“Hello, my name is Brooklyn Eastman. I have Tourette”. This is my typical introduction. I have always been an outgoing, fun-loving person. I love to meet new people, talk to strangers, make new friends and connections. Tourette has allowed me to do all these and more. My journey to Tourette was challenging. I saw the family doctor, a GI doctor, and a neurologist before being officially diagnosed with “just Tourette” I had no idea the impact “just Tourette” would have on my life and me. After diagnosis came a learning curve for my family. We learned what it is, how we can make it better, and how to live a “normal” life. What we discovered; however, my life was never going to be “normal” again. Upon learning all of this, my dad asked me a question; he asked if I wanted to hide in my room for the rest of my life or if I wanted to continue to be Brooklyn. The answer was easy. I was going to continue to be Brooklyn. My family decided to share what we learned, educate everyone we can, debunk myths and rumors with accurate information about Tourette. From the age of ten, I have educated my classes, then the entire school. Soon I was being asked to present at other schools, organizations, and churches. At 16, I became a Youth Ambassador for the Tourette Association of America, doing what I love, educating others, meeting new people, and making connections.
My Tourette does not hide, and I choose not to hide from living my best life. I cannot go anywhere without Tourette; the twitches, screams, cursing, and yelling at my side, in stores, movies, school, church, and everywhere in between, but I still choose to go. Tourette comes with additional challenges, anxiety, OCD, and extra effort in school. Tourette is just the tip of the iceberg. Anxiety is my greatest challenge, making it difficult to go out knowing I will tic, I will be stared at and talked about, cursing in front of little children is mortifying. I have no control over other’s reactions but having no control over my movements and words is terrifying.
Although I have challenges, I am still Brooklyn, who happens to have Tourette. I am stronger, more passionate, more confident, and empathic to others because of it. Through a degree in dietetics, my goal is to help others become stronger, confident and have control over their bodies. Our family motto is “Find the sunshine.” Every day brings blessings. Some days you need to look harder than others, but I always choose to find the sunshine.