TOURETTES TAKEOVER- for Tourettes Syndrome awareness month.

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NAME: BETH GREENWOOD

AGE: 20

TOWN: West Yorkshire.

TICCING SINCE: late teens

WHEN WERE YOU DIAGNOSED?

I was diagnosed at 17 but suspected Tourette’s for about two year before. The signs had always been there. The constant coughing, loud sneezes when I didn’t need to sneeze and eye rolling where all there when I was young and my tics only became more frequent and with a larger variety from there. I’m surprised I didn’t suspect it sooner. After many, many appointments and tests I was told at one appointment I had a tic disorder. I later got a letter confirming it was Tourette Syndrome. 

HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN TOURETTES TO OTHER PEOPLE?

My brain sometimes acts up and makes me do movements and sounds I don’t choose to do – this is the explanation I use for the kids at work. For adults I usually just say I have Tourettes, it’s a tic, I can’t control it or something to that affect. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY TICS THAT ARE FUNNY OR GET YOU INTO TROUBLE?

Well, I have one that does both: One of my tics is that, I bark like a dog. Sometimes I think it’s funny and the timing can be comedic. Other times when I am walking around barking like a dog I can get the whole street of dogs I am walking on barking. This annoys the owners. Usually when I explain they apologise and understand but some do not understand and continue to rant at me, or worse they say they have Tourette’s ‘sometimes’. 

*I bet this can be quite comedic but also stressful- people are often pretty unaware of the realities of TS!

WHAT’S THE BEST TREATMENT – CLINICAL OR EMOTIONAL – THAT HAS HELPED WITH YOUR TIC DISORDER OR TOURETTES?

I’d like to say my tablets (aripiprazole and occasionally diazepam), but the best treatment I have found is cross stitch and sewing in general. It almost stops my tics and occasionally stops them completely. I think this is due to the amount of concentration it takes but also due to the relaxing manner of it. 

*I find tasks that make me concentrate help too!

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS OR FRIENDS OF TICCERS?

Yes for those with newly diagnosed ticcers it may not get better for them but it will get easier. By this I mean they develop coping mechanisms and it gets easier to explain about their tics each time as you/they develop a script. Also don’t react to each and every tic – it’s exhausting and you’ll get used to the ones that may make you jump though they’ll still sometimes catch you off guard. And last one don’t let other people’s ignorance get you down. It’s their problem not yours. 

THANKYOU SO MUCH FOR ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS FOR TOURETTES SYNDROME AWARENESS MONTH:)

Lauren xx

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