Saturday, December 15, 2012

Life with Tourettes in the Theatre Chapter 2

Last week I started a journey on talking about my life with Tourettes Syndrome. It's a neurological disorder that I've lived with most of my life. I started sharing about the struggles I've had after learning that my story was touching some of the readers out there and being of some help to people. So this week I continue remembering some of the memories I still hold most dear.

Chapter 2: Someone that believed me.

It was in therapy with my psychologist (I'm going to call her by her fake name, Ms. Rose) I found a miniature heaven. She was an angel. To a nine year old that has only had friends abuse him and family members ignore him Ms. Rose was an adult that won my heart. But I would have fell in love with anyone who would have showed me as much attention as she did to me.

I was a mess from the moment she first met my grandmother and I in the waiting room. My grandmother explained my symptoms to her and then Ms. Rose turned to me. I had been making this noise (it's called a vocal tic) for the entire time but when Ms. Rose turned to me, she looked at me expectantly, wanting to make me do the noise. But I couldn't. I don't know whether it was stage fright or what but every time someone looked at me and wanted me to do the noise I couldn't. That was the point where they would snort at me and never believe that I couldn't help it.

So at this point I'm feeling low. I wanted Ms. Rose to hear it and be able to help me out. She had one of those kind faces that made me want to tell her everything. But Ms. Rose just looked at me with a kind smile and held out her hand. We took it and she led me to her office. An office with action figures on the shelves, a sandbox in the room, and a ton of crayons and paper. When I sat down she didn't ask a lot of questions about a disease, or a neurological disorder. She told me that would be handled by a friend she had down the hall, a neurologist.  She first wanted to ask me how I was doing.

And that's all we did that first meeting. She asked me about my home life, my family, my friends, but mainly about me. We talked about what I liked, everything about me while she gave me the warmest of all smiles. When I talked about something sad her face would scrunch up and look concerned.

As it was time for me to leave I had realized that from the few stray tics my Tourettes had decided to not make an appearance. I looked at her as she led me to the door and said, "I really can't help it, you know." Ms. Rose smiled widely at me and said, "I know, we'll figure it out."

Ms. Rose and I would have several such conversations in her office for the next year or so. By that time I was diagnosed with Tourettes and was given a course of treatment for the symptoms. Tourettes doesn't have a cure...yet. I was told that I was going to have to live with this for the rest of my life and while the different neurologists gave some different therapies and treatments to deal with the symptoms. Ms. Rose gave me the tools to deal with life. She never sugar coated anything and she helped me deal with a lot of the baggage that I had.

But what helped me a lot more was the fact that she, besides my grandmother, was the first person to believe me. I don't think I could have ever made it if it weren't for people like her who were willing to look past all of the trash going on in my life and see a scared kid that had no idea why his body wasn't working with him. Sometimes I miss her, but I'll never forget her.

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