Maalaala Mo Kaya tackles the story of Pauleen (Coleen Garcia), a teenager who suffers from multiple mental disorders, and her struggles in a society that knows very little about mental illnesses. Coleen relates that she was often asked before about what her role was exactly and whether she was bitten by a dog and later contracted rabies. But the actress clarifies for the first time that her character, Pauleen, is afflicted with four different mental conditions. She has borderline mental retardation that delays her intellectual development. She also suffers from an Antisocial Personality Disorder making it difficult for her to differentiate right from wrong. Because of this, she steals from other people with no remorse. Pauleen has auditory hallucinations as well. She is prone to hearing voices that instruct her to steal or do bad things, and the only way she can silence the voices is to comply to their commands. To make matters worse, Pauleen also suffers from Epileptic seizures.
Coleen states that this episode is very timely because a lot of us are not that concerned when it comes to mental health. There are Filipinos suffering from mental disorders but are not diagnosed nor treated correctly especially since even physical health is neglected because of financial constraints. She hopes that this episode would help pave the way to educate people on the different mental conditions that can affect anyone. Coleen expresses her joy at getting this special role, saying that she was very excited because she has always been on the lookout for characters of this caliber. She even relates how she researched each of the mental disorders that Pauleen suffers from. Coleen even enlisted the help of her deans in Southville International School where she is taking up Psychology.
Find out what challenges Coleen had to face in playing a mentally ill teenager and the crucial lessons she learned from her role in this Maalaala Mo Kaya exclusive on Kapamilya Chat.