A TOURETTE'S sufferer has discovered a talent for stand-up comedy and found that it helps keep the condition at bay.
Thain Gibbons has struggled with the disorder her whole life but has found being on stage helps her focus and prevent it coming to the fore.
The 36-year-old has been performing in bands since she was at school at Ifield Community College, but has recently discovered her new talent.
During her first and only performance so far, at The Tanners Arms in Horsham earlier this month, she had the audience in stitches and was able to keep her Tourette's firmly out of the show.
Thain Gibbons performing at The Tanners Arms in Horsham
Thain, of Broadwood Rise in Broadfield, said: "People have always told me I should write comedy and that I'm funny and doing stand-up comedy ended up on my bucket list.
"Being up on stage would have scared the life out of me a few years ago because I have Tourette's. But I've become more confident.
"I had a horrific time at school but even then I played in bands. There are some pretty ropey videos of me performing at school where I'm clearly kicking out very badly.
"But things don't matter so much any more. I've got three kids and there are more important things to worry about.
"When I'm performing it just disappears. It was a big thing for me to stand up there."
Thain only had two weeks to write jokes and prepare for her routine, which centred around her experiences of motherhood and her job as a customer sales assistant at the Tesco Express at Astral Towers, on Betts Way, Manor Royal.
But the estimated crowd of about 100 were in tears over some of her gags.
Having only performed on one occasion, Thain is yet to have a nightmare gig, but she is fairly relaxed about the prospect.
She said: "That was a concern. I must be a little bit of a thrill-seeker because it doesn't put me off.
"I had a couple of moments where there were things I thought were funny but people weren't laughing that much, but you've just got to know how not to lose your flow."
Thain is also not concerned about making a fool of herself, something she says most women are not as comfortable with.
She said: "I think the reason there are fewer female comedians is that women are more self-conscious and men are generally more relaxed about making an idiot out of themselves."
Thain is yet to arrange her second performance but is on the lookout for local comedy nights.
Some of Thain's jokes ...
* "People ask the funniest things in Tesco ... 'Excuse me love, where do you find eggs?'
'In chickens'. Closely followed by 'where can I find the milk?'
'Opposite the eggs'."
* "So they look at me and I've got a little name badge and they say 'ooh, that's an unusual name, how do you pronounce that?'
* "I've got three children and I gave the eldest the initials B.O, which is character building. I thought it was a good idea until I saw him wearing his first football shirt, bless him.
* "My youngest is called Rocky. I think it's a really good name. People always ask me, 'did you really name your child after the film?
"I normally don't dignify it with a response, but if she's with me, my daughter Rambo does."