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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