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Singer-songwriter Dave Pittman on Coming to Terms with Tourette Syndrome

The popular Christian performer shares how his childhood was impacted by Tourette Syndrome and what the message of his new album is.


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So my name is Dave Pittman, and I grew up in a small town outside of north-central Arkansas called Mountain Home, Arkansas. And my dad’s a music pastor. Growing up in a church where there was a lot of roots in Southern gospel, and so singing was a huge part of my life growing up. I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome when I was nine years old, and it was extremely difficult for me to go through that.

It was hard. I received a lot of bullying and a lot of people that made fun of me, from my peers. And it affected me such in a bad way,in a negative way, that when I was—the summer after that fourth-grade year, I almost took my life. And it was a really…I was more afraid of living through another year of that than I was of dying.

And so my parents left and ran an errand out to fix the van that we had at the time. And at that point, my siblings were in a different part of the house. And I went back to my bedroom and I got a piece of paper—a notebook paper and a pencil—and I wrote down, “Mom and Dad, I love you. I’m going to miss you.” It had a frown face with a tear rolling down. I was, you know, 10 years old. And then I went—I proceeded to go into my mom and dad’s bedroom.

And I locked the door behind me, got my father’s gun, and put the note face up. And I was literally about two seconds away from pulling the trigger. I heard the front door of our home open up. And I knew that Mom and Dad had come home early. And so I scurried around to get things back together, turn the note face down.

And you know, they had proceeded to come down the hallway, knock on the door. I open the door and let them in, and they came in. And my mom saw the piece of paper on the floor. She turned it over and she saw what was written on the piece of paper, and just the horror right at the other side. And she in that moment lost it. And I did as well, because all those feelings just came up.

You know, my parents decided to take me out of public school, and they homeschooled me for that next year. And I remember my mom and dad drilling into my head the importance of just, you know, accepting yourself for who you are. And not only who you are, but who you are in Christ. My mom used the example of Paul, you know, and just how, you know, he asked God three times to take this thorn in his flesh away. And then God’s answer to him was, “My grace is sufficient enough for you.” And that just rung, you know, so deep to me.

So this new album has been such a labor of love. You know, the title—it’s called Different Kind of Love. You know, it really just came out of God breaking my heart for the church, and just wanted to encourage and uplift the body of Christ, and then also those who don’t know Him. I wanted the song that explained the sacrificial love, the true love, right? What real love is, which is the sacrificial love of Christ, and what He’s done for us and hope. My theme—the theme of my life—is hope, and so the things that I’ve gone through, that God’s brought me through. And I want the listeners who hear it to find that hope in the midst of hard times and trials.

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