Photo © Nancy Camley, 2017
I'm an aspiring professional artist of various media. I proudly call myself eccentric, and that is only partly to do with my mental illness including things like schizoaffective disorder, autism, and a variety of anxiety issues, which can be frustrating but which give me a bit of an unusual perspective on life. My weirdness definitely comes through in my work, and I think it gives my designs a unique flavor which is sometimes funny, sometimes serious, often whimsical, and always attention-grabbing!
I have been autistic my whole life, because that's how autism works, and that's always been hard. But during a traumatic period in my childhood I began having mood swings, hallucinations, and other life-disrupting symptoms. I have trouble doing "normal" jobs due to my mental instability, as well as physical ailments. It's been suggested to me that I might make a good Certified Peer Specialist, someone whose job is to use and share our lived experience recovering from mental illness, advocating to the public, and showing that "Recovery is Real!" (That's the slogan they use, at least at the CPS training center here in Massachusetts.) Regardless of whether I'm paid for it I will gladly perform those tasks, if not the much broader range of tasks involved in actually using the certification to become employed, but I'd much rather pursue my dreams and see where it takes me first.
(For those concerned: I don't handle your personal or financial information when you buy from Zazzle, Spreadshirt, Galloree, or Amazon! This is not to say the mentally ill are inherently not trustworthy, but it may assuage some people's fears just in case.)