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The Final How To Have Tourette’s Post – Cured

Of all the nonsensical things I have said on this blog, this feels the strangest: I am cured. I no longer have Tourette’s Syndrome. I look at those words and part of me wonders if I’m still asleep.


For well over a year now I have been writing about my struggles with this disorder, but today is the final, formal post I will be writing about Tourette’s in this series. Because I no longer have it and therefore if I talk about it more in the future, it will be about my work trying to help others who have it, or dealing with my son if he becomes consistently symptomatic.

At times this series has been incredibly self-indulgent and whiny, and as I look back, I’ve written some stuff that really makes me groan now. Oh well. I’ve always tried to be honest as I write about it, because I write first for myself to try and make sense of it. All of you crazy readers do not really factor into the equation when I’m writing for therapy. I sometimes wonder if you’ll like whatever comes out, but it is more important to me that I get something out of what I write. I wouldn’t change things if I had zero readers. Or a million. And that is why this series has seen both the best and the worst of me. Because Tourette’s has always brought out both the best and the worst in me. Sometimes I’ve had guts. Sometimes I have wallowed like a weenie.

I’m okay with that. Because I am cured. Everything else is feeling pretty insignificant today. But at the same time everything is more significant than ever, because I can choose what I focus my energy, thoughts, and efforts on. I’m no longer in damage control mode on my own body and mind.

Does this mean that I no longer have the urges to have tics? No. The urges are still there, and I suspect they always will be in some form, although I may be proven wrong there as well.

What I mean is that there is a difference between “having Tourette’s Syndrome” and occasionally making a movement or an involuntary vocalization. The latter still applies to me. The former has no relevance. Show me someone (alive) who doesn’t have a couple of fidgets in every 80 hour block. Note: those performance artists who sit really still on purpose don’t count.

What does “cure” mean?

It makes sense to me that we (humankind) only try to cure things for a few reasons. Something the things we want to cure usually causes pain or shortens life spans. It puts us or others in physical danger. Things to be cured are unsettling. They frighten. Or maybe a perceived “cure” is just so profitable that it gets invented to cure something that actually isn’t that big of a deal.

I’m cured because Tourette’s no longer informs my day to day experience in any meaningful way. I am not unsettled by it. I do not fear it. It doesn’t hurt anymore. I am not a danger to myself physically, emotionally, or mentally. And those around me are no longer affected by it either, because I usually don’t even tell people I have it anymore. And I just don’t see that much of it anymore. The urge, yes, but it can be turned off at will.

I have the memories. I have a lot of funny stories about it, and that will probably continue. I expect that the occasional tic will always be close by, but so what?

A lot has changed in the last year. There are a lot of things I can do comfortably now that I could not even twelve months ago. So for the next month or so, I’m going to be writing posts about gratitude–gratitude about the simple things I can now enjoy without distraction. The situations I can enter without feeling self-conscious. The fact that putting a brave face on things is no longer required.

I Am The Movement

There is a group of people who have helped me ask myself the right questions that allowed me to help myself. To alter the way my body and neurology work and to get control of them. Gym Movement is talked about (and scoffed at) in a few places online as a cult of people who lift weights with silly methods. It’s a lot more than that–I am part of the proof–but most of the marketing has been arrogant and pushy, so I believe that a lot of the criticism in that regard is merited, as the messengers have often gotten in the way of the message. That’s not how I do things, but I’m still 100% committed to spreading the word in whatever way I can. Respectfully.

I was asked recently, in what felt like a half-snide question, “Are you still The Movement?” I am the movement has kind of become the catchphrase for those of us who train this way. If he meant to ask if I am still relatively tic-free, stronger than ever, happier than ever, and with less pain than ever, then yes, I am still The Movement. I always will be, unless someone creates something better. Maybe it’ll even be me.

I have people to thank. My family always comes first, and of course, the readers of World’s Strongest Librarian. But the people who have really helped me get to where I am in terms of Tourette’s are:

  • Adam Glass
  • Frankie Faires
  • Marty Lotspeich
  • Mike T. Nelson
  • David Dellanave

You have all pushed me in various ways and helped me ask better questions. You know that you have helped me, but you don’t know how much. You can’t. You’re happy for me, but you’re not as happy about it as I am, I guarantee it!

So let them all scoff. Let them laugh. Let them type jokes and criticisms about us until their fingers bleed. What has happened with me will be dismissed out of hand by many–that’s too simple, that’s just marketing, that’s just blah blah blah it couldn’t possibly be helping–but that’s okay. Anecdotal evidence is good enough for me when I look at where things were for me a year ago. We will keep moving forward and most of the critics will stand still at best.

I do not hold any world records. I have not won any bodybuilding championships. I probably never will. But I am always moving forward, because I believe that is the purpose of life: to get better as much and as quickly as possible before the curtain falls.

And for anyone who is sad that the series is ending, I am trying something new that I’ll be chronicling in a new series, once I’m ready.  I think you’ll get quite a kick out of it.

I’m learning to break dance. (not a joke). I’m going to be the only massive, middle-aged librarian who can do windmills. Now that will be something worth laughing at!

I need to form a dance crew to do battles, so sign up in the comments section.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • frank October 18, 2010, 10:31 am

    Awesome josh, I am so happy for you. This is by far your biggest PR ever to date. As for looking for a break dancing crew,I am in. I can pop and lock with the best of them, LOL.

    Frank berean

    • Josh Hanagarne October 18, 2010, 11:17 am

      Can you really? I’m not sure I’m ever going to be popping and locking, but practicing the bigger movements and footwork is my current cardio favorite. Even more than kettlebells, if you can believe it.

      • frank October 18, 2010, 11:49 am

        No I was just kidding, but I have watched brake dancing 2 electric boog a la more times then I like to Amit. Can’t wait to see it. Worlds strongest librarian doing a windmill while pressing double 48 kg bells, and wearing wind breaker pants and fat lace sneaks on.

  • david October 18, 2010, 10:36 am

    Pretty fantastic Josh. And by fantastic I mean, conceived or appearing as if conceived by an unrestrained imagination.

    Keep moving forward.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 18, 2010, 11:17 am

      i don’t know how to move in any other direction!

  • Jesse October 18, 2010, 10:40 am

    Congratulations, Josh!

    Hard to understand why anyone would scoff at your success story.

    Your son will benefit greatly from your journey.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 18, 2010, 11:17 am

      Jesse, I hope so. It may be a moot point and he won’t even have Tourette’s.

      • Jesse October 18, 2010, 11:27 am


        Whether he gets Tourette’s or not, you’re still setting a fine example.

  • AmyJ October 18, 2010, 10:58 am

    The Movement is a beautiful, creative, empowering force. You have created a masterpiece one movement at a time, one informed decision at a time. That masterpiece is you.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 18, 2010, 11:16 am

      As cool as this is, I’m still going to consider myself a disasterpiece.

  • ATG October 18, 2010, 11:13 am

    I am not counting out you getting a world record yet, I heard you can absolutely crush peeps in the easter season.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 18, 2010, 11:16 am

      That is true. Hmm…how do I get on that man vs. food show as a co-host? Or maybe I could start my own Man Vs. Peep show.

  • Casey October 18, 2010, 12:22 pm

    I don’t know if you are ever going to publish your memoir that you were talking about way back when but put me down for pre-ordering three. You’re a huge and fascinating dude and one large dude to another, I will Pop and Lock battle you any day of the week.


  • Boris October 18, 2010, 12:24 pm

    Well done Josh! I’m not sad to see the series end – I’m looking forward to all the new ones you’ll write!

  • Robert Hickman October 18, 2010, 1:02 pm


    A “disability” is nothing more than a point of view, you can choose to let it hold you back. Or you can do what Josh and I have done, force your way through the problems. Find peace with yourself.

    I look forward to reading your answers to the interview I sent you.

  • Mathieu October 18, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Awesome. Just awesome. My most complete congratulations, and I hope (and know) you’ll get the most out of your new way of life.

    Your story will ever be an inspiration, Josh.

    Good luck with the break dancing 😀


  • Mark Grant October 18, 2010, 2:55 pm

    You are the man! Ever since high school I’ve looked up to you (at first in a mere literal since because you’re huge), but I am legitimately awestruck by your tenacity and dedication. You took on an epic struggle and turned it into something that can inspire people all over the world -victory. People struggle with difficult things every day, and every time someone conquers, it makes it a little easier for the rest of the world to follow suit. Thanks for helping the rest of us to get a little stronger in our own pursuit of cures and conquests. Congratulations bro!

  • We Fly Spitfires October 18, 2010, 4:31 pm

    Fantastic news, Josh. You’ve definitely got an inspiring story and personality to match!

  • Stephen Abram October 18, 2010, 4:49 pm

    Josh: You’re an inspiration. I eagerly anticipating the book.

  • Lori October 18, 2010, 5:13 pm

    Hi Josh,
    It’s me, an old friend (well, maybe not *aged*, but I’ve known you for what seems eons).

    Impressive post, my mate. I will pay good money to see you breaking out the Windmill. GOOD MONEY.
    I might even respond with the Rollback Airchair or the Eggbeater (for free).

  • Tomas October 19, 2010, 2:39 am

    Congratulations, Josh! I can only imagine how much your quality of life has improved.

  • Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave October 19, 2010, 4:58 am

    I beg to differ with a couple of points. You do hold a world record–you took what was your world–shaped, shifted and re-formed what existed into who and what you are now. That by any definition is a world record. And you shared your journey, your failures and successes so that others with and without the burden of Tourette’s could feel your struggles and ease some of his or her pain and believe in a possibility for themselves. That is what all of us define as a champion.
    Congratulations, certainly as much for who you are as for what you have done.

  • John October 19, 2010, 6:21 am

    This is awesome Josh. I hadn’t checked the blog for a couple of weeks, but when I saw the title of this post I dropped what I was in the middle of to read it. This has been an inspiring series to read and I can’t wait to hear what the future holds. Congratulations on a heck of an accomplishment!!

  • Heather October 19, 2010, 7:17 am

    Gah! Windmills! I used to be able to do those! I bet you can worm better than anyone though. Guys always could. No boobs, that’s why! I am a poppin’, lockin’, flexin’ foo’! Ah still gots it, too, yo! Gratitude is awesome! Can’t wait to see this next installment! Congrats on getting a wrangle on The Beast there, bubba! Oh yeah, you might wanna get all stretchy with Fast & Loose, and do LOTS of rib isolation stuff! Wait til you learn how to crab-walk! 🙂

  • John Sifferman October 19, 2010, 7:33 am

    Truly remarkable, Josh. The philosophy behind your definition of “cured” is spot-on and it reflects the inner change that has taken place in your life. Enjoy the breakdancing!

  • Hilary October 19, 2010, 10:56 am

    Hi Josh .. such good news .. and with your understanding of the dreaded tic .. you’ll be so much help to life in general. We need many more like you .. and I’m so happy for you ..

    & I am so happy for you .. that I’m not going to join you in break dancing .. aren’t you lucky?! Enjoy every little piece of life .. and your family’s life .. cheers Hilary

  • Justin Matthews October 19, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Congrats Josh, you are a fantastic role model for a positive mind set and the power of the mind to affect the body. I won’t be break dancing with you, but I’ll come and do windmills.
    Keep up the great stuff brother…

  • Randy Hauer October 20, 2010, 8:13 pm

    Words fail me. It’s been a privilege to have met you and your lovely wife, to get to know you better and to follow you on this epic journey via your blog.
    With the deepest respect and admiration,

  • Kevin Greto October 21, 2010, 10:18 am

    Awesome progress, as usual. I remember watching your youtube video of sitting still for 60 seconds in what seems like the not so distant past, and now you’re up to 80hrs, that’s Amazing.

    As for a break-dancing crew, I’m in. My six step isn’t half bad, I’m still working on the windmill, and I can do pretty decent backflips. To be part of your crew would be an honor.

    Btw, Justtheskills.com, is a pretty sweet place to learn tricks, at the bottom of the tutorials section is what I think a great description of the windmill and its progressions. Good luck, Sir.

  • Yusuf October 21, 2010, 4:07 pm

    As a follower of your series and a supporter of you, this is such an exciting post. Congrats and I know you’ll continue to keep raising the bar.

  • Will Williams October 21, 2010, 8:32 pm

    I am without words other than these.


  • Cecilia October 22, 2010, 12:17 am

    That’s a tremendous achievement – congratulations. I have great respect for what you have accomplished. All the best!

  • Jon Chacon October 22, 2010, 2:53 am


    It’s been a while, and for that I apologize. I still follow you and wanted to send you a big CONGRATS! That is freaking awesome. Continue to lead the way. I wish you continued success with the Movement and whatever goals you have.

    Stay in touch.


  • Sylvain OBEGI November 21, 2010, 7:04 pm

    I am a bit late to the party, but I wanted to congratulate you on this achievement! Rock on!