This past November, the TSAA had an awareness booth setup at the annual Sydney Zombie Walk. It was most successful, we met a lovely young woman who was recently diagnosed with TS during her HSC. She's not sure what her trigger event was, but it is really difficult for her at the moment; having to learn how to live life with TS and wondering if is going to be a career limiting affliction. It was nice that we were able to connect with her and help her realize there is help for people with TS (more so than just the local GP), and for her to see myself having TS and a successful career.
After reflecting on my encounter with this young woman, I have come to the realization that it may be disingenuous of myself to have a good management career whilst trying to hide my affliction with TS. I would much rather be known as a genuine person, and I cannot do that hiding my TS. And, I think if people are ever to change their attitudes towards people who have mental (or in my case neurological) afflictions, then I can no longer hide them from view. People need to see that I am still able to function, just as good (or better) than everyone else, regardless if I am afflicted or not.
Now, everyone at work knows that I have TS; as does everyone I connect with on LinkedIn and Facebook. I am no longer hiding; and I have made certain that I no longer can. I have become an active advocate of Tourette Syndrome Awareness (even if it could be a career limiting move). When people ask me about TS and why I chose to become an advocate, I usually include my experiences here as a Community Champion on the beyondblue forums.
So a BIG THANKS goes to all of you on these forums, the regulars, the irregulars, the champions and blue voices people, all who have contributed to these forums... through reading your posts, dealing with my own issues and (hopefully) helping you with yours, I have learnt how to stand up in front of everyone and say: "Hi this is me. I am just like you, as you are just like me, and we are the same everyone else; and because no two people are the same, we are all different." My afflictions are still there, but instead of holding me down... they hold me up.
Be not ashamed of who you are or what you have become, be proud that through these affliction you are able to help others survive and overcome theirs.
Best wishes for the new year everyone.