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Being a Latina with a Hidden Disability

by Laura Rourke

Throughout her childhood Adly Pozas was a victim of physical abuse. It was difficult for her to make it to adolescence because of all the mixed emotions she felt inside. Adly was confused and felt she didn't know who she was.

When Adly made it to adolescence, she was involved in a relationship with an older man. She thought she was old enough to deal with the relationship, but she was wrong. In the end he left, leaving Adly so depressed she thought she would die. Adly never thought she would overcome the depression. While she was depressed Adly was not able to take care of daily activities like bathing, brushing her teeth or combing her hair.

After a while she made contact with a writer whose work interested her. During their informational interview he told Adly he thought she might make a good writer. This compelled Adly to go to college.

Throughout college Adly had to deal with fear and depression. She had an inferiority complex and felt she was not as bright as her peers. Adly graduated in 1985 facing a myriad of problems.

When Adly began to look for a job she was confronted with discrimination and rejection for being a woman and a Latina. Adly decided to go back to school. She enrolled in law school at Northwestern University. Even though she was managing school, Adly was drowning her fear and depression in alcohol and cigarettes. For three years she lived with these vices, but somehow managed to graduate. Throughout school Adly only had the help of one social worker. She gave Adly advice and the desire to continue studying.

Again Adly was met with rejection when she started to look for a job. Despite having two degrees, Adly was only offered insignificant positions. When her depression suddenly worsened, Adly started having episodes every morning. During one of these episodes a coworker took Adly to a psychiatrist who gave her antidepressants.

After a while the medicine didn't work anymore and after having gone through years of depression, a doctor diagnosed the cause of her problems, Bipolar Disorder.

For six years now, with the help of therapy and medicine, Adly has been moving forward in her life and feeling good about it. She's learned to live with her disability.

It is not easy, but if a person seeks out a path, eventually they will find one. Adly Pozas now works at Access Living, a Center for Independent Living in Chicago, IL.