(Excerpt: Toronto Star/February 2015/by Leslie Ferenc)
(Becca Cala had suffered for years before, at the age of 16) she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder. For the first time in her life, Cala understood why she was different and embraced it.
Medication, counselling and support helped her take charge of her health issues. ……(But) Stigma surrounding disorders like Tourette syndrome has been a constant enemy, posing what at times seemed like insurmountable challenges for Cala, now 20.
Tics, including grunting, involuntary growling, barking or roaring are disruptive. Strangers assume she’s an addict, she says.
Often reviled and berated, Cala says she has only grown stronger because of her experiences.
“People laugh and make fun of me….Some think I’m drunk”. Cala talks about the challenges she faces and how she’s learned to release energy in a more healthy, positive way………Playing her gold violin and writing poetry are important outlets, as are solid relationships with friends who accept her “as is” and have her back.
(Cala offers this advice )….to other young people who may be struggling. “You can’t lose sight of your goals” she said “And you can’t turn back time. I could still be depressed, living at home, mad, and angry. Instead, I’m here.”
For the full article: Oakville teens with mental helath issues find stigma-free support
Beauty Behind Becca is a mini-documentary filmed by two Grade 12 students who recently won Change The View, a province-wide, anti-stigma video contest sponsored by Children’s Mental Health Ontario.