I’ve spent the best part of today reading a blog by the very brilliant Jess Thom, aka Touretteshero. I say the best part; although I’ve spent a considerable few hours on the Touretteshero website, I actually mean that it’s been the most enjoyable part. With the complications of the term ’inspirational’ in mind, a word I can use accurately is impactful. I have learnt much more about Tourette’s Syndrome in a few hours this afternoon reading a personal blog than I ever did through the five years I studied psychology as an undergraduate.
I initially thought my enthusiasm for Jess and her blog stems from both the fact that Tourette’s is a neurological condition (and I love brains), with many psychological* aspects; and that she speaks so freely about it, and I am a great believer in communicating about disability to both reduce stigma, and to increase accessibility and understanding. On reflection, I think there are multiple other aspects contributing to its influence on me, not least that she is able to view her condition in such a positive, enthusiastic light.
I have had both personal and vicarious experience of the ups and downs of mental health conditions throughout my life, and it can be difficult to speak about. However, despite being tough to talk about much when your brain is taking you several places you might rather it didn’t at that point in time, the perspective of embracing a condition that others misunderstand and focusing on its positive aspects really resonates with me. Both laughing and talking seriously about one’s ‘misfortune’ can be enormously therapeutic.
For those interested, it is worth noting that I only came across Jess Thom the other day – in her interview with Russell Howard for his BBC Good News programme. The video is very much worth a watch:
*in the broadest sense, as relating to brain and behaviour