Damian Oleksiuk started Undam The River, where he works at the intersection of design and conflict.
After years of addiction and being diagnosed with a mood disorder, Damian discovered meditation, rediscovered his love for art, and began to make pen and ink illustrations and custom woodwork with mental health in mind. (His work is incredible, by the way!)
At age 30, he met his first art client in an outpatient mental health program, and he believes that no matter how down you are, you can make something out of it. He also studies conflict facilitation, communication, and leadership with the Deep Democracy Institute.
Knowing that his issues may never go away, he now uses them to influence his work by turning conflict into art. Damian plans to someday design a mental health facility where people in extreme states can normalize and use their struggles to change their lives for the better.
In this episode, Damian and I share stories from our eight-year friendship. He talks openly and honestly about his experiences with addiction, mental illness, and more, including how he had his first drink at the age of 12, checked himself into a mental hospital at the age of 26, and how he now uses art as a powerful outlet.
This episode is the epitome of "real talk" and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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