Once Misunderstood and Isolated, She Found a Surrogate Family and Started Her Own
No one in Vernessa Perez’s small family could understand the behavior she began to exhibit as a teenager.
In high school, she began feeling overwhelmed and uninterested in her studies. After dropping out, she began withdrawing from other parts of life. Her days were spent inside, in solitude.
“You want to get away from everyone,” Ms. Perez, now 30, said of her mental state at the time. “You want to be in a hole by yourself. You don’t want to bring out ideas or brighten up e...