This is the fourth and final of four interviews spotlighting some of the talented individuals behind the pieces they submitted to Mad in America’s “Beyond Labels and Meds: What It Feels Like to Be Me” art exhibition. Each contributor was asked the same questions about themselves, their perspectives, and the inspiration and intention behind their work. 

Title: “Invisible”
Medium: Photograph
Artist: Isabella Castillo
Age 17, New Jersey

What do you want the world to know about what it is like being a teen today?

In today’s society, being a teen is different compared to 10 years ago. Our generation today is pretty acceptable, but at times I tend to feel invisible. Sometimes I don’t feel like I fit in with everyone else; I feel like an outsider. Us teenagers are at an age where we make mistakes, learn new things, and grow from all of it. Some people don’t understand how at times you need to make a mistake in life in order to learn. Anytime you make a mistake, you are usually bashed for it, and it is tormented on you for some time. Either way being a teenager is not too bad, but it feels like you have expectations to reach in order to “fit in” or “meet the standards.” As a teenager, the best advice I can give any other person around my age is to never stress or worry. JUST BE YOU

Elisabella Castillo
Please tell us about your photo. What inspired it? What is its main message? What would you like readers to know about it?

Throughout my lifetime, I have always felt invisible by many people. I have had “friends” leave me from left to right. I have always felt like something was wrong with me. This picture represents the feeling of what it felt to be “invisible”. I know many teenagers go through this with different experiences. I wanted to submit this photo, so others are able to see what we feel like when we are not able to describe our emotions.

What are some of your biggest stressors and how do the arts help you cope with them?

Some of the biggest stressors in my life include being a junior in highschool. As a junior I am expected to start realizing what colleges I want to do, and making sure I do great on my SATs and ACTs. I don’t have an issue with not knowing what I want to do in my future, but the only problem is money. I have to make sure my GPA and grades are good, so I can get good scholarship money. My biggest stress has to do with being able to have the future I hope for. I want to be able to succeed in life, and inspire others as well.

Do you have other art pieces in any medium that we can include with your interview?

Here is some other photos that I have taken:

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am a part of my high school dance team, and I love it so much. Dance helps distract me from my problems, as well as art does. I enjoy taking photos in my free time because I like to be able to capture deep and sympathetic moments.


MIA Reports are supported, in part, by a grant from The Thomas Jobe Fund.


  1. Thank you for sharing your insights and artwork, Elisabella … cool name, by the way. I like it. And I agree, both dancing, and the fine arts – not to mention writing – are healing endeavors.

    I will say I found “mental health professionals” to be people who make a person feel “invisible.” But that is, in part, because my so called “mental health professionals” literally declared my entire real life to be “a credible fictional story,” which was absurdly and ungodly disrespectful.

    God bless, and I hope you navigate through the insanity of the world in which we live, better than I did. But at least, hopefully, you’ve been forewarned at a young age to never innately trust a so called “mental health professional,” or any doctor for that matter. Since trusting people who get all their “information” from “fierce Pharma” is unwise.

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