Lynny Mast's life has been nothing short of colourful.
You may know her face from singing around the city, selling her bright artworks and jewellery, organising the White Wreath Day to remember those lost to suicide or from running The Loft.
She's also an advocate, speaker and writer about mental health and bipolar disorder and a cancer survivor.
In her 47 years, her many achievements have come from triumphing through a lot of pain.
"I was pregnant with my baby boy and I became really depressed," she said.
"I was crying all the time, clutching my handkerchief looking out the window.
"I just remember feeling so sad in what should've been a happy time."
In 1999 Lynny felt the first clutches of depression while pregnant with her son.
As time moved on, she was put on medication and admitted to hospital where doctors were able to help her get back on track.
But a few years down the track the depression was still looming.
"I was having days were I was happy, even elated and others where I was so depressed I didn't want to be in the world anymore," she said.
"My family and friends would come around and watch over me 24 hours, seven days a week and I was able to get back into a state of wanting to start to live more quickly.
"Being suicidal is hard to describe to somebody who hasn't been there. It's almost like somebody rips out your soul and you're not there anymore, you don't feel you're worthy of anything."
Able to converse about her mental health easily, Lynny went through a difficult time to get where she is today.
Her state of highs and lows continued until she was able to find a solution.
"After quite a few years of treatment I was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I felt relieved," she said.
"Before, I didn't understand what was wrong with me but once I found out I could deal with it.
"When I got the diagnosis, I found a network of people to call upon. I could do some research and understand what was wrong with me and how to deal with it."
Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder causing periods of depression and elevated moods.
Lynny was diagnosed when Aspire was still operating in Warrnambool and she credits the organisation with getting her mental health in order.
"The things Aspire did helped save my life along with my husband, friends and family," she said.
"I could access education about bipolar and I had a support worker visiting me weekly just to have a chat.
"This helped me find the tools to help me get better and stay better.
"I found my toolbox."
Lynny still refers to her toolbox today and utilises it when she needs.
When she's navigating through a challenging period, she can get her tools out and put them in place. These include having no extra pressures, getting her support systems in place, organising doctor and support worker appointments and not drinking too much alcohol.
"If the wheels do start to fall off I have my toolbox in place," she said.
"It doesn't necessarily stop the depression but it makes it easier."
In February 2015, Lynny was faced with another hurdle.
After booking a doctors appointment for an entirely different issue, Lynny asked her general practitioner to check on a small, sultana-like mole on her ankle that was itchy and scaly.
"I was very lucky," she said.
"My malignant melanoma hadn't reached the stage for chemotherapy but it was on the border.
"Within four days of the appointment I had seen a surgeon and was admitted to hospital.
"I went in for day surgery and I didn't come out for another seven days.
"The cancer was bigger and they took out a lot more than they originally thought they would need too."
Lynny also had a number of lymph nodes removed as a result of the melanoma which has resulted in lymphedema in her right leg meaning her leg regularly swells and any wounds can be dangerous.
As a result Lynny gets regular scans, checks and ultrasounds on all her moles and urges any one she sees to be sun-smart and check their moles.
Four years ago Lynny and her husband Jed ventured into unknown territory by purchasing and managing The Loft, a live music venue in Warrnambool.
Both passionate supporters of local, original music Lynny and Jed did not want to see the popular music venue close.
"Having never poured a beer before or worked with booking agents, we took it on and in relatively quick time we had to learn it all," she said.
"It was the best and worst time of my life.
"We met so many amazing people and musicians from all walks of life and we got to see young, local musicians growing their creative talents and gave them the space for them to do so.
"The downside was that I didn't have time to look after myself, I just kept pushing through.
"In the end, The Loft wasn't paying for itself. We drew on our own savings, we gave it everything we had and we never made a cent from it. I didn't get paid for the three years and we did the cleaning, restocking, booking, marketing, everything.
"Even today I still have a few tears, The Loft was one of the toughest losses of my life because I felt responsible."
Lynny and Jed closed The Loft in June last year.
Since then Lynny has been focusing on her mental health and pouring her energy into her creative pursuits, particularly her colourful resin jewellery pieces and bright art works, through which she translates her mental state.
"I'm what I call normal but what is normal really?" she laughed.
"I like colours, it makes people smile.
"I've always enjoyed art and I've always found it a good place to go.
"Music has been very important just to give me an outlet and to find creative ways of keeping myself healthy.
"Being artistic, I try to create a picture of what I'm feeling for people to imagine. You can't feel what it is like to have depression but if I can create a picture in people's mind's where they can see what it looks like they can understand more."
Through jumping over many life hurdles, Lynny is incredibly in touch with herself and her needs.
She shines with warmth when you meet her and insists that she's just simply, herself.
"All these things in my life are just a facets, not labels," she said.
When I had cancer, I wasn't cancer. When you have a broken leg, you're not a broken leg. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was still Lyn.Lynny Mast
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