Tourette Syndrome is a two-sided coin. One side is that of the individual with the disorder, the point of view from which he sees the world. Then there’s the other side, the perspective of all those who are close to that individual.
Tourette can be an awkward thing to talk about. It’s gotten easier for me as the years go by, but when I was younger, it was the last thing I wanted to admit to myself, let alone other people. And yet, sometimes it’s just the elephant in the room, something you can’t just ignore. As a friend, it’s important to know how to address your friend’s Tourette delicately and honestly. It can strengthen your friendship, and it can build your friend like little else can.
Here is the first of 6 ways to love on your friends with the neurological disorder, Tourette Syndrome (TS), as told by someoneone with Tourette:
If You’re Close to Someone with Tourette…
The most important way you can care for someone with Tourette is to love him as him as he is. When someone opens up to you to tell you he or she has Tourette, it’s a compliment. It means you’re worthy of being trusted with what’s probably a secret.
Don’t rob your loved one of that confidence in you by trying to “fix” them. By immediately offering up the latest cure or treatment you’ve read about, you’re just going to confirm what that person probably already believes about himself: that he’s broken.
I can’t tell you the personal anguish this has caused me. And while I know the people who tell me these kinds of things are just trying to help, it still cuts like a knife. If I want, I can see a doctor to get to medical help. What I want from my friends is acceptance. No, I want more than acceptance.
I want them to love me the way that I am.
If your friend with TS asks for help, then yes, do all you can to help. But please, don’t offer that help until it’s requested. Your loved one needs your love more than anything in the world. If you make him feel like he’s broken, he’ll feel betrayed and pushed away. He needs from you what doctors can never prescribe – love.