It was hard. I don’t know how I came through it, but I did. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy. I still have a hard time dealing with those who don’t, or refuse to, understand. The looks, the teasing, the whispers; they’re as common, now, as they ever were. Going out in public continues to be a terrifying excursion. My body is tattered, due to the insatiable twitches. I’ve broken, and continue to break, my fair share of light switches, door handles and alarm clocks. My family is still getting used to living with my inadequacies. I am flawed. I am strong. I have Tourettes.
Diagnosed at age 12 with Tourettes Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, my life has been difficult, to say the least. The constant and consistent effects have mentally, emotionally and physically taken their toll. Now, at 30, I’ve finally learned to accept my situation and have found my way to happiness, not by spurning my disease, but by embracing it and using it as a source of strength.
Most people see the exterior, flawed self. They see the twitches, the ticks and the obsessive compulsive behavior. For years, jobs came and went. Medications failed and, sometimes, made my situation worse. I found myself having difficulty with normal, daily functioning. I was a wreck. Having this disease, the subsequent OCD, medication-caused panic attacks and the emotional and physical damage was, literally, destroying my life. That was, until I had an epiphany.
For years, I saw my TS as a curse; a plague. My world revolved around excuses and self-loathing. Then, as if someone flipped a switch, it all changed. I started seeing my curse and a blessing. Through the teachings of Buddhism, I learned to channel my anger into inner-peace. I used my fear and anger as motivation to better myself.
I became a man of many, successful talents. I attained instructor-ship in martial arts and earned a tournament championship. My budding music career flourished, garnering awards and radio recognition. I sought peace and was blessed by a monk of the Shaolin as I embarked upon my journey. My writing published and my education led me to a decent, but ever-expanding career in public safety. Because of my new found motivation, I saw opportunities and created my own when I did not. I reached goals I had set and surpassed those set before me by others. I succeeded because I fought. I was flawed, but it was the flaw that gave me strength.
My life, still largely unwritten, seems like something from a novel. I have reached many milestones, some of which I never could have been able to, without the strength I nurtured from my disease. I am successful. I am flawed. I am strong. I have Tourettes.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, has turned a life with Tourettes and OCD into a successful work of milestones and achievements.