I did some shopping after work and then had a drink with some friends, and for the whole five hours this took, I’ve felt people have been staring and making negative judgements about me.
It started as soon as I left work. I was so keen to get away from the disgusted looks of some older women at the bus stop that I got on the wrong bus. This meant I had to get off outside a high school just as all the students were leaving. Several children saw me and ran away scared. One girl said, “Look at the mad woman.” I told her and her friends that I’m not mad, but that I have Tourettes, and walked away.
I got on another bus, which was packed, so standing and persuading my arm to hold on was a struggle. Two young girls nearby didn’t take their eyes off me. I smiled at them but it made no difference to their expressions and the way they were staring at me. I called Laura and I’ve never seen anyone look as startled as they did that I was able to speak normally.
While I was waiting for Laura, Hannah and Emma in Brixton, I looked round the shops. I saw security guards looking nervous and there was lots of giggling from other shoppers. Outside one shop when two young men thought I’d sworn at them they grabbed my arm and asked me what my problem was. I tried to explain and they let go but they walked away, still angry.
I met my friends and even with them there was a moment when I felt awkward. I asked Emma to hold my hand to stop me hitting myself and she refused. I asked her later why she wouldn’t help and she said she didn’t want to interact with my tics.
On the way home a woman moved away from me on the bus and a man stood in the aisle pointing at me and laughing. As I walked back to the lair two young women shouted, “Shit, fuck, wank” at me. The young man who was with them told them to leave it out as I had Tourettes. I confirmed this, thanked him and we talked briefly as we walked along together. They appeared to get friendlier but just as we parted one of the girls dangled a used condom in my face and walked away shouting swearwords.
It’s been a relentless challenge today but even so I wouldn’t have chosen to do anything differently. Attitudes won’t ever change if I hide away.