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A little understanding goes a long way

This weekend, one of my closest friends (who I will call Gally for this blog) had her roommate/close friend from college visit her. Our plan for Friday was to go see The Bling Ring together and our plan Saturday was to go to the City Museum.

I was nervous about meeting the roommate because I always tend to be a little nervous when meeting someone new. When meeting a friend of a friend there is always the issue of, “Did my friend give this person a heads up that I have Tourette’s?” and “How is this new person going to react to my noises and twitches?” So I tend to worry at least to some extent when meeting someone new who may or may not already know that I have Tourette’s.

I met Gally’s roommate (who I will call Bunny) for the first time in person Friday night. Before the movie, we met briefly and then walked in and sat down. My first impression of her was that she seemed really nice, and she didn’t seem like the kind of person who would give me any trouble about my tics.

Gally sat between me and Bunny during the movie, and of course Gally is very used to my tics, so during the movie my tics didn’t bother her. I did some vocal tics and a fair amount of motor tics during the movie, but Bunny didn’t react at all. I wondered if this was because Gally told her about my tics in advance or because maybe she couldn’t see/hear my tics from where she was sitting. Either way, the movie went smoothly.

After the movie, we talked a little bit in the lobby, and when I did my vocal tics it didn’t seem to phase Gally’s roommate at all. She didn’t give me any weird looks or react in the slightest to even my louder tics, which is pretty impressive because most people — even when given a heads up about my tics — will react to some extent even if its just a startle response.

I was doing more pretty decently loud vocal tics in the parking lot when Gally and her roommate walked me to my car, and still no reaction from Bunny! She just had a really comforting way of looking at you and making you feel like you don’t have to worry or be self-conscious.

So I didn’t feel worried about my tics at all around her, even though I had just met her and even though we had never personally had a conversation about my TS. Also part of it was that Gally was there making me feel conformable as well, which of course helped!

The next day, I hung out with Gally and her roommate again because we had plans to get a group of friends together and go to the City Museum. On the way to the City Museum, in the car I mentioned something about camp. Gally’s roommate asked me about camp and asked what camp I was going to be a counselor at.

I enthusiastically told her I am going to be a counselor at Camp Twitch and Shout, a camp for kids with Tourette’s. She then said, “Cool! I actually got these earrings from an old boyfriend who had Tourettte’s. He kind of grew out of his tics, though.”

Gally and I kind of started laughing a bit, and Gally responded with, “Cool story, hahaha.” Anyway, Its always nice to hear that someone has known someone with TS before knowing me! Makes me feel like I am not the only one who has to go though this and also makes the person more used to TS and gives them to background knowledge about it, which helps them better understand me when they meet me. 🙂

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RuthieP

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