By Joe McFarlane
A teenager with Tourettes Syndrome readily embraced and shared her neurological condition with the world in a series of viral baking videos, resulting in hilarity and a lot of cleaning up.
Jade O’Connell, 19, lives a normal life in Dunedin, New Zealand, in which she spends her days passing the time with some humble baking with family and friends.
But for Jade’s household, it is like cooking alongside foul-mouth Gordon Ramsey, as due to Jade’s Tourettes and tics, the air turns blue with swearing as the floor turns messy with thrown flour and eggs.
Deciding to embrace her neurological condition, Jade has happily shared her hilarious baking with family video clips, amassing millions of views and likes in the process for her funny, but honest representation of living with Tourettes.
Jade said: “It definitely impacts my life heavily. Sometimes something as simple as pouring milk into a bowl can be almost impossible. Trying to find a job is very difficult because i’m automatically ruled out for a lot of roles.
“Things such as feeling anxious, excited, tired or stressed can really set off my tics. Being in large crowds can be quite hard sometimes as i’m often really nervous about what I’ll say or do and so it then ends up making my tics worse.
“My tics aren’t always bad, but if they are I can usually sit down and use a few strategies I’ve learnt over time to help slow my tics down a bit. I’m honestly so used to them now that they almost feel normal to me. I remember when I first started really having tics, it was such a surreal experience to do or say something that I didn’t have any control over. It felt as if someone else was inside my head controlling me.
“At first I really struggled with it, I would hate going out in public and going to see people because I was embarrassed. I would try and hold it in as best I could, even though it hurt to do so. I’m now in a really good space where i’m confident in who I am and I’ve accepted the fact that I have Tourettes and I try and not let it stop me from doing things.
“I want to spread more awareness about TS, I want it to be more talked about so that it’s easier for me and other people with TS to walk down the street and not be judged so harshly. I want other people with TS to be able to watch my videos and feel more confident in themselves and to be proud of who they are.
“It’s also cool to know that I can entertain and make people laugh with my videos”.