A Sign Of Hope (TS Awareness Month!)

May 15 – June 15 is TS Awareness Month in the United States. I have an awful pattern of not realizing this until after the month is over, so I’m trying to be proactive this year and get at least one post in on time.

Despite what folks may think, a great many people with TS don’t want to be “fixed”. They just want to be accepted for who they are. I feel a little like a hypocrite for writing this since I’m currently taking medication for my tics, but it’s true even for me. Tics have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’m medicating now because some of my tics are causing physiological damage to my neck and shoulders, but I’m only medicating enough to slow them down so I stop getting injured. The tics are still there. It’d be weird for me if they weren’t.

What would be nice, though, is if people just accepted them and moved on. I’ve made a life for myself in which that’s the case. My family takes them in stride. My co-workers take them in stride. Other people I interact with at work and on the street take them in stride. It’s great!

But that’s not true for everyone. I still hear stories of people getting kicked off of buses, told to leave stores, or being harassed in their own workplace. It makes me sad, but I think there’s hope. It doesn’t come in the way of increased awareness or anything like that. It’s advertising.

As time goes on, advertising has a larger and larger impact on our lives. Used to be you opened up a web browser and you could spend an entire afternoon surfing the ‘net without running into a single ad. Now practically every web page has ads. Heck, even this thing has ads! (Or so I’ve been told. The author’s view of a WordPress site just has a little box that says, “Viewers may see an ad here.”)

And yet we navigate around them. Our eyes slide past the ads and get on to the stuff we’re interested in. No matter how prominent the ads are, we still use those web sites. We still access that content. It may annoy us at times. (How many Youtube video have you watched in which you had to wait for an ad to finish, then click the X on the little ad box that popped up, then click the other X on the other little ad box that popped up?) But even knowing the ads are there we still go to those web sites!

WordPress is a little special in that it doesn’t show ads to authors as they’re writing. But you have to wonder if the employees of Youtube or Facebook or any of the other sites out there that live off of their ads have to navigate through their own ads, or if they have a magic off-switch. My guess is they don’t.

In case you haven’t picked up on the analogy yet, ads are a lot like tics. They aren’t typically pertinent to whatever is going on at the time. They may be annoying, humorous, or just monotonously present. There may be particular ones that grate on the nerves and others we hardly notice at all.

Just for grins go back and re-read that last paragraph as if I’m talking about ads. Or tics. Try both. See?

The point is that the ads don’t stop us from using those sites. Or watching those shows. Or reading that newspaper or magazine. Or really anything. We’ve learned to accept them, adapt to them, and move on. And yeah, occasionally we actually get something out of one.

I have to hope that the same will one day be true of tics. It’d be great if some day people are just as unlikely to say, “Yeah, can’t stand that guy who jerks all the time…” as they are to say, “Yeah, can’t stand that site with all of its ads for nose cream…” (But who doesn’t love ads about nose cream, am I right?)

So happy TS Awareness Month, everyone!

(And now a few tics from our sponsor…)


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