"This is Lyla Green. She is 16 years old, tall, and has long brown hair. She is pretty shy but very caring and creative."
This is how a normal person would describe me now. The usual. General facts, appearance, and personality traits.
"This is Lyla Green. She is...weird. She does strange stuff with her voice and body, it's like she's crazy."
This is how a normal person would have described me when I was 14 years old. When I discovered I had Tourette and had tics. This is what they saw at first glance, and they never bothered to look closer. If they had looked closer, if they knew me, they would have noticed that I am the same person I am now. Just with tics. Did I change that much during that time?
No. I was just...different. And that's what scares people.
* * * * *
March 23, 2017
I let out a choked sob as I sit up, reaching for air. I inhale as deeply as my body possibly can, but it's not enough. Why is it not enough? Why?! I am getting dizzy from so much oxygen but I can't stop, it feels like I'm gonna go mad.
My breathing becomes steadier after getting that much needed deep breath that I can't get by lying down.
Sighing, I lie back down and close my eyes again trying to think of something else. School tomor-today, I have that high school orientation thing, I think it will be interesting.
It doesn't work. Soon enough I feel like I am not breathing deep enough anymore. I don't need to inhale deeply with every breath. I don't need to, I don't have to.. I think desperately, the same way I thought every moment this night, this week, this month.
After a few seconds, I can't take it anymore. I take a very deep breath. It satisfies me for another five seconds or so. Then I take another one. And another. And another. And my body has reached its limit and I can't breathe that deeply anymore. You've had enough, you don't need anymore, you're fine. But panic starts settling in. I can't breathe, I can't, I can't...
Defeated, I stand up, this time on my feet, and start pacing around the room.
I go to my window, opening it, trying to clear my head so that maybe I can finally fall asleep. I look at the still garden filled with flowers, slightly unclear and fuzzy, my glasses being on my bedside table, right next to my phone, and my book. If this happens one more time, I will just turn on the lights and read for the rest of the night. A cool breeze ruffles my hair and brings the smell of my favorite flower, the hyacinth. The leaves from one of the tall trees move swiftly at the mercy of the wind.
Just like I am at the mercy of my mind, I think. A bird starts singing its trill as if announcing the sun which I now see rising. Along with that, I hear the Mission Impossible theme playing from my phone. 6:30. Forget about sleep. I have to get ready for school.
I switch off my alarm and flop on the bed, aware of how soft the bedding feels and the soothing sensation I have when closing my eyes.
One minute. Just one minute...
"Sweetie, you have to get up."
I open my eyes and see my mom looking down at me.
"Didn't you set your alarm?"
"Yes but-" I start but I am interrupted by a yawn.
When I am finished I see that mom has sat down on the bed next to me and is fixing me with a worried look.
"Did it happen again?" she asks.
I try to say it in a cheerful tone so she doesn't get too worried, but I am so tired that the moment I finish talking I yawn again.
"When did you fall asleep?"
"Six-thirty," I answer in a whisper, looking down. I know what she's gonna say.
"God, Lyla, why didn't you wake us up? "
I don't answer. In the past week, I've woken them up for this every night. They soothed me. Gave me melatonin, gave me massages with essential oils that are supposed to help you fall asleep, even read to me , sang to me. Anything to get the tics out of my mind. I wanted them to have at least one good night's sleep.
Mom takes a deep breath and looks me in the eye. She has that sad look like I am a puppy who has been kicked. Well, I am a person who can't sleep so she must see them the same way.
We went to the doctors a couple of times. Once about two weeks ago for a regular checkup to see if everything is fine, and once in the middle of the night a few days after. Both times the results came back fine. Nothing. So the doctors concluded that it is all mental and should see a psychologist. That's what I did. After only one session, she diagnosed me with tics. It came as no surprise to me, I've had them when I was younger. Facial tics mostly. The kids made fun of me, even in kindergarten. But they went away and stayed away for a good amount of time. Until a month ago.
"Go back to bed. I'll call you in sick from school."
A wave of gratitude swoons over me as I lean in to hug her. We stay like that for a couple of seconds and when we break apart I immediately fall back into my fluffy pillow, only thinking about the sleep ahead of me.
* * *
Why is this happening?
How can I change it?
Will it go away,
Will it unchain me?
* * *
Thank you so much for reading this first chapter! I hope you enjoyed it. More coming really soon!
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The Tourette DiariesNon-Fiction
"This is Lyla Green. She is...weird. She does strange stuff with her voice and body, it's like she's crazy." This is how a normal person would have described me when I was 14 years old. When I discovered I had Tourette Syndrome and had tics. This is...