A YOUNG mum with an embarrassing condition is hoping to set up a support group in Chester to help fellow sufferers.
Jessayne (Jez) Dickinson-Smith, of Saughall, has Tourette Syndrome, which means she makes involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and has tics. Ten per cent of sufferers swear uncontrollably, which is known as coprolalia, although Jez does not have this.
She said: “The earliest I can remember is when I was five or six and I developed these tics.
“My family dismissed them as silly habits and people would just say: ‘Jessayne, close your mouth!’”
“It got worse when I was a teenager and I became more obsessive. I would touch wood, put things in straight lines and walk by threes.”
Jez learnt to hide her tics in social situations and met and married Lloyd, whom she describes as very supportive.
Mum-of-two Jez has been inspired to set up a support group as her elder daughter is about to start school and she is more conscious of having to hide her condition.
“I explain it to people but being able to talk to other people in the same situation would be a great help.”
Jez explains another element of her condition which includes obtrusive thoughts: “I have horrible thoughts coming into my mind about all sorts of things including my husband. I worry obsessively about my children and have to keep checking things. It’s exhausting.”
Jez visited her GP recently, concerned that she might also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but was told it was all likely to be part of Tourettes. She has also been told that it is a genetic neurological disorder.
“I come from a very big family and have since discovered that other people in the family had similar symptoms; second and third cousins.”
Jez has investigated treatment for her condition but is keen to avoid drugs.
“Medicines are out for me,” she said. “I would consider cognitive behavioural therapy and am due to see a psychiatrist, who can hopefully advise treatment.
“I exercise a lot which calms down the tics. I do circuit training, swimming and walking. I find that if I exhaust my body, I am better.
“On the other hand, if I get stressed, nervous or anxious I am worse. Alcohol makes me worse and talking about the tics,” said Jez.
“People suffer in silence and I just want to talk to other people with the disorder.”
If you are interested in joining the support group, email Jez on email@example.com