This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2014 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!
Over the course of my life, I will be forced to face many challenges, many of which I will struggle to overcome. So far in my 18 years, I have faced many challenges, and today, I am still fighting a battle that will affect me for many more years to come.
Tourette Syndrome has played a huge role in my life, and has affected my outlook on almost everything. I first noticed my tics at the age of 7, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. My family and friends would always tell me to calm down and stop moving around so much, but I felt as if I couldn’t.
When it got to a point in fifth grade when I could barely control it, I began hiding myself in the back of crowds and doing anything in my power not to draw attention to myself. However, not drawing attention to myself was very hard to do, especially on the soccer field.
I was involved in soccer most of my childhood life, and Tourette Syndrome even affected me on the field. One of my tics when I was younger was spinning in circles, and I often found myself in the middle of a soccer game spinning, not paying attention to the game.
All through elementary school and middle school, I constantly had people telling me to stop my habits and asking me why I do the things I do. The only reply I ever had was, “because I want to”, until I finally asked my mom to take me to a doctor my freshman year of high school.
After many question and tests, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, and I finally understood why my body does what it does. Although I understood what was happening, it didn’t make my condition any easier. I was still embarrassed and afraid that people would notice my tics. I blinked and coughed way more than the average person, and I often twitched my head.
My friends all noticed these things, and high school is a scary place to be laughed at. However, going into freshman year,I went out for the cross country and track teams, and this was when things started looking more positive for me. I found that running helped me focus and that when I run, my tics don’t occur as often.
Outside of running, my tics are sometimes very intense, and there was a point when I didn’t know how to deal with them, Now that I have found this sport, I can live with my Tourette Syndrome, and whenever it gets too intense to handle, I can just go out for a run. There are still many times when people ask me why I do the things I do and move the ways I do, and I have now realized that Tourette Syndrome is a part of me, and that it just makes me a little different.
I like to think about the far I have come from when I first noticed my tics, and how open I can be about my Tourette Syndrom now. Tourette Syndrome no longer has a negative impact on my life, but it has taught me how to be strong and how to overcome the difficult battles life throws at you.