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Biography

 

Artistic expression has been an important part of Amy's life since her childhood as it became a means for her to express and to channel her struggles with mental illness and addiction

 

Amy was born on April 3, 1986 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Her family relocated to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, her current home, one year later. From an early age, Amy's appreciation of art and her artistic abilities were nurtured from home. Amy's parents enrolled her into public school art classes, art focused summer camps, and into the Victoria College of Art where she took her first course in 1999.

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Amy's artistic expression has been greatly influenced by her turbulent teenage years, marked by the early onset of bipolar disorder, which first appeared as depression. As a young teenager she began self medicating with drugs and alcohol. At school, teachers and administrators labeled her as a troublemaker, her friendships were fractured, and she became the target of school bullies. At the age of 14, she left home.

 

As her confusion and inner turmoil increased, Amy's need to bring meaning and order to life led her to begin writing poetry. Shortly afterwards she also began to incorporate pen and coloured pencil drawings into her coping strategies.  After many years marked by turmoil and struggle, including homelessness, substance misuse, and extended stays at psychiatric care facilities, Amy has succeeded in facing the trauma and pains that drove her into depression and addiction. As of 2023, with the aid and support of her psychiatrist, she has come off all psychiatric medication. She has worked and continues to work hard at upholding a sober, stable, and meaningful life.

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Since 2011, Amy's art and writing have been published. In 2013, she was awarded the Heart Award for her website and its successful advocacy for those with mental illness. With time and with the help of an amazing support network, Amy has discovered ways to empower herself and cultivate a life of fulfillment and purpose. Her artwork has become more than a coping technique, it has evolved into a career.

 

The advocacy aspect of Amy's art business is truly where her passion resides. In 2023, she gained casual employment in health care doing mental health peer support. She's grateful that the medical system is beginning to recognize the value of lived experience.

Through her artwork, writing, public speaking, social media, and website, Amy opens the door for positive discussions around mental illness and addiction. She works on bringing light to the importance of self empowerment and personal autonomy in developing mental wellness. Her overall message is one of hope.

 

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Blog: Different Stages of my Health Journey Shown Through my Physical Appearance

To learn more, please check out:

For a list of mental health resources in Canada and the USA, click here.

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