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Growing up with TS - Keep smiling, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Posted Wed 6th Apr 2022 at 10:11
by Joe Cooper


Joe Cooper share his TS journey

It all started unexpectedly when I was returning home from a family holiday in France at the age of 10 (2002) when I was uncontrollably making involuntary barking like noises and my family, and I, had no idea what was going on.

At first, they thought I was just being naughty but as the weeks rolled by it was clear something was not quite right. At this time, TS was not a well-documented or well-known thing, but I was eventually admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital where I spent the next 6 years undergoing various tests and conversations with Dr’s.

It was in these day long appointments I would question what my life would pan out like living with TS and whether simple things like if I would get a girlfriend, get a job, get in the local football team would be constantly at the back of my mind.

My TS evolved over time where I went from barking to flicking my head to the side constantly and I just couldn’t stop. One of my teachers said it was like I was a budgie!

Growing up with TS wasn’t easy, I trialed multiple different medications that would send me to sleep, Pete Bennett went on Big Brother in 2006 which blew TS into the news limelight and everyone at school would randomly shout w****** and I struggled to make new friends.

However, it all wasn’t that bad, I got extra time in exams, and I probably got away with more than I should have in the classroom. Some of my families’ funniest memories have been some of my TS outbursts and as I grew older, I learnt to suppress my tics better and people would accept I am who I am.

I am sharing my details for those young children suffering with TS who might be having the same thoughts as me when I was a kid as I am now 29, have a lovely home, have a beautiful partner, daughter and own a successful recruitment business. I just about made the local football team too, but my dad was the manager!

I would absolutely recommend anyone suffering with TS to reach out for support as I wish I had a support network growing up and someone to talk too who could relate to what I was going through.

Keep smiling, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

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