By Maddie Young

“Your time as a caterpillar has expired. Your wings are ready.” -unknown

{transform :// to change in condition, nature, or character; convert ; to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose}

Depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and symptoms of borderline personality swallowed the young girl's soul. There were no signs of life, just a walking vegetable. Her personal hygiene and appearance became less of a priority. Sweatpants and oversized t-shirts were her daily attire and makeup was a rare occurrence. Her fiery red hair knotted on top of her head.

The young girl's authentic self was washed away by her monster filled brain. Isolated in an overpowering world. She had stopped singing in the car. Music had quit lifting her spirits. Her authentic self was stripped away.

Growing up things were a little different for the Disney princess wannabe. After barely starting elementary school the young girl’s parents divorced. She doesn’t remember much of her relationship with her father but one night would be permanently embedded into her mind. Knowing it wasn’t his weekend to have the young girl and her sister, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

The man stormed into the girls’ home and chose to take them with him. This would begin the young girl’s issues with male figures. For most of her childhood her family consisted of three; her momma, her sister and herself. Once middle school rolled around another large change took place. Two families would shortly merge into one. The family of three was now a family of seven. S

ophomore year of high school brings one of the biggest events of the young girl’s life. April 27. A day a tornado would sweep away pieces of her life and destroy her home. She spent most of her junior year taking on the motherly role. Caring for her siblings, preparing meals and taking on household chores. In a way, she was a mother and a high school student. There was a struggle to carry both roles but she felt there was no other choice.

After graduating the young girl attended technical school full time, worked three jobs, was in a serious relationship and somehow still managed to have a social life. Pressure and perfectionism built up only to be fueling her monster without realizing it.

It wasn't until her first semester away at school that she truly fell to rock bottom. She began hiding in her schoolwork. The only thing she felt she had complete control over in her crumbling world. Picking skin around her fingers until they bled and were sore for days. Isolation took over and the eating disorder behaviors increased. All what her mentally ill monster brain wanted.

The young girl tried reaching out but the people around her said it was “just a phase.” “Every college student goes through it their first semester away from home.” That it was “normal” for people to feel this low because it takes time to adjust. She never adjusted. After pleading and pleading the young girl finally found the beginning of her relief on Thanksgiving Day. She was placed in treatment. The next coming months would radically change her life.

After bouncing from the hospital to an outpatient facility the young girl packed her things and moved a couple hours away from her family where she would live in a residential facility. Emotions continued to swirl but for the first time she had hope. Throughout her journey she met incredible people. Psychiatrists, counselors, other people going through similar journeys. Now she's not alone. The young girl learned she was never alone. There didn't need to be any shame in her story.

Looking at the young girl they all could see it. The world around her could capture the unapologetically authentic soul she was releasing. A heart so large that it couldn’t be tamed. That smile could brighten any given room. An attitude balanced of wild independence and soft reserve. She was showering each individual she encountered with her light and grace. The eagerness to enlighten others with the wealth of random knowledge spewed out of her. The young girl had that whole purpose driven, warrior princess, save the world type vibe. Her eyes reflected the hearts she touched and lives she impacted. There was something magical about how she went about her days, effortlessly and poised.

The young girl could finally see how the world truly viewed her. She had broken out of that old cocoon. Taking ownership of her story was the most powerful thing she could've done. Each day isn't going to be perfect and she still faces challenges of her mental illnesses but now she knows it's ok to reach out. There's nothing wrong with embracing her differences. It was time to fly. 

 Maddie Young

Maddie Young