This is in regards to your Top Ten list appearing in the Nov. 25th edition
of the Silhouette. Your "number two" (pun intended) symptom
of C.I.S.S. involved a somewhat poor-tasting comment on "Tourette's
Syndrome" (The spelling has been corrected). I can't say that
the humour enthralled me.
I am a 2nd year Honours Psychology student, I am (hopefully!) on my
way to my second Dean's Honour List mention, I am actively involved
in the SWHAT, IRC, and on-campus daycare....and I manifest a fairly
evident case of Tourette's Syndrome. However, I don't believe
this solitary fact entitles either myself, nor others afflicted, to
Please do not misinterpret my intentions; I don't mean to imply
that you are conspiring to degrade this condition. I simply wish to
bring to attention that, irrelevant to general disposition, Tourette's
can be a very tender subject for those 'blessed' with it.
It is also not my intention to undermine other disorders when I say
that this syndrome is, unfortunately, among a minority in its poor recognition,
and intrinsic capacity to remain continually "in your face".
To illustrate, let us imagine one struck with a particularly extreme
case of poison ivy. This hypothetical individual consciously acknowledges
the deleterious effects itching will engender; while perpetuating the
desire, one also risks worsening the condition.
let us further envision our someone in a formal situation, perhaps a
banquet. Acute awareness of the above factors, coupled with the obvious
repercussions that chronically scratching oneself in public (especially
in certain areas!) would deliver, encourages frantic emphasis on restraint.
Inevitably, the increasing resource demand necessary to fuel this facade
of conformity will exceed ability. Not surprisingly, the more (s)he
concentrates on not scratching, the worse the desire becomes. His entire
focus is inexorably wrenched into this solitary hell, necessitating
the suffering of his overt conduct through his plight - sweat beads
on his brow, and clenched teeth may be the sole testament to this catastrophic
inner war as the itch accumulates, culminates, and eventually screams
at him for attention. Finally, with an inward sense of disgust, and
not a small amount of chagrin, he relents in futility, vigorously placates
the itch, and berates himself for his lack of control. That's Tourette's.
My personal demons include head shaking, winking, and snorting. Less
overt, though not less in severity, are my depressions, mood swings,
emotional hypersensitivities, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I'll
take this opportunity to formally apologize to any that I have ever
startled, embarrassed, or blown concentration for during a lecture or
test. From a pragmatic stance, realize that pure numerical enormity
inhibits my explaining to each passerby and lecture attendee why I act
strangely; I am not ignorant to the moronic impression I may foster.
However, believe and trust me beyond any measure of dubiosity when I
submit that no one hates it more than I do.
Despite my feelings, I have had to accept that this thing is integral
to who I am; upon some deliberation, I was astounded to discover that
many of my stronger points find their roots in the Gts (Tourette's)
gene as well. Following from this reasoning, if I am ever going to believe
that I am O.K., I must acquiesce to, and even defend, Tourette's.
Aside from it, I am no different than anyone else, and I like to think
that on the whole I handle it satisfactorily. If you are curious about
the syndrome, or simply sit near me in class and wish to alleviate a
bit of tension, you may be rest assured that talking of it (or myself)
ad nauseam is most certainly not one of my shortcomings.
I think that I've taken enough of your space. My deepest appreciations
for printing this. Please remember that shaking my head doesn't
supersede my having one.
typed 1993: Edited February 1995.
this is a good 'first stab' at self-advocacy, certainly my unacceptance
of both the disorder and myself at this time in my life is still very
apparent. I'm glad I hung on to pieces like this though -- it reminds
me of the ground I've traversed, and helps others to see that we've
all been there in terms of not liking ourselves very much.