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Suicide survivor
Madison Motley

Sometimes, one moment can change everything. For the Motley family, that happened on March 2, 2017, when Bill and Crystal’s oldest daughter, Madison, tried to end her life.

“Looking back on it, there were so many signs we just didn’t see,” Crystal said. “We never realized it until it was almost too late.”

Shortly before her suicide attempt, Madison left a verbally abusive relationship, though the abuse wasn’t over. “They had been broken up for about a month, but he was still calling her and saying the most hurtful things,” Crystal said. “It just kept continuing.”

Madison increasingly isolated herself from friends and family, and a nightmare left her thinking that life would be better for others if she weren’t around. It was then Madison made the decision to end her life in her bedroom early one morning. Fortunately, her father found her first.

“Bill gets up early every morning to go to work, and before he leaves, he checks on everyone to make sure everyone is doing alright because I’m not up yet,” Crystal said. “He found her with a belt around her neck, thankfully, before it was too tight.”

Crystal and Bill immediately contacted their pastor, whose wife is a counselor, then took Madison to her pediatrician. It was recommended the family visit Children’s of Alabama. Madison and her parents talked with different doctors and psychiatrists, and after an overnight stay, Madison was admitted for inpatient counseling and therapy.

“We had to leave her there and there were only certain visiting hours that we could see her, and that’s hard, especially after what we had just gone through,” Crystal said. “But the lady who checked her in was very caring and assured us that Madison would be OK, and that they were going to take care of her and get her the help she needed. That was very comforting to us.”

For five days, Madison spent time at Children’s, talking individually with therapists and psychiatrists, and in group settings with others. “She had people there at Children’s that she felt were easy to talk to and helped her feel comfortable,” Crystal said. “They helped her learn ways to handle things better and how to see when she needs to reach out to someone when she needs some help. They also talked with us before she was discharged about ways we could help her.”

Back at home, Madison is preparing to enter her senior year of high school, where she will be a cheerleader and partake as a member on her school’s softball team—a sport she’s loved and played since she was 5 years old. She sees a psychiatrist a few times a month, and she’s made great progress in coping with her emotions and talking when needed.

“She’s back to enjoying being around others and having companionship,” Crystal said. “And she’s talking more again, letting us know when she needs a little extra support.”

In the midst of a hard situation, it’s hard to believe that everything happens for a reason. But Madison knows everything she went through is for a purpose. “I live by Psalm 34:17,” Madison said. “I want people to know they can overcome and they do have help. If I can just help just one person with my story, it’s all worth it.”
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