What You Just Don’t Know: Wesley Ferris


Daja Dansby

In a room full of testing students with their heads down, junior Wesley Ferris breaks the silence. A series of whistles echo throughout the classroom and everyone diverts their attention to the source of the commotion. The sensation of eyes on him is not a new one but still, he’s confused. It isn’t until someone asks him to stop making noise that he realizes he was whistling.

“I found out I had Tourette’s my freshman year when I went to the doctor for sleep issues and she noticed my tics,” Ferris said. “I’ve always had my tics but I didn’t know what they were. Once I realized I had Tourette’s, I kept thinking back and finding more weird things that I do that that are actually tics.”

Some of Ferris’ tics include clearing his throat, whistling, tensing his muscle, rolling his eyes, winking and blowing.

“The tics are kind of like breathing, you just automatically do them without thinking about it,” he said.  “You can stop doing them but it’s like trying to stop breathing, eventually you’re going to let it out.”

Ferris said his tics sometimes get him in trouble at school.

“In elementary school, I would whistle all the time and my teachers would get mad at me,” he said. “I wouldn’t even know that I was whistling. It wouldn’t cross my mind, yet everyone else would hear it, get mad and think that I was doing it on purpose.

As a part of his Tourette’s, Ferris also has OCD and ADHD.

“I have a few different types of OCD,” he said. “I hoard, so don’t spend money at all and I have to get my mom to help me throw stuff away.  Another thing is, when I’m running for cross country, I have to land on a crack every single time. I have to do it equally between my feet. If I touch a crack 133 times with my left, I have to touch it 133 times with my right. ADHD is just me being all hyper and moving around. It’s not like I have the extra energy, I just feel like I have to move.”

Tourette’s is something that Ferris will never outgrow.

“Learning I had Tourette’s didn’t change anything, it just gave me and explanation for why a bunch of stuff happens to me,” he said.  “I thought that everyone went through the same thing because I don’t know any different. It’s always been a part of me but now I understand it.”