Desiree Haliah Salcedo-Q.
Desiree Haliah Salcedo-Q.
Model, Performer, Aspiring Photographer
My name is Desiree, and I am a 15-year-old IB (International Baccalaureate) student whose passion is helping others, expressing myself, and living the best possible life that I can. I enjoy helping out in the community through volunteer work and participating in events that support and bring awareness (i.e. March of Dimes, Lupus Walk, Pride Parade, etc.). My passion is expressing myself through art, photography, music, fashion, style, motivation and finding ways to inspire not only myself but others around me. I would say that the most significant accomplishment I could get out of life is to live my best possible experience, be happy, inspire others around me to do the same.
I would say my greatest struggle has been myself. I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). There are different kinds of ADD; I struggle with Inattentive Disorder. Most people know it as “Day Dreaming”, I know it as my greatest weakness.
Along with “Day Dreaming”, I also struggled with impulsivity (mostly saying what was on mind my without thinking about it first). I was diagnosed when I was 6. My tests showed that I was above average for a third grader (I was in first grade) but that I had trouble showing it on paper. I started taking medication for it, which helped slow things down for me so I could focus better but it also made me feel not like myself. Everyone around me noticed a decline in my outgoing personality. After a while, I ended up having to take medication to help “stabilise my moods” from my ADD medication. Then after that, I found myself having to take medication to help me sleep. I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I lost interest in almost everything, except cheer, though the medication made it hard to socialise. Even though I was on medication, I continued to struggle in school. I noticed that I understood the material but had a difficult time putting it on paper. I would confuse my letters with numbers. Learning became so frustrating that I began to notice that I was falling behind. At the time I was doing competitive Allstar cheer. The medication would make me so sleepy, and it would make it almost impossible to function. I remember getting irritated at things very easily. I became so shy that socialising was scary to me. There were many times I became severely dehydrated because of the medication, and I would have to either be admitted to the hospital or get an IV infusion. I didn’t cope with stress well and would find myself “pinching” at my skin. I had developed a “nervous tick”; it was scary. I continued with cheer because I remember how much I liked it and my mother hoped it would help me socialise. She hoped that seeing my accomplishments would help me see myself more through my eyes and help give me confidence and love myself again. But it never was the same. I would hit constant mental blocks and regress in skills and become very frustrated with myself. An ADD’s worst critique is themselves. I wasn’t me. My parents have always been amazing. During this difficult time, they were the most supportive and understanding. Educating themselves on how to help me, trying to be as understanding as possible and yet also finding ways to educate me on my ADD so that I could grow with it not be hindered by it. After six years of unsuccessful treatment, I decided to speak to my parents about maybe not having to take it anymore. Both my parents agreed that I was mature enough and that I knew myself better than anyone to have an understanding of what my body needed. So I stopped. I spent the next year or so struggling to readapt to my “new environment”. I say “new environment” because it was like I was seeing the world again for the first time. My mom called it “hitting the reset button”. I liked that. With my family’s help, support and understanding over the next few years I would learn to focus on the positive. I realised that we spend so much time focusing on the things that aren’t right, or that go wrong and forget to give attention and credit when they fo right. I’m learning to see the world and everything around me differently. I am learning to love myself and all of my imperfections. And it is through my struggles that I have learned empathy. Socializing has been difficult for me, especially now. But I am determined to make my greatest weakness my strongest attribute, and hopefully, along the way, I can inspire others to do the same. I am finally starting to learn to love myself, and I want to express it in every way that I can.
Photo Creds go to my family, Yesenia Salcedo, Bryanna Salcedo, and Noelani Quilenderino.