Every Friday I will be highlighting an invisible illness, we all know they exist but exactly how much do we know about these conditions and the people who suffer from them? I myself have an invisible condition and it is very easy for people to assume that because I look OK and I walk,talk and act OK that I am fine when quite often this is far from the truth.
Last week we heard from the incredible Charlie and how she lives her life with crohn’s disease. This week I am talking to Terri and about how she lives her life whilst trying to battle with borderline personality disorder.
Please could you introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about yourself. What you enjoy doing.
Hey, I’m Terri. I like to think I’m a pretty easy to get on with person, it makes me feel better. I enjoy drawing and reading and writing. I basically enjoy a lot of things that I can just do on my own
What is your invisible illness?
I suffer from BPD, Which is Borderline Personality Disorder.
When did you first notice your symptoms?
There were signs that should have been acknowledged when I was around 13/14 years old and everything really started. But they couldn’t really pick up on it because of me going through puberty as well.
What was it like getting diagnosed?
Kind of a relief? Because I finally had an explanation for the way I was and it meant I was one step closer to finding a way to cope with it and still live my life.
How does it affect your day to day life?
Sometimes I can’t even get out of bed, it keeps me down sometimes and not only do I feel worthless but I have always got suicidal thoughts going through my head, it’s just how I’m wired. No medication can actually stop those thoughts and sometimes it gets on top of me and I just don’t leave my bed. A lot of the time I suffer really bad anxiety so if I manage to get out of bed, I can’t step outside I shake uncontrollably, I start to sweat, I can’t breathe and before I know it BOOM, I’m full on having an attack so I retreat back to my bed then as well, because I feel like a failure.
Do people treat you differently because of your illness?
100% although I’m pretty sure some people are doing it subconsciously, like my family… I don’t actually think anyone wants to treat me like a fragile flower but they also don’t want to be the ones to set me off kind of thing?
What advice would you give to somebody else suffering from your condition or perhaps to somebody who may have symptoms?
Get seen, seek professional help asap, not when you’ve already tried to end your life on several different occasions. But when you first start noticing that something isn’t quite right.
Do you know of any good groups or organisations of support for people with your illness?
I wish haha, I tend to vent my stuff on the internet on my blog (which I’ve had to start a new one because I somehow broke my old one oops) So if anyone reads and knows of any internet groups please do tell!
What are your goals for the future?
I want to be a teacher, funny isn’t it? I can’t get out of bed sometimes but my goal in life is actually to be an English teacher someday and teach abroad. I suppose my short-term goals at the moment are to get a better hold on my BPD, make it so it’s actually possible for me to leave the house and get a 9-5 job.
Thank you Terri for sharing your illness with me, not all illnesses are physical and your story shows this. Daddy Giraffe also suffers from Personality Disorder and blogs about it too, get in touch with him as he can direct you to some fantastic support groups.