UK & World News
Tourette's Hero Reveals Her Struggle In Book
A woman suffering from Tourette's syndrome has written a book to raise awareness and understanding of her neurological condition.
Tourette's syndrome, or Tourette's, is characterised by the sufferer exhibiting sudden and involuntary physical 'tics' and/or socially-unacceptable phrases or swearing.
Jessica Thom is a co-founder of the website and blog Touretteshero, which is described as a place to "celebrate the humour and creativity of Tourette's".
She has now written Welcome to Biscuit Land, which charts a year in her life as she battles with the condition which makes her say the word biscuit at a rate of 16bpm (biscuits per minute).
Ms Thom began exhibiting involuntary tics when she was a child, but it was not until she was an adult that she was diagnosed with Tourette's.
She told Sky's Steve Dixon: "I say biscuit a lot. It does not always feel like a choice, it feels like something I need to do.
"Involuntary swearing only affects a small percentage of people with Tourette's. It is a myth that I am keen to break, through the work of the book. It makes a tangible difference if people know more about Tourette's."
Ms Thom also has a physical tic - she punches her chest several times every minute, though she wears soft mittens to protect herself.
She also wears knee pads so she does not injure herself from what she describes as "chaotic" walking from leg tics.
"There are times where people's reactions can feel really upsetting," she said. "There have been lots of times when I have had negative experiences because people are frightened."
Comedian Stephen Fry has written the foreword to her book.
It is thought around 300,000 people in Britain have Tourette's, with approximately four times more men diagnosed with the condition than women.