About Amanda Young
Amanda Young is a Mental Health Advocate, Author and Podcast Host whose personal mission is to help eliminate the stigma of brain illnesses by educating people on what depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress and bipolar actually are. She starts important conversations on her social media platforms and podcast by encouraging others to speak up and seek help. Amanda is a firm believer that her brain health conditions and her unique voice are her superpowers. The ability to feel in extremes gives her empathy not everyone has – allowing her to continue helping others find their voice.
Amanda started her brand while working in the Animal Training field and focused on sharing about her career and love of animals
She wanted to humanize people that work with animals and typically get a bad reputation in the media due to some extremely biased opinions and documentaries. In 2019, she was laid off from her dream job working with killer whales, due to a companywide restructuring – that when she started really struggling with her mental health. Instead of hiding it, she chose to share her journey online and began building a like-minded community. She chose to take this moment of hurt and loss with her chin up and chest out – turning this into an opportunity to pivot from working with marine mammals to elephants and other terrestrial mammals.
Once the global pandemic of 2020 hit and shut down the world, Amanda was furloughed like so many others from her non-essential (to the world, but oh so essential to her identity) job and was forced to be alone, at home, with her overflowing list of mental health issues that were piling up. Later that year, she contracted the ‘vid and while at home with her symptoms, her mental health was getting so bad that the mere thought of returning to work was sending her into daily panic attacks. She was beginning to toy with the realization that maybe she didn’t want to be in the animal field anymore… and that she wanted to pursue other dreams
At the end of 2020, Amanda made one of the hardest decisions to date and walked away from a career she’d spent her entire life working to achieve. She was experiencing unimaginable levels of burnout, compassion fatigue and was barely surviving… it broke her heart, but she knew that she had to prioritize herself and her own mental health if she wanted to be a better human, friend, wife, daughter or sister… let alone run a developing brand she’d created, full-time. Through this process, she was able to find that her identity WASN’T just in being an animal trainer; She had so much to offer the world and it was time she focused on herself to begin sharing that voice.
Sunshine + Rainbows Podcast
During the Spring of 2021, Amanda started a mental health podcast, Sunshine and Rainbows, to begin peeling back the veil of social media and its highlight reel to lift up REAL people who have overcome some incredible things – showing that everyone deserves a little more kindness and grace.
“It‘s ALL Sunshine + Rainbows… until it‘s not. This mental health podcast starts important conversations in hopes to peel back even more layers of what it’s like to live in a society full of highlight reels. Join your host, Amanda Young from ThatMandaGirl, each Monday morning as she creates a welcoming space where listeners are challenged to look at a situation with a different angle, hear from special guests who share incredible stories AND laugh along the way!”
Children’s Book Series
Later in 2021, Amanda started her author journey with a whimsical and colorful children’s book series. Her first book, Jumo the Unicorn, quickly reached Amazon’s #1 Bestseller list and continues to touch the hearts of little readers. This story is about a little rhino going through an identity crisis and a pink haired zookeeper who spreads messages of love, friendship and kindness in order to help teach kids some pretty valuable lessons.
Amanda has used this endeavor to continue spreading her messages of inclusivity, empathy and bravery by writing a second book in the series, Manda’s Magical Zoo. This story shares with readers the importance of speaking up for those in need, even when no one is watching. While these books are filled with whimsy and color, each message holds sentimental value to Amanda because of her connection to each animal that inspired the stories.
Mental Health Advocacy
Once the Fall of 2021 came around, Amanda’s mental health journey took a massive shift. While her life on the outside seemed to be aligning into something anyone should be proud of, she found herself in one of the deepest spirals of depression she’d experienced to date. She searched for answers from her primary care physician, but with the global pandemic and working from home, her Dr. was convinced that she was just depressed and anxious like everyone else in the world.
Amanda refused to stop advocating for herself, so she found a psychiatrist that really listening to her symptoms. Even though she was on a max dose of antidepressants, she felt out of control of the storm spiraling around her. Finally, she was given answers: 5 mental health illnesses and a whole new cocktail of medications that completely turned her life around. After the major diagnosis of Bipolar 2, Amanda’s entire life became clear, aligned and finally under control.
Although she was scared of the stigma at first, she’s now made it her mission to continue advocating for all mental illnesses. Amanda refuses to let the world and media’s opinion of what a Bipolar person looks, acts and functions like bring her down. By partnering with multiple organizations, she’s continuing to spread her mission of inspiring meaningful conversations surrounding mental health, breaking societal norms and being an advocate for inclusivity.
Each day, Amanda shows up for her community she’s built online and in person to inspire everyone that their setbacks could in fact become setUPs for something even better. It has been FAR from the “picture perfect” life she thought she had planned… but Amanda has come to own that the worst moments in her life launched her into a new and honorable dream.
“I never want someone to feel alone and ashamed of their mental health like I did. By speaking up and advocating for mental illness awareness, I’m hoping to change the world… one incredibly unique mind at a time. My bipolar brain isn’t my downfall, it’s actually my superpower.”Amand Young