Right, hopefully this rant won’t be too angry, but really I’m just a bit gutted with a piece of information I’ve learned today.
When I was at school and my tics had only just started, I was consciously aware that they were worse in certain situations. Luckily, they were best in lessons so although I myself might have been fairly distracted by the urge to tic, I was able to suppress it.
Obviously, with the suppressing of the tics came the grand moment when I could let them out, which was usually when I was with my (totally lovely) friends or at my choir (where I was simply too excited to suppress any tics!).
As time progressed and my tics changed, I did do my sniffing tic (which was just rapidly sniffing for often very long periods of time) in lessons, but this was quiet and I was always with my best friends, so I didn’t feel too bad.
I have always felt blessed that my tics were fairly well-managed in lessons, and teachers dealt with it perfectly fine (there was the odd flying pen that was hard to ignore, but that’s really as bad as it got!).
This year, since leaving school, my tics have been getting worse despite being on more medication and I’ve been trying to deal with it, but when I’ve been invited to go and see a show back at my old school, I’ve declined because I don’t want the performers to be distracted (especially seeing as the performances are often exam pieces) and I don’t want to go and feel totally self-conscious.
Whenever I’ve said that, though, one of my old teachers who had been the biggest support to me in school said I could sit in the lighting box, so I could see the show, my tics would be hidden and if they got too bad I could make a hasty retreat into the classroom behind.
So finally I went to see a performance and I was sat in the lighting box with my boyfriend, who was operating the lights for that show. However, another one of my old teachers came in and said I had to sit in the seating area with everyone else.
I figured it was because they didn’t want my to put my boyfriend off, and I was still able to sit at the back next to my lovely helpful teacher and close enough to the box so I could still escape (which wasn’t needed. My tics were fairly good that night luckily!!!).
However, I found out today that at that show when my lovely, helpful teacher had explained after the show the reason why I had been sat in the box, the teacher said, “Oh, she’s not that bad.” And apparently this has been what they had been saying about me for a while and claiming that I was “attention seeking.”
I couldn’t believe it! I had always just thought that I had been accepted as who I was and my TS just didn’t matter. As much as I feel lucky that people don’t notice my Tourette, I couldn’t believe that anyone would think I would act it up. I was purely enraged. I have always resisted using TS as an excuse in situations because the last thing I want is for people to have a watered-down perception of it.
Luckily, I have been blessed with amazing friends, a wonderful family and a lot of very, very helpful people, so what brought me down for a couple of hours tonight has just made me more determined to not let TS stop me, to not use it as a silly excuse and to help people know how Tourette does effect people, even when others are unaware.
Rant over. Hopefully won’t be repeated!