One of the things that’s been on my mind recently is getting more vulnerable, open, and raw about what it is like to live with Tourette Syndrome. For years, I was embarrassed by the twitches and vocalizations that drew unwanted attention my way. It took me well into my mid to upper-thirties until I was willing to discuss the neurological condition that I have lived with my entire life.
I’m still jotting down ideas and outlining how I want to share my thoughts, but I’ve decided that now is the time to start sharing…even if I don’t have it completely figured out.
I hope that by sharing my insights as someone who has lived with Tourette Syndrome for over forty years, other people living with Tourette’s or dealing with any challenge that feels “impossible” to overcome, can find hope, inspiration, and comfort knowing they are not alone.
Please know this, if you are frustrated, scared, depressed, or feel paralyzed by your current situation, I stand firmly with you as someone who has “been there.”
I’ve decided that my first few posts on this topic will be sharing excerpts from my book “You Can Do the Impossible, Too!”
(From pages 1-3 of “You Can Do the Impossible, Too!”)
As far back as I can remember, I have held certain societal norms in contempt. I’ve never really understood why a group of people in positions of power could make a set of rules that other people were then expected to follow.
I’ve never understood why another group of people would willingly subject themselves to certain behaviors and actions just so they would fit in with everyone else. Without trying to be overly offensive, it seems to me as if there are far too many sheep in the world who aren’t willing to stand up against ridiculous rules, societal norms, and people who want to control everyone else.
Of course, given the tics and twitches of Tourette’s Syndrome that make it all but impossible for me to easily blend into the crowd, it may be understandable that I have a deep disdain when it comes to rules and norms that don’t seem to serve a purpose, other than to make my life more difficult.
Let me share an example with you. I was recently at a networking meeting with a group of business people. The speaker that day was talking about personal fashion and clothing choices for professionals.
The speaker reached a certain point in her presentation where she pointed out certain clothing choices that didn’t fit in at business functions. She then decided to point out the fact that I was wearing a “t-shirt” at a networking event and how it was inappropriate.
I stood in shock as everyone in the room looked at me, the offending party. After the presentation was over, several people even had the gall to come up and poke fun at me for wearing something the speaker deemed “inappropriate.”
I was furious. I even seriously considered putting the speaker “in her place.” I opted for grace, decided against it, and kept my mouth shut. Little did the speaker, or anyone else in the room, know why I was wearing a shirt without a collar with a pair of slacks. Just for the record, the shirt I was wearing was not a “t-shirt.” It was an appropriate, golf-style, uncollared shirt.
The reason I wasn’t wearing “business attire” to the event is the same reason that my wardrobe is full of nice shirts without collars. It’s because, when I wear a shirt, a tie, or anything that touches my neck, the tics of my Tourette’s Syndrome fire off like crazy.
I know it sounds bizarre, but having anything touching my neck makes me twitch severely and uncontrollably. My “neck tics” get so out of control that I am unable to concentrate on anything, become exhausted quickly, and am extremely uncomfortable.
On the rare occasions when I do wear a collared shirt, tie, or suit for a formal occasion, I can’t shed that clothing fast enough when the event is over. I’ve even been known to carry a bag of extra, comfortable clothing with me so I can change clothes in the bathroom at the event, as soon as possible.
The way I see it, when you have Tourette’s Syndrome, and you get made fun of because of the weird movements or vocalizations that you unconsciously make, you can either pull back into your shell and feel like a victim when people bully and alienate you, or you can put on your armor, stand up against the negativity, and live boldly and fearlessly.
To continue reading the story, click here for the next book excerpt. Until we meet in person, live boldly and fearlessly, my friends.
Above Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels
Get the First Five Chapters of My Book FREE!
Growing up with Tourette Syndrome was hard - very hard, but I learned that it wasn’t impossible. If you (or someone you love) has Tourette Syndrome, or another challenge that feels “impossible” to live with, and you need a shot of inspiration - enjoy the first five chapters of my book absolutely free by providing your name and email below.