My name is Amy Oestreicher – I am a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, health advocate, member of RAINN Speaker Bureau, TEDx Speaker, actress, and playwright. I’m also a survivor and “thriver” of sexual abuse, 27 surgeries, coma, organ failure, six years being unable to eat or drink, and the PTSD that comes from ten years of trauma – or what I like to call my “beautiful detour.”
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- View TEDx Talk here.
From the time I could remember, I have always possessed an intense passion for the world of words and music. I couldn’t believe I had gotten into the musical theatre program at University of Michigan! All my life, I had dreamed of pursuing a career in theatre, on Broadway, in every musical possible – and this was my golden ticket! I had worked so hard all of my life for this and felt that at 18, everything had come together – I would train for Broadway, win my Tony, and conquer the world. I didn’t realize that two weeks after I was waving my Michigan envelope around, dancing like a lunatic…that my world would drastically change forever.
At 18, and a week before my senior prom, I found myself in intense pain – very suddenly and randomly. I was rushed to the ER, and to summarize very briefly, my stomach exploded, I was in a coma for six months, and I was unable to eat or drink a drop of water for over three years. After 27 surgeries, I was miraculously reconnected with whatever I had left. However, to persevere through those tumultuous years took great inner and outer strength. I relied on my creativity to get through.
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- Huffington Post Articles
- Great Comebacks Award Recipient
- “Love My Detour” Campaign and Detour Workshops
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My therapy was purely based in the world of theatre, art, writing, dance, music, and whatever else I felt was an area that I could express myself appropriately. The arts were a way for me to express whatever felt too painful and overwhelming to put into words. They also helped me process what I was feeling. But most importantly, they served to be the greatest reward acting as a medium where I could still engage with my community, reach out to others, and make a difference in this world while utilizing my passion. Arts were my way of connecting with the world, sharing my story, and spreading my message of hope, strength, and finding beauty in whatever life brings you.
Everything became possible once I was willing to wander from my teenaged fantasies and take this new life on proudly. I can’t be 18 again but lucky for me I can be the best 28 I can. This is not the life that I planned for myself – but does anyone’s life ever work out exactly how they plan it?
So many gifts came out of this. I discovered painting in hospitals and flourished as a mixed media artist with solo art shows, merchandise and creativity workshops. I wrote a one-woman musical about my life, Gutless & Grateful, which I’ve performed in theatres across the country for three years and now take it to college campuses, conferences and support groups. And I finally started college…at 25 years old.
I was not able to fully appreciate the beauty of my detours until I was able to share them. As a performer, all I’ve wanted to do was give back to the world. But now I have an even greater gift to give: a story to tell.
Contact Amy today and book her as a speaker.