This I Believe

Catherine - LaGrange, Illinois
Entered on February 25, 2007

I believe that when I’m faced with a setback that I cannot overcome, I just have to find a way to accommodate it and work with it. My belief stems from my brother.

A few years back, my younger brother was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome. It isn’t life threatening, but it definitely has affected his life. Tourettes Syndrome is a disease that affects both the vocal and behavioral tendencies. My brother couldn’t always control the words he used or when he used them. He would call me names and yell things that even I didn’t understand. The arguments we had weren’t just argument between siblings, they were much more than that. Even after I’d begun to understand that my brother couldn’t control these words, it didn’t make anything any easier. The words still stung, but I’d realized that it wasn’t my brother’s fault. He knew what he was saying, but he didn’t know how to stop it. When he was first diagnosed he had tests run. Though his Tourettes wasn’t as severe as it could get, he would sometimes have to miss school because he’d been up at midnight at a testing facility. He had to work around the problem of his twitches and outbursts, and I learned that I had to accommodate them as well, they were part of my brother now. If he could accept them, then so could I.

His Tourettes caused him setbacks at school as well. He had trouble paying attention, and was often in trouble because of that. Those things didn’t set my brother back though, he had plenty of friends, good grades, and led a great life. There was one instance that happened that made me more upset than I’ve ever been. My parents and my brother went to a parent/teacher conference, with my brother’s fifth grade teacher. The teacher informed my parents, while my brother was present, that my brother should find a doctor in a teaching hospital who would let him be their guinea pig. Everyone was astounded with what she had said, there was nothing wrong with my brother that couldn’t be handled with a simple understanding of his predicament.

My brother had to go through many hardships, he couldn’t control what he said, he had twitches that he couldn’t stop, and he had teachers who believed he couldn’t do what he wanted to do. My brother is now in eighth grade and is already planning his future career as a doctor. When I’m faced with a setback that I cannot overcome, I just sit back and remember what my brother had to get through to get where he is today and I know that whatever I am going through cannot possibly be as difficult as what he had to go through. He managed to work with his setback, and I admire him for that. He helped me believe that if I do not like I should change it, and if I cannot change something then I just have to change my attitude and work with it.