Catarina

Just the thought of having to be social, leaving my house, talking, sharing even laughing use to be one of those simple, everyone does it, type of life task that I found so hard to deal with. Waking up in the morning to get up and go to school, university and work became terrifying, putting up my hand to speak made me nervous and listening to the voice inside my head was a daily struggle. 
Ever since I was a young girl, specifically after a certain age or perhaps even a situation, everything inside me grew complicated - I genuinely thought I could not be normal, that I was crazy! I would almost say I had this angel and devil, just like we see in cartoons, who would speak to me but the devil would always win. I could not understand how people could live, if I was normal and others felt like this, how could they survive everyday? How could they be so happy and grateful, so cheery and positive? To be able to deal with my difference I simply learnt to pretend. I used to say to myself I could have been a great actress - for years and years I would suffer inside and nobody knew. Not even my parents and family.

At some point I grew proud of faking it so well because I thought nobody deserved to know the pain I was going through, I had to go through it alone. This constant doubt and daily struggle lasted for years, with my instinct alerting me to something being wrong and at the age of 23 I decided to speak to my parents. I had seen therapists before, but now I could express myself better and perhaps there would be a solution. And there was! The psychiatrist turned around and said : "Look, I have an answer but unfortunately there is no solution". Suddenly there was some hope! I was not crazy! He said I had dysthymia, which at first I could not even pronounce but the research began and I felt so happy to find out that there were no demons inside of me, I was a regular person who did enjoy life but her brain did not function as well as others - that was all! After only 4 months of medication the difference is noticeable especially for me. This type of resolution is one which everyone with a mental health deficiency should find, and it would be with great honour and fulfilment to help others reach this. 

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