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Who Is Blake Horsley? In his own words . . .

I am Blake R. Horsley...
A renowned artist, author, and mental health advocate who has overcome many challenges throughout my life. At the age of seventeen, I received the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, marking the beginning of a challenging journey towards acceptance. My own struggles were compounded by the painful memory of my mother's battle with the same disorder, vividly punctuated by a harrowing incident when I was just twelve—saving her life during her second suicide attempt. Despite the challenges I have faced, I have been determined to find ways to manage my mental health and use my experiences to help others. Seeing how mental illness impacted my own mother fueled me to never give up and to become a voice for the mentally ill.

My artwork reflects my experiences with bipolar disorder. I use bold colors, strong lines, abstract shapes, and layers of images to express the intense emotions and energy that I feel during manic episodes. My art has been exhibited in galleries, art shows, and exhibitions around Ontario, having received much praise and recognition.
In addition to my artwork, I am also a published author. I have written a book titled A MAN WITH GLASSES about my experiences with bipolar disorder and having a mental illness that details my journey towards acceptance and recovery. It is an honest account of one suffering for an extended period of time but never losing hope. My writing has been praised for its honesty, vulnerability, and compassion.
My decision to speak openly about my mental health journey sets me apart as not just an artist but also a mental health advocate. By sharing my personal struggles, I aim to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues and inspire others to embrace their own journeys.
One notable platform where I have shared my story is the award-winning podcast series "CAMPUS" on CBC, on the fourth episode titled "Going in Circles." In a poignant episode, I opened up about the unique challenges of attending college while battling bipolar disorder. The podcast provided a glimpse into my life, detailing the highs and lows of navigating academia while managing the demands of mental health.
On the podcast, my words resonated with listeners as I painted a vivid picture of the hurdles I faced and the triumphs I achieved despite my condition. My openness fostered a sense of understanding and empathy, creating a space for dialogue about mental health within the academic community and beyond.
I actively engage across platforms to discuss mental health, blending art and advocacy to create a supportive community. Through my art and storytelling, I contribute to destigmatizing mental health issues and encourage open dialogue. As a passionate advocate, I share my journey with bipolar disorder to offer hope and understanding, striving for a more compassionate society. Despite challenges, I remain dedicated to my work as an artist, author, and mental health advocate, believing in the power of sharing stories and creating art to inspire healing and vitality.

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