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 second 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…
This takes listening skills and observance. Some people, such as myself, are very comfortable talking about their tics. But there are many people who aren’t comfortable at all with talking about them. It’ll take time to figure out your loved one’s comfort zones when it comes to this, but the investment is well worth it. Your friend will feel safe with you, and that’s something no amount of money or therapy can buy.
If your friend is OK with talking about it, then talk about it. But still remember to be gentle. He or she might laugh if you crack a joke about one of his tics, but it can still hurt deep down. If your friend makes a joke about his own Tourette, you don’t have to be stone-faced. You can laugh. But it’s better not to risk making jokes of your own.
It’s one thing to make fun of yourself. It’s something else entirely when someone you love makes fun of something you consider a weakness.