stop staring

Nobody knows what’s around the corner. Some of us are faced with the sudden trauma of having to move around differently because a part of our body doesn’t function like it used to, owing to either an injury, an attack, or an illness like a stroke. Others have to face the tragedy of realising that day by day, parts of  themselves are deteriorating slowly.

It seems that facial disfigurement and skin abnormalities attract much attention, but there is one other  type of malady that seems to bring out the most stares –  incessant or awkward bodily movement.

There are simply loads of different illnesses that cause the body to shake, convulse, twist, jerk or prevent the person from being able to perform simple tasks. A large majority of these are caused by a malfunction in the brain, so the facial muscles are affected, resulting in unusual grimaces, along with the inability to sit still or stop the limbs and torso from moving.


Huntingdon’s Disease is a neurological condition that permanently damages and kills particular brain cells. In most cases it is hereditary and unfortunately there is no cure. It’s progress cannot even be slowed down by drugs or operation.

One thing that can make this affliction even more unbearable is people’s reactions to it. As imperfect human beings, we have a tendency to either avoid the person completely, or stare. This is not necessarily rudeness on behalf of the person who can’t look away. Sometimes their own brain is trying to decipher answers to questions such as:

“Is he drunk? Should I move away just in case?”
“Is she high on drugs and about to attack me for money?”
Is it Tourettes’ and I’m about to be sworn at?”
“Has he escaped from a mental institution?”
“Has he got special needs?”

The answer to the last question is partly ‘yes’. He or she needs us to avert our gaze but not ignore. We need to speak to the person like they are sane, give them eye contact but don’t scowl, don’t laugh, don’t imitate, and don’t stare. Or to make it even easier, we could just ask ourselves, “How would I like to be treated if it was me?”

Stop Staring At Me

I know my arms are shaking,
I’m aware of my grimace.
I am not winking at you,
This is just my face.
I can’t control my muscles,
And the jolts that I make,
Are something that I live with
The whole time I’m awake.

Huntington’s Disease
Respects no person,
And attracts more attention
As my symptoms worsen.
Unlike with Parkinson’s,
There is no medication,
So my ticks and twitches,
Suffer no cessation.

Please don’t stare,
It crushes my soul.
This is not my fault
And I’ve no control.
Stop staring at me,
If you care, please pray,
That God will have mercy,
And heal me one day.