For those of you who listen to one of our podcasts, you have probably heard us give Collin grief over his Tourette’s syndrome induced ticks. We’ve discussed this with him, and he knows that we love and accept him for who he is, and that our teasing is how we show that (odd as it may seem), but others haven’t always been so kind.
Last night, Collin posted the following on his personal Facebook page. I thought that it was important enough that I asked him if I could share it here.
I’m writing this to help raise awareness for Tourette’s syndrome and want to share my personal experiences to help others understand. Please read and then watch the video in the comments.
When I was six, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder that greatly effects motor and vocal skills. Only 10-15% suffer from swearing, most common ticks will be making loud noise or sudden movements of he body, it can be all of these or only a few. I went through very similar experiences just as this kid in the video had.
When I was in school, I would often pound my fists on my desk, shake or “flex” my arms and neck repeatedly, blow air out of the sides of my mouth, make little noises, or blink constantly (just to name a few). It was hard for other kids to understand and realize that I didn’t have control over my body and because of this I would be constantly made fun and bullied, not only by students, but by teachers as well. It was difficult to make friends who wouldn’t mock or make fun of me. It damaged my self-confidence and even to this day, I don’t always have confidence in myself or my abilities.
I remember one day in particular in Middle School where I was waiting in the lunch line, my tics were being annoying and out of nowhere, another student punched me in the gut. Two girls who I had gone through elementary school with and heard me give a speech on my Tourette’s stood up for me, made sure I was okay and waited with me while I cried from the pain and humiliation. But this was one of the first time that I felt someone other than family really cared for me, even if they didn’t know me that well. It meant a lot to me, to the point where I could never find the words to truly thank them.
I’m one of the lucky few where it sometimes becomes less noticeable, but when stress or uncomfortable situations arise, my tics worsen. For most it’s not that easy, it’s consistent and some can barely even rest their body, some feel they can’t go into public because others will stare and judge them. But it’s not right, it takes a toll a person mentally and it doesn’t allow them to be themselves.
Remember, we’re all the same on the inside. We want to feel loved and appreciated. I was lucky to find such an amazing woman that looked pass those minor things, she’s seen me at my worst and at my best and I couldn’t be more thankful to the Lord for blessing me with her.
Don’t judge a person for what happens on the outside, love a person for what’s in the inside.
Well said, Collin. Thank you for sharing your experience, and for allowing us to share it with the world.
And for those interested, here is the video he refers to.