In all walks of life there are many people who would have one conceal certain things about oneself in order to preserve some social fantasy that they keep in their head, some picture that they harbor of how people should and do view them. I have touched on this subject before, but my heart especially goes out to those who are made to feel ashamed of their disorder in one way or another.
This doesn’t just apply to those with Tourettes, but also those who have other medical issues that can be considered a social stigma. I’m not saying anyone has to broadcast their disorder or should be known by it, but, they should not have to feel as if they are an inconvenience.
I was blessed to be raised in a family who let me be myself with and without TS and was encouraged instead of put down. I was always told that I would be able to do wonderful things, not just in spite of, but also because I have TS. I would be able to relate to people in a way that not everyone else can and I would be able to see people in a different light, because I, myself, had been there. I have experienced my own share of negative encounters with people because of the simple (or not so simple) fact that I have TS — some of these I have shared with you.
You may argue that learning of a person’s disorder can change the way some people think about them or the way they treat them and you would be right. I have encountered such ignorance through my own eyes; but really, do I want to be close to and hang around people who think that way with such unwavering diligence?
When I have children someday there is a 50% chance that they will be born with Tourette Syndrome and/or one of the other co-morbid disorders that I have. Society will do the job of making one self-conscious, ashamed, embarrassed, etc. about one’s disabilities. Therefore, it has no place in the family.
To anyone out there with children who suffer from such things or perhaps they themselves do, I would say, your disorder does not define who you are, but it is an integral part of who you are. Learning how integrate your “TS self” and how to live harmoniously with it instead of constantly fighting it is vitally important not only for your own peace of mind and body, but so that you may also be an example to others.