Tourette Syndrome is a spectrum disorder so sufferers can fall into more than one category people with Pure Tourettes or people like me with Tourettes+.
Tourettes+ sufferers will have comorbid conditions alongside their Tourettes these can include ADHD, OCD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Tactile Hypersensitivity, Misophonia, Rage, Anxiety, Depression, Sleep problems and Autism.
This is just a quick word about OCD.
People like to remark about themselves or others being a bit OCD because they like things ordered or are extremely neat and tidy, Thankfully for them they don’t know what OCD really feels like, Its an all consuming life controlling and sometimes life wrecking Bastard!
You can end up with rituals on top of rituals on top of rituals to perform just before you can leave the house or go to bed or enter shop or your place of work and if you don’t get the rituals right the fear the feeling of impending doom that something terrible is going to happen is soooo powerful that it consumes you, terrifies you, causes you anxiety attacks and can make you totally irrational. I have worn out several door handles from constant checking and rechecking to see if a door is locked, For several years going to bed meant rituals that on a bad night might take a couple of hours to get right, turning lights and sockets off in a certain way that had to feel right, checking doors and windows were locked over and over because the panic in my brain meant I couldn’t remember every detail of the previous check and all the time knowing that it was all total bollocks but being powerless to stop it.
I even had one friend who I had to shake hands with in a certain way every time he went home and if it felt wrong it would leave me feeling freaked out, when he realised this he would always make sure I was happy with it before he left and if he thought I wasn’t he would grin and just stick his hand out again and tell me to get on with it hehehe.
But then on top of all the physical rituals there are also the mental rituals, the endless counting, grouping everything into certain numbers, panic setting in if you miscount or lose your place and so many other things but then there is the dark side to OCD, the bit the people hardly ever talk about due to embarrassment or fear from a lack of understanding and that is Intrusive Thoughts.
Intrusive Thoughts appear from nowhere and come crashing into your mind with such ferocity that it terrifies you the thoughts themselves are so intense that you think you are going mad and are scared that you might act on the thoughts but nothing could be further from the truth, the thoughts tend to fall into a couple of categories, violence toward a loved one or a pet or a close friend or yourself, or sexual violence of the worst kinds you can imagine, others can be intense public humiliation.
Whilst the chances of someone who is experiencing these thoughts actually carrying them out is so infinitesimally small that it makes sense to ignore the possibility, the person experiencing the thought is often too scared by it to realise this, In fact sufferers of these thoughts tend to be gentle and non violent. As a child I had intrusive thoughts most days and sometimes most of the day! They mainly centred around close friends being injured or killed and me seeing it happen but being powerless to stop it. (its like a daydream but exceptionally vivid and can last for hours) As the few friendships that I had at the time were borderline obsessive anyway it just made the thoughts all the more traumatic. I never told anyone about the thoughts when I was a kid as I was convinced that they would think I was mad and lock me up somewhere. That is the nature of intrusive thoughts, the more you have the more scared you get and the more scared you get the more you have, in a never ending cycle.
If the sufferer can educate themselves as to what these thoughts are and then take a paradoxical approach in dealing with them ( realise what they are, remember that they are automatic thoughts not conscious thoughts and are safe to ignore, allow them in to your mind without trying to fight them, keep calm and continue with what you are doing) pretty soon after adopting these techniques the thoughts should subside or even stop all together.
For me just finding out what the thoughts were was enough to almost stop them overnight and when a few did creep in afterwards I just gave my head a wobble and told the thoughts to Fuck off and carried on and that did the trick.
Its been years since I was bothered by them but I wanted to write this in case anyone reading it is dealing with anything similar or comes across someone who is, so they will at least have a little bit of insight into it.
I still deal with rituals every day but they don’t cause me any major hassle so I figure if I let the ocd win those battles then its easier to keep the rest of it at bay.
If you have read this far I hope it wasn’t too tedious and depressing and I will try and make any future articles a bit more lighthearted hehehe.