I remember having tics since I was in the 5th grade. Since then, there are times where it will come and go. I was always afraid to see a doctor about it because I thought I could simply hide it. It was difficult as a kid knowing you weren't normal like your friends and what made it worse was not knowing what was wrong with you. It wasn't until high school when a friend noticed my motor tics and told me I may have Tourette's Syndrome.
So I finally had a name for the nameless plague that had consumed me for so long. At the same time, I was trying to decide what I wanted to do in life and which college to attend. It never occurred to me how my condition would affect my occupation. When I began working with children at a summer camp, I realized it could be a problem. Children notice things right away, and they have no filter when it comes to asking someone about a visible problem. With adults, most will ignore it and wouldn't want to bring up something that's obviously personal.
"Why do you do that?" was the question I had been asked the most by children, no matter where I went and who the students were, that was a dreaded question that followed me everywhere. The quickest way I dodged the question was to turn the focus elsewhere or ignore it completely. Looking back, I think I would have handled it differently. I should have simply told them what I had, explained what it was, and answer any other questions they may have had. The only time I had explained to a student was during summer camp where one 6th grader kept asking why I was always shaking my hands. After several inquiries, I finally stepped outside the classroom with him and explained what it was. Luckily, he was very understanding and when others would ask or whisper something to another about my tics, he would kind of step up and defend me. I really appreciated it.
My family always knew something was up. I think they went by the theory that if they ignored it, the problem will eventually go away. At some point, my brother realized that the problem would not go away and addressed it. The most frustrating thing I dealt with was the fact that someone would think I had control over my motor and vocal tics and I was only doing it to annoy them. No matter how hard I tried to suppress tics, it always found a way to release itself. During the discussion with my brother, I told him that I couldn't control the tic and why I didn't see a doctor about it. My reasoning was that there was no cure for it. We agreed to finally see a doctor.
When I finally admitted that there was a problem and went to the doctor, I was prescribed medication to suppress the tics. At first, it did the job. But there were side effects that came along with the medication. The first medication made me very lethargic and eventually made me depressed. My neurologist's solution to this was to prescribe more medication and anti-depressants. This was about the same time I began subbing for P.S. 244 in 2010. The side effects were still prevalent. My performance sucked and my passion for teaching diminished.
There were times where I considered doing something else in life because I felt that my condition would not allow me to be an effective teacher. I decided to get off the medication. My mood changed quickly but my tics were aggressive again. So, I went back to my neurologist to get prescribed different pills. The medication suppressed the tics but still made me lethargic. The biggest difference this time around was my mood. The depression was gone and I began to enjoy working with children again.
During the school year at that time, I think I finally began to show what I could bring to TALES as a teacher. My performance was way better than the previous year and my confidence was very high. I submitted my resume and cover letter. The principal met with me about the content within my letter and I explained to him my situation. I thought I had prepared myself to be ready to discuss my condition, but no matter how much I thought I was ready, I always end up being overwhelmed with emotions. I was give then opportunity to do a demo lesson the next day and it was successful.
Going into my first year, I asked the principal for advice about how I should approach parents about my condition. I was told to not bring it up at all. So far, it's been working out. During the first three months of my first year, I had been experimenting with the dosages of my medication. I was trying to find a medium where I would be able to function during the day without being tired and have my tics under control. In December, I decided that the side effects were not worth the benefits and stopped taking the medication completely. At first, I looked for natural substances to help with my Tourette's. It worked at first but the tics came back. It always does.
Currently, I'm not taking anything for my condition. My view of life has been much more positive than before. The tics still exist but it doesn't consume or control me. I am much happier now and my positive perspective has helped maintain my Tourette's. Parents haven't really noticed anything abnormal. There are times where my tics have gotten bad during work, but the great thing about pre-kindergarten children is the fact that they don't take much notice to them.