Beyond Adversity

Enjoying Life After Adversity

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Sources of Strength

2016-0801TS Tic

By Zachary S. Wiersma | Science

Snap, cluck, snap! The noises rang out in the conference hall. Several people turned toward me to see what was causing the disturbance. As I walked down the aisle to join my graduate school lab mate, I jerked my head to the left and snapped my fingers in my right ear, continuing to draw attention to myself. But when the presentation began, I forgot about how others might see me. I focused solely on the science, even though I clucked my tongue, tightened my right calf, and thrust out my right arm throughout the presentation. None of it was intentional: I suffer from Tourette syndrome (TS), a neurological condition that compels me to perform involuntary repetitive movements and vocalizations known as tics. And I wasn’t embarrassed. In fact, after some years of struggling with the potential negative impact of my TS, I now consider it to be an asset.

“We can all allow our disabilities to be sources of strength.”

When I was a child, my tics did not cause any serious problems. But as I got older and thought about my future career and how professional colleagues would perceive me, I worried my TS might impede my dreams. By the time I began college, I was acutely self-conscious about my disorder and worried that it might distract teachers and fellow students or deter them from interacting with me.

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Thanks to Zachary S. Wiersma for sharing his story; Science for committing its resources to publishing the story; Google for helping me find the story; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture, text, and links in this post.

Categories: Behavior Tags: , , ,

Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.

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**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.