Monday, December 19, 2011

Sorry I have taken so long to post, school got kind of crazy, but it made for some awesome stories! Now I am on Christmas vacation, so I will hopefully get all of my stories in. Let's start with the start of my vacation and the plane ride home...

There were a couple of good stories from the plane ride. What better way to entertain yourself than to scream at random intervals when no one can run away? I was lucky enough to be sitting next to a friend on the plane ride to Vegas, and everytime I let one out (which there were many), we had ourselves a nice giggle, wondering if anyone even heard. Once they started getting louder, we didn't have to wonder if anyone heard or not. There were two that stuck out.

The first funny story was the first loud one as the flight attendants were doing beverages. They were still a couple rows in front of us when the first loud one came. The flight attendent was so surprised she looked like she was about to fall over. She saw me and Carlos giggle and asked if that was me. I said it was, but explained that I had Tourette's. She said, "Yeah, that's going to be my excuse when I am older, too." As they got closer, this particular flight attendant told the other that she wanted to serve us. She asked for my card (to prove I had tourette's). I do have a card from the school that says I am entitled to special services (I get my own room intstead of having to go to the testing center, I love it!), but she said she was joking. She explained that she often gets in trouble because she is the type to say what is on her mind, and she is saving the Tourette's excuse for when she gets older so she doesn't wear it out. I had to explain that those really are the noises I make from my tourette's, and she just thought that was adorable! I like being called adorable! :)

There were a few other loud ones, and I saw a few heads turn, but then I quieted down for most of the trip. About a half hour before we were supposed to land, I let out another one. This time the 6 year old across the aisle was awake. He didn't know what it was, but his dad kept laughing as his son kept imitating my noises. I only did one, but this kid kept going! He was pretty cute, and I made a new friend.

As we got off the plane, I gave a final squeak of farewell to my flight attendant friend, and made it home to my awesome family. They are adjusting well to the evolution, some better than others. My sister still prefers the pterydactyl, but my brother quite enjoys them and mom keeps telling everyone I make these cute noises. I make so many new friends with this introduction, and I can't help it.

Scary Movie

Friday, November 4, 2011

So Halloween was pretty awesome this year. Our ward had a party at Wes Johnson's house. I'm kind of surprised we all fit, because the turnout was amazing! After a few games we settled down to watch a movie. We had chosen to watch Wait Until Dark, an old classic with Audrey Hepburn. At some point, about half way through the movie, the creepy music comes on, and you have that feeling that you KNOW something scary is about to happen... Cue Tourette's. Not the small quiet kind either. The kind that sounds like someone screaming at the top of their lungs, and I watch the crowd jump at least a foot in the air! I'm pretty awesome to watch scary movies with, who knew? Halloween was pretty epic, and I just can't help it. :D

Intel Inside

Sunday, October 16, 2011

So the other day, I was in the living room with my housemates talking story. The TV was on and an Intel Inside commercial came on. I wasn't really paying much attention to it, but I knew it was there. All of a sudden, I let out a new sound... The sound of the logo. Hopefully the video works that will share the sound... but I happened to do it at the same time as the TV did as well. Maybe it was me, maybe you had to be there, but I am now mimicking the jingle of a computer company. Awesome. And I can't help it!

Quiet Time

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So this past Sunday, our ward had a fast and testimony meeting. At church, the members of the congregation are given the time to stand and bear witness of principles they know to be true. There happened to be a long period of silence yesterday, and when it was finally broken, a few people mentioned how they felt uncomfortable in the silence. There is a new member of our bishopric named Brother Galeai (Nah- lee- eye). He stood up and shared how much he enjoyed the silence and started to expound on that when the silence was broken again... by me. I had half of the congregation giggling like school girls as Br. Galeai tried to regain his train of thought... I love my timing. I can't help it!

September and Spanish

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September has always been my favorite month. Good things happen to me in September. For one, school starts. I love school. Especially the first day. I always get at least one good story with all the new people I meet. :D I think this year's story requires some back story... Last year in September I started taking Spanish 321, a grammar and composition class. I have never taken a Spanish class before, so I had to talk to the professor to get in. As I was talking with him, my Tourette's came up, and he asked what he should do when I do it in class. I told him that it's no big deal, he can just keep teaching. Well, I had no idea the reaction my fellow students would have in said Spanish class. The first one, got some confused looks, but Hermano Richardson kept teaching, as I had said was fine to do. He kept teaching through the second one as well. However, the third time I did it, the class was starting to wonder what was going on and if I had some sort of problem, and no one was really listening to the professor, so he stopped and said, "Jessica, maybe you had better explain what is going on to the class." I then proceeded to tell them that there was no emergency, I was ok, and what was going on with the funny noises. That was fun, I don't stop a class very often!

This year, I have to retake that Spanish grammar class. My Spanish is that bad... don't judge. ;) Anywho, this year, Hermano Richardson knew what was coming. He was writing on the board when I let out my first squeal, and without batting an eyelash, he continued writing on the board as he said, "Jessica, would you like to explain to the class?" I explained that I had Tourette's, and he asked how many people knew what it was. When no one did, I went in to a bit more detail of what was going on. The second and third time, the class continued without interruption, but with a few entertained looks from a few students that made me smile. I love the first day of school. I can't help it.

Ups n Downs

Saturday, September 10, 2011

So I know I started this blog to tell the funny stories that happen and the funny reactions I get, but there is an up side and a down side to everything. Today, I am going to share the down side. I was mistreated about a year a half ago, and have been bad mouthing since, but I want to stop. I will record the story, and that will be the last time it is shared. I want to move on, to forgive and let go. Hopefully this will be a step to help me do that. I share this story just to get it out and be done. Not to discourage anyone from following this career path, or doing anything that they want to do, I don't want to sound bitter. It was just a hill I had to climb on the path of life or something cheesy like that. I am a better person because it happened.

Once upon a time, I had made the decision to be a social worker. I wanted to work with and help people. I took the classes I needed to apply for the program and was accepted. There were 4 professors in the Social Work Department. I had taken a class from one of them and he had explained to the other 3 about the noises I made. I didn't know at the time it was Tourette's, I just made funny noises. So I started my first semester as a social work major. I liked my classes, my peers were super fun and we enjoyed our classes together.

The trouble started in my class talking about working with individuals. The professor was talking about that powerful moment of realization when there should be silence, letting things sink in or something like that. He then turned to me and said, " Do you see why your noises would be a problem here?"  I was so embarrassed! What else could I say? I said yes just to move on, but really, what if someone sneezed in that "special moment"? They have about the same amount of control that I do over what happens. I tried to forget about it and move on. Then I was talking with another professor and she had some questions about it. I am fine with answering questions, a lot of people do. I didn't like her questions though. I had seen three doctors who didn't know what it was, but she asked if one of them was a psychologist and if there was maybe some sub-conscious reason I was doing it. I hated feeling like she thought something was wrong and needed to be fixed and that I was doing them on purpose for some reason. Once again I tried to move on and forget about it.

The kicker came when the head of the department pulled me aside and told me he wasn't sure if they could place me in an internship (translation- I can't graduate in social work) because of the noises I made. I was already overwhelmed with a bunch of other things that were going on in my life right then, so I quit doing homework. I still went to my classes, I just didn't have time to do anything outside of class with everything else I had going on. I simply failed all my classes and decided to change my major. I had no idea to what at the time. By the time I had taken off Spring, Summer and First Terms, I had sorted out my life and tried to register for classes. I was unable to do so because I had failed all of my classes, and the school wanted me to see the school psychiatrist, just to be sure I won't fail all my classes again.

I went knowing it wouldn't, but I did gain a lot from my visits with Dr. Orr. He was the one who officially diagnosed me with Tourette's, first of all. Second of all, he was madder than I was at what had happened. I had always been of the mind frame that I wasn't allowed to be angry at things that happened to me. Once he got so upset, I realized I could be upset because that was wrong. That act was hypocritical, and against all social work is supposed to stand for. I got angry and hurt and have since been badmouthing the social work department. Dr. Orr visited with the head of the social work department and was told that they had simply asked me for paperwork. First of all, I never heard one mention of paperwork, which made them liars in my mind, as well as putting paperwork before people.

If anything, I was the type of person they were trying to help. They were turning away a good social worker who could have related better to those they were trying to help. The more I thought about it, the madder I got. However, I was forgetting the good things that came from this. I found a major that much better suits me and the things I want to do in my life. There are so many good things that came. Social work was not for me, but that doesn't mean that other people won't thrive in it. I was just lucky to get out of it while I still had an opportunity to be in school. I am so much happier with my life now and where it is headed. I'm so blessed and I just can't help it. :)

One of my Favorite Songs...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I tried to post a video, but it won't work. Those who are friends with me on FB, should look at the videos I have been tagged in to find this song. It is one of my favorites. Mostly because it was written for me as an apology. Best apology I have ever received! The song is called "Jessica Is Cool." It was written by my friend Alex Denney.
One evening, I went to a group dinner with my friends Brian and Charli. There were several people there I didn't know, which made the evening fairly entertaining. Alex was playing the piano the first time I let out a squeak. After two or three, he yelled at me to "Stop that!!" Charli then yelled at him, "She can't!!!" Alex didn't quite believe that statement, so in a sarcastic tone retorted, "What does she have Tourettes or something?" Actually, yes. Yes, I do. He felt bad once he found out. I told him it was fine, I got a good laugh out of it. Then I got a song out of it. My life rocks, and I can't help it.

YSA Conference...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So this past weekend, there was a regional YSA Conference in Hawaii. All the young single adults mostly from Oahu, but also a few from outer islands came together for various activities and fun together. There was over 400 planning on attending this shindig. This year it was hosted in Laie, so I was still able to attend classes (lucky me!) while playing with new and old friends. I enjoyed the whole conference, the food, the dancing, the workshops... but one of my favorite moments had to be Thursday night. After various activities in the Laie Hawaii Temple, we gathered together for a large dinner in the stake center next door. I sat on one of the outside tables with a few friends. All of a sudden, there it was... a loud, long squeal. The kind that can echo in a room full of people. I watched every head in the room turn to face my direction. What do I do with all this attention? I laugh. The faces were so confused! I found it entertaining. Shame on me for laughing at the discomfort of others I guess, but pretty sure I continue to enjoy the responses I get. Friends who knew me that were on the other side of the room cheered. I laughed, and most of the room continued with dinner after a moment or two. How do you explain that to a room full of people? Unfortunately, many were not let in to my little secret, but I can't help it. :)

Tipa the Two Year Old

Monday, August 1, 2011

So last week, there was a farewell party for my friend Miles. The house he lives in is owned by a Samoan family and there us a little boy named Tipa that is always running around. Tipa decided he wanted to come to Miles' party. As he is running around being his cute little two year old self, I let out a loud and long squeal as he was playing next to me. He spun around and had this look of horror as I did. It was the look of,"What did I do wrong?!?" His face was simply adorable, and many of us started laughing. He picked up that is was ok, so he started laughing and in traditional Samoan style, gave me a nice sasa... He slapped me. Which only made me laugh harder. I have decided that it is going to be very entertaining to be around children... It's awesome and I can't help it!

Personal Favorite!

Monday, July 11, 2011

So this story is one that is often revisited in my memory. One of the greatest reactions I have ever received to my Tourette's was from my dear friend Cassandra*. A friend of mine was having a birthday, and it was held at Cassie's house. During the festivities, a group of us were chatting and getting to know one another better. We had been discussing pet peeves. Cassie was explaining her dislike of girls that would scream over random little things. In the middle of her explanation, I happened to let a squeal. She looked at me and said, "You will not do that in my house again." I was a little slow, not realizing the timing and connecting it to what she had been saying, so I just got a confused look on my face. The birthday boy piped in and said,"Yes, she probably will." Cassie retorted with, "She will not be allowed in my house if she does that again." I got over my initial shock and was able to ask, "I'm really not allowed in your house?" "Not if you plan on screaming like that." Again, the birthday boy spoke up, "Cassie, you know she can't control that. She has Tourette's." Cassie's face suddenly changed to a look of shock and horror and embarrassment. She started to stammer an apology, and I couldn't help but laugh at the look on her face! It was a bonding moment, Cassie and I have become good friends since that day, and for the record, I do go to her house often and still "scream" every once in a while, but I must be irresistible or something, because I'm still allowed in. I must be irresistible, and I can't help it.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

So I thought that I was originally going to be posting reactions to my Tourette's in this blog after a brief background and explanation. I never figured it would be one of those journey blogs, telling about the changes and coping and whatnot... I guess it might become like that. We will have to see I guess, depending on how much they plan on changing. Remember how I mentioned that I mostly have the vocal tick and just a slight physical tick? Well, I guess the physical tick was feeling left out. BTW, you should know there is a difference between a regular shudder from being cold, and my Tourette's shudder, so I can tell which is which. I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that the tick is showing up more often. Not only that, but it is starting to hurt. Not a fan of that part. I'm not too sure how to explain how it feels or what happens... I think the only way to explain it is like I am being grabbed from the inside.

I love my squeaks, they make me happy, but the shudder is starting to scare me. I'm not really sure what to do with it, how to react or anything. The other night as I shuddered, I really felt like I was being grabbed, and that, especially as a woman, scares me. And the feeling of helplessness because I can't do anything about it? Terrible. On top of it hurting? At least with the squeaks, they don't hurt. Not all of the shudders hurt either, but the fact that a few of them are getting to that point makes me wonder if this is something that will only get worse with time. Usually this is a good thing, but this time, the scary part is that I can't help it.

In the Beginning...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So remember how I mentioned that Tourettes comes before age 18, but usually around the age of 4 or 5? Well, apparently nothing I do fits the norm, because I was one of the late ones. I didn't start making noises until I was 17. It was my senior year of high school, and I had a job at our local library. Yes, of all places a library. The very first noise came while I was at work one day in the fall of 2003. I happened to be in the back room, and I was alone when it happened. I made a funny little noise, one that sounds like a squeaky toy (hence the reason I call them squeaks). I thought that was interesting, it was kind of like a hiccup, but it didn't hurt and I only did one... ok. I didn't take much notice. However, I did one again the following day, also at work. This time I was around some of the ladies that worked at the library. They thought it was a cute little noise, and life moved on.

It started happening every day. The library ladies thought it was adorable every time I did it, so we usually had a nice little chuckle when they happened. I don't know how long it went on like that, but soon, I started doing it more than once a day. It was Connie who started to realize I was doing them more often and started counting how many I did during my shift. Once she started counting, they became more frequent. We still had chuckles over it, I wasn't too concerned, mostly because , as I mentioned before, it didn't hurt. I don't feel anything when I make these sounds. It was always the same little sound, something like a cute little hiccup, so life went on.

I graduated from high school, and went on to Snow College as a music major. During HS, I had discovered music and choir, and I had fallen in love. I wanted to become a choir director. While I was at Snow, things started to change. I started doing two in a row anytime I made noises, and multiple times a day. This started to concern my parents a bit. One trip home, they sent me to see the family doctor. I didn't do any during the visit, but after explaining them, I was told that this is something I should see a specialist about.

I started doing sets of three my second year at Snow. They were getting more attention and I started getting reactions from people (to be told in later posts). Now as a voice emphasis, we started studying the different problems that can harm a vocalist about the same time I was in a stage production for school called MAME. I was only in the chorus, but I started to have a constant sore throat from all the strain. I saw a doctor recommended by my voice teacher about this, and also brought up the squeaks. He gave me some things to do for my sore throat, and said that something had to be spasming to create a noise like that, so he also gave me some muscle relaxant to try. The next day, I took the muscle relaxant. About an hour after taking it, I squeaked. So much for that theory. He also tried to test my blood. You should know I am terrified of needles. Not happy with that idea. Especially when nothing came back and the doctor was stumped.

Time passed, and I graduated from Snow with my Associate's Degree. I moved home and put in mission papers. I went to and Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, and he said he had never heard of anything like it, and didn't know how to help. One night, I did four in a row, and this was the first time I started to get concerned, if this was going to be a pattern, it might become a problem. I only did four in a row once, though. After that night, they cute little squeaks started to... evolve. Some got longer, and they started to fluctuate in pitch. It was small differences at first, but the more time passed, the more changes came. Most of the time I still had my cute little hiccup like squeak, but every once in a while, they were different.

The day I went to the temple for the first time is a whole blog post in and of itself, so I won't go into detail, but that was the day I quit worrying about my squeaks, and I set out to serve the Lord. About halfway through my mission, the mission doctor came to visit, and heard one of my squeaks. One of the originals. I apologized and told him I didn't know what it was, it was just something I do. He said, "I bet it is Tourettes. You would have to do some neurological tests, but I'm pretty sure that is what it would be." Others had given that thought before, so I had heard the word, but didn't really know what it was, just that it really didn't have a cure. My reaction to Dr. Dahl? Why would I pay so much money for them to tell me there is no cure? I was comfortable with them, so I just let the idea roll off my back.

I lived with them, having many reactions that have shaped who I am today, because they have changed my life considerably. In a good way, though. It wasn't until the summer of 2010 that I was officially diagnosed on BYUH campus by Dr. Orr, the school psychiatrist. That is also a long story and another blog post. This post was to focus on my discovery of Tourettes; what it is, and how it suddenly appeared in my life. I guess awesome things just come to me, and I can't help it.

I Can't Help It

Monday, June 6, 2011

So I was asking friends what to call this blog I am creating... I had a few good responses. Chosen title was simply funniest, and I happen to love movie quotes. Emperor's New Groove is simply a classic. I can't help it was also up there, because, well, that's the point of this blog. There are simply some things in my life I can't control. It's not the usual stuff, either. Sure, no one can really control all the stuff that happens around them on a day to day basis, but most people can at least control the sounds that come out of their mouth. I can't. At least not always. I have what is commonly called Tourette's Syndrome. Never heard of it? Some have, some haven't. First post should probably explain that... I make noises. I can't help it.

Doctors don't really know what causes it, or how to cure it. I am ok with that. Tourette's is classified by a vocal tick and a physical tick. They can be any kind of uncontrollable sound or action. Most people think that people with Tourette's swear. This is not always the case. Any sound will do. Some cases are more severe than others. The onset is before the age of 18, but most commonly shows up at a young age like 4 or 5. I have watched documentaries about other people with Tourette's, and most were different. It could vary anywhere from a twitch to walking in circles as they go on their merry way. Vocal ticks can be anything from phrases to swearing or any other sound.There is no pattern to when the tick will occur.

As for my personal experience with Tourette's, I shudder occasionally, as if I was cold, but I'm usually not. Not a big deal, not many even notice. It is my vocal tick, however, that has made me unique. They can be loud or soft, long or short and almost always different. I have a few friends who have taken to naming them, and it might help you understand what I mean by noises... Sometimes I sound like a squeaky toy. I sometimes sound like a pteradactyl, a mouse, a parrot, a car alarm, or a variety of other animal sounds. Sometimes it simply sounds like I got really excited and let out a squeal. Sometimes, it sounds like a bit of a grumble. This past week, I actually started a new one that sounds like the Mighty Mouse theme song... As I said, I can't control it, they just come. This blog was created to share my experience with Tourette's Syndrome, different reactions I get from people and other stories that have happened or will yet happen. It is quite an experience that keeps me and my friends on their toes. It is quite an exciting adventure! And the best part is... I can't help it. My life is just that awesome.
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