the next day would bring. That all changed when he found himself alone and living on the streets of London.

Bryan sounds like he's been through a battle. He has the voice of a shell-shocked young man, and he's still fighting his way through. The remarkable thing about Bryan is his capacity for self-reflection and a determination to change.

Bryan says, "When I was younger, I didn't care about anything or anybody, including myself." He describes his own behaviour as violent, and his life as chaotic and filled with bad choices and the wrong people.

There is a history of depression in Bryan's family, and his home life was deeply troubled. He didn't get along with his parents or siblings, and at eleven he was separated from them and moved to several foster homes in London. The chaos and violence continued for years.

He lived in residence at Vanier for a year while attending grades seven and eight at White Oaks Public School. That year, like many years before, was characterized by suspensions and poor grades. "In school, I got A's when I worked at it, but it was a choice not to. I didn't think about the consequences of anything I did. That was the year I hit rock bottom," remembers Bryan. Eventually, he ended up in the custody of Children's Aid Society (CAS).

Although it didn't seem like it at the time, that year was pivotal for Bryan because he was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. Earlier on he had been diagnosed with ADHD, but the medications he was given were ineffectual. A proper diagnosis means he has an opportunity to more fully understand his own feelings and behaviours. He also has the possibility of moderating them with appropriate medication.

At seventeen he found himself out on his own. By nineteen things had deteriorated, and he was living on the streets with nothing to look forward to.

In a classic turn, he woke up one day and realized he didn't want to live the life he was living anymore. He recognized if he didn't take control of it himself, nothing was going to change. So he went deep within and started to imagine a new life.