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Tourette Syndrome and employment, part 1

As some of you know, I started working as an usher at an opera theater company for a summer job to make some money and keep me busy. I’m only 18, so this is really my first official paying job besides lots of babysitting.

Although I enjoy freedom, I also get bored easily and hate it when I have nothing at all to do. I was somewhat worried about the challenges Tourette Syndrome would pose when working in a professional setting like this, but so far so good. Everything seems to be working out just fine for the most part.

I’ve only been working for three days as an usher, but I’ve made it a point not to be ashamed of my Tourette and to also be open about it in the new work setting. The good thing is that all of the ushers are around my age (high school/college), and there is so much down time during the acts to just chill and hang out with the other ushers.

The first night I decided to feel things out and not really jump into telling the other ushers about my TS right away. I’m not the kind of person who feels the need to introduce myself with the TS label attached. I feel it out and then I’ve found that if I keep an open mind and tell myself I’m going to be open and willing to talk about my Tourette, then I always know when the time is right to talk about it.

There is always a downside though to not telling the people I’m around that I have Tourette. Even though I can’t stop a majority of my tics from happening, I do stop the smaller tics from happening almost unconsciously when I’m around people who don’t know I have TS. This usually ends in a major and sometimes violent explosion of tics at the end of the night when I get in the car and go home.

Luckily, the girl I hung out with most of the night just happened to know my cousin, who also has Tourette. I think when she saw my ticcing she guessed that I have Tourette, too, because even when I did vocal tics around her that night, she didn’t react.

Even though I hung out with her and another girl the first night for the most part, I had still been suppressing tics throughout the night and when I got back in my car, I couldn’t help but erupt in an explosion of jerking tics and loud screeches. I was so anxious and ticcy and I ended up going the wrong way and getting lost.

I called my mom practically in full panic mode and put her on speaker phone so she could help direct me back home from where I was. Even though it was a semi-rough first night, I still had fun hanging out with the other ushers and getting to experience my first night of a real paying job.

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