Subtraction Changes Me
My Tic Disorder has Disappeared
The looks in the kids’ eyes at school stayed with me and their remarks rang in my ears all day long. I became more and more sensitive. In order to fill the void, I paid more attention to my appearance. Does it look like I gained weight? What looks better on me? I questioned the people around me endlessly. Life with these never ending thoughts gave me stomach problems and I would come home and collapse into bed, dead tired.
One day as I sat at the breakfast table, my hand started to shake. “Why is my hand shaking?” My dad said it was because there are a lot of unpleasant things in my mind. Immediately tears welled in my eyes. He was right. At that time I was completely stressed out and very sensitive.
After that whenever I had to concentrate on something, my neck would start to tic. While waiting at a traffic light, waiting to get off the bus, waiting in the lunch line, whenever I felt like people were staring at me, even though I tried to stop it, my neck would twitch. Being afraid that people might look at me strange made the tic worse. I fervently wanted to throw away my troubled mind. I remembered my mom telling me about Maum Meditation and I decided to give it a try.
As I meditated and reflected on the past, I recalled an event from elementary school. I had played a secrets game with my friends, but foolishly divulged the secrets. After that I was shunned by my friends, made an outcast. That memory was very intense and after that I developed social anxiety. I also recalled a time in middle school when my friends made me out to be a weird person. Sometimes when my friends harassed me, I got so angry I wanted to beat them. However I even threw away those minds.
As I threw away I learned that those minds were false. I realized the reason for my tic was that I was too sensitive and too concerned with what other people thought. I thought that if I just threw those minds away, everything would be okay. I kept meditating during the school year and went to youth camp every break. When I returned to school my friends were shocked to see my skin had cleared up and my tic had disappeared. And I constantly surprised myself as I observed the changes in me that only I could see. Every meal used to be followed by stomach pain, but eventually I was able to eat and digest food with no trouble. I became able to respond to all the events that happened around me with composure. If anxiousness came up as I waited in the lunch line, I was able to remind myself “this doesn’t exist,” throw the mind away, and feel better. Now I don’t have to avoid traffic lights and bus stops. Because those minds don’t exist in the original mind, I can stand up to those minds and walk with confidence now.
These days there are students who suffer from violence in schools, but instead of brooding about it alone, they should ask for help from those around them and throw such minds away. This way they can learn that life is not only pain, and that there is hope.
Joo Hyun Choi, 17