Guest blog: “I swear it isn’t true”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was shared by Tourettes Action on its Facebook page. It originally comes from the blog of guest blogger Adrian.

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For nearly three years I’ve written a blog about running and mental health, and in particularly the impact of exercise on mental health, and vice versa. I’ve gone from a non-runner seeing everyone else do it, to a seasoned marathon runner, who alas is still beaten by the unprepared drunk smoker.

I’ve raced alongside men and women of every height, shape, size and disability and have had every sense of ego beaten out of me. More importantly, I hope my blogs have opened up a discussion about mental health, which still leaves millions suffering in silence due to the stigma attached, and the lack of government support for what is a huge problem in the UK and globally.

Through running, sales and various other events online and offline, I’ve managed to raise around £5000 for Mind and it is without doubt the best thing I’ve done, except perhaps for inventing the Snickers bagel.

However, I feel the need to apologise. I’ve written in depth of my own story, usually trying to use humour to keep people reading, thinking and supporting the cause. I’ve admitted my own battles with depression which have taken over much of my life, and which I’m aware will always be there.

Sometimes it’s the only way I see my life ending, but then something comes along and gives you hope. It does always get better, we all hang on to that fact, but battling year after year can take its toll on anyone. All any of us can do is keep talking, listening, trying to understand and realising that whatever problem someone has, physical, mental or just a difficult time in life, we’re all here together.

So why am I apologising? Well, I’ve held back a lot in what I’ve wanted to write about. I don’t just suffer from depression although it’s been a huge part of my life. I find that easier to write about because it impacts more people and helps more people relate, Mind is big enough charity to make real positive change and needs our help. I wanted to fight stigma, and it remains slightly cool because Stephen Fry has it. I’m half joking.

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Yet I have Tourette Syndrome. I hate the words. The sound of them, the sight of them, even grammatically, is it Tourette’s Syndrome? I suggest so given it’s named after someone called Tourette. Why couldn’t he have been called Gilles de la Awesome. I’ve got awesome syndrome. Or as the public seem to know it, hilarious swearing disease.

The butt of many jokes in TV and films, always the same with someone swearing inappropriately at a person or quiet location. I’m yet to see a genuinely funny Tourette’s joke. Perhaps that’s my main problem with it. I’m more offended as a comedy fanboy than I am as a Tourette’s sufferer. I once mocked someone drunkenly walking into a lamppost and several seconds later twitched myself into the same lamppost and fell over. Tourettic retribution.

The public perception has meant many people would have no idea I have it, some might not believe me now, some haven’t in the past. Sometimes I’ll be controlling it very well, maybe for months, but it is very much still there. More of you will of course be thinking, yeah, we knew all that you twitchy freak. And I have no problem with that.

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Tim Howard’s book “The Keeper” is now available!

Here’s are two excerpts from Tim Howard’s new book, “The Keeper,” which came out yesterday, December 9. The first is from the chapter called “Like Coming Home” and talks about arriving at Everton Football Club:

“At the start of the ’06-’07 season, I step out onto the field at Goodison Park, where Everton plays. It’s the derby with Liverpool, the hometown rivals. I love the feel of the place — the rickety old stadium, as historic and un-corporate as they come. I love the fans, their pure, passionate, and deafeningly loud dedication to the team. I love the fact that the team has taken a chance on me, that they’ve pulled me out of a dark place. Standing there on the field, about to play Liverpool, all I want to do is play my heart out. I’ve come home.”

This one is from an early chapter called “Goals That Matter”, when Howard first learned that he had Tourette Syndrome & OCD:

“I struggle in school — I’m hyperactive, and I have trouble sitting in my seat. My mother, aware of my desperate need to move, to run, signs me up for soccer by age 6. I fall in love with the game. I love the fluid back-and-forth, the challenge of playing a game using only one’s feet. By age 11, I begin to show strange behaviors; I touch things compulsively. I become obsessed with picking up random items for no logical reason. Then I develop tics — twitches and jerks that I can’t control no matter how hard I try. Mom and I learn that I have Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The doctor tells my mom that often, these conditions have a “flip side,” and he’s seen cases where kids have special gifts. It is only on the sports fields that I feel relief, so I focus on my athletic skills exclusively….obsessively.”

You can read much more about Tim Howard, who is a Board Member of the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) here:

The real query is: Are you good enough?

Last Sunday I had a talk with a friend of mine who was asking about my book. Specifically, she wanted to know why I wasn’t jumping out of bed every day and sending my query to all the best agents in town.

For those of you who aren’t writers, queries are one page summaries of your story. It’s your show piece that not only shows your voice, but shows your platform. What else have you written? How many followers do you have? Why are YOU the ONLY person to write this book?

Honestly, the above paragraph makes me want to tear my eyes out. It’s exhausting to even describe a query, let alone write it.

While I found my friend’s utter aplomb at my lack of query writing to be flattering, I also found it highly annoying. After all, does she have any idea what my year has looked like? Well, of COURSE she does. I’ve been telling her about it in excruciating detail day after day. I could complain (and I did — quite vociferously) about how “I’m only human! I only have so much time in a day! I can’t work and take care of kids and dogs and renters and husbands AND get a query done FOR DUCK SAKE!”

And while this is very true, I had to come to terms with a stronger truth inside of me. The truth was not that I didn’t think my book was good enough. The truth was that I was afraid that other people — big people — the agents and decision makers – wouldn’t think my book was good enough.

And to get even more real, I had subconsciously been living with a more tragic tape running through my brain: “They won’t find it brilliant because they won’t even take the time to read it.”

I pretty much said that out loud to her. “I don’t really think anyone is going to read it. What’s the point?”

She looked at me, hard. She had pity in her eyes and she didn’t hide it. “That’s sad,” was all she could muster.

Five days later, I have a ton more insight as to how that tape got into my stupid brain. I’ll share it with you in my next post. I will do so less to be a narcissist and more to get you thinking about the messed up script you’ve been reading for far too long.

But first, I share with you this.

One big agent.

One strong, juicy, hairy query.

wendy sherman

 

Two more followed.

Have I heard anything? Not a darn thing. But do I care? No way. I am so proud of myself for trying all the anxiety and panic is lifted. I am starting fresh. Heck, yes.

What is your passion, mamas?

As I write this post, my nose is dripping in goo. My son is upstairs reading the fourth book of the Harry Potter series. My daughter is selling “cootie catchers” (these paper crafts that tell the future) on the corner with her friend Miss L.

Regarding my nose, it is awful to be sick and working full-time. But hey, the bright side is that Pip made me a pot of coffee before bounding out the house and Stink brought me water. My husband brought me two biscottsi and this laptop. My living room is clean and the birds are chirping! Plus two days a week I work from home. I am pretty darn lucky.

Regarding my son and his books, I’m thrilled he likes them so much. Library day is still one of his favorite exursions. I was going to write you that when he reads he doesn’t tic, but he just let out a loudish kind of exhale. I am not a fan, but he’s happy, so I must be, too. (It’s not crazy relentless unless he’s playing videos. Will I not let him play videos? No. Two hours/day on weekends is fine.)

I’m not going to fix those noises today, so I’m going to fix my mind toward gratitude. (Go ahead, slap me. I’m annoying as hell sometimes with my PollyAnna diatribe. But you should try moving toward this if you’re in a funk. If you don’t like being grateful, you can always restore yourself back to your misery.)

Regarding my daughter selling cootie catchers on street corners, Miss L’s mom is with them. And seriously, that kid makes cash — about 10 bucks each time drags the cart out and sets up shop. “Mommy, being a kid is great!” she says. “People give us stuff just because they think we are cute!”

There’s a fine line between cute 9-year-old and curvy pre-tween, so let’s just say her cootie catcher street corner days will be over soon. But guess who else isn’t going to be young forever? Yup, none other than my Stink. He’ll be 12 in January. I might not miss the tics when they finally go into remission in his late teens, but I’ll sure miss his spirit. He is pure joy and outrageous fun.

I write this because my job right now is not easy. I’m doing all this tech stuff I’m not a fan of. I commute a LONG way. I’m tired. But the deal is, it’s where I need to be right now while my husband grows his business. It’s teaching me that no one has died from a difficult employment gig. And, well, I don’t want to miss out on my kids’ childhoods because I was so caught up in what wasn’t working: tics, job stress, life changes at home.

Summer is coming. What will I be doing? Beach Fridays with the kids when I get out of work at 2. Long days at the local public pool. A camping excursion with the hubby and babies where we’ll over eat, over hike, get filthy dirty and enjoy some laughs.

Oh, and I’m going to write. Yup, I’m getting my portfolio up online and going to get back freelance writing again. If my book sells, great. If it doesn’t, I can still do the writing. Why? Because when I don’t, I feel cranky and tired and suddenly the tics are SO MUCH BIGGER than they need to be. My husband is SO MUCH MORE ANNOYING and my daughter is WAAAAY TOO DEMANDING. Writing gives me hope, and hope trumps crap every single time.

What about you? What do you do for a living? Do you work raising babies or work in an office? What is your passion? And the bigger question, are you pursuing it? I want to know. Leave a comment and let me know how I can encourage you.

Time for a blog hop

I bring this long fast to an end to talk about something dear to my heart. No, not tics! Writing!

Not only did I just finish a second rewrite of my book where it’s actually being considered by some pretty decent agencies (Squeeeeeel!) but a lovely writer named Lorraine Devon Wilke asked me to participate in her Blog Hop.

What is this Blog Hop, you ask?

A Blog Hop is where a writer refers her followers back to other fabulous voices in the online community. I’m a big fan of supporting other writers, especially women, so I said ‘Yes’ to the opportunity to play.

To start with, let me give some love back to Lorraine!

Lorraine Devon Wilke is a creative hyphenate currently enjoying her three-ring circus of writing, photography, and music. She’s a longtime HuffingtonPost contributor, a successful screenwriter, and a widely published essayist; she curates her fine art photography site, as well as her personal blog at Rock+Paper+Music, and her original CD, Somewhere On the Way, can be found at CDBaby.com and ITunes. But her latest “big adventure” is the launch of her first novel, After the Sucker Punchat Amazon … stop in for a copy! Check www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for links and information, www.AfterTheSuckerPunch.com for updates and links for her book, and stop by her blog at www.rockpapermusic.com for her own answers to these questions!

Secondly, here are a few questions I was asked to answer. I will ask the same of two other writers I bring into this:

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