“And in those moments I don’t feel like a person.”

My experience recently at work (When I write “them,” I am referring to one person; however every “them” reference is not necessarily the same person):


Them: “Were you born like that?”


Them: “How do you answer the phones then?”

Me: “I can hold my tics in for up to a short period of time but it is really hard and stressful for my body.”


Them: “It must be tough to deal with.”

Me: “Yea and sometimes it’s physically painful, I snapped my back the other day.”

Them: “Wow.”

Them (five minutes later): “Wait, what do you mean you snapped your back? Sorry, I’m just curious.” Me (in my head): “Oh dear, why did I say I snapped my back when the last thing I want is for people to think I enjoy constantly explaining myself? I just really don’t want to think about the fact that I have Tourette’s and constantly talking about it is making me hyper aware of it.”

Me: “I have tics where I contract certain muscles and I contracted a muscle in my back really hard and I heard it make a loud cracking sound and I couldn’t move for ten minutes and I was in severe pain.”


“Them: it’s so funny how when I say something she repeats it it makes me laugh every time”

Me (in my head): “I wish they could just disregard my tics and treat me like they would treat any other person.”


Me: *cursing tic*

Them: *laughs* “Natalie’s awesome.”

Me (in my head): “That’s just a friendly and socially acceptable way of making fun of me.”


Them: “I’m gonna have to get used to that.”

“What?”

“That girl…what’s her name? Natalie?”

*chuckles* “Ohhh”

Me (in my head): “They clearly think I’m socially disabled because they’re talking about me as if I’m not there and I’m literally and visibly two feet away from them.”


Them: “I’m just gonna say the opposite of what you say! When you say fuck, Imma say shit.”

Me: “SAUCE!”

Them: “Pepper!”

Me (in my head): “I guess they thought I ticced ‘salt:’ This is so uncomfortable because now every time I have a tic I won’t be able to forget about it right away. It will be reacted to and therefore rubbed in my face.”


Me: *has a tic*

Them: *stops conversation entirely in to laugh.*

Me (in my head): “They really think I don’t notice when they stop in the middle of a sentence to laugh at me. I guess having a neurological disorder translates to other people as being socially unaware and socially handicapped.”


Them: “Someone asked if I was the worker with Tourette’s and I was like ‘no but I have other mental issues.’” *laughs*

Me: *laughs*

Me (in my head): “This isn’t actually funny and I don’t have a mental problem. I have a neurological disorder and the things I say out loud don’t have to do with what I am actually thinking…”


Me (in my head): “If I stand up for myself and say that it makes it easier when my tics are disregarded, they might laugh in my face or say I’m overreacting or being rude. Or it might feel really awkward after I say something because everyone will feel like it will become the elephant in the room (when people talk about my tics and react to them, it makes them feel like there is no elephant in the room). I want to forget that I have Tourette’s but I constantly owe explanations to people. I constantly have to deal with people laughing at me or talking about me like I don’t notice. I have to listen to people react every time I have a tic. And in those moments, all I do is remember that I have Tourette’s.

And in those moments I don’t feel like a person.”
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