I have an Embarassing Medical Condition

The episode of true life that I chose was about two girls Alyssa and Crystal. Alyssa has medical condition known as tourettes syndrome where she has both verbal and physical ticks. I would say that both of their narratives are restitution naratives. Although tourettes is a permanent conditions so some could see this as a Chaos narrative I do not agree. I think that it is about her trying to restore herself to the most normal life possible with tourettes by sourrouding herself with good company and living a normal life by going away to college. Crystal is in a similar situation trying to find a solution to her conditon, hyperhydrosis which is a disorder where the person has overactive sweat glands in the hands and auxillary regions. Both girls just want to lead a normal life as a teenage girl. I think that the purpose of Alyssa’s narrative was to show people that she is just like everyone else and is capable of leading a basically normal life reguardless of her disorder. It was a success story as she made a smooth transition to college. Crystals narrative was more of an outreach to be able to come clean to her friends about her disorder and hopefully be accepted. Which turned out in her favor when they didn’t think too much about it. In the sections about Alyssa there wasnt much mentioned about medical professionals, she was prescribed to five different pills however, to help her with tourettes and the draw backs of it such as anxiety and depression.Crystal actually went to see a doctor about possibly getting botox injections into her auxillary regions, the procedure is expensive and painful. Many medical conditions have awful stigmas stamped on them by society. A common stigma for people with tourettes is they are faking it and can stop themselves, but that is not the case. Alyssa has no control over herself when she has ticks.  Alyssa is responsible for making sure she is around people so that she doesn’t fall and hurt herself, which is why going away to college is a little more complcated and dangerous for her.

Illness naratives, just like the ones mentioned above, are important to the patients. These naratives are an outlet and can be therapeutic in a way. It allows them to adjust and accept their conditions. They feel empowered telling their own stories. These naratives are also important to the listeners they give them the chance to relate, and can encourage other suffers to tell their own story, allowing them to feel empowered too. Its a domino effect. Finally, illness naratives are important to doctors because they can understand the emotional and personal side of the suffers condition beyond the medical textbook.  (Medical Anthropology 204. Lecture 4.2)

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  1. Francesca says:

    In the YouTube movie, Tourette’s: What Makes You Tic?, Marc Elliot details the journey of his Tourette’s with personal narratives. This documentary tries to give the audience an inside look at how people react to others who are different similar to True Life had. Just as the Alyssa in True Life, Marc is a student with high hopes of not letting his Tourette’s get in his way of a successful life. Alyssa and Marc both deal with frequent stares and many awkward situations in public. They have learned ways to suppress the tics, Alyssa received a surgery in attempt to cure the tics all together. Both Marc and Alyssa have supportive families, which have helped influence their experience with Tourette’s. In addition, they both make sounds and say words that they cannot control which leads to great frustration. In my opinion, Marc and Alyssa were treated a bit differently because they are different genders. If you are a female in our society, people will be less apt to be blunt about their annoyances, where as with males they will be more harsh and worry less about hurting that persons feelings.

    Elliot, Marc. “Tourette’s: What Makes You Tic? ” Recorded December 10 2008. YouTube 12 10 2008. film strip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOfeW9qsNV8.

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