Tourette’s Syndrome Is Like The Moon

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I haven’t written here in a while because this blog is called “How To Have Tourette’s”, and for the past few weeks, it’s felt like I haven’t really had Tourette’s.

Sure, I’ve been ticcing every day, but 90 percent of the time, the tics have been subtle. I’ve been coughing, clearing my throat, blinking. As everyone does all these things anyway, I haven’t brought a lot of attention to myself.

The other 10 percent of the time are when I am in particularly triggering situations: namely bustling, noisy environments. Yesterday, I made the mistake of walking through London’s West End. Unfortunately, I shouted “HEY” at a small, innocent tourist girl who crossed my path. Instead of doing what I should have done, which was stop and explain that I wasn’t incredibly rude person just an incredibly tourettic one – I blushed and walked away at the briskest pace possible.

Other times, I tic when I am incredibly stressed. I had a bit of an attack the other week. I was nervous the whole day at my new job, and in my lunch break I sort of exploded. All my tics, from my head to my toe, happened at once. It was a stressful experience.

For the most part, though, I haven’t been ticcing and I’ve been making the most of it. I can now go into the spaces that aren’t meant for people with Tourette’s. I can browse in quiet bookshops, go to the cinema, and sit down in fancy restaurants. If I wanted to, I could probably go to the library, the theatre or a meditation class. I’ve even got a new office job and, even though everyone is pretty quiet there, my Tourette’s has caused precisely zero problems.

This is all in the normal order of things, because Tourette’s is like the moon: it waxes and wanes. Right now, I am on a wane. One day – be it in a week or a month or a year – I’ll be on a wax again, and once again, it’ll be difficult. For now, though, I’m just grateful for some much-needed respite. Finally, after months of near-constant ticcing, I can sit and just be still.