A little more than a week ago, I participated in a Missouri TSA event called the teen panel. Basically, it was an event where we had 4 people (including me) who were teens and college students and we talked to the group of younger kids, parents and other teens about our lives with TS, our stories and what has helped and hasn’t helped along the way.
I was nervous because I hadn’t really done anything like this before, but the chair of the TSA really wanted me to do it since I’m a sophomore in college living life successfully and to it’s fullest with TS along for the ride.
I was extra nervous when I saw that the neurologist and postdoctoral fellow who I work with in the Tourette Syndrome lab at the medical school showed up to talk about a study. They are people who I really care about how they think of me and I was so nervous to talk about my TS and associated conditions openly with them in the audience.
They of course already knew about my TS, but I had never talked about it this openly with them around. I thought maybe it would effect how they think about me in the professional setting, but I went on with the panel of course and talked as openly as I could about my life with TS, OCD, Anxiety, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia.
Both the neurologist and the postdoctoral fellow have Tourette themselves, so I really don’t know what I was worrying so much about! They know what it’s like, they study TS and they have pretty much dedicated heir lives studying TS and treating patients with TS, so really by worrying so much I was being silly.
After the panel was over and we were done speaking, it was proved to me that truly I was worrying for no reason at all! The neurologist who I work with came up to me with the post-doc and gave me a thumbs up. He told me I did a great job and then he said to me, “If there was one person I would bet on to graduate from college and do something with their life, it would be you.”
This made my night beyond belief! To have someone who I look up to and admire so much say this to me was incredible. He is someone who is so successful, he has an MD and and PHD and he told me that he believes ME, even after I spoke openly about my TS and the struggles I have gone though with it.
And on top of all that, I was ticcing A LOT when I was speaking on the panel because I was so nervous. I was even doing my vocal tics and of course my motor tics. I think this was the most I’ve ticced around either of them, and regardless they still said I did a great job and still believe I can do great things.
That one comment has made a difference for me. It has given me more confidence recently and I feel like I’m important. Never underestimate the power of your own words! They have power beyond what you think, so choose your words carefully and don’t hesitate to tell people the things you appreciate about them.