Life with TS | Teen Ink

Life with TS MAG

July 4, 2008
By passerncaitlin BRONZE, Snohomish, Washington
passerncaitlin BRONZE, Snohomish, Washington
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

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.

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This article has 29 comments.

on Oct. 30 2012 at 11:36 am
MarieAntoinette2014 DIAMOND, Scottsburg, Indiana
54 articles 2 photos 237 comments

Favorite Quote:
Isn't it ironic? We ignore the ones who adore us, adore the ones who ignore us, love the ones who hurt us, and hurt the ones that love us.

I know one of the boys in my class has Tourettes. He's such a sweet kid!

on Aug. 11 2012 at 6:04 pm
MorenSore SILVER, Albuquerque, New Mexico
9 articles 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought."
~Lord Acton

speaking from one TS man to another. I totally understand and appreciate this article.  

on Jul. 23 2012 at 11:36 am
tinytechie SILVER, 34 Ridgewood St., Connecticut
7 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I've been singing since I was born" - Idina Menzel

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.

kpopstar787 said...
on Oct. 11 2011 at 7:41 pm
I understand what you are going through. Stay strong be happy for who you are.

on Aug. 6 2011 at 3:22 am
IAmWhoIWantToBe PLATINUM, Manila, Other
41 articles 0 photos 650 comments

Favorite Quote:
‎"I’m learning how to drown out the constant noise that is such an inseparable part of my life. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world: I run my world." - Beyoncé

No need to worry, friend. Everyone is special. And you are one of the everyone! :))) Hope it gets better :)

jasmin143 said...
on Jul. 15 2011 at 2:48 pm
this is really good.

on Mar. 5 2011 at 12:48 pm
HennaRose BRONZE, Visalia, California
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Some women have souls that beg to move to travel, to love, to be free. These women have gypsy soules

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

on Feb. 11 2011 at 10:13 am
TeenInk-is-good, Swampscott, Massachusetts
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
altho i fly thru the valley of death i shall fear no evil for i am 80,000 feet and climbing

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

on Feb. 3 2011 at 5:12 pm
nobodyanymore, Austin, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 15 comments
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. (:

on Dec. 7 2010 at 9:05 pm
keepinitreal BRONZE,
2 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
relax, throw your nikes up on the table, read a book, and let the haters hate.

wow. you really opened my eyes. great job!

on 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 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 24 2010 at 4:50 pm
Lilies BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Reach for the stars, even if you have to stand on a cactus."
- Susan Longacre

this is great! You really put the reader in your shoes.

Breluvsu GOLD said...
on Apr. 9 2010 at 1:40 pm
Breluvsu GOLD, LaFayette, Alabama
15 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live, Love, Laugh.

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 friend  like i do with my step sister. She has Spina Bifida. She cannot not walk at all and is a little slow. I do get ill with her sometimes because she always wants to be around my dad and take up mine and my younger  brothers time with him but i deal with it and never let it show. I do not want to hurt her. This article made me think about how lucky I am to h ave a normal life and it hurts me to see the peole around me that do not. God does have a reason for everything. We are all perfect in his eyes and he doesn't mak e junk so every one is beautiful and nothing is wrong with them in his eyes. Look on the positive side and things will only get better. Maybe not right away, but God will answer all your prayers.

i<3steven! said...
on Feb. 24 2010 at 4:03 pm
like the sig 2!

i<3steven! said...
on 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

on Dec. 20 2009 at 10:43 am
montana PLATINUM, Parker, Colorado
41 articles 2 photos 93 comments

Favorite Quote:
cliche quotes I have are.....
I know, right? and..... Are you kidding me?

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 BRONZE said...
on Dec. 8 2009 at 4:15 pm
isaacp BRONZE, New York, New York
1 article 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love is a verb and a noun as well; you find it in the dictionary under L. They give you a description and spell it out, but they don't say what it's all about."
-Aberfeldy from the song "Love is an Arrow"

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

on Nov. 28 2009 at 7:59 am
Miss_Bliss GOLD, Waban, Massachusetts
17 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."

-Thomas Edison

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.

on Nov. 28 2009 at 4:08 am
GypsyJewel BRONZE, Peoria, Arizona
4 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"love and be loved"


on 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