Thirteen-year-old Isabella Constantino has Tourette's syndrome and is one of four such teenagers profiled in a "Primetime" special airing today, July 15.
Constantino's symptoms mysteriously rise and fall in frequency and severity. Her self-injurious tics can seem so overwhelming that people sometimes overlook the sweet spirit lying within. She dreams of being an actress and loves to sing, dance and write poetry. The following is one of her poems.
By Isabella Constantino
I hate that people only see me for my Tourettes,
and that OCD calls out someone I am not.
But I understand.
I hate that my old friends are only there for me
because they feel bad about my problems.
They try to understand.
I hate that when I need friends the most
they have slowly withered away.
I think I'm hard to stand.
I love that once I have wept all the tears I can possibly shed,
I see the ones that love me most, the ones that always care.
And they understand.
Those who love me for who I truly am, behind my tics,
Pained, concerned, scared, angry, but…
Together we stand.
They are not on the other side of the fence,
For even there, the grass is not always green.