I've written in the past about what it's like living with Tourette syndrome. In general, my tics don't really bother me, they're just there in the background and for the most part I can suppress them if the situation calls for such action. Thus, normally my tics are not a problem for me when I do things like teach or give a seminar. Especially if I am "in the groove" while I'm teaching or speaking, then urge to tic really becomes suppressed on its own. Sometimes when I'm stressed or tired, and having problems focusing, then it is more of a challenge to suppress my tics during class or meetings. And on days like those, teaching can be very draining since a lot of my energy is directed toward suppressing my tics, and then they tend to get pretty bad for the rest of the day. That said, this is all from my perspective. Although I may think that I am suppressing my tics because I can push them out of my consciousness, it doesn't mean that they are completely invisible to everyone else. This is why absolutely hate seeing video of myself, because I realize three horrifying things about myself: (1) that my voice is really high, I never quite realize how high my voice really is until I hear it recorded, (2) I need to lose about 20 pounds and (3) that even though I'm not thinking about them my tics are really obvious.
Fortunately my students have had the tact to not really comment about them, at least not openly to me, and imagine that they simply get used to them. One time there was one student who wrote on the teaching evaluation "the professor’s tics are very off-putting". Which was a complete asshole remark to make, but at least they let me know that I may need to do a better job in controlling my tics during class. Seeing my twitching on video also makes me think about how I come across to my colleagues. Since I’ve started my job, only two people have ever asked me about the tics, one was a friend who was just curious the second wanted to learn more because they had a child with Tourette's. Everybody else seems to just ignore them, but again maybe that's just what I see. It could very well be that they discuss them amongst themselves when I’m not around, and I've often wondered if my Tourrette’s clouds their perception of me as a serious colleague. I recently read an article about how disabled people are often perceived as less competent than fully able ones in realms that are completely unrelated to the disability. I think that is human nature that when we perceive any form of weakness in a person, we are biased to somehow take them less seriously or think about them as being less competent. And so I worry. Although I do not consider my Tourette's to be a disability, I often wonder when sitting at a faculty meeting if my colleagues will ever so slightly take the twitchy guy perhaps slightly less seriously. I'm sure not everyone does this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some do. It doesn’t help that the science I work on is somewhat out of the mainstream from what goes on in my department, at least in first appearances, and so I feel a little bit like an outsider. And I have noticed that for example when certain faculty are asked to talk about their research in front of potential donors to our department, or to showcase the research in the department for whatever reason, I am always overlooked, even though my publication record is as good or better than other people, and I think my research is pretty cool and exciting. And again this might have nothing to do with the fact that I have tics, might have a little bit to do with it, or might have everything to do with it. And I will never know since a lot of these biases are unconscious, and the people harboring them might not even know they have them.