This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2013 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it! And here is my profile on the NJCTS website.
Since the 2nd grade, I have been diagnosed with — among other things — Tourette Syndrome. I’m one of the lucky ones, if you can say that. I don’t blurt out obscenities, and I don’t convulse violently. I have minor things. So what if I whistle from time to time, grimace, jerk my neck, chirp, blink or stick out my tongue? I live with these tics all of the time.
Do I get jeered from time to time? Yes. Do I get odd looks when I walk into a room filled with new people? Occasionally. I don’t like to think of myself as a kid who has been smitten by an illness, but someone who — like everyone else — has his own definition of normal.
Back when I was diagnosed with TS, I was in the 2nd grade and I could not stop whistling in class. I got in trouble multiple times, and my parents were called in. A doctor then diagnosed me with TS.
I have to be honest here: I was bullied in elementary school because I was different, and it wasn’t until around the 7th grade that I became confident with who I was and began to take everything in stride. Continue reading