Who Keeps Whistling?

I’ve just got back from a massive work away-day. My team is one of about eight local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service teams (CAMHS) in the borough. We all work in different buildings so I haven’t really met anyone outside my own team before. We all came together to be updated on the latest clinical guidance.

As we were waiting for the first session to start I said to my team manager “This is going to be a bit of a nightmare for me.” She was confused for a moment and then said “Oh god, yes of course, I don’t even notice your tics anymore. Everybody here will understand.”

I should’ve found out who was leading the event and told them I had Tourettes, but my team manager’s reassurance meant I took my seat in the packed room without doing so. My tics didn’t really stand out while everyone was still chatting but soon the noise faded away and the head of our local CAMHS began to speak.

But my tics didn’t fade away, they carried on regardless, and I noticed a few people looking round. After a few minutes the speaker stopped and said “Right, who keeps whistling and making noises?” I said “That’ll be me, I have Tourettes Syndrome, and I will keep doing it, sorry.” I could see from his expression that this wasn’t what he’d expected and he seemed flustered. He said he was sorry and carried on.

Later on my boss said “Perhaps you should’ve gone and explained beforehand.” She was right of course, but I would have liked a bit of support from her.

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