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My scholarship essay: “Always With Me”

This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome for their 2012 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it! And here is my profile on the NJCTS website, which also was featured on the Basking Ridge Patch!

More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with it in the U.S. It is known not to have an exact cure for its diagnosis. One out of 1,000 students have it. This diagnosis is known as Tourette Syndrome. It is a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements of the head and body, along with sounds and words. This condition has meant suffocation for me since the day of diagnosis.

William Annin Middle School, January 2006 — a sixth-grade student sitting in his math class has developed numerous noises, sounds and movements occurring around his body that he cannot help stop. In his class, the teacher has asked him to stop, and students have pushed him around for making noises. It has gotten worse and worse. He cannot stop, yet he does not know what he has developed.

From there on out, he has been bullied for his “freakish” movements and sounds. Teachers just get so aggravated, they have no choice but to send him down to the office for “disruptive behavior.” At this point, the student has lost all hope in his friends and teachers. But as for himself, he won’t give up to find out what he has been interacting with.

Research schos that around age 6, a certain amount of kids develop noises and sounds that they cannot help. Movements of the body would occur later or before the first tic. He now has been dealing with his tics for about four to five days now, and it has been a living hell. There has not been one subtle moment where he felt comfortable with his own actions because he can’t stop the movements and noises that appear randomly anwhere or at any time.

Believe it or not, I am one out of 250 kids in my grade who has Tourette. My name is T.J., and Tourette has affected my lifestyle by changing my perspective of life. Not only is it tough to deal with, but dealing with the people around you who witness it as well.

This disorder has shaped its way into my life by fighting my body to contain itself in an area. I have dealt with this syndrome since I was 11 year old. In mid January 2006, I was feeling the urge to start a new life. In other words, a new school, new people, new lifestyle. I never would have thought it would have started like this.

Until this very day, I have managed to overcome this hassle over time. If you really look at it, I guess sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven. That is my perspective. But realizing the fact that I feel self-conscious about who I am because of Tourette does not change who I really am. It just changes my thoughts on how people will look at me.

The first day I was diagnosed, I was scared — scared to take the next step in my life, to move on through this battle. I had directed a self-made documentary named “TS Has TS” about living under the condition of Tourette, how it has affected my life and what I do to have the confidence to keep moving forward.

In November 2010, my cousins and I formed a 5K walk, gathering many people from around New Jersey to raise awareness for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. We raised about $27,000 that day, and we are still progressing by having a walk every year in November.

I guess you can say I have proven myself for six years, not letting Tourette stand in my way thought everyday life. I may have won the battle, but not the way. Every day, I deal with a newly developed tic. It could be loud, it could be annoying, but no matter what, it will always be with me — no matter how hard I try to let go.

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