The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "Medicated Against My Will"
Medicated Against My Will
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Know Your Feelings

Pre-Reading Discussion: 5 minutes
Ask everyone to say how they know when they’re sad. They can’t use the word “sad” in their answers, but besides that, anything is OK. It could be a description of their body or a different way of behaving or they could name the cause of the sadness.

Reading and Discussion: 25 minutes
Read A.C.’s story, “Medicated Against My Will,” on p. 5 out loud.

Then ask participants to look back at the story and circle the places that show that A.C. is sad. Then share responses with the group. [She cried; she found it difficult to cheer her little sister up; once in the foster home, she stayed in her room a lot; “I yearned to hear my mother’s voice”; she barely sees her mother and then learns she’s in prison; she doesn’t feel connected to her foster family].

Ask if they think “sad” is the same as having depression and needing medication. Why or why not? [Evidence from the story that A.C. is not depressed includes that she is not suicidal; she has legitimate reasons to be sad; that she can appreciate good things like getting placed with her aunt and getting a good psychiatrist; other people notice she is better by the end of the story.]

Wrap-Up: 5 minutes
In this story, A.C. eventually got a doctor to take her off the pills in part by knowing and being able to describe how she was feeling. Ask the group to name a time they’ve figured out how they were feeling and why. Ask if they can think of good reasons for being able to identify how they feel and why [they won’t lash out at the wrong person; they will understand that the bad feeling will pass; they can make better life decisions if they understand what makes them happy and what angers or
saddens them].
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