Navaizsa Glen: Living With The Struggle

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Brennan Lotz

Navaisa Glen, 9, practices in choir.

Reese Mallett, Staff Writer

Her head jerks back and forth. Her eyes closed, not able to open. Her nose wrinkles and her eyebrows twitch, not able to stop or calm down. People stare at her while a major tic attack controls her body, and there’s nothing she can do.

Freshman Navaizsa Glen lives through recurring tics. She has experienced them for a long time, but they weren’t ever medically diagnosed. Over the years, her tics have progressed to be more severe.

“If I could go back in time, I would tell myself no to try and hide the fact that I have tics,” Glen said. “I used to never want people to know because I was scared to tell them. Then I started to be more open about it, making it easier for me to understand that’s not something I need to hide.”

Sometimes stress or anxiety can cause tics to become more active. 

“I don’t think that the stress of COVID affected my tics, it was the coming back to in-person school. I was really stressed during that time,” Glen said. “As far as when we were in quarantine, it honestly gave me a second to breathe and get away from my busy life.”

Coming back to in-person activities means talking and meeting new people.

“One of the worst parts about having tics would probably be if I am in any [situation] where I am meeting new people and they don’t already know,” Glen said. “It really makes me insecure, because instead of them actually meeting me as a person, they are staring at me wondering what is wrong with me because my face won’t stop moving.”

During Glen’s tics, her eyebrows twitch and her nose wrinkles. Sometimes her neck jerks to the side, or she closes her eyes without being able to open them. If tics get bad enough, she could have what is called a “tic attack.” One of Glen’s friends, Lana McGarity, watched Glen through her worst attacks.

“It’s really scary through those attacks because she’ll start hitting herself, then make noises,” McGarity said.”Because you never know what can happen, and she [Glen] can’t do anything about it.”

It’s frightening for a friend to watch a friend go through a tic attack, but it can hurt and tire out Glen even more.

“When I have a really bad tic attack, it gets exhausting because I am constantly moving and jerking, but I’m trying not to,” Glen said.”I used to try to suppress my tics a lot, but it is one of the most uncomfortable things that I have ever had to do. It’s like if you have a staring contest, and you get that urge to close your eyes, but you keep them open. It’s like that but constantly.”

Glen askes doctors for advice. The doctors have stated that since she [Glen] does not have Tourettes there is not much they can do. But there are many people there supporting her. 

“Many of my close friends call it character, but I say it is distracting from my day-to-day life,” Glen said.