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Let Me Out

Posted Tue 12th Nov 2019 at 08:25
by George Spence


George Spence recently gave a presentation about Tourette Syndrome to his university peers who until that point were not informed of his diagnosis.

Hi my fellow tickers!

It’s me again!

Hope you are all doing well.

To give you all some context I wrote a blog last week which you can read here.

So I presented to my class. It was on the Monday just passed.

This is the story of that Monday.

Starting with Monday morning.

I was so anxious I brushed my teeth twice.

Mum made me breakfast to take away, bless her.

I then got onto the bus and saw a very dirty and dusty car and someone inscripted in the dirt ‘WASH ME’ which I thought was hilarious.

I ate breakfast on the bus to the station but I hate eating in public or in front of people as it triggers my swallowing twitch, but you can only hear it if you are sitting near but I dunno maybe I’m just being overly paranoid, hard not to be eh?

Chamomile tea at the ready. I’m feeling a little bit more steady. I always drink camomile tea as it is naturally calming. It is a natural sedative and it calms your central nervous system down, for me it is a miracle cure for anxiety and it puts your mind at ease. Trust me, if you haven’t already, go get some chamomile tea, you’re missing out, it’s phenomenal.

Anyway, back to the subject, I listened to a few songs on the way which helped rile me up for the presentation and they are a beautiful listen.

One Armed Scissor by At The Drive-In. Fear Inoculum by Tool. Cherub Rock by The Smashing Pumpkins.

Cherub Rock has lyrics which say “Let Me Out, Let Me Out”. Those lyrics were so connecting at that moment that I felt a very strong sense of euphoria. Someone once told me that the universe is always vibrating, that’s why music is so special. Here's the song.

I got on the train and had to find time to revise for my theory driving test., which helped keep my mind off things (I PASSED BY THE WAY).

I arrived at my uni 40 minutes before the lesson started and I couldn’t see my tutor in there (obviously) and I went to sit in a coffee shop with my Camomile tea trying not to hyperventilate as I was so anxious. Now it is 20 minutes before the lesson starts and I trooped in with a weight in my head.

I saw a friend of mine outside which helped me feel more calm and I went in and spoke to my tutor. The tutor and I discussed about how I will address this to the class and how I will present this video. I also saw my head of year pop in and a thumbs up was exchanged and I put my thumbs up simultaneously and that really comforted me.

Little by little the flood gates were open and the flow of students steadily made its way into the class. The tourettes video was on the projector and I asked my tutor to change the page as it was freaking me out haha. Dunno why, I felt bad as my tutor was being so nice.

Anyway. It is five past three and the majority of the students were in the class. (this honestly feels like I’m writing some dramatic screenplay about some sort of fictional war, maybe this was a war I was fighting?). My tutor stands up and says “Hi everyone, George would like to speak to you all about something and show a video” I said “Thank you, so hi everyone, this is a matter that means a lot to me. I haven’t been attending the class due to this drawback in my life I have always had. It has always affected me and I have never addressed it with anyone. Here is a video to give you all some understanding.”

I quickly marched out of the room to leave everyone to watch the video (then I quickly marched back in to retrieve my chamomile tea, of course and then I marched back out).

Seconds felt like hours, minutes like days, a three minute video like years. It was an agonising wait.

The lecturer comes back out when I was starting to think the waiting would never end. Then I came back in with the weight in my head feeling slightly lighter but still with a daunting tinge to it and said “ Does anyone have.” Sorry to interrupt but actually just started crying with relief writing this.

Back to the story “ Does anyone have any questions” One student said, “You are so brave, you should be proud of yourself” and a student in the corner of the room that I admit I’ve only spoken to once or twice and I will replace the word with flaming “You are so flaming brave George, we love you!” And some of the other students said simultaneously with the tutor “We love you George” Oh wow,I just started crying again. Waterworks are ongoing. After the class a lot of students came up to me and we chatted about it. As my tics can sometimes be more subtle/severe in some situations depending on my mood etc, some people mentioned they didn’t even notice it and others I just spoke to about it. It was really weird to speak
about it after years of suppression and anxiety of this tic disorder I have lived with my whole life. Never mentioning it to anyone but close family and occasionally friends.

I was so overwhelmed with the reaction I couldn’t handle it. I had a big smile on my face for the duration of the lesson which ironically I tried to suppress. I could swallow freely in class. Twitch, shuffle about, reposition my seat, jump up in my seat, shake my leg, you name it! Without a worry in the world.

So yeah that was Monday. To briefly explain and end, I have attended every class since and I am loving learning again in a student environment without stressing about tics. I admit, my anxiety is still high being in class but it is so much easier and every day it is getting easier to be in lectures. I worry about a tic but then I do it and I realise that no one cares?? It is relieving.

I can’t thank people enough for the support. Family, friends, my university and the amazing tutors and compassionate student support team.

Just for a reference point this is the video I showed to the class.

I have also left you all a nice little poem to enjoy. This one is about how life can be constantly up and down and how we could learn a lot from trees.


Relived the moment Relieved from the minute Evolved from the second

The steady green may turn to amber Back to red and back to amber Then flashing amber as you panic And red during the dreaded thought Green during relief

Green during happiness

Beware as steady amber always returns Soon following the red Which will halt you to a stop However don’t be envious of green Live it

Instantaneous solving is unreal Take it day by day and green will pass by more often with a steady flow of clean traffic

Rather than a red stop start motion of denial, self hate and despair

Green will be good Just look at the happy tree next to the stop and start traffic.

Steady Unmovable Untouchable to some But not invincible

Be like a free tree Grounded, steady, unmovable But not invincible.

A tree gets sick But its fruitful nature gets it back on the right branchy track

Colour your body green Lie on the grass And just breathe

Life is a mystical dream Live it

By George Spence


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