Jack Bennett

A time bomb in my head. That is what it was like to grow up with Tourette Syndrome. Somewhere inside me something would blow any minute. The explosion would come out as a twitch, grunt, convulsion, or some tic. I could make plenty of attempts to smother it whenever I felt the bomb “ticcing,” but I could never diffuse that Tourette bomb for good.

In middle school, I was the slowest in the class, unable to finish a timed essay due to clenching up in the middle of each written sentence. I could barely sit still, bumping people around me. I was scared that I wouldn’t be good enough to mean something in this world. My mood suffered, I experienced fits of depression and feelings of worthlessness.

To help my situation, my family took me to TS conferences. Meeting other people who were enduring the same struggles encouraged me to fight my downcast mood and that “tic, tic, tic”-ing bomb in my head. I listened to advice from people who had grown up with Tourettes, who suggested strategies such as timing myself on how long I could hold back my tics, listening to calming music, or speaking to my class about Tourette’s Syndrome. It took a lot of effort to smother or redirect oncoming “tic explosions.” They came fast, and resisting them felt uncomfortable, but after a while, both the condition of my Tourettes and my mood began to improve. My teachers were supportive and accommodations in my 504 were very helpful.

My struggle with Tourette’s Syndrome taught me self-control, drive, and how to accept help from others. I cannot be fully healed from my condition, but each day has made it more possible for me to exercise self-controlled in restraining my “tic booms.” Next, combatting Tourettes has also taught me drive. If I want to improve, I need to work for it. Furthermore, dealing with my Tourettes has driven me to stand up for other “ticcers.” I attend Tourette Syndrome camps and meet others with their own tic-bombs. Lastly, my struggle taught me how to accept help. My mother pursued academic support plans, methods, and people who could help me. I never liked being dependent on others, but I know now that if I do not accept help, then I will truly be helpless.

In the future, I hope to become a scientist, discovering and developing new materials and innovations. A scholarship would help pave my way to college. A college education is how I am going to gain the knowledge, strength, and resources to become the scientist I aspire to be. Science shapes the world, and if I can play a role in creating a better, more amazing place to grow up in, every child with that same time bomb in their heads can look and see that you don’t have to be “normal” to be, do, or make something great.