Person > Label

Each and every case of Tourettes is unique, but we all have similarities, a connection. Sometimes I feel like I want to be separated from TS and OCD, to just be me without having to worry about what I look like when I’m ticcing in public or what people think when I make funny noises or get upset over something that may seem trivial to them, but is part of what makes my day go on.

I just started a new job and it’s hard enough being someone who isn’t traditional by nature, because people don’t accept different and they’re intimidated by it. So it makes it that much harder having to tic in front of them. Every time I go into a new setting I have to go through the steps:

  • Start with facial tics, because they’re less noticeable.
  • Next a few neck and arm “stretching” tics, because they look natural, right?
  • Then most of my quiet resolve dissolves into upper body shaking tics and some lower body if I’m standing.
  • Then come the ones that may seem a little more embarrassing or scary looking: sticking my tongue out or hitting my arms against my sides.
  • Finally, the pièce de résistance … What do I do about my vocal tics??? I don’t get them very often, but when I do, there’s nothing subtle about them. Ever since I’ve grown up I think I’ve struggled more with those and have yet to come to terms with them. I developed a little bit of a stutter now and again and I do bird calls and random noises.

I recently started a new job, and I’m in this 15×20 room training with over a dozen other people and I tic in front of them all the time. I went through all the steps, only treading lightly on that last one, but I’ve done it. I tic and I sign in front of them and I don’t care. It feels so good and it makes me feel like I’m just a person, not a label. When I’m able to do that, I can get out of my own head and see other people and things. Although I have to be pro-active in said process too, I couldn’t do it without God and my family.

Check out this guy on X-Factor who has TS and OCD. Here’s the article and video. It takes a great support system to have the courage to do what he did. :)

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