A Scottish blonde beauty who lives with a debilitating jerk has revealed how she would binge on at least 15 drinks a night to hide her involuntary muscle spasms.
Yasmina McGlone’s life took a dark turn aged 18 when she discovered alcohol stopped her from having the rapid jerks which have plagued her since she was three years old.
The now 25-year-old, who is originally from Denny, Falkirk, would party up to four nights a week and skull a bottle of wine before leaving the house before binging on at least 15 drinks to hide the rare disorder, known as myoclonus dystonia.
But Yasmina turned her life around after moving to Melbourne, Australia five years ago and is now happier than ever embracing her condition to raise awareness, find a cure and feel comfortable in her own skin.
The student and community sector worker said: ““My mum began noticing my jerk when I was about three, after she saw my arm twitching when I was colouring in.
“Then I used to get in trouble at school because my jerks meant I could never sit still on the chair at my desk. My teacher just thought I was just a naughty and fidgety child.
“I would also struggle with exams throughout high school because my arm would be jerking so much that I’d never be able to finish in time.
“Of course, as a teenager, you just think ‘why me’.
“I can’t lie and say that I didn’t find it frustrating, or that it didn’t use to upset me.
“I lived my life trying to hide the jerk, but it would come out at the most inconvenient times and it would make me feel extremely down for the rest of the day.
“I blamed myself and it became my obsession to try to get rid of the jerk.
“But no matter what I did or how hard I tried or who tried to help me, it still hung around and there was nothing I could do about it
“Hating yourself can really take its toll and I was ready just to give up.
“I started to depend on drinking, smoking and partying to feel temporarily happy, but whenever I was alone I couldn’t mask how sad I really felt.
“I’d go out two to four nights a week and just binge drink.
“Usually three drinks would help ease the jerk, but I kept drinking throughout the night – at least 15 drinks a night.
“I drank vodka a lot and would usually share a bottle with a friend or have a bottle of wine before leaving the house.
“I knew I couldn’t go on like this forever and I didn’t want to be an alcoholic. I knew I wasn’t going to find the answer at the bottom of a vodka bottle.
“In one last, desperate attempt to find happiness I decided to jump in the deep end and was gifted a one-way ticket to Australia on my 21st birthday from my parents.
“I needed a fresh start, so in 2013 I boarded that plane to the other side of the world and never looked back.”
The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation define myoclonus dystonia as a genetic condition that causes sudden, brief, shock-like jerks, that most frequently affects the central part of the body, including the shoulders, arms, neck, and torso.
Yasmina said doctors were initially baffled by her random jerking movements, which no one was able to explain.
Her sister, who is two years older, also has myclonus dystonia as her father is a carrier of the genetic disorder.
Yasmina said sometimes her jerks are so violent that strangers think she is having a fit and will rush to help her.
Even the simplest daily tasks such eating breakfast, drinking coffee and applying makeup can be a struggle – and she will never be able to drive.
But after ‘feeling depressed’ over her condition most of her life, Yasmina turned her life around with a brand new positive mindset which sees her practice self love and acceptance daily.
She said embracing her condition – and writing blog ‘Living with a jerk’ has helped her raise awareness and break down negative stereotypes about people with disabilities.
The 25-year-old said: “I am happier than ever in my own skin, I still live with the jerk, but it doesn’t rule me.
“There is a lot of misconceptions about people with disabilities that I’m trying to break down.
“People often say to me ‘but you don’t look like you have a disability’.
“There is a warped perception of what constitutes a disability in some people’s minds.
“But the truth is that there is no one type of disability, and really, we should be focusing on what people’s abilities are instead.
“Now I’m hoping to inspire people around the world and raise awareness about dystonia so that one day there might be a cure.
“Everyone struggles, whether you have a disability or not.
“I know sometimes it feels like you can never escape that dark place and you’ll never be happy.
“But it doesn’t last forever and there always light at the end of the tunnel.
“It is so important to learn to embrace our differences instead of fighting them and have faith that people will accept you for you.
“My uniqueness has created amazing opportunities for me that I would never have had without the jerk.
“I absolutely love my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. I feel blessed.”