Life with TS This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

July 4, 2008
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People stare when I walk by. I ­pretend not to notice. It’s not their fault; they don’t know I can’t stop. Can’t stop ticcing.

When I was 11 years old, 16 letters changed the way I live my life forever: Tourette syndrome. Now, four years later, I am still suffering from that fateful diagnosis. Tourette syndrome, or as I fondly call it, TS, is a neurological disorder that affects the brain. It causes a person to have tics, which are uncontrollable vocal sounds or motor movements. I have both.

When I was 12, I would bang my knees together when I walked, creating bruises. Yet I couldn’t stop. This went on for months and then my tics changed. That’s another thing; the tics can suddenly go away or appear when you least expect them.

I clear my throat and sniff uncontrollably. I make vocal sounds that cause people to turn in the hallways and look at me. I also have tics that only affect me at certain ­moments. Scooting in a chair, closing a book, or even setting down a cup can turn into a battle of will as I fight TS to get it just right.

A tic is like a mosquito bite. You don’t want to scratch it because it will get worse, but eventually you give in, and it feels so good you don’t want to stop. Only there’s no anti-itch ointment for TS; you have to live with it.

I take pills three times a day to help, but TS has no cure. My family loves and supports me, and I have great friends, but I still wonder what it would feel like to be normal – not to have to fight to be normal. I have learned to accept life with TS, and I am even a little proud of it. I know God gave it to me for a reason: to educate others.

The most common misconception is that TS means you curse a lot. Uncontrollable cursing is called coprolalia and affects 15 percent of those with TS.

Nearly all of my friends accept my TS, but recently a friend asked, “Can’t you just stop?” It hurt me more than words can say. I had expected him to understand. I would love to stop if I could.

All I’m asking is that the next time you see people twitching or making weird noises, try to step in their shoes and understand how embarrassed they feel. I’m a straight A student, so having TS isn’t a mental handicap. My feelings can get hurt just like everyone else’s, maybe even more so.

I try to stand up and be tough most of the time, but inside I am crying. But I know I must be strong and show everyone that even though I’m different, I’m special too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 29 comments. Post your own now!

MarieAntoinette2012 said...
Oct. 30, 2012 at 11:36 am
I know one of the boys in my class has Tourettes. He's such a sweet kid!
MorenSore said...
Aug. 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm
speaking from one TS man to another. I totally understand and appreciate this article.  
kpopstar787 said...
Oct. 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm
I understand what you are going through. Stay strong be happy for who you are.
FreedomIsMyVirtue said...
Aug. 6, 2011 at 3:22 am
No need to worry, friend. Everyone is special. And you are one of the everyone! :))) Hope it gets better :)
jasmin143 said...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm
this is really good.
henna12rose said...
Mar. 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm
A friend of mine has TS too and I really want to show this article to him. This article is really inspiring and I love how strong you are
Bubbles99 said...
Feb. 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm
This is really well-written and you totally made the reader understand what it was like to have TS. I admire your courage and it sounds like you handle this really well. (:
TeenInk-is-good replied...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 10:13 am
I wish i could meet som1 wit terretz omg i would be there like best dreinds just s o i could like walk down the mall with them having them like screaming swearing and punchin people  hahahahaha we would be best friends
tinytechie replied...
Jul. 23, 2012 at 11:36 am
i find your comment rude. this diagnosis is not a reason to hurt people. if you cannot control it, that is one thing, like if you actually have it. what you want to do is different. you want to hurt people and use turrets as an excuse.
keepinitreal said...
Dec. 7, 2010 at 9:05 pm
wow. you really opened my eyes. great job!
AbstractHuman said...
Dec. 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm
This is an amazing article. I understand what you are going through. I have ts too. Mine is not extreme but I still have them. I think you are amazing for staying strong. I am only 12 so, knowing you have ts to is comforting.
Lilies said...
Oct. 24, 2010 at 4:50 pm
this is great! You really put the reader in your shoes.
BreBre:) said...
Apr. 9, 2010 at 1:40 pm
Things like that can be really hard to eal with. I do not know anybody with TS but my grandmother and uncle are blind and have to fight to get where they need to go and they have done pretty good at it so far. I know some mental people and I help them as much as I possibly can. I will help teach them about what we are learning in school and it does help them. I hate it when people say hurtful things to people who cannt help their condition. I feel as if I need to tell them they are a perfect fri... (more »)
i<3steven! said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 4:01 pm
this is not wat reel friends are like, you need to tell him that he is not a good friend for expecting that of you. i feel your pain
montana said...
Dec. 20, 2009 at 10:43 am
Wow. thx 4 sharing this. Don't worry true friends will be there 4 u. PS PLZ CHECK OUT MY WORK AND RATE IT. THX ALREADY.
*let it snow, white*
isaacp This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm
Hey, I have TS as well. Tics really screw up life, huh? i hate when people always say, "if you have tourettes, why dont you curse all the time?" rrgh :) thanks for sharing
Miss_Bliss said...
Nov. 28, 2009 at 7:59 am
This was beautifully written! I have a good friend who has TS, and before I knew what it was, his twitching drove me crazy. One day, like your friend, I turned to him and said something along the lines of, "do you have fidgeting disease or something?" When he told me what it really was, I felt horrible. Thank you for giving me this window into the life of someone with TS.
GypsyJewel said...
Nov. 28, 2009 at 4:08 am
GoodnightMySomeone said...
Nov. 6, 2009 at 11:04 am
I really liked your story! I have has TS for five years now. In 7th grade I couldn't stop tensing up and coughing, it was horrible. My teachers didn't understand, and thought I was doing it on purpose. Thank you for posting this, it made me feel better.
WishingToBeWanted replied...
Nov. 6, 2009 at 5:13 pm
Wow, what amazes me is that i never reallly knew how many people are affected by this syndrom or disorder, whichever you prefer. I feel for you--to not be in control would drive me to my limit. Amazing.
Ps-I like your screen name
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