By definition Tourette Syndrome is an “inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by the presence of multiple physical tics and at least one vocal tic”. But in the McMillan household, Tourette Syndrome is an everyday struggle, turned into a blessing.
My brother, Alastair was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome along with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at the age of 6. My parents first noticed symptoms at around the age of five; His teachers said he would “make faces” that he couldn’t control, no matter how hard he tried.
He now struggles with obsessive thoughts, impulsive behavior, and his physical and vocal tics; “You’re fat!” is one I hear quite a lot. Embarrassed by them, he tries to conceal his tics throughout the school day. He says he wants to be “normal”; he wants to “fit in”. But why? Being abnormal is what sets you apart from the rest of mind-numbing society. If everyone were one person’s depiction of normal, the world would be emotionless.
Normal cannot be defined by society, but within oneself. Normal Alastair is a thirteen-year-old boy with Tourette Syndrome, who is also: a farmer with 13 chickens, a mechanic that can fix anything, an astounding chef that refuses to eat his creations, the “starving” artist with radical creativity; he is the Restless Explorer, trapped inside a body and mind of someone wanting to be “normal”.
I have had my years of struggling with Alastair; continuously pleading with God to give me a brother without Tourette Syndrome, thinking that this would make our family “normal”. But I have come to realize Alastair is perfect just the way he is; I believe he is extraordinary.
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