Growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome has provided many challenges for me that I have had to overcome. It can be hard to stay focused on one thing and sit still because my body is always moving. These constant movements are difficult and I cannot control them. Whenever I sit still for a long period of time I uncontrollably start humming and my eyes start to twitch. Oftentimes I feel stress or anxiety that causes my body to jerk all over the place. Any kind of strong emotion increases the intensity of my Tourettes.
In junior high, I specifically faced many difficult times dealing with Tourettes. I was often bullied for winking at students without realizing I was. The constant harassment really hurt. It was something I could not control, but there was so little awareness of Tourettes so they thought it was funny to laugh at and mock me. There was one time that a kid from school thought I winked at his girlfriend and wanted to fight me. I remember being scared and confused until I realized that it was my Tourettes acting up. One of the worst tics I have ever had was double breathing. I would inhale multiple times at once and it would make my whole body start to hurt. I used to have to stay home because I was scared it would happen at school or in public. I felt sad and alone at school because of this.
I was not alone throughout my struggle. My mom was a huge center of support throughout my Tourettes journey. She was always able to calm me down and make me feel safe. We had a rocky relationship but she cared a lot and helped get me access to sufficient medical treatment for a while. Unfortunately this year she passed away. With her gone my tourette’s symptoms increased. I found it hard to stay relaxed and not full of anxiety. Her passing flipped my life around. I lost the person who helped me the most. I didn’t let this setback stop me from controlling my TS symptoms. I used fidget devices to calm me down, listened to music and journaled my days. With these skills I was less stressed which in turn decreased my symptoms.
Over the years, I have been more equipped to deal with my Tourettes and learned to live more peacefully despite it. It was not easy to manage but eventually I found out how. From learning how to control my TS my life has become less stressful and overall healthier. I’m able to live a normal life and accomplish my goals while having Tourettes.