The social media star who has revealed her life of seizures and tics to millions of fans
Social media star Evie Field is living proof of triumph over adversity.
The 20-year-old is known to millions of followers as This Trippy Hippie - a YouTube and TikTok celebrity who shares videos of her life with tics, seizures and spasms.
Today, she spoke to us to raise awareness.
"I want to debunk the myths," said Evie who wants to get across an important message.
She wants to tell the world that tics and seizures are debilitating and often dangerous. They leave her dizzy, sweating and often bruised.
It's a far different reality from the one that some people think.
"One person who followed me on social media said they wished they had tics because it looked like fun. It is not," she said.
She wears padded gloves to lessen the impact when she hits herself. She has a crash helmet for the same reason.
One attack felt as if lightning was coursing through her body, she said.
Another severe tic episode left her struggling for breath and she admitted on video: "I think I'm going to pass out."
Millions of people watched another of Evie's posts where she involuntarily hit herself over the head with a rolling pin. It was pain, the like of which you just can't describe, she said afterwards.
Fans have seen her repeatedly punch herself. She sometimes swears, or makes sounds she can't control.
It's not pleasant for Evie and mum Sam calls her 'a little warrior' for the way she copes with it all.
It hurts and it is not fun but it puts Evie in the ideal place to spread the word about tics and Tourettes.
She has 3.7million fans on TikTok, and more than 170,000 subscribers on YouTube.
For Evie though, her health nightmare has been unremitting since she was 11 - and she has always fought back.
She was paralysed for 6 weeks and then confined to a wheelchair after her seizures became severe.
Yet life started out so well for her. Let's go back to when she was 11 years old.
Evie, from Durham, was a top gymnast in 2011 when she became a British champion. She suffered her first setback when she broke her arm that same year but fought back to be the best in Britain again in 2012.
She was so talented, she took part in the Olympic torch relay in 2012 – something she remains immensely proud of.
Just when she thought she was back on track, Evie badly dislocated her elbow and her gymnastics career was over.
"I was heartbroken because it was like my second home," said Evie. "I trained four to five times a week for three hours a day."
But worse was to follow and by the time Evie was 15, she began to suffer mental health issues while she was still at secondary school.
Her tics also began although they appeared to be an unremitting form of hiccup for years.
She turned to home schooling instead and taught herself sign language.
A video of her signing to the song This Is Me - from The Greatest Showman - was shared by the film's star Keala Settle on her Instagram page.
Again, life seemed to be on the up but it never runs smoothly for Evie. In 2016, she had the first seizure in her life. Within two years, they were so bad Evie became wheelchair bound.
She was paralysed for six weeks but yet again Evie fought back and used social media to tell her story.
One tic episode left her in agony but went viral on TikTok.
She explained: "Sensory stuff helps my tics and I was moulding with a rolling pin when I hit myself hard."
It was agony but "the numbers took off after that."
Evie added: “My TikTok account first began to grow from a video in 2018 when I was learning to walk again.”
Her TikTok following grew from 1 million to 3 million in a fortnight but the good news always seems to come with bad.
Sadly, Evie's seizures and tics have worsened during the coronavirus lockdown.
She has been diagnosed with FND (functional neurological disorder) which is a medical condition in which there is a problem with the functioning of the nervous system.
But the pandemic began before she could get to see a neurological expert to be officially diagnosed with Tourettes.
And while it's no fun for Evie to have FND, tics and possibly Tourettes, she's making sure the world is better educated about it.
'This Trippy Hippie' page is a 2020 social media phenomenon and Evie posts regularly on tasks which are hard for people with Tourettes to achieve, such as baking gingerbread, reading a bedtime story with tics and doing the tics alphabet challenge.
Leg waxing and therapy from pets have also been covered with plenty more videos to come. Pets are a real boost for Evie whose pets help to ease the effects of the tics.
In the meantime, she is getting on with life as best she can with a loving family and boyfriend supporting her every step of the way.
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