When Loren Brovarnik first revealed to the world that she had Tourette Syndrome on TLC’s
“I’m ticking in front of you, I’m twitching in front of you. I don’t care because it’s part of me,” Brovarnik, 30, told PEOPLE at TLC’s Summer of Love celebration in New York City on Tuesday.
“I just feel more confident in my own skin.”
It was in front of TLC cameras during a confessional three years ago that she expressed her upset at how her now-husband Alexei Brovarnik had told his mother about her diagnosis without her permission. “I remember just saying, ‘I have Tourette Syndrome,’ and I was like, oh shoot I can’t take it back now,” she recalled. “And it’s the best experience I’ve had, just letting it go.”
Now, Loren says she feels “free.”
“I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m more confident,” she said. Alexei sees it, too. “I think it was great because it did set her free,” Alexei, 30, told PEOPLE at the event.
Not only has sharing her true self made Loren feel better, but she also thinks it has helped change the way people perceive Tourette Syndrome.
“The misconception about Tourette Syndrome has changed a lot actually,” she said.
“People have called me an inspiration but I don’t look at myself like that in any way, shape or form. I had a platform. And I suffer with it and I wanted to bring awareness to it that people don’t really understand. I don’t scream. I don’t curse involuntarily,” she said. “I twitch, I tic. There’s a lot more that goes into it.”
One of the reasons she decided to share her history with the neurological disorder was because she was hurt by fans’ negative comments about her symptoms. Viewers were associating her involuntary movements with drugs and making fun of her “wonky eye.” “People are very, very mean,” she said during the reveal three years ago.
But now, people are thanking her. “I’ve helped a lot of people, which is crazy because I’m a nobody. And the fact that people have told me, thank you… If I can help one person, I’ve done the right thing.”