Writing and Photography by Catarina Inácio
Hey Catarina, how are you?
Hey, I’m fine, dear friends from Ramona!
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, as you know, I’m a photographer and artist from Portugal.
I can say that my artworks are made especially to inspire people and also myself or just admire the beauty in everyone.
Also, one of my favourite topics in my art is mental health, because I have Asperger’s Syndrome and I’m not ashamed to talk about it. My major objective by talking about it is to help people!
When did this interest in photographing mental health begin?
It began when people at school started to misunderstand what was going on with me, so I made a project about my syndrome. Now it’s one of my focuses—not only about Asperger’s, but any kind of mental illness. I like to talk about something that is “strange” and turn it into something beautiful.
How has photography helped you on your journey?
Photography helped me in one of the best ways.
Sometimes I feel like my camera is saying to me, “this is what you are, this is your voice”, because it’s true, my art is my voice, my vision, myself… to inspire and make people feel something or nothing! It could be both!
When I have my camera in my hands, I feel strong… It’s something I can’t explain to be honest. But it’s really amazing.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of taking these photos?
Well, this art series is called “Self-portraits to Kill Anxiety.” I started it one day after a panic attack! Whoa! I just bought some flowers, grabbed the tripod and my camera, and I started to understand… All I need is to let creativity calm me down. Also huge thanks to Kahina Spirit, for making these series possible!
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
“Don’t be ashamed about your madness, everything went ok, right Cate? Thank you for not giving up.”
What advice do you have for others suffering anxiety or depression?
I know that some moments we want to disappear, we want to run away or something, but I’ve learnt that that will pass in a matter of time.
If you feel sad, dance. If someone just makes jokes about you, smile. If you’re having a panic attack, just try to think how amazing you are just for keeping strong. Don’t be ashamed of yourself, don’t give up. After the storm comes something good. Always. And I know that feeling.
Where do you feel most calm?
In nature, absolutely!