My name is Laura Beljaars and I'm 25 years old. When I was three, I got my first tic (sniffing). When I was eight, my motor tics got worse and worse, what let to my Tourette Syndrome diagnosis when I was eleven. That was March 31 2000. Years later I also go the diagnoses of ADD, mild OCD and mild autism (this was for threatment purposes).
When I got my diagnosis, I started with medication. First dipiperon, then risperdal. When the dosage got to high, I tried something else: behavioral therapy (Exposure Response Prevention at the HSK groep at Den Bosch, with Cara Verdellen). That was very hard, but the result was that I didn't have tics for two years straight! Now, my tics are back, but way less severe.
Around the same time, I started puberty and had, like any young girl, my insecurities. Although I didn't have any tics, it wasn't that I didn't have problems. Other symptoms came up like obsessive thoughts, headaches, sleeping problems, panic attacs and slowly I got into a depression. Which I got diagnosed with in early 2005. This depression has had many low points, but I got out of it and I am now strong enough to tackle any hard fase that I might go through.
I can say that I am truly happy now and I'm working hard to make my dreams come true! This is something I couldn't even dream of during my depression.
In April 2014 I graduated college. I studied education and am now an elementary school teacher (kindergarten and grades 1-6). In the past, I've also studied psychology and social work, but because of my Tourette, I had to stop with those studies.
In October 2012, I got my own apartment, were I live with my cat Duplo. I've got a lot of friends, who deal amazingly with my Tourette which is also true for my parents and my sister. In January 2014, my sister started her PhD research at Cardiff University. She's researching the relationship between touchtics and the surroundings of the person doing them. I'm very happy that she's doing this research and I'm very curious as to what the results will be!
I do a lot of volunteerwork for the Dutch Tourette Syndrome Association (Stichting Gilles de la Tourette). I'm childrenscoordinator, blogcoordinator, I write my own blog (under 'blogs') and I run the social media.
I also try to volunteer as much as possible for Edukans, an organisation who stands up for education for every child in this world. In the summer of 2013 (two weeks) and the fall of 2014 (three months) I went to Uganda to volunteer for them. I hope I can travel a lot more with them and really make a difference.
I hope you like my website! If you have any questions: just send an e-mail or tweet.