Monday was my eighth fitiversary, eight years since the day when the seizure-like episodes of intense tics that I call ‘ticcing fits’ became a regular part of my life. They’d been happening on and off for months, even years, but I woke up one morning in October 2011 having one, and from then on, they started happening very regularly. It was frightening and painful at first and took some adjusting too.
For the first few years I’d mark the 21st October in some sort of low-key way – it felt important to acknowledge what a big change in my life these episodes had ushered in. From that point on I’ve needed much more support in order to stay safe and independent.
This year I chose not to say anything to anyone about my fitiversary, but instead marked it in a very private and personal way. It seems significant that I no longer feel the need to separate out the onset of my ticcing fits from my wider experience of Tourettes. What had at first felt upsetting or like a loss, now just feels like my life.
Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get to this point. It’s not always been an easy journey and it’s definitely not one I’ve made alone. If you’re struggling with changing tics this Tough Tics Survivor’s Guide might be of interest.
This time eight years ago I was reeling from the changes I was experiencing. Since then I’ve learnt about my own resilience, and I’ve come to understand the incredible power of friendship and practical support.