The forth guest post for National Carers Week is written by my flatmate Poppy.
I have to admit, before meeting Touretteshero my main knowledge of Tourettes Syndrome, similar to lots of people’s, was that it involved uncontrollable swearing.
The first couple of times I met her I didn’t really know how to deal with her tics. One time I remember particularly she was repeatedly ticcing, ‘Kellogs Crispy Cunts.’ Not knowing whether to laugh or not, I tried very hard not to, so I bit my lip and looked down so she couldn’t see. I think I may even have left fairly quickly afterwards. Quite soon though, with a bit of hanging out and chatting, I realised this was completely unnecessary, and that ‘Kellogs Crispy Cunts’, and most of the other 4,000 and something of her tics which have been written down and catalogued, are very funny and should be enjoyed for what they are.
The amazingly open and articulate way Touretteshero explains her condition gave me what I feel to be a fair understanding quite quickly. Her ability to give the wider public a better understanding of a much misunderstood condition is just one of the many reasons I have the utmost respect for her.
When I first started seeing Leftwing Idiot I think Touretteshero and I both had a certain level of apprehension. You always want to get on with a new boyfriend’s mates but, particularly because around that time most of her support was coming from him, it was even more important for all of us. I’d never previously had any dealings with disabled people, and there could easily have been misunderstanding or jealousy. Luckily, we got on very well and after a couple of months, when Touretteshero ticced at Leftwing Idiot, ‘Poppy made you bearable,’ I knew there wasn’t any reason for me to have worried.
I feel incredibly lucky to have developed such a good friendship with Touretteshero. I very much enjoy living at the castle with her. Who wouldn’t like going to sleep listening to the sound of their flatmate talking to a cartoon star or shouting at a lamp-post? Or getting to come home drunk and assaulting your flatmate with an otter glove puppet to squeals of laughter. Of course Touretteshero is so much more than her tics. She’s a very intelligent, thoughtful and all-round wonderful person. Tourettes makes things difficult for her, and I’m glad to know I’m doing my little bit to help someone who I care very much about.
Photo: Laura Page