My life has been challenging living with Tourette. My neurologist says I have intractable Tourette Syndrome which means it can’t be helped much by medication. I was diagnosed at six, so I’ve always known what caused me to make noises and move my body. But I don’t think my family or me ever thought it would be this severe for this long. My tics are almost constant. There is rarely a minute that I am still and quiet. Some of my motor tics are so strong my body hurts. I’ve been hospitalized many times because my creatine levels were too high and my muscles were breaking down. I’ve been unable to compete in sports like I wanted to. I spent the entire first semester of my junior year in bed because of my tics. That’s when my parents sent me to Rogers Behavioral Center for residential treatment for anxiety and OCD. I stayed for three months and got a lot better control over my tics and anxiety. Unfortunately when COVID shut everything down I got worse again and had to go back for six more weeks. Since then I’ve been doing so much better. One moment that really stands out to me is when I opened my acceptance letter from Westminster College. That day I knew that what I’d struggled with for so long wasn’t going to hold me back from my dream of going to college. I’m attaching a poem I wrote called Where I’m From, which I wrote the day I got that acceptance letter.
Where I’m From By Brady Whelihan
I stand strong.
With wind and hail
strong gusts of wind
I will prevail.
You can knock me down
You can throw in pain
you can hit me with all things I hate
I will stand strong.
Ink on my arm will say it all
I am resilient no matter how long
No matter how much im being wronged
I will stand strong.
The fight I have had shapes me now
The light in my mind shows me how
I survived the worst
I have seen the stars
I Will not give up
I stand strong every growing hour
I mean no harm in my actions
Its a closed door show
Yet still I have had no chance to show my world
My family supports like a safety net
No matter where I fall
No matter when I stall
They will be there to solve my mental debt
With that being said
I’ve had chances to quit and leave
Like a gust in the wind
People think they know what I mean
But do they really? Or is that just a dream
My knees may be weak
But I stand strong.