I would like to take this opportunity to give you an insight into Tourette's
Syndrome, but more importantly, I want to tell you my story and give
you hope. Tourette's Syndrome is a scary thing; it is for me too. I
know the feeling when the going gets rough. I, like others, have days
where I wonder if I can go on. Although TS may seem bigger than me,
I have found the answer to control Tourette's Syndrome in my own body!
To understand how I accomplished this, listen to my story...
I was devastated when diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome over three
years ago. I was a junior in high school, I had many friends, and was
quite popular; up until that point, my life was trouble-free. I always
had certain 'habits' my entire life, but thinking they were nervous
habits or something trivial, my family and I didn't pursue them. As
a boy I would sometimes clear my throat often or feel that if I touched
something with my right hand, I would have to touch it with my left
in order to "make it even." My parents and I finally made
the decision to seek medical attention when in my junior year I developed
an almost always-occurring habit of blinking my eyes. I underwent many
tests and examinations, and finally was referred to a neurologist. After
several visits, he concluded I had a mild condition of Tourette's Syndrome.
I really couldn't believe what I was hearing, but at the same time,
I realized that I always knew something was wrong. It was a huge blow
to my ego and I for the first time ever, I felt out of control.
Tourette's Syndrome is very scary. I'm sure you, the reader, will agree
that is very disheartening to not be able to control your own body at
certain times. The following weeks after my diagnosis, I was scared,
insecure, and downright angry that I had to deal with a condition I
had no control over. I noticed myself 'ticking' more than I ever had
before, and my friends were even concerned. It was a terrible time;
I thought it would never end.
So what got me through those hard times you may ask? The answer is simple:
love and self determination. My family embraced my condition and did
everything in their power to find treatment (although there is none).
They never stared or never brought attention to my condition, and as
time went on, I began to feel more and more comfortable. I also made
a promise to myself that I would conquer Tourette's Syndrome on my own....it
would not hold me back from what I wanted so badly.
There's a story that I recently learned about in a book titled "The
Lost Art of Healing." This book describes the phenomena of patients
entering a hospital, knowing and expecting the worst to happen, so they
never get better only because they believe they can't. In the 1800s,
there was an experiment performed on a death-row inmate, who was scheduled
to be hung. A curious doctor offered the prisoner a chance to change
his destiny: he told the prisoner he was willing to drain his body of
all blood, causing a slow, yet pain-free death, or he could be hung
and have a fast, yet painful death. The prisoner chose to have the doctor
to remove his blood. What happened next was incredible. The doctor blindfolded
the inmate and laid him on a table. He made several punctures in the
prisoner to give the impression he was draining his blood, but instead,
the doctor drained water into basins to sound like blood being drained
out of the body. The doctor first drained the water very rapidly and
slowly reduced the amount until almost no water was left. The prisoner,
not having lost a single drop of blood, died. In his mind, he expected
the worst, and ultimately, his mind convinced him he was dying, and
eventually killed him....for reason other than his own. This story fascinates
me because I am a firm believe in 'mind over matter.' In fact, I hope
to practice this when I become a doctor...you can treat illnesses without
medicine, using only hope, reassurance, and laughter.
If I could give you one piece of advice, I would say to persevere and
not give up hope. Tourette's Syndrome is incredibly stressful and embarrassing,
but I can guarantee that if you accept your condition and sets your
sights on a goal, everything will be fine! For those of you with a loved
one who endures TS, the best thing you can do is to keep loving that
person as you always have. You don't have to point out their ticks or
make comments; I promise you they already know. Love them more than
ever before and let he or she know no matter what, they will be fine,
and you will always be there for them. And for those with TS like me,
keep pushing ahead. Life is a series of struggles, but each struggle
you make it through, you become even stronger, which makes every new
struggle easier. Work hard for what you want, and don't let Tourette's
Syndrome affect your life. Think and pray everyday that you will overcome
it, even hate it. If you do, you eventually learn to control TS and
you will even reach a point where it doesn't affect you at all.
How's my story end (to this point?) I was accepted into the nation's
top Neuroscience/Pre-medical program, and I am currently studying to
enter medical school. My family still supports me, my girlfriend has
embraced my TS and loves me unconditionally, and I have actually almost
completely freed myself from Tourette's Syndrome. I do get a tick every
so often, but I close my eyes and concentrate on my goals, and shortly
thereafter, TS leaves my body.
I sincerely hope everyone who reads these words will succeed in all
they set out to do! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and
someday I hope you realize your potential, and in turn, beat Tourette's
Syndrome. If you wish, friend, I would love to learn more about you...maybe
I can offer even better advice! If you get the chance, you should read
"Anatomy of an Illness" by Norman Cousins. It doesn't directly
discuss TS, but the principle behind the book may be the key to understanding
how to overcome the disorder.
Good luck and God bless! Thank you for caring enough for someone to
read my thoughts! Take care of yourselves....
"Find strength in each other, courage in yourself, and hope in