Evan was a winner of a 2020 NJCTS Scholarship Award.
This was the essay he included with his application.
Tourette Syndrome is something I have known for my entire life. It’s crazy to think that nervous habits I had as a kid evolved into what I now know as my tics. When I was very young, I went through a phase where I would continually blink my eyes and close them tightly. I feel as though this foreshadowed my Tourette’s later on. With age, I grew out of it, but what came next was very concerning. Upon entering first grade, I developed an unexplained hair twirling obsession. I did it so much that I gave myself a small bald patch over my hairline. The funny thing is that I didn’t notice how strange the situation was until the tics started causing harm to my body. Out of nowhere, I formed this sudden urge to tilt my head up as high as I could to scratch my throat. It was like something was controlling me to scratch this invisible itch. Eventually, a deep red rash began to appear on the front of my neck. I still remember the times my father would have to moisturize the area because of how dry it was. However, just like all my previous tics, this one went away too.
Year after year. Tic after tic. Both passed me by, but there was always one tic that remained with me. My twitch is something that I still struggle with today. The urge has gotten so strong that I have to do stretches to get rid of muscle soreness. When I get the occasional stare or question asking if I’m alright, I take the time to explain what it is I have. I am so grateful that Tourette’s awareness has spread because sometimes, I don’t even need to finish my sentence. I was always okay with being different, but I was never okay with people acting indifferently towards me. I used to believe that there were only two types of people in this world: those who hold you high and those who bring you down. However, Tourette’s has made me realize that with proper education, anyone can learn how to treat others with respect.
I’ve noticed that the more stressed I am, the stronger my tics become. Nonetheless, I have discovered many ways to manage them. Acupuncture is an excellent way to help break down stress that has built up over time. Meditating is also good to ease up tension in the mind
and body. I’ve even tried taking medication, but there were more negative side effects than positive ones. As of now, I don’t want to rely solely on medication to reduce my Tourette’s. I know I have the power to maintain it myself. I will not let it consume me. Tourette Syndrome is
something I have known for my entire life, and although there are times I wish I did not have to deal with it, there are also times when I realize that without it, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.