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The Reality Of Living With Tourette Syndrome: 'I Hate It. Every Second Of It'

The Maysey family knows the challenges that come with living with Tourette syndrome better than most.

Their three children -- Conor, 25, Jasmine, 12 and Isabelle, eight -- all live with the neurological disorder, which affects around one in every 100 school children in Australia.

None of the Maysey children showed any signs of Tourette's until about five years ago, but since then their symptoms have drastically escalated and they have all also developed coprolalia -- the involuntary and repetitive use of obscene language.

The eldest of the siblings, Conor was 21 years old when he first started getting a head nod. He has since had to learn how to navigate adulthood as his symptoms have escalated.

Image: The Sunday Project

"I've been getting more physical like more motor tics so that I find it hard to actually do day-to-day activities," Conor told Lisa Wilkinson on The Sunday Project, in an episode to air Sunday night.

Conor's 12-year-old sister, Jasmine, only began showing signs of Tourette's earlier this year.

What started as strange body movements developed into repetitive screaming of certain phrases, including "Bob Ross is my dad", "I'm a hobbit" and "woof woof".

Image: The Sunday Project

Jasmine told Wilkinson her Tourette's symptoms often led to involuntarily hurting herself and her mum.

"I slap myself in the face a lot... I hate it," she said.

"Every second of it."

The exact cause of Tourette syndrome is unknown. Research has found it may stem from a number of different causes, including genetic factors, infections or neurochemical abnormalities.

While symptoms often lessen with age, the condition is life-long and most commonly occurs in children under 21. It more often affects boys than girls.

Image: The Sunday Project

When Mandy was asked how she handles the pressure of going from her intense job -- she works as a teacher's aide working with special needs kids -- to her tense family life, she said she just wants to support her children.

"I reserve myself a pity party two or three times a week if I need it I will have a cry," Mandy admitted.

"I will drive in my car or listen to a sad song, I will bawl my eyes out or I'll sit in the shower 10 minutes... and then regroup and say 'right, okay, that's enough'."

Conor describes his mum as an "absolute rock".

Image: The Sunday Project

"I'm gonna cry again, but yeah she is, saved my life a million times over," he said.

"She's just the greatest."

Catch the Maysey family's full interview with Lisa Wilkinson on The Sunday Project at 6:30pm on 10. 

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au