MEET TERRIE: I am a 49 year old Two-Spirit Woman and live and work on beautiful Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. Until receiving a diagnosis of FASD in 2013, I had always struggled with my mental health and addiction issues; although I still face challenges in this area, I have a much better understanding of myself and how to improve my life and the life I share with my partner of 20 years. The fact that I’ve been able to remain sane and sober up until now has everything to do with the people who’ve surrounded me throughout my life, loving me unconditionally despite my attempts to isolate and disappear into my addictions. Love has always pulled me back from the edge, convinced me to keep moving forward. Miigwetch Chris for never giving up, and yes, “it’ll all be worth it in the end”.
STRENGTHS‐ I have a great sense of humour, and love laughing with people, I believe it’s helped me through a lot of difficult times in my life.
STRUGGLES‐ I struggle with constantly wanting to escape my reality (the constant chatter in my mind).
- I struggle with my ever present frustration and anger that exists just below the surface; I believe this is one of my secondary characteristics that has developed over years of being misunderstood, and misdiagnosed.
- I struggle in my relationship of 20 years because FASD is very complex and difficult to understand; it is not the same for everyone so there are no black and white answers.
- I struggle with trying to stay focused on tasks at hand; it has taken me about 4 months to complete this article; and it seems to be getting worse over time and despite the medication I’m on.
- I have ALWAYS struggled with spending money, I like to buy things, it makes me happy, it DOES NOT make my partner happy!
WISH‐ I wish that when I tell people that I live with FASD, they would know immediately what that means, they usually need an explanation, I don’t have the
energy for that!!
One of my future goals is to start a Support Group for individuals and their partners/spouses ; who live with FASD. Our support systems are desperate for their
own support; we all know that burn‐out is very real for the people who are in our lives trying to keep us healthy and on track. There is a huge gap in services for
adults who live with FASD; hopefully this will change in the future through more education and awareness.