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What makes Terrina tic?

Posted Tue 6th Nov 2018 at 14:30
by Belinda Johnston


Aspiring journalist Belinda Johnston, wrote an article about Terrina Bibb (a professional illustrator who has TS), as her entry for the Vouge Talent Contest 2018.

I have had mild Tourette Syndrome (TS) since I was born. I have no vocal tics and my physical movements are fairly manageable, however, I suffer more from co-occurring conditions associated with TS, such as anxiety and mood disorders. After watching BBC3’s MisFITS Like Us, I wanted to meet Terrina Bibb, who featured in the show, in person to find out about her experience with the disorder and how she manages it in daily life. I found that the programme portrayed TS in a positive yet realistic way, which often is not the case with other TV shows. So I decided to make our meeting into an interview.

It was great to meet Terrina in real life, to just sit down and have a chat and a coffee. We have since remained in contact and I follow her updates via Twitter and other social media platforms. Since our meeting in June 2018, I have moved to Paris, a city that I have always loved. I am happy here and I hope to stay for a while!


What makes Terrina Tic?

So what exactly does make Terrina tic? Well, let’s start by introducing the woman herself. Terrina Bibb is a Midlands based freelance illustrator of portraiture. An artist since childhood, she has developed her own unique style of illustration. She holds an illustration degree from Staffordshire University, but this one of a kind portraiture grew from a very different form of education.

You may recognise Ms Bibb from BBC3’s documentary on Tourette’s Syndrome; MisFITS Like Us. In this atypically enlightening and uplifting account of living life with TS, Terrina meets with strangers with the same condition in the hope of helping her to understand and accept her disability. Unlike many television programmes about Tourettes, which often solely depict the “entertaining” swearing element of the condition, BBC Three’s documentary is light-hearted yet informative, showing what it is really like to live life as a “ticcer”.

25-year-old Terrina has a jolly smile on her face and has already begun laughing before we sit down. She brings with her a light-hearted ambience and the conversation flows as if we meet for coffee weekly; in fact, this is our first encounter. She seems down to earth and doesn’t take herself too seriously. But we do have something in common: we both have Tourette Syndrome.

Terrina lost her father when she was 13, understandably bringing on severe anxiety. But it wasn’t until her final year at university, when she was 21, after a minor stroke, which she believes was caused by her anxiety, that she developed Tourettes symptoms.

“I went to bed one night and woke up completely different… bizarre”.

Although she has days when she doesn’t leave the house, due to anxiety caused by the syndrome and her awareness of her tics, and even though the obsessive compulsive element of the condition is draining and exhausting, Terrina wouldn’t be without it now, having spent four years “getting used to it”. She feels it has even helped her to be more compassionate and empathetic. Having not grown up with the condition, she has lived most of her life without it. This allows her to see how difficult Tourette’s Syndrome can make life, as she knows what it is like to live life without it.

Terrina has even adapted her drawings to fit in with her tics. “I remember getting a piece of paper and letting the tics do all the work for me”.  She describes her drawing as having a “scribbly” style. Drawing helps her relax as she doesn’t tic as much when she is doing it.

“Art is all me”.

A large part of Terrina’s art is commission work. She enjoys this as she can exercise her creativity while managing to portray the emotions and personality of her subject. She also likes to illustrate celebrities. Examples include a sassy portrait of singer P!nk, grime artist Stormzy and a more recent illustration of national legend, the England football team’s captain, Harry Kane. She will be exhibiting her work at the Artful Pelican gallery in London from October 20th – November 17th 2018.

You can view Terrina's work here:


Belinda Johnston



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