Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Professor's Reaction to One of my Tics and then A Trip to The Art Museum and Tourette's

Last week three things happened with my Professors that I didn't know exactly how to process emotionally at first. I'm still not sure how I am processing these three things emotionally. I've never had a week where so much has happened like this with my professors. It was very strange but I guess most of it happened as a result of the fact that my tics were bad last week, especially my vocal tics. I haven't felt like writing about them until now really because I wasn't sure how I would write about them on an emotional level. I'm still not quite sure what I will end up saying, but we will see.

The first thing that happened, happened on Monday. I was in my poetry writing class and I was doing my high pitched whistling tic a lot (just about every few seconds). My poetry professor and my poetry class all know about my tourette's, just like all my other professors and small seminar classes. For some reason though I guess my poetry professor just wasn't thinking and he blurted out "does anyone here that noise? is there a bird in here?". I think most of the class knew that the whistle was one of my tics and I was really surprised that my professor didn't realize it was a tic since I do a lot of vocal tics in that class on a regular basis. I didn't say anything to his first response because I was kind of embarrassed. I tell my professors and my classmates about my tourette's in advance so that this specific situation doesn't occur, so the professor doesn't have to stop his lecture and draw the entire class's attention to my tics because that tends to really upset me. So I didn't say anything in response to my professors first question about my tic, in hopes that he would quickly realize and then move on. However a few minutes later again he said "really? does anyone else hear that? what is that noise?". Because it was the second time he had said this and he just didn't seem to be realizing that it was a tic, I spoke up and said "That's me. It's fine." I guess I said the it's fine part because I knew that as soon he realized it was a tic he would feel embarrassed or like he had offended me and I didn't want him to feel that way because he's really young and I know he didn't mean any offense; he just wasn't thinking.

Later after class when I went to pick up my assignment from the week before he apologized to me. He said "Sorry about before. I really didn't mean to be insensitive" and I responded with "it's okay". Even though I said it was okay, I didn't know if I actually was. This is really only the second time a professor/teacher has ever stopped class to ask about one of my tics. The first time was back in high school before I was even diagnosed. I guess the fact that this is only the second time this has happened in class means that i've done a pretty good job of advocating my professors and classmates which is of course a good thing, but I was still kind of upset that it happened. I felt singled out, and I really hate it when professors single me out. But overall I got over the embarrassment and tried to brush it off as just a part of living with tourette's. I talked to my friend from my dorm and my friend from camp twitch and shout about it and they were both very supportive, listened to me, and told me good things. Their support and friendship really helped me and I moved on with my week.

I thought I was done with my Tourette's related events for the week, but boy was a wrong! On Tuesday my creative writing seminar class paired up with the freshman creative writing seminar class for a visit to the campus art museum for writing inspiration. I knew that this was going to be happening but I didn't know that we would be pairing up with the freshman group as well. I immediately got nervous because I knew my vocal tics were going to be bad (since they almost always are in these kinds of situations and since they had been particularly bad that week anyway). I knew I was going to have to tell the group about my Tourette's, which I was kind of not happy about because I thought I was all done talking to classes about my Tourette's and was glad I had gotten through that part of the semester. So when sat down in the classroom and my professor had us go around the room and introduce ourselves, I introduced my Tourette's as well, even though half of the group had already heard my little explanation. I said my typical line which always tends to be some variation of "Something you should probably know about me is that I have Tourette's, so if you hear some random noises, it's probably me. You can just ignore it for the most part. I'm sorry if it bothers you at any point, but I promise you it bothers me more." The group seemed to be receptive about it and I didn't have any troubles with the group even though my vocal tics did end up getting pretty bad in the hour and a half I was with the group. We went into a quiet part of the museum, with security guards walking around which made me extra nervous so my tics really started acting up then. Luckily even though I was making pretty loud noises, no one in the class said anything to me about it and none of the security guards did either. Education is a great thing! But I still felt very self conscious about my tics in such a quiet environment even though everyone in the class knew about my Tourette's.

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