When I was sixteen years old in 2016 my mother noticed some ongoing behaviors I had developed over a few months time. My mother had her suspicions since she was aware of some other family members with Tourette’s Syndrome. An appointment with a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome which is a nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements and sounds.
I did not understand or want to accept the diagnosis because I was confused and uncertain of the challenges that lied ahead. I realized after a short time that it was vital for me to get focused and into the correct frame of mind if I was going to pursue this challenge. Tourette’s is a common affliction in ages six to thirteen. I was in the seventh grade and at that grade level kids can be immature and lack empathy for what they don’t understand. It was difficult to stay engaged at school in an academic setting. Speaking in front of a class and answering questions proved to be difficult.
There were two things that enabled me and kept me going in the right direction. A supportive group of friends that didn’t judge me and playing basketball were great enablers. Getting through seventh and eighth grade was a challenge but with the help of friends and activities I was able to push through. New challenges awaited me as I entered high school. New people, settings, schedules and never ending homework pushed me to the brink and forced me to apply time management as a resource in order to handle these more intense challenges. Time management, a supportive group of friends and family and basketball enabled me to become a more successful student athlete and to thrive socially. I have found that with a supportive and understanding group of people and activities that inspire me I am able to stay motivated to succeed and address any challenges that I may experience as I continue my journey and await the new challenges that a collegiate atmosphere will provide.