Jake Totarsky

Tourette’s – uncontrollable repetitive movements or unwanted sounds called tics, such as repeatedly blinking eyes, shrugging shoulders, or blurting out offensive words. Every second. Every minute. Every hour of every day. I have tics. It’s been something I’ve struggled with for since the beginning of 6th grade. My tics come in all forms. Noises, movements, etc.

These noises and movements I make interrupt my class, causing everyone to stare at me. Embarrassed, I would put my head down. Very often my teachers would call my parents and tell them I’m struggling with their class. The teachers would tell my parents I put my head down while they teach. Although this was true, I was not putting my head down because I was tired, or being disrespectful to the teacher. I put my head down because I was so stressed with battling my own mind. Don’t tic. Don’t move. Don’t make that noise. When I make these movements, it hurts. I keep having to blink my eyes really hard making it hard for me to see my own writing, snapping my arm down in a fast motion causing a sharp pain in my arm, causing a feeling as though a knife is going through my neck, making a loud breathing/hum noise with my throat causing my throat to get scratchy and I am suddenly not focused on my essay anymore. How could I possibly write an essay while going through all of this at once?

Desperately wanting all of this to stop, I went on many different medications. Some have adverse side effects such as bloating, depression, acne and even making tics worse. I don’t really leave my room unless it’s for school or food. I don’t enjoy talking to people very much, and I genuinely don’t know why, but I think a good candidate for reasoning would be my good friend, Tourette’s. Why do I refer to Tourette’s as “my good friend”? Well, that’s because I’m not embarrassed anymore. I used to be so embarrassed every time my Tourette’s would force me to make a sudden movement or noise, I was so embarrassed that everyone around me was watching me and calling me a freak. And whether or not people have, or do think this, I don’t care. Everyone has a chapter of their own book that they don’t read aloud. But not me, I am finally choosing to read aloud the chapter of my book that I have suppressed reading for so long. I have learned to embrace my Tourette’s. I learned that they are a part of me, and every part of me deserves to be loved. Embrace the struggle. Embrace myself. Love myself for who I am, and all the noises and movements I make uncontrollably. Tourette’s is a battle, but not a win or lose battle, a battle which I have fought everyday of my life, and will continue to fight everyday of my life, and every day I come out of the battle stronger.