My name is Iris, I have a diagnosis of Clinical Depression, Anxiety and P.T.S.D.  I have been coming to the Art Studio for the last six years. At first I was very reluctant to go, it took me a couple of months just to be able to sign up for it. When I was called in I had doubts and tried to come up with excuses not to go. Thankfully I did go to my orientation. I was really scared not knowing what to expect, I hadn’t done any art since I was in High School, ages ago. I then signed up for the Beginners Drawing Class and got in fairly quickly.

My first class was terrifying, I had absolutely no confidence in myself and what I could do. Once class started I got focused on the drawing. I was amazed at the kind of work I was doing and was developing skills I didn’t think I had in me. The instructor made me feel very welcome and safe. I felt very supported in the Art Studio environment. When I completed the Beginners Drawing Class I felt confident enough to take a Continuing Education Course at Emily Carr University.

Since then I have completed eleven different courses there. I was very grateful to the Art Studio and wanted to give back so I offered to be an assistant in a class. An opportunity at the Beginners Drawing Class came up so I was given a chance to volunteer. Again I was very nervous about helping out. I didn’t think I would be much use.  I was quite nervous the first day, my hands were shaking but once I got started I was too busy to be nervous and enjoying myself so much, that I kept volunteering. After helping out in the class a few times I became familiar with the  Drawing Class schedule. My confidence over this time improved a lot, I felt more worthwhile and useful as a person. When the Co-ordinator asked me to take over instructing the Beginners Drawing Class, my first instinct was “No Way!” But I totally shocked myself by saying yes. I thought, this is an opportunity I never even dreamed I would get, I have to take it. I also felt honoured just to be asked.  I had learned so much from the previous instructor, her style and how to encourage people and she was nice enough to let me continue to use her class schedule and many props, this helped me immensely.  As time went on I added some of my own ideas to the schedule.  Also I have a great assistant to help me out in the class; we have been working together for about two years now. We work very well together as a team, she makes the class better. When the class is over the students get a chance to give us feedback and we consistently get positive responses. I feel that the Art Studio has given me confidence, a skill, a new role as a teacher and has made me feel a part of the community. The Art Studio is aiding in my continuing recovery. I know I would not be this happy and confident in my life if it was not for the Art Studio.

Thank you, Iris

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