Day 16: Tourette Awareness 2020

Day 16: Tourette Awareness 2020

The amusing side of Tourette Syndrome

We have talked a little bit about when it is ok and when it is not ok to joke about TS. We have talked about serious challenges and what it is like to live with TS. Today, I want to talk about some of the funny bits! I will primarily be talking about my own personal experiences, with a few anecdotes told by others with TS in support communities. Sometimes having a sense of humor and sharing the silly misfires our brains do helps us to feel stronger.

My Tourette Syndrome is a bit of a jokester. My TS will find the absolute WORST time to get me, in the absolute worst way… and sometimes it is just funny!

I will start off by saying I have named MY TS BRAIN after a friend of mine (Her name is Shawna, and she is a special magical unicorn whose humor is always in line with my TS Jokester brain. I appreciate her and her humor every day. So, my TS is lovingly called “Shawna” when it does something particularly silly).

My TS is such a huge part of my personality whether people are aware of it. Sometimes it presents as humor, sometimes it calls out the elephant in the room, sometimes it gets super creative and thinks things that make me go “Oh Shawna”, shake my head and giggle. My humor would NOT be what it is today without my TS. I am thankful for that.

My wife can tell you how many times I laugh at something my TS is doing, and when I share the story with her, she always gets a good laugh with me. ((I have asked her if she is game to post her own side of living with my TS brain and how it can be funny, so if we are  lucky she will be able to do that and I will link to it!)).

Let’s begin… with one of my biggest tics – EYES! (I roll them, squish them shut, squint them, pull at the outer corners, etc.)

Some of the funny things my eye tics have caused:

  1. People think I am rolling my eyes at them, at THE worst times. I have “rolled my eyes” in job interviews, serious conversations, in restaurants, in the gym, you name it! If I am aware I did it, and that someone is throwing shade, I always let them know “Hey, not being an asshole, I roll my eyes as a tic, I have TS” but I am sure some do not believe me. LOL 

A few years ago, I was in the gym (way before I met my wife) and was running on the track. I was ticking while I ran. I was ticking hard as I came around the back half of the track and I had one young man think that I was winking at him and being all “hey hot stuff” and he gave me the up nod with eyebrows. I was MORTIFIED in that second and then I burst out laughing because there was just no way to handle that! “Hey, I am glad you were flattered, thanks for that by the way… but I am not interested (and am in fact a lesbian), and my brain was actually rolling my eyes at  you uncontrollably, not winking… sorry”? I feel bad he looked a bit confused, but it was just too darn funny.

I have also tripped or walked into things/people when I have had a tic. It truly can be a hazard lol My main eye tic involves squishing my eyes shut hard and rolling my eyes back in my head, sometimes my eyes are closed for 5- 10 seconds at a time. So yea, if I crash into you randomly, I promise I am not an asshole… I am just walking with my eyes closed as my thinking brain says “OMG OPEN YOUR EYES” and my SHAWNA brain says “Nahhhh let’s just play a game here and see what happens”.

I have tic rolled myself stupid in restaurants (I posted before but emotion swings trigger tics and seeing a damn good meal in front of me will send me into supreme tic fits). I cannot tell you how many times a waitress/waiter has seen me ticking away ((usually eyes squish/roll and neck/jaw jerk combo)) and have come over to ask if “everything is ok”. I usually stop ticking and respond with “Yup, DELICIOUS!” but then I sometimes get the shade for a bit. I do not bother to disclose typically… but my wife and I usually get a giggle.  Shawna is just trying to compliment the chef!

  • Shawna really LOVES to call out the elephant in the room, makes her day every damn time.

Remembering that I cannot control these things is important, and much of the time I do not even KNOW what the hell is going to fly out of my mouth! Luckily, most people find it “refreshing” that a room full of people are biting their lip and I stroll in and Shawna sees the elephant and is all “HEY ELEPHANT HOW THE HELL YOU DOIN!”  I cannot think of a good example of this, but I have done it my entire life and suspect my wife might have an example or two in her memory.

  • Weird noises, words, or other vocal things

Sometimes my brain decides a jingle, word, phrase, or something it read is AMAZING and should be on repeat until people near me want to stab me to death with a rusty fork.

There was a funny meme where a calf was climbing through a doggy door in a house and someone put “IM A DOGGO! MOOF!” and MOOF was stuck. Over and over I moofed. I think it has passed but when me and wifey were in BC on holidays, I moofed A LOT. It ended up being pretty funny.

Many years ago a tag line from a movie got stuck. Shawna sang that shit over and over *ill never telllllll* My roommate at the time *benny* literally was threatening to kill me but it was HALARIOUS. He laughed with me about it a lot but DID have days where he was like “OMGGGGG”.

License plates jump out at me, especially if they are a pattern or personalized – and my Shawna brain likes to run with it. Jokes and comments fly out of me. Some get pretty raunchy.

I am having a hard time thinking of all the funny examples because to me I have 10000000000000000000 tics a day. I hope my love will jump in and share some examples or moments with us all!

Thanks for reading!