I’m writing this to help raise awareness for Tourette Syndrome and want to share my personal experiences to help others understand. Please read and then watch the video above.
When I was six years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder that greatly effects motor and vocal skills. Only 10-15% suffer from swearing, most common ticks will be making loud noises or sudden movements of the body, it can be all of these or only a few. I went through very similar experiences just as this kid in the video had.
When I was in school, I would often pound my fists on my desk, shake or “flex” my arms and neck repeatedly, blow air out of the sides of my mouth, make little noises, or blink constantly (just to name a few). It was hard for other kids to understand and realize that I didn’t have control over my body and because of this I would be constantly made fun of and bullied, not only by students but by teachers as well. It was difficult to make friends who wouldn’t mock or make fun of me. It damaged my self-confidence and even to this day, I don’t always have full confidence in myself.
I remember one day in particular in Middle School where I was waiting in the lunch line, my tics were being annoying and out of nowhere, another student punched me in the gut. Two girls who I had gone through elementary school with and heard me give a speech on my Tourette’s stood up for me, made sure I was okay and waited with me while I cried from the pain and humiliation. But this was one of the first time that I felt someone other than family really cared for me, even if they didn’t know me that well. It meant a lot to me, to the point where I could never find the words to truly thank them.
I’m one of the lucky few where it sometimes becomes less noticeable, but when stress or uncomfortable situations arise, my tics become worse. For most it’s not that easy, it’s consistent and some can barely even rest their body, some feel they can’t go into public because others will stare and judge them. But it’s not right, it takes a toll a person mentally and it doesn’t allow them to be themselves.
Remember, we’re all the same on the inside. We all want to feel loved and appreciated and just because we cannot control our Tourette’s, it doesn’t mean we’re different. I was lucky to find an amazing woman that looked pass my tics, she’s seen me at my worst and at my best and I couldn’t be more thankful to the Lord for blessing me with her.
Don’t judge a person for what happens on the outside, love a person for what’s inside.
Tourette Syndrome isn’t something that’s educated about. Some teachers want to learn and help, while others will give minimal support. It’s up to you to help make the change. If you or your child are going through this, reach out to the Tourette Associate of American or your local chapter for support. Also, talk to your school district if teachers aren’t supportive. If we don’t educate others, who will?