It has been a unique experience to grow upon as a person with Tourette’s Syndrome. Since my diagnosis at age six, it has often been easy to consider it wholly negative; from a mere inconvenience to a debilitating burden. I can recall with astounding clarity too many examples of the negatives of Tourette’s Syndrome. One specifically occurred in the middle of the summer when I was 12. For me, the heat has always triggered my tics. That summer was especially hot with temperatures blazing into the high 90’s for a month straight. For that month, I was tortured by tics every few minutes, from minor twitches to shouting the word “yeah,” these tics resulted in intense migraines and made me embarrassed to leave the house. I lived in a state of distress and as a result doubted myself and my future. But then, I realized the most powerfully positive aspect of my Tourette’s. Even though I was presented with constant physical and mental symptoms that most adults would be unable to withstand, I had the chance to change my own perception, to see the good that could come from the bad. Despite the bad, TS is a part of me, it is who I am.
From that moment, I began to seek out the great opportunities that came from being a person with Tourette’s. These presented themselves in a number of life lessons that instilled good values and built moral character. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the role that my family, especially my parents and two aunts, played in building my confidence so that I was not ashamed of the outward symptoms of Tourette’s but instead used them to teach others that it did not define who I am on the inside. My parents have always advised me to “work with what you have.” I have Tourette’s Syndrome but I also have confidence and a desire to mentor and inspire others not to be discouraged by the many negatives things we encounter in our lives. As a whole, having TS has proven to be a challenge, but it has also proven to be an opportunity. Everyone has their own personal struggles. Whether neurological, like me, physical, or even emotional, all people are faced with challenges. What makes you successful and helps conquer these challenges is the desire to succeed in the face of obstacles. One must simply acknowledge their ability to do great things.