Thomas Crawford

Having Tourette’s Syndrome is weird. There is much more to it than simple, uncontrollable urges or random spouts of energy. The disruption it causes, especially in school, made it difficult to learn, and even for others around me to learn as well.  As a kids, my classmates would look at me strangely and wonder if something was wrong with me.  Some made fun of me.  They didn’t really know what it was or why it happened.  It was difficult because I didn’t understand it either.  I tried humming to cover or mask the vocal tics and tried to distract myself to decrease the motor tics.

Having Tourette’s also affected my home life, as my parents would hear my tics at night when they were attempting to fall asleep. Sometimes I was frustrated with my family when they would mention my tics.   I started seeing a neurologist who prescribed medications that did not seem to make a difference.  My tics worsened when I would take my stimulant medication prescribed for ADHD.  Other factors that seemed to affect my tics were eating foods with dyes and preservatives, not getting enough sleep, or too much stimulus from technology.  As I got older, I have learned to better manage my tics.  I still struggle with poor choice of foods sometimes and stay up later than I should.

One memorable moment, was actually a embarrassing moment.  In the 4th grade my teacher was distracted by my tics and came over to my desk and asked if I wanted to go in another room.  As I look back, it surprises me at the treatment of adults who did not know much about Tourette’s Syndrome.

Fortunately, my friends were supportive.  Kids in high school have been much kinder than when I was younger.  It also helped to have a supportive family, mentors/coaches and a guidance counselor that helped me to move forward in life with confidence.  While others may see Tourette’s is just a bad thing and a burden, I view them as a way to overcome challenges that will help me better myself.