Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hip Drama Teacher, her Son with Tourette's, and looking ahead to the TSA Meeting with Marc Elliot

I've blogged about Hip Drama Teacher in the past on my blog. Basically she was my drama teacher in 9th grade before I switched from drama to photography. 9th grade was the last year I took drama and let's just say I think it was for the best. I barely spoke a word in the class unless I was forced to and hated having to talk at all or draw any attention to myself. With my anxiety, tics, and obsessions acting is not my forte.

Talk about a reason to have some stage fright. Walking into that classroom was enough of a challenge. It was like my throat just closed up and my mouth refused to open due to the massive amounts of anxiety. I had trouble talking in all my classes, but drama was the hardest for me.

I was in a play in 8th grade and before the play, all of my knuckles and my knees turned bright bluish purple and I started shaking like crazzzy. It just so happens that during the play two girls had to hold on to my legs as they wrapped me in toilet paper and after the play the girls who were holding my legs immediately informed me that they could feel how badly I was shaking and asked if I was okay.

Anyway back to the point of the story, Hip Drama Teacher has a son with Tourette's. Her son is about 10 or 11 years old now I think and she talked about him in the class a few times. I distinctly remember when she started talking to a boy in our class who happened to have Tourette's as well. She started talking to him about a Tourette's documentary that she was excited to see and then another time told us about about how her son ticced in his sleep and kicked her off the bed and broke her arm

This was before I was diagnosed officially with Tourette's and during 9th grade my tics were very very mild. Pretty much my only tics during 9th grade were twirling my hair, sniffling, licking/biting/picking my lips, internal tics like muscle tightening and air swallowing, and some nighttime tics in bed like stretching my legs out repetitively and rubbing my feet together which made it hard to fall asleep

My more obvious tics that I had when I was younger like crotch grabbing, slurping sounds, very loud sniffling, skipping,  and jumping had all faded into the background at this point probably because it was just a natural waning period for my tics. 

When that waning period faded and my tics became more obvious again by the end of 10th grade and when I was diagnosed in 11th grade, I looked back to 9th grade drama class with Hip Drama Teacher because this was really the first real life encounter I ever had surrounded Tourette's. 

Another thing I blogged about a long long time ago was when Marc Elliot came to visit my school to talk in assembly about Tourette's and tolerance. In my blog post I talked about how after the speech I had to opportunity to skip a bit of math class and meet Marc and how a lot of other students came to meet him as well and that my two best friends friends, Tie Dye Socks and Steam Punk accompanied me. 

I wrote about how hard it was for me to actually open my mouth and tell Marc (in front of about 15 other people) that I too had Tourette's and that his speech meant the world to me. The part I did not mention was that Hip Drama Teacher was in the room and that made it 100 times harder. I don't know why it made it so harder. I think I was afraid that she would judge me or because of the fact that after I was diagnosed (beginning of 11th grade) it was hard for me to even walk by her in the hall because it reminded me of my Tourette's and of how I was hiding from the diagnosis and dreaded it so much at the time. 

Anyway it was huge for me when I finally told my close friends and teachers at the end of 11th grade but for me it was even huger when I told Marc Elliot about my TS in front of 15 other students and the person I had been so afraid to have find out, Hip Drama Teacher. My two best friends who were with me told me how proud they were of me for speaking up like that afterwards and I was so proud of myself too. Its so hard for me to speak up in class about anything, and it was so many times harder to speak up in front of this group and say that I had Tourette's. The ultimate battle to have won against the diagnosis to prove that it does not control how I deal with it. I control how I deal with it. 

I never blogged about what happened after that either. Later that same day, I went into the student technology help room with my friend Tye Dye Socks and Hip Drama Teacher just happened to be there. I hoped she wouldn't say anything to me because I had had enough adventurous moments with Tourette's for the day! Sure enough though she did say something. 

After a few minutes she said my name and I turned around and she said "I had no idea you had Tourettes! I guess I just don't notice those things so much because I'm so used to my sons tics". I surprised myself even further by going over to her with my friend and being confident and talkative about it. I responded that I was only officially diagnosed about a year ago and she asked me what some of my tics were and if I had vocal tics. And apparently I  was calm and composed the entire time! Yet another thing to be proud of that day! We then started talking about her son and how he had a tic where he said "I love you" just like one of Marc Elliot's first tics. 

We had to leave and go to class then, but on the way to class my friend said to me "Wow how do you do that?". I was confused by what she meant at first but then she went on to explain. She wanted to know how I could be so confident and calm about talking to a teacher about that kind of thing. She said she didn't think she would be able to do that if she were in my situation. 

I think she would be surprised though with herself if she had been handed the cards that I was dealt. I didn't think I would be able to do that kind of thing when I was first diagnosed and I am was even surprised by my own ability to handle Hip Drama Teacher's questions and speaking up in front of Marc Elliot about my TS. It was nice for a change to be so open about Tourette's and I even enjoyed talking so openly with Hip Drama Teacher about it. I would certainly be happy to have the chance to talk with her about it again which I may just get the chance to do! Having TS and having to explain myself so frequently has made me a much stronger, more open, and confident person. That is something I am sure of! 

The reason all this is on my mind is because yesterday I came in to school a bit late. I was only about 3 or 4 minutes late and the hallways were empty. I was walking in, sniffling and making my slurping sound freely because no one was around and just then Hip Drama Teacher came around the corner. She gave me a passing hi (using my name which I always like when teachers do!) and I smiled and waved at her. 

Before I could get to far though she turned around and said wait! She stopped me and asked me if I remembered our guest speaker Marc Elliot from the fall. Of course! Lol. She then told me that he was going to be in town again and that he was going to be doing an event for our state's tsa chapter and was wondering if I was going. Of course I am already planning on going since the president of the chapter (who I know very well) had e-mailed me weeks before telling me about the event and really wanting me to come since in her opinion I really remind her of Marc. I told my drama teacher that I already knew about the event and was planning on going. She then told me that she would see me there then! 

Anyway this is why all of this was on my mind and why I wanted to recount the full story on my blog. Hopefully I will be able to talk again openly with Hip Drama Teacher about Tourette's at the event! I am very excited! And I get to meet her son! I've already met her son, but never really officially. Always from a distance. He's such a cute kid :). 

Anyway I'm excited if you can't tell from the length of this post! The event is next Thursday night and I will certainly blog about it afterwards. I have a super bowl party with my cousins and dad's side of the family on this Sunday so maybe I can convince my cousin Twitch to come with me too!  

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