PRINCETON — Austin Burrows of Princeton considers himself a 20-year-old looking to change lives.
He is the creator of the thriving Facebook page, “Positive Life.” During the last month of its existence is has morphed into a place where individuals go to find hope, happiness, love or a place to fit in.
“It’s pretty much open to any kind of problem you might have,” Burrows explained. “It’s open to anyone who wants to put themselves out there to help relate to someone else or motivate them or let them know they’re not alone, and everything is going to be alright.”
What inspired Burrows to take on such an intense project? He said it all started with headaches.
Like clockwork, right after his 20th birthday, Burrows became so ill with headaches, it was questionable whether or not he was suffering from a brain tumor.
“I got so freaked out that I kept going back to the doctor, and I pretty much turned into an anxiety ball and hypochondriac. I was always on the Internet seeing if something was really wrong with me,” he explained. “Then I found out I just had really bad anxiety.”
The weeks of suffering took hold of him, and he slipped into what he calls “a dark place.”
While he admits he had a great support system at home, he still felt alone. The sense, however, triggered a feeling for others in the world who may be going though the same issue, but had no one to talk to or a way to find relief within themselves.
That sparked the idea to create a place where people could break free from their own “dark places” and find comfort. In one night, he put together “Positive Life” and added a few friends with the hopes it might help just one person in need.
“The next morning I woke up with 300 likes on the page,” he said. “I never thought it would take off as fast as it did.”
The reaction was shocking, but sublime.
On the page, people from all over shared their own stories about depression, bullying, death and other issues they were grappling with. Each person had a mission — to come forth with their feelings and connect with others experiencing the same problem.
After one month, Burrows has around 1,400 likes on Facebook and around 10,000 reads on a blog, which he has also started to give people a place to share their in-depth stories.
He also created a video, where he talks about what his mission and urge to reach out.
“I want to attract people who don’t have hope or don’t have the people or right family to go to. I want them to feel important, like they matter and are loved,” he explained.
In his video he speaks from the heart: “It’s hard to stay positive in a world that you know is drowning you in negativity. I know I felt that way, and I know some of you feel that way. You may feel you’re in a rut and you may feel like there’s no way you’re going to get pulled out of this, but ‘Positive Life’ is that life for you. We’re always welcoming you, and we’re always going to be here and always going to accept you … My main goal is to inspire you guys to have a voice and be heard and do things people never thought possible because they never had that support system or had that big group of friends or had anybody that told them they are special and they matter …”
Looking ahead, Burrows is hoping to expand his project further in order to reach as many individuals as possible. He aspires to be a motivational speaker in schools, to help share positive attitude and hope for young adults.
“The main thing I want people to know is this is not about me; this is about them,” he said. “I want to show that you can have a good idea that’s good for other people, and it can take off.”
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