Thirty-year-old Athena Barwoke suffered discrimination, stigmatisation and bullying for the better part of her life. Unable to cope and understand why she was different, she attempted suicide twice. It wasn’t until she accepted her condition that the world opened up for her. She shared her experience with MWAURA MUIGANA.

Growing up was very hard. I was never quite like other kids my age and did things differently. I didn’t understand why. I had problems with communication, social skills and behaviour. Although I wanted to have friends, I always got into arguments whenever I played with them and ended up having none. Nobody seemed to play by my rules. That was very upsetting.

 Although my parents were very supportive, they too didn’t understand my behaviour or why I was different. Mum bought many medical books and journals in search of information on my condition but they didn’t help much. While they anticipated when my next episode would be, they didn’t know what to do about it. And so when I went into an episode, they just sat back and hoped that I would either get over it on my own or outgrow it.

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