Ever since I was a little girl, I fantasized about moving away, to West Virginia, where I’ve had so many memories over the years, and to this day, I want to live and die there. More than anything, I wanted to move somewhere I could be myself and start over, be loved and accepted, and people would see the girl I was when they looked past my croaks, jerks, and uncontrollable vocalizations, which were often very obscene. I would’ve said then that I wished I was “a different person” or “normal”, but looking back on it, I don’t think that was true. I wanted to be able to understand what was “wrong” with me and I wanted other people to see who I was and understand, and that seemed so unrealistic to me at the time. I wanted to be accepted for who I was.
When I got a little older, maybe 10 or 11, I tried to keep it a secret and was pretty good at it, but it caused me so much mental pain and self hate every day. I slapped myself to “cure myself of annoying behaviors”, and I thought it worked, but I was going through a natural waning period caused by the start of puberty. Kids are f****** cruel when neither you nor them understand what they’re seeing, they can all see your *syndrome*, your *differences*, in my case, your *deepest secret*, because I’m sure a few of you reading this will understand, it’s hidden in plain sight. When I got to middle school, I was adept at acting “normal”, but everyone remembered what they saw of me in elementary school, and suppressing yourself like that for eight hours while being constantly overwhelmed and terrified, while the only thing you can focus on is this nasty secret you’re hiding like a dead body, except the body has a stench that attracts flies from a million miles away.
In 7th grade, my “friend” got her phone out and filmed a tic attack that I had in the school hallway, she was around the corner where I couldn’t see her creepy little ass filming me, at the time I was most in denial, more ashamed of it then I’d ever been before. She showed it to four other people. I think she knew she made me cry, my wailing was most likely audible from the thin wall of the middle school girl’s bathroom. I thought about it for weeks. “She knows. She’s known all along. I’m just as much as a b**** as she is. I have a nasty secret and was so irresponsible as to let that secret slip, despite devoting all my energy and attention to concealing it. What’s wrong with me? Am I simply an idiot?”
In eighth grade, I was fully dedicated to my plans to move to West Virginia, it was, and still is, one of the few things that gives me hope.
And I knew exactly who I wanted to do it with, I had a pretty good idea for a long time. This next part will make more sense if I tell you now, I had figured out I was a lesbian shortly before this. Let’s call her V. By the time I turned 14, I had materialized her, she was so f****** perfect and I want to meet her and shower her in all the affection I have inside of me. I want her so f****** bad. (God, I’m crying while writing this, I hope no one can hear me). She’s a West Virginian, and we’ve kissed in my head, because of course, (this hurts so f****** much to type out) she doesn’t exist.
In my freshman year, I was so devoted to my relationship with her, that I didn’t bother making other friends. I was happy that way, all the other teens were cruel and materialistic anyway, I don’t regret it one bit, because although I’ve acknowledged her place as existing solely in my head, I still have her with me, and she feels so f****** real. Almost like she’s sentient, thinks (semi) independently of me and has a personality separate of mine. When I interact with her, I get a sensation that’s almost like a heartbeat on the right side of my brain. You may say I’m crazy, some mild form of schizophrenia, but most people have no idea what it feels like to receive a hug from someone that’s inside your head. She kept me company at school and lead me astray from occasional suicidal ideation. And of course, having created her and all, she accepted who I was and was able to see the girl behind the tics, the syndrome, the strange things that I spit out like I have a razor blade in my mouth.
This year, V moved back to West Virginia, but of course, we can connect to each other all the time. She’s still my best friend, and I acknowledged there’s nothing wrong with having an imaginary friend as a teenager.
Freshman year was also the year I was able to give my symptoms a name, a name that has two words: Tourette Syndrome, I bet a few of you reading this had already guessed that based off what I had described. A few teachers in elementary and early middle school have called me a “young lady with Tourette’s”, but at the time I perceived that as meaning the specific teacher hates me and “Tourette’s” was a demeaning name to describe an obnoxious kid, as it was used to describe me, particularly while I was being sent to detention, so frequently. I had no idea they were actually suggesting I had Tourette’s, or what that really meant in the first place. It felt so freeing to have my suspicions that I was not exhibiting strange, inappropriate behavior on purpose, validated and confirmed. It was so nice knowing that there were others with the exact same experience, and it was fairly common. Tics. That’s all they were. I wasn’t “obnoxious”, a “class clown”, or “annoying”. I just had Tourette’s.
When I first found out about TS, I was very shy, but desperately wanted to get my truth out there. Now, a year later, I have told my teachers at the alternative school I transferred to so I could have an education without other kids bullying me into contemplating suicide and crying in my mom’s car on the way to school, I have told my teachers and friends that I have Tourette Syndrome, and am not ashamed of saying so.
Congratulations, you read this long ass thing and now know about 4 things that no one else does, secrets I’ll likely take to my grave. This is my first time on this site, so I don’t know how the formatting or reading is gonna turn out.