#LYPfamily meet: Kaity

Hey, I'm Kaity.
Depression and anxiety are too often overlooked. Sure they are problems that many people deal with, but that shouldn't mean they are pushed to the side as they so often are. 
My story began when I was about 5 years old. My parents divorced and my dad took everything: my two brothers and me, the house, and hope for my mother. Of course I was too young to realize what this meant for me and my brothers, but I would learn quick. My dad didn't give me the nourishment that my mom gave me, which is more important than some may think. I rolled with the punches and kept being a kid as long as I could. Until I was 12 years old, when we were told that my mom had a non cancerous brain tumor the size of a softball. Although I only lived with her every other weekend, this had a huge effect on me. Would she survive the surgery? Would she remember me when she woke up? 
I remember the day she realized something was wrong. She was walking me, my brothers, and my two sisters (one a newborn) to the gas station on a sunny summer day. She kept tripping over her foot, but she laughed it off. 
Later that year was her surgery. My dad didn't allow us to go to the hospital to be there for her, so the day before we went to her house so she could write her will and say goodbyes, just in case. That night I spoke to my mother on the phone for what I thought might be the last time. 
A blessing. She made it! What a relief, I thought. Little did I know that was just the beginning. 
The damage caused by the removal of the tumor cause paralysis on my moms left side. She looked so different. She seemed different. She slept a lot, even though she had my 6 year old and 2 year old sister full time. Every other weekend when I was there, I had to step up. I took care of the cleaning, watched over my sisters and did all I could to help my mom while I tried to let my siblings live as children instead of adults. It was hard, yes. But I knew that no one else would be able to take on such responsibility. 
I lived full time with my dad and stepmom who I frequently butted heads with. I tried to keep my cool and be a young girly girl as they wanted, but I was tired from the stress. After my first heartbreak, I thought surely that was the end of my world. What did I have left? I started cutting myself when I was 13. It's hard to talk about, and it isn't something I am proud of, but it isn't something I'm ashamed of. Boys broke my heart, I struggled with an eating disorder, and the depression was crippling. As the pressure from my stepmom to be the best in school, the best in choir, and the best in dance increased, my depression increased. I felt like all I could be was a babysitter and a failure. I felt alone, I didn't have many friends because I was hard to understand. I was a teenaged adult wanting to live the teenaged life that had been taken away from me. I had never been shown my worth. 
As time went on, I found strength. My mom was better, although she will never have strength in her left side. I had learned a lot, but most importantly my mom taught me the most valuable lesson: if you can't laugh about something, you can't move on from it. 
This is something I live everyday. I have been through the depression, I have been through the anxiety, I have been pushed to be perfect and I have been pushed to pretend like I'm okay. I still struggle with it every single day, but there is hope. Happiness is out there and I know that everyone can find it. On my worst days, I encourage others and it's the only thing that can get me through sometimes. But I have that, and I use it as a tool. Happiness isn't always a choice, but sometimes it is, and sometimes people just need a little help or a shoulder to steady his or herself with. 
Together we CAN fight against depression and anxiety and negative self images. But it must be TOGETHER. When you see someone struggling, ask yourself how easy it would be to help them along even just with a kind word. Spread love. Spread hope. 
I couldn't be happier to find a company fighting for happiness like The LYP Project. Love your pieces, love your scars, love yourself. Every piece of you is what makes you you, and all those pieces make you stronger; each piece is one step closer to the full puzzle. 
All my love, 
Kaity Butterfield

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