Tourette’s is hard, but life is good

Hi guys, my name is T.J. Stanley, I am 20 years old and I have Tourette Syndrome. I attend Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. My major is cinematography, and I am hoping it will bring me to some fun and exciting new places.

I was diagnosed with Tourette’s when I was 11 years of age, and it has been a heck of a ride. Rutgers is going well, I am meeting new friends, attending all my classes and loving the film classes. But Tourette’s has still followed me; it may be hard, but I have been consistently moving on and forgetting about the tics.

My tics have been racking up a lot, and it really has been getting bad with the twitches, leg spasms, yelling of words and noises. But I can say as long as I am focused on school work and/or hanging out with my friends, it is hardly noticeable.

Attending a four-year college now has made me feel more confident and pushed me to move on from those “ticcing” years and really see what life has to offer me in the long run. I know for a FACT, I would NOT be the same person today if I wasn’t diagnosed with Tourette’s that day in 6th grade.

I am not saying that being diagnosed with it was bad, but it is definitely something “someone” had planned for me and knew it would change my way of life. I love my life and knowing that if I go through a rough time, there is always someone there to help pick me back up.

I have researched and done many different types of meditation to help me relax if I feel my tics acting up. It really is helpful and I HIGHLY recommend it. I love the state that my life and body is currently in — I’ve never felt so replenished, revived or “safe.”

I would never have made it to this point without the love and support of my family, friends and fellow Touretters. Keep moving forward and always keep your head up.

And if you’re not doing anything on Saturday and live with driving distance of Mendham, N.J., come join me at the 4th annual NJ Walks for TS. It’s gonna be a great day of fun, awareness and fundraising for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders. You won’t want to miss it!



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