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Introduction Letter

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Nix Your Tics



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If you are a new visitor, diagnosed with a difference, please read this introduction letter to you.

For all other new visitors, Dr. McKinlay also has a special introduction letter to you.

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Nix Your Tics!

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Life's A Twitch! Celebrating 15 years.
1998 - 2018
Life's A Twitch! Celebrating 15 years.


My Extend-A-Family match, and the first TS family after my own I ever knew!

From left: myself, Gene, Adam, Janet, and Josh -- my 'buddy'. Front row = Lucy the dog!

Greetings, Friend:

Friend.  Now why would I go ahead and assume that you are a friend?  I might not know a thing about you. But that's just one of the wonderful things about sharing a difference with someone else, I suppose -- the fact that you can meet wonderful people, and form strong, deep bonds with them almost instantaneously just because of a little similar neurobiological abnormality........this Dr. Dunc guy has never met you, but because you and he share symptoms, he WANTS to call you friend.  In that way, your difference is a gift, isn't it?

At this point in my life, I have an exciting career as a doctor, researcher and author, hundreds of international speaking engagements under my belt, a healthy and satisfying dating life, many friends, and a cool car. ALL of this, my friend, came about not IN SPITE of the fact that I am different, but BECAUSE of it.  I promise you I'm not kidding. 

You might be having some difficulties right now with your own difference. This would not surprise me, as disorders are puzzles that need to be studied before one can take advantage of their potential. Until you learn about them and unlock their mysteries, they control you.

Just so you know, things weren't always so rosy. I had a miserable childhood. I thought about committing suicide constantly, and attempted it at different times. My relationships with kids my age and with my family ranged from abysmal to outright hostile, I couldn't get a date to save my life, and I walked around pretty much constantly angry and confused and frustrated. And didn't know why.

You may have wondered, if you're having a tough time right now, how I could be so insensitive as to gloat about my good fortunes while you need help.  I did it for the same reason I just told you about how little enjoyment I derived out of my life for the first 19 years. Things can change.

I don't know if anyone ever told me that when I needed to hear it.  More importantly, I don't know if I would have BELIEVED anyone. Because I felt alone.  Totally.  I didn't think anyone else was like me, or could understand me. And for the most part I was right -- EVERYONE in my little town seemed "normal". But the more I learned about my differences, and the more I met others with them, I realized that there WAS light at the end of the tunnel.  That realization not only lifted a weight off my shoulders, but it gave me the motivation and determination to FIND my way to that light.

If you have just started to learn about your difference, and are about to get diagnosed I will assure you that you are at a turning point. Things get better from here, my friend, because all of the unknowns throughout your life start to become knowns now. All of the support you didn't get, either because people didn't know you needed it, or because they didn't know what KIND of support to give you, can now be yours.  In a way, I'm very excited for you -- with your diagnosis you are just about to start on the most important and potentially the most rewarding journey of your life.  Things are about to get a whole lot better!  Get involved with some different chat groups, and big organizations like, for Tourette Syndrome, the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada (TSFC) and the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA).  Learn from these people.  Learn that it doesn't have to be the end of the world just because you have a difference.  See the common positive strengths that those who live with differences have, and learn to see them in yourself. 

I promised above that I would not kid you -- the road to self-acceptance is a long and difficult one. It's taken me 17 years of my "diagnosed" life, and counting! But boy is it worth it, friend. There will be setbacks, but remember that no one always moves forward; no one is always up. When you slip up, that's all it is -- a slip up. It doesn't mean you are back to square one. And as the English proverb says, "a stumble may prevent a fall" -- a LITTLE goof NOW might help you to avoid a BIG failure LATER. Grit your teeth, and jump back in the saddle. And don't forget, IT IS POSSIBLE TO BECOME HAPPY, LIKED, AND PRODUCTIVE. Learning exactly how to become these things will make you an enormously strong person.

Ok, that's my diatribe for now.  Use my webpage, and the resources you find on it.  If you would like people in your area or at your school to know more about your difference, what it feels like, or how to deal with it my website will give you details on my presentations and how to book me.  If you'd like to know more about me first my Accolades section will help.  My Writings will allow you to read more about what a number of differences feel like and how to cope, and you can read some of the research I've done too.  The Resources section will tell you about the various kinds of help you can access on the Web, in the library, on video, and in your area. Finally, the Youth Haven has a collection of things in it to make you feel better about yourself, including a Certificate of Achievement I'd like you to have.

No one can do this alone - whether you are a "normie", have tics, obsessions, impulsivity, sensory sensitivities, rage, learning disabilities, or a hangnail, no one can make it without support in life.  It's not only ok to vent, it's completely understandable if you're angry, depressed, or frightened. ANYONE in your position would feel all of these things. Anyone. No exceptions. People that say they wouldn't be don't understand the whole picture of what you're going through.

Use this site when you want or need to use it - I'll be here. And one day maybe you'll wake up and actually find yourself feeling GLAD you have a difference, because you like yourself and your difference is part of what makes you the great person you are.  Always remember that you are worth it.  Don't give up on yourself, my friend, because people care about you.  I am rooting for you.

Dr. Dunc.

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Last updated on March 25, 2022

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