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Youtuber Jan Zimmermann has Tourette: “Unfortunately, I always insult the police”

Thunderstorm in the head - Zimmermann and Lehmann

Jan Zimmermann (left) runs the podcast “Gewitter im Kopf” together with Tim Lehmann, which focuses on life with Tourette.

© Picture Alliance

Jan Zimmermann enlightens people about Tourette’s syndrome on his YouTube channel “Gewitter im Kopf”. Most of the time, the reactions are honest and kind, but sometimes exorcisms are recommended as a supposed cure.

Jan Zimmermann calls his Tourette “Gisela” because that has absolutely nothing to do with his own attitude, what sometimes comes out of his mouth. Zimmermann is in his early 20s and has Tourette Syndrome. In the 302nd episode of “Today Important” he explains: “Tourette’s syndrome is a tic disorder and causes the affected person to make involuntary movements, twitches, noises or, in rare cases, even verbiage. These are the so-called tics.” It is exactly this mixture with Jan Zimmermann, he also has the rather rare form of vocal tics. The neuropsychiatric disease seems to be hereditary, but the cause is still unclear, according to the Tourette Society Germany eV.

“Social media isn’t always a friendly place”

Jan Zimmermann is very open about his own medical history. Hundreds of thousands regularly watch him on his YouTube channel “Gewitter im Kopf” as he explains about Tourette, often uploading humorous videos. Most react with interest and affection, but there are also other reactions, reports Jan: “There are videos on the Internet that recommend things like exorcising the devil. I find that very funny at first glance, but some people are really serious and believe in it.”

Michael Abdollahi

© TVNOW / Andreas Friese

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“Gisela” has a problem with authorities like the police

In an interview with Michel Abdollahi, Jan Zimmermann also reports that he usually notices beforehand when the tics come: “But based on the anticipation I can only distinguish whether it will be a vocal or a motor tic. But I can, for example don’t say which word is coming.” But there are certain situations in which he can almost certainly say that Gisela will speak again. For example when he is near the police. But he can’t suppress it: “The police exude authority. Everyone knows they shouldn’t be insulted. But that’s the ‘found food’ for my Tourette syndrome, so to speak. It’s like a trigger for me.”

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