View Full Version : My Life With Tourette's

08-23-10, 10:39 PM
I actually wrote this for something else for people to share their stories and to help others who are trying to get through it. I thought here would be just as good of a place to put it. This is an abridged version of how growing up with Tourette's affected me. Sorry if it seems scattered.

<style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style> My first tic occurred at age five. I was sitting at the dinner table eating my favorite meal and I had an uncomfortable feeling in my shoulders. Although I had never had this feeling before, it felt completely natural that I needed to roll my shoulders to make the feeling go away. After all, I'm 5 and I'm experiencing new things every day! I thought nothing of it and continued on with my day. A few hours later the same thing happens. I again roll my shoulders to restore normality in my shoulders. (As I type this, the thought of those first tics renew this feeling, and at this moment I am rolling my shoulders :D) I wonder why this is. Oddly enough, I decide that I was adjusting my shirt, and without further questioning, I carry on with my day.

Skip forward a couple years. I'm in the lunchroom eating. One of my friends is walking down the aisle. Before I know what's happening, my foot slides out into the aisle, tripping him. I'm horrified. "Why did I do that? I don't want to hurt my friend!" I thought. I was questioned by the teacher, but I was so confused and ashamed that I accepted my punishment without question. I had no idea how to explain it, so I figured that I did it because I was being mean because that's how the teacher reacted.

Another couple years and I'm ticcing more than I was before. I'm shaking my head and curling my upper lip to touch my nose. I think at that age, I might have realized that something was up, but little Jimmy stretches his jaw every few minutes Surprisingly, Jeff does the exact same thing with his lip as I do! Completely normal.

We fast forward to 6th grade. I don't know if this was a particularly good time for anyone, but for me it was torturous. I got in a fight with my friend, and before I knew it I was "exiled" with no friends at all. That is the tragedy of being a weird kid in a small school. This exacerbated my tics tenfold. The teasing was brutal and I became depressed. At this point none of the other kids are moving the way I need to move. Even the kids who used to tic like me don't do it any more. Thus began the realization that I'm NOT normal and that there's something else about me that's different from everyone else. I didn't really think about it further than that because I never considered the idea that I could have something like "what crazy people had".

Fast forward one year. Somebody mentions Tourette's in gym class. "What's that?" I ask. "It's a disease that makes people swear." "Woah.. That's crazy." I thought." And I was grateful that (I thought) I didn't have that. Oh the irony!

Fast forward to early in my high school freshman year. I see a show on MTV on ocd. Who would have thought MTV could ever be educational!! "Woah... This is me." Thought I. By freshman year, I was fully embracing my weirdness, but I had never thought it had a name. Ocd... ocd... obsessive compulsive disorder... I had to know more. I hop on the computer and start to do research. The more I read, the more I am sure that this is a part of me. I had heard of ocd before, but those three letters used to conjure images of people washing their hands constantly and being afraid of germs. I had a touching tic at this time, and I attributed that to ocd, as that was part of one of the stories on MTV. I still thought little of my tics. After all, I had them since I was 5. I hardly remember NOT having them.

Fast forward to high school junior year. I'm still occasionally reading about ocd and I click a link labeled "comorbid conditions". Looking down the list, I see some recognizable names, including adhd which I was sure I didn't have (I do. That's the power of preconceived notions.). I see Tourettes on the list. "I remember that! Lets click that one. It should be interesting."

My jaw drops. When you read an article that sounds like it was written about you personally, there isn't much else you're likely to do. Many people who were first self diagnosed share this part of their stories. "I...have this?? But.. I never thought that I would have.. t... woah." I was blown away.

Never again would I be baffled as to why I did these weird things that nobody else did. From that point on I understood. When people commented on my blinking, although I may decide not to tell them the real reason, I KNEW.

I realize how long this is becoming so I will try to be brief for this last part :D

Today as I sit in my room typing this, I am blinking, grunting, extending my arm out etc. That's all it is. You are moving your body in weird ways to satisfy a feeling. It's as big a deal as an itch, provided those around you understand and accept the behavior that many may view as weird.

The trials and tribulations that most with Tourette's Syndrome go through change them deeply. If I never had Tourette's, I don't think I would be the caring, understanding and accepting person that I am. You may ask if I would rather do it all over again without Tourette's. I can honestly say no. Tourette's may have been the source of many hardships, but it has given me a perspective that most will never experience. I, and many others, survived an exceptionally trying time: childhood with a disorder that is nearly impossible to conceal. Tourette's may be difficult to live with, but in return it can give great compassion and wisdom.

I'll take Tourette's every time. The best piece of advice I can give is to let your tics fly joyfully. Embrace your oddities and don't be ashamed that you are not a carbon copy of Average Joe, lest you risk sinking deep into a mire.
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Thanks for reading if you've made it this far! Please feel free to share your own story :)


08-23-10, 10:54 PM
very well said thank you:)