Telling others you have Tourette Syndrome is hard. Actually, hard is an understatement. It’s difficult enough to accept that you don’t have complete control over your body; it can be near torture to admit that to others. While self-advocacy is one of the keys to creating Tourettes Awareness, no one said it would be easy. And unfortunately, it can be very painful, as Mr. Thomas Singleton Jr. found out.
I received an email a few weeks ago from a reader, Mr. Thomas Singleton Jr., that broke my heart, but his message was one that I thought would truly resonate with many, not only those who have Tourettes, but people who struggle with all sorts of disorders. Many of us experience the sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, and extra tics (ironically) that come along with that we have Tourettes. Mr. Singleton’s experience went much further, however, than the general awkward pause response. This is what he wrote to me.
“I’m a fellow ticcer as well. I was diagnosed with TS at 8 years old. I read in one of your blog posts that if anybody had anything new to write about to email you. I have something for you, and this actually happened to me………..what do you think about people accusing you of using your TS as a crutch or to manipulate them? This person even took it a step further by saying that they would never allow themselves to be uncomfortable just so I could be comfortable. Nothing is worse than hearing this from somebody that had been in your close circle, and somebody that you felt close enough to let your guard all the way down for.”
What happened? How did Thomas’s conversation take such a devastating turn? Is there a way for us to avoid such pain? Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll discuss the major steps involved in telling someone about Tourettes.