My name is Rowena, and I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at 11 years old. I was in sixth grade when it happened. Before 11 years old, I was making weird movements and sounds, such as tapping and humming.
I went, and am still going to, Rothman Center in St. Petersburg. The first appointment took six hours until we were finally done. My doctors are amazing and have helped me so much the past five years. I went to West Hernando Christian school when I was diagnosed.
My sixth-grade teacher was very judgmental and disrespectful toward me. I didn’t know why she was acting this way. It was as if she was a completely different person. But one day she asked my mom if they could talk privately.
After they talked, my mom came out of the classroom and rushed me to the car. I asked her what happened. She told me that my teacher thought that I was lying about my Tourette’s. Of course, mom was very angry, and so was I.
Life became even more difficult for me after that. I couldn’t do my math homework without my mom holding my arm(s) down. I found out that my tics were at their worst when I was focusing on something or when I was dealing with technology.
My sixth-grade teacher started having my fifth-grade teacher observe me — I assumed it was to see if I was lying about my disorder or not. She lost my respect from then on. I wouldn’t do my homework. I signed my mom’s signature on my agenda book. I actually lied a lot when I was younger.
When my mom found out about all this, she became disappointed and upset. She told me that I lost her trust and that I will need to gain it back. I learned my lesson from that. I still find it miraculous that I passed sixth grade.
I was made fun of from sixth to seventh grade. In seventh grade, it became really bad for me. My depression increased a lot more. I was not only made fun of for my Tourette’s, but just for being myself. I became suicidal.
Most of my teachers kept telling me to shut up. One of my old friends was my science teacher, and she made fun of me in front of the whole class. I saw a whole different side of people who I was close to. I told my parents ,and they tried to find a way to help me.
The most important thing in the world to me are my two moms. They show me that being yourself every day is extremely significant. Whoever you are, whatever your goal in life is, you are unique. And no one can tell you who you are meant to be. They support me with my Tourette’s every day.