After contemplating the pros and cons of this, I’ve decided to do what I am about to do. I’m not going to add it as a tag like I did with depression and PTSD, however; posts regarding this topic will simply go into my health tag. I mean, most of my health posts pertain to mental health, anyway.
I decided to do this, because I have an invisible illness, and it’s highly likely that my readers have an invisible illness as well. At least one.
You can’t see my mental health issues by merely greeting me for the first time, or even by reading my blog. I have lately tried to be more descriptive with my writing in hopes to make people feel what it is that I go through on a daily basis.
I have family members who think that it’s just because of the environment I grew up in — that I can’t make eye contact because of lard or that I have to do certain things a number of times because I think I need to. Just because I have struggled for years and years to figure out how to make my tics less visible to you does not mean that they’re not there.
For starters, I have tics, not ticks. There is a difference between the two spellings; one has to do with people, and the other has to do with a clock. I cannot control my tics, and I stopped suppressing them years ago because it’s too painful to do that. They build up. They get worse. I have to do them even though I don’t want to. In fact, sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing them.
- I have neck tics. By this, I mean that my neck (usually the right side) does this sort of tic thing. I’m doing it now. It happens the most when I’m under a lot of stress and/or getting sick. Currently, I’m both of those. This one is more obvious, and if I don’t give into it when due, it will start doing it on its own. If I rest my right cheek on on my right hand with my elbow on a table or something, letting my hair fall to my right side, I can hide it pretty well. However, this solution works only in situations that allow it. I also sometimes have to pop my neck multiple times. Then it pops a certain way, cramping it up. I hate it so much.
- I sometimes have to breathe on my collar bone, the center of it. It’s frustrating and annoying, and my chin has to align just perfectly in the center of it whilst I breathe downward.
- I have the complex tic example stated on the fact sheet:
Complex motor tics might include facial grimacing combined with a head twist and a shoulder shrug.
This one is not at all something I can hide. I can suppress it, but suppressing my tics causes me to have to do them more, and it’s just overall exhausting.
- Did you just cough? Sniffle? When you sniffle/cough around me, I may feel that need to do the same. And then again. And then again. And I can’t stop it. And then I have to rub my nose as if I actually need to do it. And then I need to do it again. And again. And quite honestly, this tic is one of the most annoying ones, because lard would always get onto me and say, “Go blow your nose, now!” I can’t help it. And then in school, it was horrible, because teachers would always say, “It’s so annoying when people just sniff instead of blowing their nose,” and classmates would just look at me, and I was so embarrassed and ashamed of myself for that. I just can’t control it. People don’t seem to understand this.
- I have to silently say phrases over and over in my head a certain amount of times (it varies), and it gets in the way of what’s actually going on. It’s annoying
Those are just a small few. When I was in fourth grade, I’d have to touch my knees and then my ankles in kickball all of the time. Now I assume it was a tic I’d developed due to sometimes being put on the spot. I’d actually have to bend down, like in the heads, shoulders, knees and toes! song just to do this. It was extremely embarrassing. Elementary kids can be really cruel.
With that said, I have no idea why people tell me that it’s just something I need to learn to control. It’s called a tic for a reason. I have muscle spasms. They often move on their own. I don’t even realize I’m doing it many times until I’m either actually doing it or it becomes highly obvious to others that I am doing it.
They increase when I’m pissed off, nervous/anxious, sick, annoyed, angry, etc., and they decrease when I’m sleeping. I often do it in my dreams as well; it just seems normal to me since I’ve done it all my life.
People who say they wish to see the papers for my diagnosis need to stop being so ignorant, because they’re acting like having Tourette’s is something I should be ashamed of when they do it. You don’t have to believe me; I’ve had doctors ask about it. I don’t need to prove anything to you. Having Tourette’s makes it difficult for me to work as well; at Walmart I’d have new tics to deal with that I couldn’t suppress. It’s something that embarrasses me; please don’t make me “prove” it.
If I lash out on you (this has happened on Twitter in the past with a few people that really make me tick), I can guarantee you that it’s because I’m been suppressing that anger for far too long, and most of that is coming from my Tourette’s. I just get so pissed off that I can’t take it anymore, and I end up looking like I’m mad in the end.
“It’s just not normal for people to act like this. I mean, don’t you, too, feel like this just isn’t normal? People are supposed to be able to control their anger, not let it all loose on people. You need to start doing something to act normal again, or else I’m going to find something to do with you.”
Mimi said that to me last year before I went to the psychiatric’s office. Then, in the office getting my diagnosis, this is how it went:
Mimi, to the psychiatrist: “She has to be Bipolar or something. Her mom and brother even have it, and they take medicine for it.”
Me, to Mimi: (trying to sound as logical as possible) “I’m not Bipolar. I was tested multiple times growing up. I remember this!”
Mimi, to the psychiatrist: “See? She’s lashing out at me. She needs help! I don’t know what to do with her anymore!”
Me, to the psychiatrist: (smiling, some sort of snappy/mockingly sarcastic, but also serious, tone) “It was determined that I have Tourette’s Syndrome.”
Psychiatrist: (to me) “Well, that makes sense. I can see that.” (to Mimi) “Bipolar Disorder, on the other hand, is not genetic in the way that you are thinking of. It doesn’t work like that. You have to be patient with her. Mental illness or not, you need to stop treating her like she’s crazy.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget that conversation.
Don’t treat people like they should be ashamed of something medically wrong with them. Whether you can see it or not, they’re not one less because they have something different.