A three hour SAT class. One teacher, four students, my best friend, Tie Dye Socks, (obviously not her real name) sitting next to me, three hours of trying to suppress my tics, and I knew it wasn’t possible. I knew I couldn’t hold back for three hours, not in such a small room feeling like everyone was looking at me, especially Tie Dye Socks. No one had seen my tics at their worst and that made them come fast and hard. Tie Bye Socks called to me from across the room as soon as I walked in the door. She wanted me to sit next to her; of course, so I slowly sat down in the desk next to her, took out the SAT book filled with all my doodles and scratches, and began to fight the relentless urge. At first it was just uncomfortable, but after a few minutes I began to suffer in that unbearable way that always comes with suppressing my tics. Imagine an itch on the bottom of your foot. In the beginning it’s just a little itch and maybe you can ignore it at first. Now image that with every minute that you resist scratching it, the itch gets worse and worse and worse. What started out as a little itch now feels like fifteen or twenty itches all in the same spot, all on the bottom on your foot. And now that itch spreads, that insufferable itch climbs up your legs, works its way through your arms and solders, to your eyes, to your mouth, until there is nothing else, nothing else in the entire world besides that agonizing itch. That is what It feels like to have Tourettes and to suppress it. It doesn't feel like an itch in the since that it's that itchy feeling we all know but it feels like an itch in the since that I have an urge to do something (tic), I know what I need to do to get rid of the feeling, and its soooo hard and unbearable to ignore it and try not to "scratch". I gripped my pencil so hard that I thought it was going to beak, buckled my knees, and tightened my muscles as hard as I possibly could. I began to run my nails, hard, against the palms of my hands and I couldn’t hold back any longer. I just couldn’t. I rolled my eyes up to the corners and it was like I was an alcoholic sticking their tongue in a glass of blood red Merlot. There was nothing else besides that need to tic, nothing else, nothing else. I had no choice, so I released the pencil I had been gripping, unbuckled my knees, loosened by muscles, and let it out. I began to tic and tic and tic and I told myself I didn’t care. I didn’t care what they all thought because I didn’t have a choice. I had to give in.
“Excuse me. Do you have a question?..........Excuse me; I said do you have a question?” I didn’t even realize that Stupid Potato Farmer SAT Teacher was talking to me. I bucked my knees again.
“Me?” I asked.
“Yes you, the one making all the strange movements over there.” He was talking to me, and the strange movements he was talking about were my tics. My eyes rolled again.No one and I mean no one had ever said anything to me about my tics in this way, in front of an entire class and in such a way that had so clearly singled me out. They had never been as bad as they had been these past few months. No one had ever addressed them so openly, so matter of factly as if I was the kid in the back of the classroom sharpening her brand new pencil as the rest of the class was trying to listen to the teacher. As if I was the nuisance, the distraction, the one who had to stay inside while the rest of the children went to recess.
“No”, I whispered almost inaudibly.
“What did you say?”
“No, I don’t have a question”, I said a little louder and Stupid Potato Farmer SAT teacher gave me a snide look and went back to teaching his lesson. I wanted with my entire being to punish him somehow, to tell him how ignorant he was, how I couldn’t help it. Then it hit me; I needed something to say to him, and to anyone else who asked in the future. I needed something to explain these “strange movements” as the teacher called them. I needed to know why I couldn’t control my own body, and my own mind.