In the year 2011, Tourette Canada released a set of videos about real people Tourette Syndrome with the help our award-winning advertising partner, Saatchi & Saatchi Canada. In this blog series, we check-in with the people from these videos to see where they are now and how the videos affected them
In this post, we catch up with Ethan who was featured in a self-titled @Random video. This video continues to be extremely popular. If you haven’t seen it, watch it by clicking here: Ethan.
Here is what Ethan has to say…
Tourette Canada: In the @random film you are turning 13. How old are you now?
TC: Do you still skateboard? What other hobbies or interests do you have today?
E: I just recently started skateboarding again, but I play high level rugby and play in bands (mostly drums, guitar, vocals, and bass).
TC: You were diagnosed at age 5. You say in the video that you felt like “yes, I am not crazy” when you found out about your TS. How do you feel about it today?
E: I still worry about looking crazy. I hide my tics in public.
TC: What kind of tics do you have today? What is your weirdest tic?
E: I have an eye rolling tic. Which isn’t a vicious tic like the ones I had when I was younger but it’s hard to talk to people sometimes without looking like a jerk so I often give myself a reason to turn around for a split second to get a tic out. I also have a tic were I hit my thumb against my wallet while it’s in my front left pocket. Had caused some bruising but nothing serious.
TC: What would you say to kids who have just found out about their TS?
E: I never told anyone I had TS. Most of my friends still don’t know I have TS. I was wrong doing that. I shouldn’t have to feel like I should have to hide who I am. So please tell people and explain what TS is. It’s bad enough having TS but it’s even weirder when they catch you ticcing and they don’t know about your TS! Can make for some awkward times… So tell the world!
TC: Do you still have your yelping tic that you mentioned in the film?
E: Thankfully no. I currently have no vocal tics. I have noticed I go through a long cycle of 30 tics mixed in with new ones every now and again. So it may come back, I’m not sure.
TC: You mentioned being in grade 2 and people bugging you about your TS. You dealt with this by talking to the class. Do the people you see on an everyday basis today know about your TS? Why or why not?
E: No, not a lot of people know I have TS. Even if I get caught doing a tic and people say “what the heck was that!?” I would just make up an excuse, like “oh my eyes hurt” or “I don’t know I’m just being weird”. I don’t know why I do that.
TC: How would you say your life has changed since the film?
E: I have most of the same hobbies except I started to take music very seriously in the past 2 years. I was just in a band called Jagged (broken up now) who grew a decently large fan base in the Peterborough area and in Toronto. I played drums for the band and I plan on taking my drumming to the next level and join a touring band in the future. You don’t tic while you have fun so music is key to TS therapy.
TC: In the film, you are very confident. For example, you tell your class about your TS and you don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Are you still confident today? Why or why not?
E: I am not as confident today as I was then. Maybe because in elementary school you are in small classes with kids who don’t care who they’re friends are. Everyone is friends with everyone. In high school it’s so different. There’s like “the jocks” “the nerds” “the popular kids” “the weirdos”. I didn’t really want to be anyone of those groups. In order to do that I had to hide my tics so I wasn’t labeled as a “crazy kid”. I don’t really know how to write out fully what I mean but it’s hard to be yourself with TS when no one understands. In high school it’s your day job with TS to act normal in front of 1000 kids every day. Now that I’m out of high school, I don’t have to impress anyone. Every day is not an interview anymore.
Thank you so much to Ethan and mom, Danielle, for there participation in these two blogs and for their amazing @Random video.
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