Madison Little is a 20-year-old influencer, model, and life coach with a message the world needs to hear. She’s using social media to reach anyone dealing with deep inner pain and share her story of hope. Her videos help thousands face their deepest trauma and overcome the root of that pain.
The long-lasting effects of childhood trauma
At four years old, Little stood in the door of her bedroom door watched as her father killed her mother. “My world was not just turned upside down; it was completely destroyed,” she remembers. “My dad looked up at me as he was calling the police. In the recording, you can hear him telling me to go back to bed.”
The following years were not easy for Little. She and her sister moved in with her aunt and uncle. Her relatives tried, but they were a young couple and had no idea how to help a small child dealing with trauma.
Little lashed out in anger and fits of rage. “I ran away, slammed doors, and hurt people,” she recalls. “I was not a pleasant kid to have around.”
At 13, Little moved in with her grandmother. Even then, Little had ideas of what she would like to become through social media, but her grandmother did not approve of the hours spent on her phone. “Maybe because I looked so much like my mother, my grandmother wanted to mold me into her lost daughter,” she says. “Our fights escalated, and I left home at 16.”
The time apart was good for both of them, and a few months later, they reconciled. “Gradually, my grandmother realized the hours I spent on social media were a part of my healing,” remarks Little.
An influencer helping others deal with childhood trauma
Little clings to the words of Mary Anne Radmacher, “Courage doesn’t always roar.” During high school, she started a social media channel to show that regardless of what people go through, they will come out on the other side stronger and wiser if they hold on to courage.
“Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow,'” comments Little. “That was the kind of courage that carried me through those dark years. Every night, I went to bed willing to try again the next day and woke up sticking to that decision.”
Little battled depression and compulsive lying. She was hospitalized for attempted suicide three times. About her struggles, she says, “I am familiar with grief, rage, emptiness, and almost any emotion on the spectrum of pain or despair. But that courage that Mary Anne spoke of won out. Through all of this, I became familiar with the character of hope — what it looks like at its most fragile, and what it looks like in full bloom.”
Little has come to realize that many people dealing with mental health issues struggle to make the small daily decisions that will benefit them. When dealing with trauma, even things such as getting out of bed, making breakfast, and going to school can be insurmountable challenges.
Little always dreamed of entering the field of Psychology. “Psychiatrists helped me a lot when I was younger, and I still see a psychiatrist to this day,” she says. “I just couldn’t do seven years of schooling to get there, so I help nearly a million people on social media instead. I ask them the same questions I ask myself, ‘How are you doing today? Are you drinking enough water? Did you eat breakfast, have some coffee, get outside, do something you love?'”
Sharing a message of hope
Little believes hope is about choices. Whether people feel crushing despair or numbness, as long as they are breathing, they have hope. “Each breath is a vote for hope and a vote for quiet courage,” she reminds her followers. “If you want to feel hope, then gradually make small decisions that lead to bigger ones.”
Little says small decisions such as, “Today I choose to make my bed,” can be life-changing because they build momentum. For example, “Today, I am going to go outside” turns into, “Going outside was nice, tomorrow I will go outside and go for a walk.”
A new beginning
At 18 years old, with 100,000 TikTok followers, Little flew to California. “I’m not sure how to be an inspiration to this world,” she says, “but if there is anywhere to learn, it’s LA.”
Currently, she is taking classes in entertainment business at LA Film School in hopes of reaching more people with her message of hope. “Imagine how much less hurt there would be if we saw people’s issues as cries for help,” she challenges. “Buried beneath behavior are emotions, and driving those emotions are needs and goals. If we address people’s needs and help them to choose better goals, then we might actually get somewhere.”
While it’s impossible to make everyone happy, Little says anyone can contribute to a person’s environment in a way that helps them choose happiness. “All it takes is a little awareness, a better attitude, and some action — an awareness that people are fighting battles we know nothing about, an attitude accepting hurtful actions as cries for help, and small acts of kindness and compassion.”
Little’s battles weren’t won overnight, and there are still challenges to overcome. She credits many small choices for her current success and happiness. “I chose to see a psychologist, I chose to join a co-dependency anonymous group, and I chose to take part in skiing, tennis, swimming, running, rugby, basketball, and volleyball. Hundreds of small choices hold up the overarching themes of hope, courage, and happiness. The more supports you put in place, the more solid your foundation becomes. A great foundation enables you to build great things.”
Today, Little is pursuing her purpose and supporting herself in the process. She is coaching people to overcome hurdles and find similar peace. “I didn’t allow the trauma to stop me,” comments Little. “In the end, the quiet voice saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow,’ won out. I tried and fell short many times, but every time I learned and kept moving forward.”