I have Tourette’s Syndrome, was diagnosed when I was about 7. The mental symptoms for me have mostly been around learning difficulties, due to finding it harder to concentrate as a child. I was also extremely argumentative, which I know was very difficult for my mom. I was a pain in the ass really haha and sometimes I’d argue just to argue. The physical symptoms for me aren’t too bad, no random yelling or swearing. I used to make the odd sound now and then, but I’ve gotten good at doing it quietly, so hopefully no one noticed haha.

I was on medication for it from 7-12 years old. At that time, I decided to stop and thankful, my parents trusted me to make that decision for myself. I think the meds helped at the age when things were toughest, but as I got older, I felt more in control and hated taking the pills. Thankfully, I was fine without them.

For the most part I just have a few twitches and ticks. My body will randomly develop new ones every few months and old ones eventually go away. It’s always kind crazy seeing what random twitch will come along.

Over the years I’ve gotten very good at coming up with ways to cover them up. For example, I have a twitch where I need to wave my hand in front of my eyes. The mental part is that my fingertips have to cross over a straight line I can see somewhere in the environment (a crack in the street, frames of a door, edge of the TV etc). So what I normally do is I’ll bring my hand up to scratch my face and then quickly do the move I’m impulsed to do. So that’s my way of doing without other people thinking “wtf is that guy doing?” lol. It’s all been about finding little ways to cover up my twitches, so they don’t stand out. It’s worked, because most people who I tell that I have Tourette’s don’t believe me at first.

The times when I’m more obvious is when I’m concentrating on something else. For example, watching a movie or playing a game. At those times my head will usually shake a bit or apparently, as my wife informed me, my mouth twitches sometimes, especially when playing MOBAs lol.

It was rough when I was a kid, but as I got older and learnt to control (control isn’t the right word really, because you never truly control it, but I just can’t think of the better word) it got easier. I was lucky in that my mom was always incredibly supportive and I managed to always make friends who never teased me for the Tourette’s. I never felt laughed at by the people in my life, but was always able to laugh with them. Sense of humour has always been important.

As I’ve gotten older now, married and thinking about kids, that’s been a new thing my tourettes has made my concerned about. I’m terrified of passing this onto my kids, especially if they get it worse than I do. Childhood was rough with it and I’d hate for my kids to go through that. Sadly there’s nothing I can do about it, other than hope for the best, but that’s been a new concern I’ve recently had.

The tourettes is very much a part of who I am. I accepted it as that a long time ago, which actually made it easier. Instead of being ashamed of it or fighting it.

What Games Mean To Me

Genre’s I’ve enjoyed are usually shooters, RPG’s, Strategy games and MOBAs. During the recession I was unemployed for a relatively long time, and League of Legends was a lifesaver at that time. I made some good friends through it and it helped be a great distraction from the difficult situation at the time. Better than focusing on the contract rejection for jobs that were happening at the time. I usually enjoy games with a good narrative.

I enjoy a good story, I like to think for strategy/tactics games, to socialize with friend online and the action that a lot of games have. Besides playing games though, I also write about them, which creatively is very gratifying. Doing Podcasts about gaming is fun, just talking about them and the industry in generally. It’s a big passion of mine and I love it.

by Aylon Herbet

Jennifer Hazel

I’m a psychiatry doctor and passionate gamer. I run a resource called prescriptionpixel.com – an interface between video games and mental health.
This is a space for gamers to safely share their feelings, access personalised resources, and seek help without judgement or stigma.