This is the essay I submitted to the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2016 Youth Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!
Tourette Syndrome has played a pretty big role in my life. I was diagnosed when I was nine years old. My tics have always been an obstacle for me my entire life and seemed to stop me from achieving my full potential, especially when a was younger. Luckily for me my Tourettes have decreased in severity as I grew older, but they are still a part of my life. Although Tourettes will forever be an obstacle for me, I will not let them stop me.
Before my family and I found out that I was diagnosed with Tourettes, I just thought I was crazy. I would do things like blow on my hands constantly and move my hands up and on the way down hit my leg. My parents would always tell me to stop what I was doing. They would constantly get frustrated with me and want me to stop doing the things that I couldn’t stop myself from doing. I had no idea why I was doing these things. It was hard on my parents. Finally my parents and I decided to go to a neurologist and see what was wrong with me. We were then informed by the doctor that I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome.
Ever since I found out that I had TS my whole world started to change. They seemed to increase and people started to notice them. Tics are never the same action for me. I have both vocal and motor tics which can bother others at times. I would do a noise or throw my head back for a good many months or so and then do a totally new action like bulging my eyes or my nostrils. I cannot recall a time where I didn’t have a tic happening to me. I would always be embarrassed when people would notice my tics or ask what was wrong with me. This would make me self-conscience around others and cause me to drift away and do my own thing.
Nowadays, I believe I have a good understanding of my tics and do a good job masking them. I still do things like make a throat noise or even cracking my knuckles. I am proud Tourettes haven’t held me back like they used to. I want to be an actor and I am planning to attend Arcadia University in the Fall where I will be in the B.F.A in Acting program. I have been in many productions since Elementary School. I am also in the choir and have sung since Sophomore year. When I am acting and singing, the tics seem to just dissipate and I feel free. I’m proud of myself for learning to deal with my Tourettes and somehow masking them to be unnoticeable to others.
In conclusion, Tourettes is just a part of my life. It is who I am but does not define me. Although it is an obstacle in my life, I am glad that I am currently overcoming and coping. I really wish that there will be a cure in the future for Tourettes. I hope that everyone can learn about this syndrome and be tolerant to those who suffer. Tourettes should not stop you from achieving your dreams.