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Swansea Workshop

Posted Wed 6th Dec 2023 at 08:00
by Lauren Slaney


Lauren talks about her experience of living with TS as a student nurse.

Hello! My name is Lauren, I am 28 years old, I am a student nurse and newly diagnosed with Tourette's. Today I attended an event for healthcare professionals (and students/trainees!) ran by Tourettes Action. I have had a couple of advocacy sessions with TA and discussed wanting to learn more about Tourette's but found there were not many places to go and find out more about it.

During the online adult support group and the advocacy sessions we discussed the workshop taking place today in Swansea (as closest to me!). It was an incredible way of learning more about Tourette's and meeting some other healthcare professionals with it. I have learnt so much since engaging with Tourettes Action, and I am grateful beyond words for all that they do and the awareness they raise for the Tourette's and tic disorders. Navigating a late in life diagnosis despite having tics for forever has blown my mind and rocked my world, so the support and education provided has been invaluable and I feel as though I would be lost without it.

I am so very glad I attended. It was a pleasure to meet so many people from various backgrounds and learn more about how to navigate life with it and hopefully support individuals in the future with Tourette's and tics. Tourettes Action have been so incredibly helpful and supportive and I’m learning more every time I engage with an event or support group. Attending today has taught me a lot about the management and treatments available for tics and helped me with some self-discovery too. It has helped me identify that it’s not so much the tics that concern me, I can live with them, and I have done for many years. It’s more about feeling self-conscious for me and people sometimes pointing out when I am having tics (which doesn’t happen often). But today has taught me that the best thing I can do is try and educate people where possible – though equally I don’t have to if I don’t want to or don’t have the capacity to at the time (and there are some nifty cards available on the TA website that I can hand out during those difficult days).

I feel attending the Tourette's workshop was a healthy way for me to learn more about Tourette's instead of some other methods I’d previously adopted. These included watching videos on social media which I’ve since learnt could affect my own tics due to the suggestable nature of Tourette's.

Finding the spaces that Tourettes Action provide in their online groups and in the workshop today has been such a relief. It’s the first space I have entered really where I don’t have to explain why I’m making a particular movement, or a sudden random noise and I can just be me. In previous jobs I would work with people that would repeatedly ask what that noise was or that movement and I would have to explain it every day despite working with them regularly – I found this embarrassing and frustrating.

Since those days though, and very recently I have met a lot of people from all walks of life that either have Tourettes or tics and this has given me so much more determination to continue to pursue my career as at one stage I was concerned this could be the end of my nursing journey. I now know it just may look a little different to others and adjustments can be implemented if required. Its also given me some inspiration as to where my career could lead in the future.

I just wanted to add at the end here that I really appreciate everything that Tourettes Action do, and I hope one day to give back to the organisation because the work they carry out is enormous and so incredible.  

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