Behind the popularity, the beauty, and bubbly personality, Alison Henry harbored self-hatred and misery that led to broodings about suicide.
Today, the 23-year-old YouTube make-up artist with a following of 880,542 has found inner joy.
“I cannot even tell you how unhappy I was, and the bad thing was I couldn’t even tell you why,” Alison said in a recent video.
Born in Atlanta, Alison was raised in a Christian family, lived in a beautiful house, and had the right pieces in place to become successful. But during high school, her torments began as insecurities rose in her heart. She locked herself in her bedroom for hours and spilled expletive-laden bitterness into a personal journal.
“In high school people would look at me and think I was normal, I was happy, there is nothing wrong with my life,” she said. “I put a smile on every single day. There was nothing wrong that people could look at me and tell that I was hurting. But I was hurting SO bad. I was messed up. I hated myself.”
She questioned her existence, felt like her life lacked direction and wondered if anybody cared.
“I would really wish I was dead. I did really mean that. It was my little secret.”
Alarmed by their daughter’s downturn, her parents sent her to a professional counselor who prescribed anti-depressants. The medicine didn’t work, she said. “I’m unfixable,” she glowered.
Trying to anesthetize the hurt, Alison turned to boyfriends, weekend parties and alcohol and drugs.
“It was a coping mechanism, but it never fixed things,” she said. “When you wake up, you’re as sad as ever.”
During her junior year, her best friend started attending a church youth group. That’s when the tug-of-war began: Alison would beg her friend to go to the parties, and her friend would beg her to go to youth group.
“For months I would say, ‘No, I don’t belong there. I’m not a church girl.’ I thought they were all like people who wore turtle necks and sang kumbaya around their guitar.”
Eventually, Alison caved in. Seeing hundreds of high schoolers lifting hands and singing to something invisible made her feel “weirded out.”
But “I didn’t understand it, and I couldn’t stand the thought of me not understanding something,” she said.
However, she decided to go back. During her third visit to church, God met her.
“I knew in my heart that the pastor was talking about me,” Alison said. Read the rest.