What is it like to live with Tourette’s Syndrome?

Grace Jones

What is Tourette’s Syndrome?
Tourette’s Syndrome is a condition of the nervous system. TS causes people to have “tics.”
Tics are sudden twitches, movements or sounds that people repeatedly do. People who have tics cannot stop their bodies from doing these actions. For example, a person might keep blinking over and over again or might make a grunting sound unwillingly.

Having tics is a little bit like having hiccups. Even though you might not want to hiccup, your body does it anyway. Sometimes people can stop themselves from doing a particular tic for a while, but it’s hard. Eventually, the person has to do the tic. It is inevitable.

Types of Tics:
Motor Tics- Motor tics are movements of the body. Examples of motor tics include blinking, shrugging the shoulder or jerking an arm.

Vocal Tics- Vocal tics are sounds that a person makes with their voice. Examples of vocal tics include humming, clearing the throat or yelling out a word/phrase.

Tics can be either simple or complex:
Simple Tics- Simple tics involve just a few parts of the body. Examples of simple tics include squinting the eyes or sniffing.

Complex Tics- Complex tics usually involve several different parts of the body and can have a pattern. An example of a complex tic is bobbing the head while jerking an arm and then jumping up.

What is it like to live with Tourette’s?
Tourette’s is not as bad as it is often made out to be. The worst part about it is honestly how people react to you. According to one student, a really frustrating thing is when people stare at you or “ask stupid questions.” People who have Tourette’s are often asked about why they cannot make it stop or are asked about their medication because people think that medication completely eradicates Tourette’s.

I have learned to just go with it and have patience with myself and others. However, it can be tough to remain patient when people stare and whisper about you. Sometimes you cannot make your body do what you want it to, no matter how hard you try. The thing that irritates all people with Tourette’s is when people try to trigger their tics or give them more tics because they think it is cute or funny. As an anonymous student says, “I really appreciate the people that laugh with me and not at me.”