It’s rainy and chilly outside. Unusual weather for this time of year in the Northern Panhandle, but I don’t mind. I’ve mentioned several times how my mum has been a great help to me throughout my years in dealing with Tourettes. I’ve talked about how she’s supported me, guided me, taught me to stand up for myself, etc., but today I want to talk about my dad.
Whatever mysterious gene that Tourette Syndrome comes on came from his side of the family, along with OCD. Several of the oddities that I’ve experienced over the years, he’s gone through himself. Having TS can be very lonely when you’re the only known one in the family who has it, so it’s kind of cool when we find something else in common.
Throughout my college career, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve experienced some prejudices that I didn’t know how to or couldn’t deal with on my own. My dad has come to class with me when I felt like I couldn’t be alone, and he’s gone to bat for me when someone wouldn’t give me the accomodations I needed or didn’t seem to “get” that having Tourettes can be difficult and can sometimes make certain everyday activities hard to deal with such as: ticcing in public, standing or sitting still for long periods of time, being quiet, sensory processing, etc.
My dad, my mum and various other peoples have been responsible for the ongoing process of learning to be comfortable with myself and my tics and being able to stand up for myself. I don’t believe in being quiet or sitting on the sidelines while someone gives me a proverbial beating. I don’t always know what to say, but, chances are, someone else does.
The important thing to remember is each time someone sticks up for me and/or I stick up for myself, and promote Tourette Syndrome awareness, I’ve gained another notch in my belt of advocation. Being an advocate can be something as simple as telling someone you have Tourettes, because you’re showing that you’re not ashamed of who you are.
I had one incident at a place of employment when I was a sophomore in college where a supervisor got upset with me for calling home because my tics were so bad that I couldn’t be still for a second and I didn’t know what to do. This was also during a time when I was less than OK with expressing my tics in public. When I tried to explain that I had obtained permission to call and that I had TS, he refused to listen and told me to go home.
Try as I might, I couldn’t hold back my tears. My mum who was on the phone this whole time listening to the exchange told my dad what was happening and within 15 minutes he was up there speaking on my behalf to the man who had committed the transgression. If it hadn’t been for my dad that day, I don’t know what I would have done.
In closing, I just want to remind everyone that everyone out there who has Tourette Syndrome or knows someone with does is covered under that American Disabilities Act. That means no one is allowed to discriminate against you because of your disability.