Told by Meredith, age 11
I want to tell you how upsetting my life was with Tourette syndrome and how I got better. I have changed my diet and am doing some other things to help also. It has made such a difference!
It all started when I had some little tics when I was five. My parents took me to see an expert at a big hospital. My mother told me they first said I had tics, and later they said it was Tourette’s. She said they told her there was no way to cure me but medication would help. We didn’t use any drugs though.
The tics completely went away for a few years and we thought I was cured. But then they started up again and they were much worse. Some of my tics were head shakes and jumping a lot. I had body jerks when I tried to sleep, and my eyes rolled so much. The eye-rolling made them feel tired and sore.
Sometimes I would have my tics in class and one teacher would tell me off for bothering the other students. It was so embarrassing and it hurt my feelings. No one understood. I just wanted to be like everyone else. I had the best teacher ever when my tics were really bad, who was kind and really cared about me (and told off the other teacher!). I was lucky as generally my teachers were really understanding of my tics; I was in a great school with a fabulous head teacher too.
Lots of times I would feel sick in the car and had stomach aches. My mom tried to figure out why, like did it have something to do with my eyes or if there were chemicals in the car. I don’t know what the problem was. Lights bothered me if they flickered.
My mother said that my body was in a state of overdrive and could not rest.
We went to see the doctors again and they told us I could have medicine to help the tics (Clonidine). But my mom wanted to find a natural way first because of the side effects she had read about.
She decided to do her own research and found a book online by Sheila Rogers about how to help tics and Tourette’s naturally. She said she got some good ideas from that. And we saw a cranial osteopath who helped a lot, and a homeopath. They took me off bread and other things with gluten, and also dairy, processed sugar, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives (as much as possible). My tics got 90% better within a few weeks! I couldn’t believe it.
It was such a relief. I was so much happier without the tics and could do a lot more. I started getting a good night’s sleep and I wasn’t so tired. My legs didn’t ache all the time from my jumping tic, and my eyes were not so sore. Best of all I didn’t get teased at school anymore.
Finally my tics were all gone except for a small eye tic. The eye tic made it hard for me to do my school work, so I saw an optometrist. There I was given green-colored glasses that calmed my eyes and made it easier for me to concentrate, especially when I am using computers or watching television.
I am taking supplements like zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamin D, garlic oil and fish oil. My nutritionist picks these for me. Sometimes the list changes a little. We follow her suggestions.
I think that the food I eat made the main difference between me ticcing and not ticcing, and then supplements and more sleep took care of the rest. Plus the glasses help my eyes.
I wrote this because I was talking to my mother and told her I wished we could help other kids who were having a really bad time with tics like I used to. She suggested I write this story. Then I asked her to tell other parents what they might want to try for their child. This is what she wrote for the story:
From my mom to other parents:
- Try cutting out the gluten and dairy and keep a log, see if it makes a difference.
- Go natural with foods and in your home.
- Find a good nutritionist or doctor who knows about nutrition and get any supplements needed;
- Consider a good cranial osteopath and homeopath;
- Remember that medication is not the only solution and should be the last resort!
- There’s a lot of information available so don’t rely on just one doctor’s opinion;
- I highly recommend Sheila Rogers’ book Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourettes. It saved my daughter’s life and maybe it will save someone you care about.
Meredith: I know there is always a chance that tics might start up again. But now that we know what makes me tic, I think I will be fine in the future! I have seen that when I eat something I shouldn’t, the tics start to come back a little. But they go away when I get back to my diet. So I can see diet is a big part of it.
I would like to thank my family, teachers and tutor for being there for me, and my mother, and also Sheila Rogers and the health people we saw. I’m so grateful that my pain with Tourette syndrome has ended. It was awful but now I can have a normal life.