[image description: Georgia is stood in a doorway. She is wearing a pink jumper dress and white trainers. The tattoos on her legs are visible: one is just below her knee on her left leg and the other is close to the ankle on her right leg. She is holding her walking stick, which has a multicoloured pattern, and is smiling. She is looking right, instead of at the camera. The room is white.]
Interview by Emily Bourne.
I met Georgia when searching for other people with chronic illnesses like mine. Upon finding her account where she creates content for the chronic illness/disabled community, I thought she was such a ray of light.
I decided to interview her as I believe she will have such a positive impact on this confusing and scary world. So, meet Georgia…
Hey, Georgia. Thank you for speaking with me. How are you feeling at the moment?
Hi, Emily! I’m feeling run down today because I haven't had time to rest, but I'm trying to be gentle with myself.
Bless you, I’m sorry to hear that. For people reading, would you be able to explain what you suffer with and how it affects your life?
I have hypermobility spectrum disorders/ehlers danlos syndrome and have developed Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue as a secondary illness.
I have chronic, widespread pain that also leads to stiffness, weakness, numbness, pins and needles and burning sensations all over my body. I am always tired, nauseous, dizzy, faint and in some kind of pain or discomfort. I can’t control when I fall asleep and the tiredness never goes away. I can sleep for 13 hours straight and still can’t make it through the day without resting again. I always sick too - even if I leave the house for a few hours my immune system can’t handle it and I then get the flu for the rest of the week. I’ve had to make a lot of changes this year and I often have to pro/con before I do anything because I have to decide if it’s worth being sick and in pain... usually it’s not!
What was it that inspired you to talk about your experiences on Instagram?
I definitely think it was loneliness and feeling misunderstood. I felt like nobody could understand what I was going through and when I started sharing my experiences on Instagram, I realised that so many others feel the same way as me - it’s comforting.
I suppose through your platform you found many other people like you, are there any you want to shout out for being supportive or inspirational?
Yes! @el___gray (Eleanor), @thechroniciconic (Jess) and @madetobebee (Bee) were some of the first people I found on Instagram who shared the same experiences as me. Originally I followed them all because we all have borderline personality disorder, but then I found out we all have chronic illnesses and I feel like we’ve really connected and supported each other.
Awesome, that’s so great to hear! Since connecting with the community, what do you think is the biggest issue in the chronic illness/disability community right now?
I think there’s a lot of competition between chronically ill people at the moment and people often fall into the “one size fits all” trap. People will often invalidate others in the community and erase their experiences because they think they have it worse, or because what works for them doesn’t work for someone else. We already have a hard time being believed by doctors and family, so sticking together and being part of the community should help - but instead there’s a lot of gaslighting going on.
I definitely agree. One of my friends was recently deemed an ‘illness faker’, and it is so damaging to see random people on the internet decide that someone is not actually ill, when all they see is a controlled view of someone’s life.
Thank you so much for speaking with me, Georgia, and thanks for everything you do in the community.