Life with Tourette Syndrome – Kyla B.

Kyla was a winner of a 2022 NJCTS Scholarship Award. 

This was the essay she included with her application.

Hi, my name is Kyla. I am 18 years old and I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at the age of 9. Before I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, I wasn’t sure why my body was making all these uncontrollable movements. As I got older, a neurologist diagnosed me with Tourette Syndrome. There was finally an explanation as to why I was making these uncontrollable movements and noises. Tourette syndrome is a huge part of who I have become because of the impact it has had not only on my life but on my personality.

One impact that Tourette Syndrome has had on my life is how it shaped my personality. Tourette Syndrome has shaped me as a person because it taught me to own who I am and not let anyone make me feel that I am less of a person. It taught me to be confident in myself and helped me to become a kind and understanding person to those around me. Tourette Syndrome has also showed me that even though I make movements and small noises, I am special in my own way. TS has helped me to find my voice and speak up on behalf of others with TS. This is not the only impact Tourette Syndrome had on my life.

Not only has Tourette Syndrome impacted my personality, but it has impacted my social life. I don’t have many friends because they find my Tourette Syndrome difficult to understand. At school, I am not popular. Popularity is fleeting. I am more focused and worried about school and athletics rather than having an amazing social life. TS has taught me to look for true friend qualities in a person. Sometimes, I find people who are loyal and understanding but they may change their support. One thing I feel strongly about is that if you don’t accept my Tourette Syndrome then you don’t accept me as a person! That is sad because I’m not just a person that tics, I’m a person with a dynamite personality with a lot to offer. When I went to the Tim Howard Leadership Academy, I met a lot of really nice people and made a lot of lifelong friends. Even though I don’t have many friends, I have a very supportive family. My mom, dad, and
brother are very supportive and they help me cope with anything life throws in my direction. My tics make it hard for me to communicate quickly and fluently. I find that I can be quiet among my peers. However, I speak more through athletics and academics.

Tourette Syndrome has taught me to be active because exercise helps me with my TS. I love to play soccer, run, ride horses, garden, meditate, lift weights, and ski race. I feel so much better after I exercise. I am able to better concentrate on my school work and my tics are not as severe during or after exercising. I have learned what I need to do for my body to help it function best. Which means sleep, a good diet, and exercise. Along with being extremely wrapped up in school and athletics, I am also busy working and trying to decide on the college I will attend in the fall. My Tourette Syndrome has also had an impact on my athletic career.

Tourette Syndrome has impacted my ability to perform as an athlete. I have realized that it’s not enough to want something but you need to be dedicated, committed, determined, and keep a fighting spirit. I am an Elite Alpine Ski Racer and I play club soccer on World Class Fubol Club(WCFC). With competition comes performance anxiety and stress. With stress and anxiety comes tics. Competing as an athlete has taught me to utilize meditation and visualization in order to quiet my mind and body so I can better perform. Through my dedication to soccer and ski racing, I have made a few very good friends and have earned the respect of my coaches. Tourette Syndrome has helped me become a better athlete because I was able to find a way to escape and feel at peace with my body while skiing or playing soccer. People have asked me if I ever tic while I am on the soccer field or the ski slopes. I respond with, “No, I never tic while I am playing soccer or ski racing because I am laser-focused on the course or game.” Whenever I
am skiing or playing soccer I feel a sense of relaxation, that I forget I have Tourette Syndrome and I am able to really excel. There are those days when I don’t have a good “ski or soccer” day and my anxiety spikes. That’s when I really need to implement meditation, relaxation, and other techniques to help my tics to subside. TS has helped me to learn, at a young age, how to handle stress! When I play my best and I ski to my true potential, my Tourette Syndrome takes a back seat. That makes the good days even better and my confidence and energy go through the roof. These are the most important ways Tourette Syndrome impacts my life.

Tourette Syndrome has not only impacted my life but has shaped me as a person. Tourette Syndrome has taught me so many life lessons that will help me to function throughout my life. What would my life be like if I didn’t have TS??? I don’t know, but I do know that I am a stronger person because I have Tourette Syndrome!



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