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



Dear Dr. McKinlay, While my tics are not as pronounced as yours or many others are, they are there. I did not realize until just a few years ago that I even had Tourettes. That diagnosis when I was a child would have made my life a lot more pleasant. I had been ridiculed as a child in school, felt like an outcast for most of my life, and had been admonished by my parents to "quit the ridiculous 'habits' " that I went through growing up. I had bad facial tics all through elementary school (my brother did too). Mine faded away for the most part, but were replaced by a tic in my neck.(my brother still has significant facial tics, counting, and other issues) I do, however have the facial tics back when I get scared or really nervous, but for the most part the neck tic is what acts up the most.The worst part for me is the emotional and social difficulties that came along with it. I fight with those every day.

I am 41 now, and about 3 years ago was reading an Ann Landers column in the paper that had a letter from the Tourette Syndrome Foundation. It spoke of how most people don't realize that there can be mild forms of Tourettes and went on to explain the signs. It floored me. I read with intense fascination as they described my brother and I to a T. I then agonized for 2 weeks over how to "break it to him" that we have TS. I managed to eventually work it into aonversation with him and he responded, "You didn't know?!". I said, "You did?!".

Since then I have done much reading on the subject and have never felt better about myself. I found a book about TS and human behavior and was glued to it. Every few pages there was another part of my personality being spelled out to me in someone elses words. It was amazing. I finally began to make sense to myself. (Does that sentence even make sense?!) I took a "test" at the end of the book that is used to help diagnose people, and was completely honest with all my answers. I was so stunned to find that I have ADD, and socialization and OC issues. I was stunned because I should have figured it out years ago, stunned because I suffered all my life with the questions, stunned because nobody ever diagnosed me before, stunned because for the first time in my life: I make sense, I have an explanation, I understand, I can adapt, and I accept. I have not had a Doctors diagnosis but don't feel a need to. It is so obvious to me that I don't feel it's an issue now.

One of the things I also learned from reading is that often people with TS are artistic, talented individuals. I have been into the arts my whole life and have always told people that I can't go for long periods of time without doing any of my crafts or painting or singing, because I begin to feel very uncomfortable and out of sorts and start to feel like I am losing control of myself. I said that it almost felt like a physical need, instead of a personal choice, although that made absolutely no sense to anyone. Now I understand that when I am singing or painting, I am finally, completely absorbed, engrossed and focused in one place. That is such a release for me and it truly IS a physical need for me. I read with much interest how some people find that medications for their tics dulls their creativity, etc. I understand that my talents are the good part of my TS and that I wouldn't trade them for the calmest of demeanors. It wouldn't be worth it.

The relief I feel now that I have a reason for my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is enormous. I can't stress enough how important it is for the word to get out there in the public eye. People need to see and hear about TS, and also about the milder symptoms so that the kids who are agonizing about their "oddness", that aren't ticking enough to be an easy diagnosis will finally be diagnosed or just see themselves in the words as I did and understand and learn to accept themselves.

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Last updated on January 3, 2018

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