Instead of spending her high school years at dances and hanging out with friends, Heather Lindersmith, a sophomore studying business management, spent her time in a treatment center, 700 miles away from home.
On March 11, 2017, Lindersmith’s mother admitted her into a treatment center in Saint George, Utah due to issues regarding her mental and physical well-being.
“I had no real goals. I had no real friends. I just wasn’t happy and didn’t care about my life anymore,” said Lindersmith.
At the age of 15, she left her school, family and old lifestyle behind her.
For a year and one month, Lindersmith spent her days and nights away from her home in California, in the hot desert of Utah.
“I didn’t think it was going to be as difficult as it was,” Lindersmith said.
Lindersmith focused on improving her mental and physical health, while working towards earning her diploma.
“Every morning, we had art therapy,” Lindersmith said. “That’s where I developed my love for painting. When I painted, I forgot about the world. I felt free.”
On April 20, 2018, Lindersmith graduated from her treatment center with her high school diploma at age 16.
“I felt so accomplished. I just finished high school. I was about to start college in a few months. I was killing it,” Lindersmith said.
In the fall of 2018, Lindersmith attended her first semester at BYU-Idaho.
“Being at BYU-I has helped me so much with re-gaining a testimony of Christ,” Lindersmith said. “The spirit here is always so strong and the people here are always so positive. I love being around people with the same values and beliefs as me.”
Lindersmith plans to graduate in the next few years with her bachelors degree, then attend cosmetology school and open her own business.
“Change doesn’t happen without effort,” Lindersmith said. “It will get better if you want it to get better. You are the most important thing and you need to focus on yourself.”