2017 NJCTS Youth Scholarship Award Essay: “Tourette Syndrome will always be a part of me”

This is the essay I submitted to the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2017 Youth Scholarship Award contest.

Trevor S.

At ten years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and it has had an impact on my life at first. Being so young, I did not really understand what Tourette Syndrome was, or what I was diagnosed with. It made it a little difficult to communicate with friends and let them know exactly what I was doing or why I ticced. One of the things that I wanted to do when I grew up was to learn more about Tourette Syndrome so I would learn more about me as a person. I moved to New Jersey two days before the start of my freshmen year. At the start of junior year, my mom found out about the [NJCTS Tim Howard Leadership] academy and it was an awesome experience. It helped me learned more about myself as I learned a lot more about TS than I previously had. The time I had at the academy left me feeling great that I finally understood who I was and I could explain to people about TS. I explained what TS was to my friends who were curious and I ended up becoming a youth advocate for TS. During the first couple months of school, I attended a presentation and answered questions for the students about TS. I have also attended two TS walks. I have recently been accepted to the academy again and look forward to attending it. Tourette Syndrome has had such an impact on my life that I do not believe I can imagine my life any other way. My letter for college was about Tourette Syndrome and how it had affected my life. I have been accepted into all but one of my colleges and have received the presidential scholarship at every university. Tourette Syndrome is, and will always be a part of me. It does make certain things interesting such as school and sports but it invites me to see new things. In school, I do well and I get to have extra times on my tests when it is needed. While there are some negatives, the positives outweigh the few negatives by a lot. I have made many new friends through the academy and other places and my knowledge in general has increased.

How have people reacted to you having Tourette? I want to know!

Hey guys and gals! Been a while, huh? Well, thankfully, school is over, so that should either have a positive or negative effect on how much I write! Today I wanted to talk about the reactions people have to Tourette Syndrome.

If people have given you any strange, mean or even funny responses when you told them that you have Tourette, just comment on this blog post what they were! I will include them in a YouTube video about reactions to Tourette.

My most annoying response that I always get would probably be the one that goes like, “Oh my gosh! That’s so cool! I would definitely use that to my advantage and cuss in class a bunch!”
Now, you can’t tell me that wouldn’t annoy you, too. Recently, I was telling someone who also had Tourette about a few things going on with my TS, and they kept saying, “That’s weird.” Really? That’s weird? You have complex tics, too! I don’t understand how someone else who has the same condition as me would think what I was doing was… Weird! If I’m weird, you’re weird too!
Sometimes, I try to look at myself from someone else’s point of view. Honestly, if I knew nothing about Tourette, and had just met myself, I would think I was extremely weird. But when someone else who has TS says what you do is weird, that’s just kind of peculiar.
If you don’t have Tourette, your first impression of me depends on the kind of day I’m having with my tics. If it’s a bad day, then yes, I understand why you think I’m weird. If you see some girl puffing up her cheeks and making high-pitched squeaking noises at you, you’d think she was weird too, unless you knew about Tourette.
That’s one of the reasons I have this blog — to raise awareness so that people know about that girl who puffs up her cheeks and squeaks. So they know why she’s doing it, what makes her do it, why she can’t stop. I know just what it is like to be her, and trust me, it’s not always fun.
On a happier note, HAPPY SUMMER! Everyone have a great one! 🙂