This is Part 2 in a series of posts about Tourette Syndrome. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.
My daughter Rachel first started ticcing when she was only three years old. Throughout the years, some tics have come and then completely gone while others have consistently stuck around. Some tics have been just plain annoying, and some tics have been so absurd we’ve had to laugh.
From passing comments to long, tearful conversations, I’ve heard Rachel talk about Tourette’s many times over the past nine years. This week, I asked her to write a bit about it for you. So — in Rachel’s own words, this is what she thinks of Tourette Syndrome.
Tourette’s can be really annoying. The tics can make concentrating nearly impossible. When I’m working, my tics are like a person screaming noises at me. They get worse when I am tired, frustrated, excited or anxious. They also get worse when I think about them. If I just try to ignore the tics, they don’t bother me as much.
Tics are always with me — when I’m awake or asleep. *[Most information I have read insists that people with TS do not tic when sleeping, but we have seen Rachel ticcing in her sleep.]
Some tics are worse than others. Some are just little noises, but others can be painful! I used to gag myself. I still chew on the inside of my mouth when I am tired. Some tics can be funny. I make the Spanish “r” sound sometimes, rolling my tongue. And I sing.
But no matter how annoying, painful or frustrating my Tourette’s is, it teaches me not to let anything get in the way of what I love. If Tourette Syndrome doesn’t stop me from doing what I love, then nothing can.
I believe that my Tourette’s is just as much a part of me as my arms, legs or my brain is. Tourette’s is what makes me ME, special.
In Part 3, we’ll talk about the tendency for Tourette’s to run in families and when I first started seeing symptoms in my son, Silas.