Baylen Dupree Talks Feeling 'Embarrassed, Insecure' in Public with Tourette's: 'Push Past the Hard Days'

“Going out in public is a really big challenge.” said Baylen Dupree, the 20-year-old content creator who was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome in 2020

Aileen McCarron Baylen Dupree
Aileen McCarron Baylen Dupree

Baylen Dupree is opening up about the embarrassment she sometimes feels going out in public with Tourette syndrome.

On Friday, the 20-year-old content creator — who uses her platform to raise awareness about Tourette's — posted a video answering a follower who asked if she ever gets embarrassed due to her vocal tics. She admitted that although she tries to not let it impact her, they make doing certain things in public "horrible."

"There have been multiple times when I have been embarrassed when I'm in public, especially when I first was diagnosed with Tourette's. Not so much anymore," she explained in the clip.

"There have been bad days where I get a little embarrassed or insecure but I kinda try to look past them in a way because I have to live like this," Dupree continued. "It's just easier to push past the hard days and go on to the next. I take it day by day. Definitely going out in public is a really big challenge."

Tourette syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by rapid, repetitive and involuntary muscle movements or sounds (tics), according to the Mayo Clinic. The tics typically begin to manifest between the ages of 2 and 15, and males are three to four times more likely to develop the disorder than females.

Tics can range from mild to severe and, in some cases, they can be debilitating and lead to self injuries, according to the Tourette Association of America. The frequency and severity of tics also change regularly, and can be in response to factors like stress, anxiety, excitement, fatigue, illness and more. One out of every 160 children between the ages of 5-17 in the United States is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome.

Related: 20-Year-Old with Tourette Syndrome Raising Awareness After Being Bullied: 'Might as Well Embrace It'

Related:Billie Eilish Says She's 'Pretty Confident' in Her Tourette Syndrome: 'It's Part of Me'

Back in February, Dupree — who was diagnosed with Tourette's just before her 18th birthday — spoke to PEOPLE about her journey learning to live with the disorder.

"It went from like 10 tics a day to 40 tics a day. And then COVID happened and it went from 40 tics a day to 500 tics a day. It was isolating, it was depressing," the New York native explained, sharing that everyday tasks became a struggle.

"Getting dressed, brushing my teeth, eating food, sitting down at the dinner table, I couldn't do it," Dupree said. "From accidentally slapping my ex-boyfriend in the face to accidentally hitting my mom with a frying pan. It had been a whirlwind of emotions trying to accept it."

She was inspired to go public with her struggle when she was once bullied about her tics while out shopping.

"I was followed around the store by these girls who were actually in my math class at the time and I was videotaped and made fun of because of my tics," Dupree recalled. "I've never seen the video but it was sent around and I got like 20 messages overnight through Snapchat basically like, 'Oh my God, what's wrong with you? Why are you acting like that?' "

Related:McKenzie Westmore Reveals That She Has Tourette Syndrome: 'I Was Afraid it Would Hurt My Career'

Aileen McCarron Baylen Dupree
Aileen McCarron Baylen Dupree

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At that point, Dupree said she became extremely depressed and struggled with her self-image, admitting that she couldn't even look at herself in the mirror because she hated how she looked when she tics.

Just days after the video was sent around, Dupree decided to make the best of the situation and share her experience living with Tourette's on TikTok for the first time, making her first video discussing the disorder in November 2021.

"It basically brought to everyone's attention that something was wrong with me so I flipped it. I was like, I never want to be that person anymore," she said at the time. "I'm sick and tired of hiding from everyone when I can't do anything about the way I am. I can't change it so I might as well embrace it. And I've never looked back. I've never regretted it."

"There's not a person in this world that doesn't have something that they deal with," she continued. "I'm so fine living with this. I'm so happy. Tourette's doesn't define Baylen. Just because I struggle with it doesn't mean it defines who I am and who I will be."

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