Dash Mihok, who is best known for starring on Ray Donovan as the youngest Donovan brother Bunchy, has been living with Tourette’s syndrome since grade school.

Dash Mihok On Tourette’s

Mihok was just a six-year-old when he learned that he had inherited Tourette’s from his father. For the veteran actor, it was unimaginably difficult growing up with the syndrome.

“I’m very fortunate to have gotten out of the New York City public school system alive,” Mihok told uInterview in an exclusive interview. “The problem with Tourette’s is that for the general population it’s at its height – the worst – around the age of 11 or 12, which is just a brutal age in general.”

Mihok credits enduring the peak of his Tourette’s syndrome throughout his adolescence with making him more resilient as a person. He also believes that the habit of attempting to distract people from his disorder while growing up helped him as an actor later on down the road.

“It made me thicker skinned. It also made me, probably, unconsciously, the actor that I am because I was always trying to act normal for people and hide it,” Mihok said. “I wasn’t open. I mean, I told a lot of my classmates, but it’s not that comfortable to expose yourself when you’re that young.”

While Tourette’s may have helped Mihok get into acting, it’s acting that, to this day, keeps his symptoms of the syndrome at bay.

“When I was about 19, it started to subside a little bit, which, interestingly enough, is when I kind of fell into being an actor,” Mihok revealed.

He further explained, “I’m able to control it on camera. I always tell people, ‘I can make a movie, but it’s hard to watch one.’ When you’re sitting still and watching something, that’s when the Tourette’s come out. But, when I’m focused on every bit of my being, and having to hit these marks, and say this stuff, and emote – that quells the tics for a time.”

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What does Mihok have to say to young people living with Tourette’s? In short, don’t hide it.

“Tell people, be open about it, talk about it, be honest,” Mihok said. “It’s torture when you don’t, and you’d be surprised, when you completely let yourself be visible in all realms, how accepting people can be – even young kids – of what’s going on.”

“We all have empathy in us, and we all are capable of it,” Mihok added, “So, I would just say: be you, and don’t be shy, and let everybody know that this is who you are. We’re all special in some way.”

Ray Donovan will return to Showtime for its fourth season in mid-2016.