At the age of eleven, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. During this time, I did not quite comprehend how much my life was going to drastically change. After my diagnosis, I entered middle school, and it could not have gone worse. I remember walking into class and struggling to hold my tics in because I did not want my friends or classmates thinking I had something wrong with me.
I could not defeat the constant urge to clear my throat or scratch my nose, which made others stare, laugh, and point at me. I felt as if I was an outcast, with no real spot amongst the “normal” people. I was failing most of my classes, so my mother thought it was appropriate to take me out of public school and put me on a homebound program.
The program allowed me to go to a private classroom to receive a one-on-one teaching experience. This sounded great to me because I knew there would be no judgement. The next year, I had finished my time being homebound. I was ready to go to seventh grade, see my friends again, and return to normal life; however, my parents had a different plan. They decided it was best for me to be held back and be students I had never spoken to before.
At the time, I thought this was horrible idea because I would be leaving my friends and starting over. At the beginning of this school year, I was being ridiculed. After once again feeling uncomfortable, I informed others that I had Tourette Syndrome; quickly, people became understanding and respectful of what I was going through. There was no more laughing or whispering, and I was treated like a normal kid. I made friends that I am still close with to this day, and I would not change anything about the experience.
Looking back on my parent’s decision, it was the best option for me. Still today, I have people that are unfamiliar with my condition, such as a teacher kicking me out of class in high school for ticcing, but I was able to educate her on my syndrome. Now, I am more confident to inform others about my Tourette Syndrome. So, something I was once ashamed of, I now have embraced. I can confidently say that my tics are a part of my identity, and I am proud of the person I have become.