I don’t know what set it off this time, but I am having a hell of a time with the tic disorder at the moment. Did I ever mention that I have a tic disorder? It’s a little like Tourette syndrome, but I only have motor tics (you have to have motor and phonic tics for a TS diagnosis) most of the time. It gets worse when I’m stressed, not eating properly, tired, ill, have been eating something I’m intolerant too or if I can see someone else ticcing. I always have at least one tic on the go though. When I was a teenager I had a lot of facial tics, which was…fun 😛 and blinking too much is still my most frequent tic, but there’s also been frowning, curling either lip, dragging my foot, clenching various muscles, retching (not my favourite, with the emetophobia), kind of…clicking with my throat while I breath in before I can speak, touching things that I don’t want to touch, counting letters in groups of three (sometimes it’s hard to tell where the tic disorder ends and the OCD begins, although TS, OCD, and things like autism and ADHD have biological/chemical similarities apparently so that’s not so surprising), inhaling sharply like a sort of inwards gasp…come to think of it, this disorder is a pain in the ass 😛
It’s not been too bad for the last few months as my tics have been confined to my calves. When I walk I must put terrible pressure on the joints in my legs because I am constantly tensing my calf muscles far too much. But in the last couple of weeks they have gotten loose again – lots of blinking, not being able to speak until I’ve ‘clicked’ enough, stuff like that. It’s probably only a combination of my pass plus (driving on the motorway was exciting but stressful, ditto getting my car and driving solo) and the talks to the psychology classes, but it’s doing my head in. My eyes hurt.
I saw a neurologist about all this a couple of years ago and he said there was medication I could take, but as long as it wasn’t really interfering with my life I would be better off just trying to live with it. I was fine with that, it doesn’t often interfere. It does make me look like a crazy lady sometimes, but I’m pretty adept at hiding it! It also gives me muscle strain sometimes – eyes and legs particularly – but it doesn’t usually stay this intense for long. When I was on effexor my tics went completely nuts (yet another reason why antidepressants and I do not mix), I developed a stutter and it got so bad I couldn’t speak for a day or so during the withdrawal – but that’s the worst it’s ever been and it calmed down again once I had been off the meds for a while. I hope that once the weather cools down a bit and I get more used to driving I can go back to keeping the monster locked up in my right calf again!
Yeah, not much point to that little moan. It’s just annoying me. Sometimes I get disheartened by how much is *wrong* with me. Psychologically there’s the anorexia, depression, OCD, PTSD, agoraphobia, emetophobia, panic attacks, generally worrying and thinking too much. Physically I have osteopenia, ten thousand food intolerances, IBS, the tic disorder (counted as physical as I see it as biologically based, not set off by trauma) and I’m absolutely covered in scars from when I used to self harm, on both my arms, both my legs and my stomach. I wish I could trade my body in for a new one. Some of the damage is my own fault. The osteopenia, digestive disorders and scars are direct consequences of the eating disorders and self harm. But then, the anxiety disorders and depression were what caused the anorexia and self harm, and those weren’t my ‘fault’ – they certainly weren’t within my control when I first started getting panic attacks at four years old, or OCD at six, palpitations at nine, depression at 11. Before a certain age you are just not equipped with the tools to cope with stuff like that. Enough adults struggle terribly with these disorders – kids don’t stand a chance, particularly if no one realises what’s going on. So many people on my mum’s side of the family have mild to moderate anxiety or affective disorders that I really don’t think she realised that it was out of the ordinary for her child to be having panic attacks at such a young age. No one’s fault. Genes, eh? If only I could take mine to Oxfam and buy some new ones at Topshop 😛
I don’t really mind being me. There are benefits too. I am academically clever, quick to learn, creative. I am good at science, maths, music, art. If I am really interested in something I usually find that it comes quite easily to me. These traits help with the mental health problems. My default response to a problem is to beat it down with information and logic, and if you hit it hard enough even anorexia falls to that eventually. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to recover before, I just didn’t want to. Once I did, I set about trying to rewire my head and change my automatic responses to situations. The thought ‘I have to lose weight’ does not have me saying ‘yes of course, how quickly would you like me to screw myself up this time?’ anymore, the new reaction is ‘that’s a symptom and it can go fuck itself’! I am grateful for my analytical mind, even if it means that I do have a tendency to see my problems as intellectual challenges rather than things to feel my way through, which can cause difficulties.
I used to believe that I was irrevocably broken. I don’t feel like that anymore, but I do wish that things were easier sometimes. If my head could have just limited itself to ONE mental health problem, rather than being greedy and trying several on for size. But there’s no use complaining. No use having a ‘why me’ attitude. Why not me? Since I’ve had to fight for my life, I think I appreciate it much more. I am grateful to still be here, eccentricities and all.
Three good things about today:
1. I found acceptable sunglasses for driving in Boots for £5. Score! Most of the others were over £20.
2. Driving to the nearest big town on my own for the first time earlier 🙂
3. MY HAND IS NORMAL AGAIN!!! Thank goodness for that.