Each year the world goes through a cycle of regeneration, shedding its frosty past and shrugging on fresh blossoms. It appears effortless.

I suppose that's how my own transformation seemed from outside, but internally, the turmoil was as fierce as a pupa's metamorphosis.

As an anxious teen, writing sci-fi stories and fretting about the planet, I wanted nothing more than genuine connection. But my mental illness often led me to believe I would never quite achieve this.

It's taken a global crisis for me to realise that it is people that keep me going. From my partner, the driving force behind the last three years of growth; to my best friends at university, who encouraged me to engage in as many ways as I could.

The people around me, harsh words and circumstances have morphed me into the person I am today. I achieved, within a manner of months, an outlook on life that usually takes decades and saw my life take off; from the lonely, broke artist that had to stretch a £5 shop across a week, to landing experiences that promised a springboard for a lifetime of exciting projects.

I now know true fulfilment comes from helping others. Whether they need an empathetic ear or struggling with creative problems, I've learnt to share my experiences to try and make the world a little brighter.

In the back of my mind there's always one question. Who does this course of action benefit?

Ella McKenzie studied animation at University of East London and currently works as a Junior Video Producer at the University.

Ella McKenzie portrait photo