Sharing her love of art has become a big part of Lauren Sims’ life, as she’s navigated the wave of emotions associated with severe and chronic mental health conditions. After a hospital stay in 2019, art began to form a key component of Lauren’s identity, culminating in the creation of her Facebook page, Lauren Sims Art. Since that time, Lauren has also gone on to launch a picture book, featuring photography and poems about her friend’s four cats.
“While I was in hospital, I admired people of all different skill levels giving creativity a go. I started my Facebook page to inspire others to try art by showing both my successes and failures. My first picture book, ‘Smooch Kitten’, is the first in a series of six books to help children learn empathy for animals, while understanding the ins and outs of their behaviour.”
Lauren has been involved in the Recovered Futures Art Exhibition for three years now, exploring the role of pets in recovery through her paintings.
“Each year I have been able to sell an artwork through the Recovered Futures Art Exhibition, which I am very grateful for. In 2022, I sold my piece, ‘A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream’, which is a painting of a companion dog, Summer, who came to support us during a difficult time. We can never underestimate the understanding nature of our pets.”
“I have enjoyed making and gifting art for many years – the first Mother’s Day gift I ever gave was a drawing of an owl back in kindy. Being involved in the Recovered Futures Art Exhibition has been a wonderful opportunity for me to reach a greater audience with both my artwork and my story.”
|"Freddie the American Staffy" by Lauren Sims will be on display at the 2023 Recovered Futures Art Exhibition.|
In addition to being a carer for others with mental illness, Lauren has lived experience of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
“In late 2014, I finished my Honours degree in psychology, and through varying problems including low weight, seeing an unskilled psychologist and lack of sleep, I experienced psychosis. I was floridly psychotic for over a month, believing things that the hospital staff and my family knew were obviously untrue. However, unlike many people with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, I have never heard voices.”
Lauren believes being patient with yourself is a key element of recovery – as is holding onto hope for brighter days ahead.
“Know that you are worthy of living, and that with the right medication and treatments you will get better. It takes time, but there is always hope – especially since we are in an age of great progress in developing better medications with less side-effects. It’s also important to acknowledge that, due to your health, you will have some limitations you need to work around – and that’s okay.”