Tourettes and Christianity

***********NOT FOR CHILDREN***********

This piece of writing contains obscenities and is intended for an adult audience.

My passion is to deliver this message in person to church communities across the UK.

I hope to make a you tube clip of this too but I need some help with that.

As a lady of faith I have struggled when it comes to attending church, for no other reason than how other Christians have made my family feel. At a time when we needed support from what we considered our family many turned their backs, Many thought we needed fixing. I hope this challenges those that consider themselves “of faith”, “non Judgemental”, and “full of compassion”. This is intended to be read out in person with the audience completely unaware of the story until it unfolds.

 

What Would You Do?

I would like to initially ask you a question. I don’t need to know the answer, the answer is for you. It’s a Question for you to think on and hopefully challenge yourself by your findings.

If you could, please try to think in everyday life terms I think you will gain more from this.

Think of an average week day, with a few twists along the way.

Your day starts with finding out you have had a power cut during the night and your alarm clock failed to wake you, you get up in that “pressing panic stricken fashion”, step in the shower but it is freezing cold because the power cut tripped the hot water supply, annoyed and shivering you get dressed, only to find a stain right in the middle of the top you were planning to wear today……. Now I know a lot of you are relating already.

The day goes from bad to worse, your second top of the day gets tooth paste or coffee (or if you’re me, both!) down it so you are on to your 3rd top already.

You go to your car and it takes 4 attempts to get it to start up. There’s traffic and road works everywhere, everyone seems angry and in a rush, by the time you have got where you need to go, Work, dropping the kids off, to your coffee morning, running your errands you feel like you have run a marathon whilst fighting off a swarm of angry wasps.

All through the day little things keep going wrong to the point, all you want to do is go home shut the curtains maybe scream in a pillow, cry a little and block out the annoyance that is the world around you.

When you get home after a day full of bustling activity you make yourself that drink. You know the drink I mean, that drink you have been longing for, the relaxing, sit in your favourite chair with your favourite biscuit drink. Just how you like it.

You boil the kettle preparing the cup and biscuits with time to spare for drawing those curtains, a few deep breathes, a little pillow scream (feeling calmer already). The kettle clicks you pour the water and the sweet smell invades your senses. You open the fridge and BOOM……………….. you realise all the food in the fridge (including the milk for your drink) has gone bad. The power coming back on during the night caused a power surge tripping the fridge. Your frustration has just tripled in the knowledge you have to pop down to the supermarket to re-stock your fridge and all before you can enjoy that drink, that “been waiting all the live long day for”, drink.

A few deep breaths, a re-group of your pent up annoyance, perhaps another little prayer to ask for a little more strength to get through this day, maybe even one more pillow scream before the off. You are ready, a renewed aim to get over this final hurdle, this quick get in, get your bits, get out mission to achieve your goal of finally sitting, chillin, drinking a gorgeous hot chocolate, mocha, latte, cappacino, earl grey, pg one cup, Yorkshire tea…. whatever it is that is your drink, just how you like it.

Your off, car starts like a dream….. YES. Traffic is not so bad…… YES. Can you find a parking space? NO!

GOD come on, you have got to be kidding me? Are you trying to annoy me on purpose today? Is this day actually really happening to me?????…………………

Oh wow he must have heard me, there is MY space. You’re parked, You’re in the shop. Quite busy but you are focused on your mission, nearly there, nearly on your way to that drink.

All of a sudden you hear a child’s voice shouting, it’s impossible to ignore, it is so loud it seems to infect the store and good grief, you see the young boy. He can’t be more than 7 or 8. Is this really happening? I kid you not the boy is shouting “I fucked my mum, she’s a right good fuck”.

The mum and dad look like they couldn’t care less, ignoring him whilst he is screeching this dreadful language……. and OH-MY-LIFE……. he just hit his dad, a full on punch to an area that should never get punched. Now he is screaming “My dad’s a murderer, a fat ugly pervert murderer, help me, someone help me”. The shop seems to have quietened which only makes this boy’s obscene, vulgar language echo louder and louder, it is constant and relentless. Every isle you walk down you pass this family, you’ve passed them 3 times now.

What is your body language doing with each pass?

What expressions have you got on your face?

As you walk past this third time the boy turns to you, looks directly into your eyes and screams “You!, You in the blue top, stop trying to touch my dick!” followed by “AAAAGGGHHHHH fucking pervert alert, PERVERT ALERT!”. Everyone is looking at you, at him, at his parents who just look like they wished they were somewhere else, quite pail and pasty faces, blotchy skin, not the best kept people, they look like they forgot to have a wash this morning, but still no acknowledgement of the utter filth coming out of their child’s mouth, no disciplining him at all.

Their child’s abusive language has been directed at you. The boy has accused you of being a pervert, of trying to touch his private area. What would you do? At what point in this scenario would you ultimately snap?

This has fundamentally been the icing on the cake of your day from hell, What would you do?

Be honest What would you do?

Would you shout at the parents?

Shout at the child (clearly the parents aren’t bothered)

Would you walk away in disgust?

Tut loudly?

Throw a filthy look?

Mutter your outrage to yourself but loud enough for them to hear you?

Maybe nothing but a Facebook status update of the unbelievable scene unfolding?

Maybe you have already got your mobile out and started filming this because it’s bound to go viral?

Maybe a text to someone?

I know what most people would do at this point, I know what most people’s reaction would be. Quite rightly too, wouldn’t you say? You’ve held on and held on all day to get to the final job before that sweet, sweet drink. You didn’t ask for this day, man you’re usually nothing but nice to people, you always try to do the right thing and no way NO… WAY do you deserve this treatment from these people who have no idea what a living hell your day has actually been!

What would you do? What would your natural reaction be?

Now let me fill you in on someone else’s day. Someone who had their electricity go out to but luckily had the sense to set the alarm on their mobile phones. They couldn’t miss this alarm today because they were heading to London. To Great Ormond Street, They got ready with precision timing they had been waiting for this day for 3 years. They dropped their youngest son off at school and drove an hour down the motorway to get to the train station, they had to do this in order to split the journey up into 3 separate modes of transportation. If they spent too long in one area (like sat on a train) things got difficult.

They boarded their train in good time but couldn’t get a fast train so they got a train that had to stop at every station. It was morning heading into London and it was heaving, people getting on at every stop, the carriage getting busier and busier. They had things to amuse them on the train but it didn’t distract them from the judgemental eyes, judgemental body language and judgemental comments both whispered and openly spoken.

During the train ride they got their older son’s ID out several times and had at least 7 conversations with complete strangers who approached them with judgement, anger and disgust in their eyes. All the time the family remained happy smiling and positive in the face of judgement, happily sharing their private information with strangers and educating the masses.

Arriving in London they faced 2 tube rides in rush hour to get to hospital. Their son kept falling to the floor jerking his entire body as if he were having a fit and in the bustling London underground all 3 of them were pushed shoved trod on and shouted at. All the time they would happily explain, they were sorry for the inconvenience but their son had a disability, he couldn’t control his body. The hardest moments for them were when their son thrust himself forward stood on the platforms, it happened every few seconds and they had to hold his arms so tightly that it left a mark, if he fell he would have been hit by a train. The son had extensive tests all day in the hospital and was exhausted by the time they were complete. The family left the hospital at around 5.30.

It was the afternoon rush hour. They faced the same reactions, same body language but different faces all the way home. This time the public as a whole were a lot more stressed. It was hot and sweaty and you were literally nose to armpit most of the way home. The mum and dad did their best to keep their son upright and in their arms. They practically carried him all the way through the tubes and onto a very busy train heading back towards their car.

Their son was suffering very badly from his condition on the way home, he was tired and stressed and just wanted to be back in the safety of his family home, everyone on the carriage had noticed them in just the same way everyone everywhere noticed them.

The family were facing an often hidden disability their son has Tourette syndrome. This syndrome is a hereditary condition that develops as the brain develops. The damage to the brain is located right in the very centre so it is a condition that doctors have no cure for. Sufferers of Tourette syndrome will make involuntary noises and movements like animal noises, coughing, sniffing, head nodding or shaking, hand flicking or eye blinking. There are a very small percentage of suffers that have this condition in its rarest most debilitating and isolating form, this families son has the rarest most debilitating form of the condition.

So back to the train carriage on its approach to the station, the car is in sight, a huge relief is felt over mum, dad and son as this train journey and day in the general public is almost over. The train starts to slow, everyone in the carriage stands ready to get off. A very well dressed, presentable lady in her mid to late 30’s stands up at the opposite end of the carriage to this family and with utter disgust a clearly very angry but educated voice emerges. She turns to the mum and with loud authoritive voice bellows down the carriage asking why mum doesn’t discipline her filthy child! She then asks the carriage as a unit if they find this disgusting boy offensive in the same way she does.

She puts this family down so much and at the end of a day filled with this kind of reaction the mum snaps. Her son hates the words that come out of his mouth and hates his condition. He is exhausted and upset because no matter how hard he tries he can’t stop it happening. The mum gently guides her son behind her husband, reaches once again for her sons Tourette’s ID card and thanks the other woman for showing everyone how narrow minded and judgemental the world can be. The mum explains that her son has a disability and it is called Tourette’s.

The mum thanks the woman for letting everyone on the carriage know how disgusted she is and explains the affect her judgement will have on this little boy. The mum offers her an information card so when she is sat quietly that evening relaxing she can read about how the son doesn’t have that luxury of stillness peace and quiet.

The woman turns to the mum, nose in the air but clearly feeling embarrassed begins to explain she doesn’t need the card because she knows all there is to know about this condition. At this point something happened, the entire carriage parted to make a clear Corridor for the mum to approach the woman.

The mum took her queue and started walking towards little miss righteous stood at the other end, her steps felt involuntary as though she were gliding over. The mum approached the lady and said “clearly you know nothing, if you did you would never have dreamed of humiliating my son the way you just have.” With the information card in a tightly clenched fist the mother tells the woman if you do not take this card from my hand and go educate yourself I will make you eat it so you will think twice before you judge others or only consider yourself and your feelings!

Needless to say as the card got closer and closer to her mouth, the woman now heavily trembling and teary eyed took the card and ran off the train. The rest of the passengers clapped, a few apologised for the situation they just witnessed and said it was clear to see the boy had a condition.

The family made their way to the safety and comfort of their car. On the way home they stopped at the local supermarket for a few bits they needed because they had not eaten since lunch. They all wanted a nice treat and that drink….. You know, that been waiting all the live long day for kind of drink.

In the supermarket there was a person that just couldn’t keep their eyes off this tired weary family. This person seemed to pass the family on every isle and had that look, a look the family had seen all day, a look of “I’m so busy and find you all so irritating and disgusting” a look of annoyance for invading the same airspace as them for a few minutes, a look that says ” I have more right to be here than you, please leave so I don’t have to see or hear you ever again”.

The boy tries so hard to stop his obscene language and gestures but he just can’t, the more anxious and tired he becomes, the worse his tics become. Then it happens, the ultimate unimaginably difficult thing happens, this poor woman walking past is insulted by Tourette’s, not the boy, but his brain condition, “You!, You in the blue top, stop trying to touch my dick!” followed by “AAAAGGGHHHHH fucking pervert alert, PERVERT ALERT!”.. The boy is devastated and the parents have explained to so many strangers. They have been so physically, mentally and emotionally abused all day long they just can’t do it anymore in one day. With the train incident still fresh in their minds and the mum still shaking with the adrenalin they all hold hands turn towards the food on the shelf and away from the disapproving eyes. The parents squeeze their sons hand tight and quietly pray. Pray for God to take the plank out of this other customer’s eye.

Pray this won’t result in another fight, in another scene where they are asked to leave, another misjudgement, another blow to everyone’s self-esteem, another situation that will leave them all more isolated and alone than they already are. Another scenario of saying the same pre-scripted speech they have to re-sight every day over and over and over. Another piece of their son lost forever because he is constantly put down.

Now you know both situations would you do anything differently as that person sharing a shopping isle with this family?

Whilst you think on that I want you to think about something else. Let’s replace you in this scenario with Jesus.

Please take the time now to watch a little clip on the family.

 

We are all striving to be like Jesus, are we not?

People with Tourette syndrome are often approached by Christians and offered demon exorcism.

Tourette syndrome is a medical condition that is caused by the brain being damaged or not developing in the usual way.

I understand where the whole demon possession assumption comes from and that wanting to cure someone of this horrific neurological condition is a passion of a soul filled with good intensions, but, TS suffers nor their families can sustain being continually (unconsciously) judged whether that judgement comes with good intention or not.

When you come across something that is beyond the average humans understanding the answer does not lie in evil supernatural Occurrence and to automatically assume so is unhealthy, not only to them but to you too.

Doctors aren’t always right about a virus are they? How often have you been to the doctors with some kind of infection to be told to go rest and drink plenty of fluids? How often have you found yourself back 2 weeks later still unwell and getting antibiotics?

It may be wise to sit back and just take the time and passion you feel to think about acceptance, to think about love, to think about understanding and ask yourself what would Jesus do?

What would you do if you were that little boy, if you had to face these judgements every day, every time you stepped out the front door?

You have been a good Christian, a good human, why you, you love God, you have a passion for Christ and try to live walking in Jesus’ footsteps.

If you had tics how would you cope, how would you want to be treated?

How would you feel sitting in a church If you were constantly alienated for being different?

If the general masses didn’t understand your situation so wanted you to disappear from the public eye?

How would you feel if you had an itch you couldn’t scratch (like a stinging nettle itch) but scratching it caused other people to judge you for being weak immoral and demonised.

This boys tics, whether they be an animal noise, a little squeak or the most disgusting words you have ever heard in your life, they are all just noises, the noises have no meaning because it wasn’t intended. If you are offended by it, then, who has the problem?

What would Jesus do?

What would you do now?

Humans could not comprehend Jesus’ greatness, they feared the unknown and consciously or unconsciously they did not want him in their airspace, they feared him through lack of understanding and quite a few of them assumed he was demon possessed.

There are a couple of areas in the Bible that scream out to me regarding the struggles of a person constantly judged.

Psalm 109:21-25

Oh, GOD, my Lord, step in; work a miracle for me—you can do it! Get me out of here—your love is so great!— I’m at the end of my rope, my life in ruins. I’m fading away to nothing, passing away, my youth gone, old before my time. I’m weak from hunger and can hardly stand up, my body a rack of skin and bones. I’m a joke in poor taste to those who see me; they take one look and shake their heads.

Matthew 27:46 The Death of Jesus

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

If this is a message you would like to reach your church community please get in contact hayley@tourettesfamily.co.uk 

Thank you for listening to our message.