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Madison H

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She was losing the balance there between being perfect or trying to be perfect and trying to be happy. I knew she was putting a lot of pressure on herself. I wish every day that I could have done something. RIP - "#EveryDamnDay" When Madison began her freshmen year at the University of Pennsylvania. Her family and friends assumed she would excel there. Just as she had everywhere...in the classroom, on the soccer field, on the track. Before she got to Penn, what did she struggle with? Not too much. Madison was just like the happiest person that I knew. Before she went to college...she was always smiling, talking, laughing, dancing, singing. She was all over the place, but in such a good way. She was just so happy. Madison won two consecutive New Jersey State Soccer Titles at Highlands. She started running track and by senior year, won the state championship in that also. Winning the 800 meters with a time of two minutes and eight seconds. Madison accepted a scholarship to play soccer, her favorite sport, at Lehigh. She told me that she had verbally committed to Lehigh for soccer... and I was so happy for her because that was the sport she loved. Then the Ivy League came calling, but for track. Why do think Madison chose to run track in college? I think because it helped her get in the Ivy League. She was enamoured with the Ivy League. I think it was the prestige. Once the Ivy League was brought into her head, that was it for her. I think once she was shown that she could get that and it was in her reach...she wanted it. In a way, an Ivy League School and those hallowed halls, offered something few other places could... the chance for the perfect college experience. When you're striving so much for perfection, it can manifest into a sickness when that's the case. Madison chose Penn, but when she arrived on campus, instead of being the school of her dreams... It became the backdrop for her struggles. Running, school, friendship...nothing came as easily as it once had. In college, everything is just turned up a notch. Like in high school when you're trying to balance athletics, social and school... it's very possible, it's difficult, but it's possible. She wasn't feeling like she was achieving at her perfectionist level that she had come accustomed to. And she couldn't make her real world look as perfect as the images that she posted online. There are holes that you don't see. There's the hardships, the times when she was unsure or missed home and that's what people aren't seeing. Madison felt off balance. She thought running took up too much time and considered quitting. It was more like a time commitment and it was taking away from other aspects of her life that could have focused on more. Like a social life and track is really putting a burden on that. Based on the pictures that Madison was seeing online, her friends seemingly found that balance and seemed to be enjoying college. Of course, when her friends looked at her pictures, they thought the same. Often she was trying to capture the beauty and it usually was a beautiful situation that she wanted to hold onto and remember. She could enjoy those small moments but then she took the bad ones really really hard. When Madison went home for the holidays, she didn't want to admit she was unhappy. But she didn't have to say anything, her family could tell. When Madison came home, I didn't feel like she was any happier. One thing that she said and to this day still sticks out in mind was that "this isn't normal." "It is not normal to feel this way." We were all hanging out in the living room and my brother said to her "you don't laugh anymore." "You never laugh." And she said, "I know." There was nothing in her face. Like there was no...Madison wasn't there. She didn't smile. Which maybe wouldn't be a weird thing, but for Madison...it was. Like to see her in a room for 10-15 minutes and her not smile once, that was weird. When I looked at her...she was white and looked depressed. I told her that she looked depressed. She was quite and told me that all she wanted to do was go to sleep. How much for you do you think it was setting and the space of college and how much of it was mental health? Honestly, I think it was more of a mental health issue. Is there any history of depression in your family or in your wife's family? Yes there is. Over winter break, shifts in her personality now unmistakeable, Madison began seeing a therapist. She did admit that she had suicidal thoughts. And I was in her last session with her therapist... and she made Madison state that if she had any suicidal thoughts, she would not act them out. I was always concerned with that answer...with the way that she responded to that. What about the way that she answered concerned you? That it wasn't sincere enough and she kind of looked away from us. Back at Penn, Madison communicated to her friends that she planned to make the most of her semester. And she did have a plan. That plan was just drastically different than the one she was sharing with friends and family. What do you remember about the day of January 17th? I talked to her actually right around noon and she told me she was buying books in the book store. On the night of January 17, 2014, just after dusk, Madison posted this photo on Instagram. Then she walked to this parking garage. She climbed the nine flights of stairs to the top. I think that Madison had this idea that she didn't want to be a burden to anyone. She didn't want to have to put her problems on anybody. She didn't want to ask for help if she didn't have to. At the bookstore, Madison had bought gifts for her family. On top of the garage, she would leave those items. Including a picture of herself as a kid, holding a tennis racquet. And after placing those items where authorities would find them, she jumped from the side of the building. We got a call from the chaplain later that evening. Part of us didn't believe it happened. I had literally talked to her seven hours earlier. Like how...how did that not come up in conversation? I could not process it. It did not hit for me at least 20 minutes. I didn't understand at all. I called my mom and she just said it. Madison is dead. That's what she said. Madison's friends and family say that she lived in the moment and that she rarely talked about the future. And maybe, they say now, that she couldn't project into that future. She just couldn't see past the immediate pain of her present. She had put Penn on a pedestal. And that it was going to be this fantastic and fun college experience. And when it didn't turn into that, she wanted to tried to fix it herself. Madison had trouble asking for help. Her friends say that she wanted things to be perfect. And even when they weren't, at least online she could make it seem as if they were. Sometimes people just only post the good part and maybe those pictures really are happy moments for them. But what's missing...is the in between. Like there are holes that you don't see. I do definitely think she lived in the moment. When she was happy, she was so happy. She enjoyed the moment as much as possible. She had nineteen amazing years. And for most of them, except for maybe three or four months, they were so happy. And that's what...you know that's what I'll remember. That's what I want people to remember.

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Duration: 9 minutes and 58 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 18
Posted by: fiffan852 on Jul 22, 2015

Madison H

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