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Catching up with Luke Inglis from The Undateables

Posted Wed 14th Feb 2018 at 07:00
by Luke Inglis

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Following the success of Luke's appearance on Channel 4's The Undateables, Tourettes Action caught up with him to find out more about life before and after the show.

You were diagnosed at a later age than the typical 5-7 years age bracket.  Looking back, did you experience symptoms, such as tics or any of the co-occurring conditions (OCD, anxiety, ADHD for example) in your younger years?

Yes, I was diagnosed with ADHD, auditory processing difficulties, and other learning difficulties like dyslexia etc. when i was young but the Tourettes/OCD didn't come out till i was in year 11 at secondary school. (16 years old). During year 11 i was going through way too much stress, as i had a broken scraifroid (wrist) and a ruptured ACL (knee) from rugby injuries while taking my GCSE's. The added stress of how well I did in my exams, plus worrying about starting college, and getting my hull fc u19s contract all combined and that's when the tic's started. I was noticing them while at college (started with a shoulder/arm/neck tic), then by the time i was diagnosed i had really aggressive tics and started grunting. Then after my ACL operation the tic's got even worse and all the vocal tics started. Then have constantly been getting worse up to this day.

How did you feel when you were given a diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome?

I didn't think much of it if I'm honest.  Obviously it came as a shock and was the last condition i ever thought i would get, but i just took it on the chin and didn't let it get in the way of my studies or rugby. I didn't let it overule my life, or stop me from doing all the things i love to do.

Was it something you felt comfortable telling your friends about?  And how did your friends react when you told them?

I didn't really mind telling all my friends as it didn't change me as a person, plus I have a lot of good supporting friends that have always been there for me. Obviously when the vocal tics started a lot of my friends thought it was funny and I did myself, so I embraced it as part of me. I didn't want to feel awkward about it myself and for others. In my opinion I think its best not to take yourself and the condition seriously, for me that's the best way to be in terms of being able to cope with the tics.

How have people in general reacted to your TS?

Everyone thought it came as a shock, including myself.  However,things have been positive and I have had a great amount of support from my friends and family. Still, a lot of people don't understand the condition, mainly the public who don't know people with TS.  I have been in plenty of sticky situations which has caused some problems. This is why it's important that there is more awareness out there, so people can understand. It's not fair that people with TS get so much grief, it causes our stress and anxiety levels to go over the roof.

A lot of people in the TS community think that the title of the TV series ‘The Undateables’ is offensive.  What are your thoughts?

I can see were people are coming from in terms of the title of the show, as no one is 'undateable', there is someone out there for everyone.  However, it's a bold title and I feel it's good because those who suffer with various conditions can see it as a challenge to prove to everyone that no matter what we go through, we can still date people, no matter what people think. So I feel it's a positive title; I like proving people wrong, and I liked the challenge.

What has your experience on The Undateables done for your confidence, with regards to dating and your own personal confidence?

Iwould definately say my confidence has improved, as it has took a lot of tension off my shoulders. I feel more relaxed about showing my tics and don't feel the need to hide them now.  Now that everyone knows I have TS, I don't feel so self conscious about what people think, as I have had so much positivity from it.

You’ve had a very positive response on social media from the people who watched the show – were you expecting so much attention?

No, I wasn't expecting any attention from the experience so I found it very surprising. It has definately made me feel good about myself. Knowing that people from all over the country have seen me for who I am, and hopefully better understand the condition, has given me a very positive vibe. I couldn't be happier if I'm honest.

Would you say that appearing on The Undateables has been a pivotal experience for you? If so, what plans do you have for yourself going forward?

Yes, definately.  I feel it was a very positive experience and I'm very glad I went through with it.  It has made me a lot more confident in terms of showing off my Tourettes. I'd like to do a lot of fundraising for the charity to further increase the awareness of TS, and in doing so make life easier for people with Tourettes,  I want people toembrace their condition, express their tics, and not stop doing the things they love.

Do you have any advice for people who may feel that their TS will get in the way of a relationship?

The best advice from me is be yourself and don't let the tics change who you are.  People should respect you no matter what.  The best thing to do is not take the condition seriously, as you should embrace it in your own way and that's the best way to be. So it terms of dating, you shouldn't let anything stop you and just go for it.


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Catching up with Luke Inglis from The Undateables

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