Friday, August 13, 2010

Who's the Sick Person Here?

I saw this on a t-shirt: "My tics don't bother me. Most times I hardly notice they're there. Maybe you should take the pills."

The irony of our situation isn't lost on Tourette's folk. We take pills to make YOU more comfortable. With the exception of those few of us whose tics cause us physical damage, this is where we live. It works like this. We have tics. We have hundreds, if not thousands of them every day. After a few million, we don't notice them. You notice them. They bug you. You bug us. We take pills to alter YOUR behavior. Actually, a growing number are refusing to take your pills. Remind me again. Who's the sick person here?

My goal here is not to vent anger. I'm not mad. It's reality. There seems to be the misconception that somehow our tics make us miserable. This is only true for those with 'destructive tics'. Left to our own devices, we generally coexist with our tics peacefully. Tourette's is one of the few diseases that actually has benefits. I'm not going to chase that rabbit now, but will write about it soon. Just take my word. The best researchers in the field agree with me. In ways I like having Tourette's. I wouldn't take a cure if they offered one. At 43, I'd be far more afraid of what taking away Tourette's would take away from who I know me to be. I wouldn't trade what TS has taught me for anything. This hasn't always been my view, but it is now. At least most days it is.

The thing that makes TS painful is the inability of others to treat it with the same respect that other diseases receive. Tourette's is one of the few diseases that is exempt from the hypocrisy that is Political Correctness. Sitcoms lampoon us. Tourette's jokes are considered "clean and workplace safe". Some even teach them to their children, but then act shocked when the same child bullies the local TS kids. We have become our society's "guilt free pariah". Others have occupied this place before us. Eventually, someone will take our place.

I guess determining who the sick person is depends on your definition of "sick".

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