The tics started in fourth grade
Jessica would sniff. And sniff again. It turned out to be a motor tic, an involuntary movement that occurred during the day and sometimes continued for a full hour before she fell asleep at night. Jessica was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, and combined with her sensory issues and intense anxiety about schoolwork, her differences were obstacles that began during her younger years.
I was very emotional and high strung. I’d get home from school and just fall apart. The stress of keeping it all together during the school day was exhausting.
The hurdles continued in high school. Special ed administrators struggled with how to help her. Jessica changed schools numerous times until she found the right placement.
I wanted to make everyone proud of me, but I couldn’t for some reason. I was anxious and tired a lot. The tics were physically painful and demanding.
Jessica met with a number of medical professionals over the years and tried various medications with limited success. Jessica found comfort in writing poetry to express her intense thoughts and feelings. Her desire for a normal life, nurtured by the support and encouragement of her family, helped Jessica find her way.
It took a long time before I found the right people to help, but now I have a supportive team.
Jessica’s determination earned her a high school diploma. Over the years, she worked with children in an afterschool program and at a summer camp for kids with special needs. These days, she’s working part time. Jessica loves to read. She relaxes by going on long walks around the neighborhood or a mall. By stepping forward with her story, Jessica wants others to realize that people who face challenges look no different from anyone else and have the same hopes, dreams, and ambitions.
I am Jes and I am proud of who I am.