Up until I was nearly 16 years old, I lived a pretty usual life, with the regular ups and downs of the average teenage boy. When I first began to notice that I was doing things that I could not stop myself from doing, I didn’t think it was medically related at all — as they weren’t noticeable.
But over a short period of 2 to 3 weeks, these movements and sounds got much more frequent and much more noticeable, and as I began to worry more and more, I started looking on the internet and discovered the word “tic” in a lot of different articles.
By 5 weeks, I was really beginning to struggle to keep quiet about my everyday battle to hold in these tics around everyone, and so I began to shut myself away completely from my family once I got home from school just so that I could let out these tics.
I locked myself away for several months every day once I got home and became very hostile toward my family. As I live with my Nan, I finally decided to tell my dad about these tics in order to get advice on what I needed to do. Instead of reacting how I expected, he instead punished me for saying I was having tics and that I thought it may be Tourette.
He shouted at me and told me to stop being stupid. Although he rarely saw me, he said he would know if I had Tourette or tics. This incident really knocked me back, and I went back to locking myself away — but not for long.
As stress levels were rising because of my A-Level studies, my tics began to escalate and show in school, a friend who knew about Tourette syndrome kindly took me to one side one day and talked with me about the situation.
Slowly but surely, all of my friends began to accept that I couldn’t help what I was doing, and my best friend convinced me to sit with my auntie and Nan, and we talked. They were much more supportive than my dad, and my auntie came to the doctors with me and all was running smoothly.
Recently, I opened up a YouTube account to help spread awareness about Tourette Syndrome, and I have been planning a fundraising event to raise money for the TSA. Little did I know, I hadn’t escaped being bullied. Some very small-minded people began to leave hateful messages on my Facebook and YouTube channel.
Among other things, these people said I was faking Tourette to get people to feel sorry for me, and they questioned the fact that the tics came on pretty suddenly, and no matter how much information I gave them they just would not accept it.
Even now I am on edge, as they said all of this just last week. People like that just aren’t worth getting upset over, and I understand that, but I am having a hard time grasping the idea of a “future life” for me, even still. I am still that ordinary teenage boy, I just have tics! All i want is to be equal and to help remove discrimination from society.