25 Years John

25 years ago, in March 1989 a QED documentary, John’s Not Mad’ introduced Johnny Davison, a thoughtful and charismatic Scottish teenager with Tourettes, to the British public.

The programme showed the impact of Tourettes and of people’s reactions to it on John’s life. The result is an incredible and moving piece of TV, the on-going legacy of which is increased awareness of the condition.

John’s definitely not mad, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there’ve been times when opening up his life in this way has felt crazy to him. But his courageous decision twenty-five years ago propelled Tourettes into public consciousness.

Thank you, John, for blazing a trail. I’ve personally felt the benefit of your awareness-raising work countless times – most recently when I fractured my elbow and the doctor treating me knew all about Tourettes, because of you.

If you haven’t seen ‘John’s Not Mad’ or the subsequent follow-up documentaries ‘The Boy Can’t Help It’ and ‘I Swear I Can’t Help It’, I strongly encourage you to check them out.

Thanks to people like Johnny, a lot of progress has been made in the last twenty-five years, but there’s still a long way to go before people with Tourettes can confidently expect to get the understanding and support they’re entitled to. And there’s always a new generation to be educated, and new people with Tourettes to be supported and nurtured.

To everyone who’s shared their experience of Tourettes or enabled me to share mine – thank you.

Together we’re building a more inclusive and understanding world, one tic at a time.

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