I am the youngest of a fabulous family of four. My older brother and parents are very supportive. I have always been considered a vibrant, energetic, social, active child. I had tons of friends, played sports, enjoyed acting for family, and most importantly I danced. I was on a competitive dance team and still love dancing daily. My onset of symptoms was very sudden around age 10, beginning with a nodding head movement which became quite violent. During what should have been a fabulously fun vacation to Disneyland, I began to shout. I think that the overstimulation at the park contributed to the worsening of symptoms and my family began to worry.

After 2 years I was finally diagnosed by a neurologist with Tourette’s syndrome. In the beginning, I was very open about my condition, I even did a presentation to my 6th grade class on Tourette’s so that my peers could better understand some of my habits. At that time, I would roll my eyes a bunch, and it could be taken the wrong way by friends and teachers, and I thought opening up would help them to better understand me. Middle school became a huge struggle for me. Academically, I was barely passing classes feeling inadequate and stupid and I just couldn’t focus. And middle school kids are cruel, so I dealt with quite a bit of bullying, resulting in eating lunch in the counselor’s office for nearly half of the school year.

Over the years have found there are still very judgmental people that don’t need to know my struggles. I have learned to choose friends wisely and make sure they earn my trust. High school has been much better and remote learning was surprisingly good for my stress level and my grades. I have a 3.8 GPA accumulative, and I am very proud of my hard work. This last year of High School in person gave me a new start socially. I have good supportive friends and have become much more active again.

I am eager to start College and live on my own. I am currently interested in pursuing an education and possible career in criminology or criminal psychology. I am eager to study psychology and learn more about how the brain works. I am looking forward to digging deeper into behavioral studies and the motivation behind criminal actions. My parents believe that I should contribute financially to my own education, and I currently have a part time job to save up for school.

Tourette’s has given me perspective on how people treat one another in regard to their differences. Everyone has their own obstacle and deserves to be validated. I feel in has made me a better listener, and a much more understanding and kind friend to others. It has forced me to be more attentive to my own emotions and considerate of other people’s feelings as well. It has helped me see more positive attributes in others and embrace diversity.