I Have Tourette, but Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me! – Brandon O.

Brandon was a 2019 NJCTS Scholarship Recipient. 

This was the essay submitted with his application.

My name is Brandon and I have Tourettes, but Tourette’s doesn’t have me! In a
matter of months, my journey at East Stroudsburg University will begin. I plan to major
in Social Work with the goal of becoming a clinical therapist. If someone had asked me
several years ago if I could even say the above statement, I would have told them it was
highly unlikely. The decision of this profession began when I was in 6th grade after I was
formally diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome a year earlier. Dealing with the diagnosis
and everything that came along with it made me feel as if my life as I knew it would
never be the same. There was only one other person in my town and school that I knew
who had Tourettes, so you can imagine how extremely difficult this was. For the next
several years my life was filled with experimental treatments, tons of different
medications, extensive therapy and the list goes on and on. It was exhausting. One of
the most difficult thing to deal with was the backlash from my peers when I would have
my tics, simply due to the fact of their lack of understanding about Tourettes. At that
time, I felt as if there was not a single person who could speak up for and listen to me
and help with my situation. I felt as if there was a brick wall in front of me and I would
never move forward. After years of going through many therapists and hospitals, I
reached a point where I was able to express the emotions inside of me, which ultimately
helped me internally. This was all thanks to my therapist whom I was successfully able
to connect with and communicate the thoughts and feelings I had inside. Along with my
family, she helped to change my life. Despite all of the challenges that came with my
diagnosis, I always played the role of advisor in my friend group. It was refreshing to
help, so I know that being in the therapy field will come naturally for me. The best part
about being able to give people advice is knowing from experience how I was able to
take it and better myself in the long run. Being able to listen and take suggestions from
others is a crucial part of life. Once you see the result of helping those in need, it gives
you a different perspective. It gives you the ability to see how you improved someone’s
life and moved them forward in the right direction. Being a victim of the feeling of
aloneness, I’m also able to see how having mentors in my life helped me grow. Without
all of those essential people who gave their time to help me, my life would never be the
same. I want to do the same for other young people. Also, since I hope to one day have
children of my own, I recognize how important it is to be supportive so they can
successfully grow and develop in the right direction. Spending the rest of my time
helping and speaking to others would not only be a blessing, but a benefit to everyone
I’m able to help. So, in the end, although my Tourette’s have been a huge challenge
because of all the obstacles I had to overcome and am still overcoming, it has helped
me to see that I need to use what has happened to me, in changing the lives of others.



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