Choosing my Disorder

I was 13 years old, sitting in my choir class, when I realized something weird was going on in my body. It was an ‘unexplainable’ discomfort that I only felt at the time in my diaghram, usually when I sang. I thought I was having bowel movement issues at first. While riding in the car, this weird discomfort would go ballistic. I reacted in a way that resembled a seizure. My mom was completely freaked out so she took me to my primary doctor. He could not diagnose me.

A sinking feeling I never had before began drowning me.

He referred us to a neurologist, which freaked me out more because I discovered in that moment something was imbalanced in my brain. The nice doctor was able to quickly diagnose me with Tourette’s.

I want to delve deeper into my disorder. It causes physical pain, but the mental pain is much worse. The first couple years were rough. I was bullied, people would mimic my condition (tics) and my want to leave the house was becoming a huge chore.

I feared being close to people because my arms would flare without warning. Singing became almost impossible because it would be hard to breath or react to my tics because if I didn’t, it would cause huge discomfort. My arms, legs, stomach, and eyes feel pain every five seconds. Like muscles spasms 24/7.
I watched a girl move her stomach really fast in class, as mine does constantly, and laugh at me with her friends. In the middle of class.

I feared being laughed at and hearing jokes like, “why can’t you keep still? You got Tourette’s? Wow, you’re so weird!” I felt alone. Outcasted. Depressed. I wanted my life to be over. It became too much for me my junior year. My dad had to tell me to be confident and accept this disorder as a part of me, or rejection would destroy me.

Overtime, I chose to live life with my disorder. I helped a young girl with her own disorder when she wanted to commit suicide one day. That moment made me realize that this disorder is a way for me to have a positive voice in a dark world.

Battling the Enemy: My Journey with Tourette Syndrome.

I have discussed many times what my journey has been like with Tourette’s, but it’s never been in a good light. I have often caught myself being super negative and using a “poor me” attitude. That is NOT what God wants us to do with our trials. If we continue to speak out our “battles against the enemy” in a bad light, who is going to want to take off their robe and sandals of anguish and follow us? Who is going to listen to that still, small voice and hear the words: “You are chosen. You are more than what this world has to offer.” So, let me talk about how my journey with Tourette’s started.

I discovered that I had Tourette’s in 8th grade. I love to sing so much. I believe it’s one of the spiritual gifts God gave me. If you know me, I think praise and worship is the best part about serving God. How we can totally surrender to Him and sing songs about His love for us..it’s so amazing. So, as I was singing in my choir class, I noticed that my stomach started to feel funny. Almost as if someone were tickling me. Weird..I know, but I didn’t think anything of it. Weeks went by and it started to get worse. It was becoming so unbearable, I either had to clutch my music binder to stop my “episodes” from happening or I would immediately sit down in the middle of the song and get yelled at by my choir teacher. I didn’t tell her or anyone basically what was going on with me. How could I? I didn’t even know what was going on.

One day I was in the car with my mom and she looked over to a horrific sight. I was jolting in my seat. It looked like someone was electrifying me to death. The pain was awful. I had to hold back so many tears. She asked me what was going on and I replied that my body has been acting like this for awhile and I didn’t know what it was and that I was TERRIFIED. My mom immediately took me to the doctors. I sat quietly in the doctor’s office, anxiously waiting for my results and the doctor told my mom he was not sure what it was. My heart felt like it rose to my throat, trying to beat out of my body. In my head I was screaming: “YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? YOU’RE A DOCTOR! YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW!” He then referred my mom and I to a Neurologist to do some more analysis on me. When I discovered that a Neurologist is someone who studies the human brain, I froze. Now something is wrong with my brain? How..what is going on?

As my mom and I went to the Neurologist, she ran some tests and after long, anxious minutes passed, she came back with the results. She explained to me that I have Tourette Syndrome: A muscular/vocal disorder I cannot control. WHAT?! ME?! WHY?! I began to do more research and discovered that only 2 percent of our population has this disorder, particularly mine being the rarest. I was scared. I was angry. I felt alone. Until, a still, small voice told me differently. The most accurate story in the bible about battling diseases is found in Matthew chapter 8:

“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing, He said. “Be clean!” Okay…lets pause there for a second. This man had LEPROSY. An INFECTIOUS disease that can spread and kill. That’s scary! Most people (including me) would not go near that guy. Jesus though…He not only listening to this sick man, but touched him and said “BE CLEAN!” I don’t know about you, but that gives me so much hope and comfort! I have been bullied so badly because of my disorder. I have had at times moments of huge depression, anger, and embarrassment because I am ashamed of what I have. But God..our beautiful God looks at us and says that I am GOOD and I am HIS! Another verse that I have been clinging to this week is 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety unto Him because He cares for you.” UHM HOW AWESOME! He not only wants us to tell Him our problems, but he CARES. So, my prayer for you today is that you STOP letting the devil tell you who are. It is LIES. God sees you for so much more. He sees you with beauty, grace, and everything in between. WE ARE HIS! ❤