A beautifully written poetic "must read" by a young leader of Youth M.O.V.E. Massachusetts, Chandra Watts writes movingly about her own experiences with stigma. Studies on resilience show that a strong bond with a caring adult can lessen the impact of negative events and help a young person grow into a confident, competent adult. For Chandra, this bond was with her parents. They counseled her that she was more than her diagnosis and helped change her view of herself and her future.
- Being more than that
Chandra Watts, Youth M.O.V.E. Massachusetts
I was first diagnosed with a mental illness when I was fourteen. I had been depressed, anxious, and experiencing hallucinations for about two years, but I started reaching out for help when I started hurting myself. When going through the tumultuous journey through many a crisis, med changes, and mood swings, it’s hard to keep people from finding out that you’re going through hell and even harder to keep them from judging you. Before I had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital (and it seemed like everyone in my entire school found out), I wasn’t very popular, but I wasn’t a target for harassment either. As soon as my peers got wind that I was the least bit different however, it was open season.
I remember my first day back to school after having been in the hospital for three weeks. My close friends had known my whereabouts while I was away and I had trusted them not to blab that information to the entire middle school, but of course being adolescents who were bent on popularity, they did. I walked the halls to my classes that day, and everyone stared. Some people quietly giggled, muttered words like “crazy” and “insane” while others just plain laughed in my face. Just weeks before I had been one of them, but in an instant, I became an outsider... continue reading on the PPAL website...