See photos and videos of the event here.
Amy will be presenting Gutless & Grateful to the student body at Russell Sage College on April 12th, 2016 at 7pm, 65 1st St, Troy, NY 12180. The event is free and open to the public.
On April 12th, 2016, Russell Sage College’s Student Life Department will be bringing PTSD survivor and advocate Amy Oestreicher to campus. Amy is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, speaker for RAINN, writer for The Huffington Post, award-winning health advocate, actress, and playwright, eagerly sharing the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, performance, art and speaking.
Oestreicher is a survivor of sexual abuse, 27 surgeries, a coma, organ failure, six years being unable to eat or drink, and the PTSD that comes from ten years of trauma.
Determined to bridge the gap of communication between wellness resources on college campuses and students, and knowing how difficult it was to speak of her own own abuse (especially after waking up from a coma months later), Amy devised a program that combines Broadway theatre with sexual assault awareness and mental health advocacy, providing hope, help and saving lives.
In 2012, she wrote, directed, and starred in a one-woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, touring theatres across the country for three years, and earning rave reviews and accolades since its BroadwayWorld Award-nominated NYC debut. Finding the gifts of a traumatic experience, Amy calls the past ten years a “beautiful detour.” Amy’s “beautiful detour” inspired her to create the #LoveMyDetour movement, a social media campaign inspiring people to flourish because of, rather than in spite of challenges.
Now, Gutless & Grateful will be taking a “beautiful detour” to Russell Sage College. In this inspirational, empowering performance, survivor Amy Oestreicher weaves her near death experience and unique personal story with an eclectic set of songs, highlighting the disappointments, struggles, triumphs, and humor in her life on a musical journey of hope, determination, and perseverance. A celebration of life through creativity, passion, and gratitude, “Gutless” can touch everyone from trauma survivors to anyone needing inspirational words of courage, humor, and healing. Amy will perform her autobiographical one-woman musical, talk about the healing process of telling her story, and provide hope, help, resources, and insights.
“Nobody expects a detour to happen in life. Its what happens when we think we have things planned and all figured out, and then we’re thrown a curveball. For a long time, my detour felt like a dead-end. After 27 surgeries and six years unable to eat or drink, I didn’t know where my life was going, anymore. As my stitches healed, one-by-one, my thoughts seemed to unravel day-by-day. My detour took me to a very scary place, into a new body and a new mind, troubled by PTSD. Not only had I woken up in a new body, I now had a mind troubled with anxious thoughts, associations and memories. The detour I traveled was a very rough path. Although it became worth it, for a while I didn’t want to keep going. I lamented why my path had gone this way, and, plagued with anxiety and hopelessness, I wanted to give up.”
Amy strived to give others hope. “When you don’t know where you’re going, its stressful and anxiety-provoking. College, especially, can be a breeding ground for stress – a turning point in our lives where we’re independent, perhaps for the first time. Doors become open to us that we never even knew existed. We realize we have the power to make choices, which can be equal parts empowering and frightening. When I was going through my traumas, the biggest thing I needed to know was that I wasn’t alone. I wanted to reach out to a friend, a mentor, or a community of people, just to listen, to show understanding and compassion.”
“Gutless & Grateful, is the honest one-woman musical version of my story, showing the great and not so great aspects of a “detour” in life. How I traveled my “detour” was by trial and error – and it still is. But what I realized is that when I finally spoke up, asked for help when I needed it, and shared my story, I was finally able to heal and move on.”
Sharing means everything to Amy. “I share to give courage and a sense of belonging to people who are struggling with all kinds of mental health or physical challenges, but also to help build a campus that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place. If we all share our “detours”, we see that our detours are not detours at all. Every road leads somewhere – we just need to hang in long enough to catch the flowers along the way. The more we share our detours, the more we realize we’re not alone.”
Amy is most excited about opening the channel of communication on campus as the key to helping others with mental health obstacles. “I’m sharing the story of my life, and then talking to campuses about what students can do to create their own resiliency toolbox – a must-have in order to deal with stress and navigate life’s detours. In the final component of my program, I introduce students to a panel of counselors, staff, and wellness resources on campus, opening the channel of communication between the student body and staff. If we can bridge that gap, we can help more students get the help they deserve. The more students we can help, the more compassionate campus we can create.”
Gutless & Grateful will be presented at April 12th at 7pm by the Office of Student Life, Russell Sage College, 65 1st St, Troy, NY 12180. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. You can learn more about Amy’s story amyoes.com.
The event is free and open to the public.
Learn more about the program here.