Positive distractions

This past weekend was quite difficult. My head jerking tic came back with a vengeance. It has been painful and exhausting. After a day or two, I realized I had a giant lump on the base of the back of my neck. The next day I began one of my hitting tics, which is hitting my shoulder repeatedly. So, as you can imagine, it was not long before I had a bit of a bruise on my right shoulder. Today, I am not ticking nearly as much, but I am still a bit sore.

It was not just physically that I have felt exhausted, but mentally as well. The only other time I could think of when my tics actually hurt was when they first became a huge problem and I was finally diagnosed with Tourette’s. So, those thoughts and the anxiety that it was going to continue getting worse before it would get any better added to the natural effects of sitting around and doing nothing all weekend…well, you can probably imagine how epically BLAH I felt. 

I will admit that by Sunday evening, when I had started my hitting tic, I was beginning to feel downright horrible and slightly depressed. As I sat at home by myself Monday, I started searching within myself for ways to make myself feel better. I quickly discovered that all the old negative coping skills I used to apply in this situation were all that I could think of. I wondered…where have all the positive distractions I had adopted in time?

This morning, as I was browsing the YouTube universe, I came across a video by Emma Blackery about being angry and things to do when you are angry that will help you feel better and calm down. As I was watching this video, I began thinking of the positive distractions and coping skills that I have learned over the years. So, I thought I would share some of the things I love to do that really help calm me down when I’m anxious or upset or angry or help distract me when I am feeling depressed.


Music. Everyone loves music. You can’t tell me that you genuinely do not like music of some kind. Not everyone likes the same genre of music or the same artists, but I am pretty positive that we all like some form of music or another. If not, let me know because I have never met anyone who doesn’t.

Anyway…yeah…Music is a great escape. When you can find a song that expresses exactly how you are feeling in that moment, it is as if someone finally understands what you are going through and what you are feeling. And when you find out that someone else likes the same artists or songs, you instantly have something in common with that person that you can talk about. Music brings people together in ways you can’t even imagine. Music can brighten your day and bring a whole new perspective and attitude into your day. Happy music makes people happy!

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2014 NJCTS Children’s Scholarship Award Essay: “I’m Not a Diagnosis”

This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2014 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!

I always want to be seen as the person I am, not as a diagnosis. I have very high functioning Autism and need social support and academic accommodations. I am creative, musical, artistic and have a great sense of humor. I also have ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.

I have been to some clinics for Tourette Syndrome, such as a clinic at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. That’s right, I had to fly from New Jersey to Atlanta, then hop on another flight to Alabama. The people at the clinic were so sweet and polite. They even offered me tickets to a football game at the school’s stadium as a result of telling them that I am in the marching band.

Having Tourette Syndrome is a challenge I have to deal with in life, and although I live with that challenge every day, I have acquired tools that help me cope.

My life has never been what one would call “easy.” Three months after I turned 8, my parents sent me to a residential school to help “at-risk” youth. My time there was spent teaching me how to deal with the frustration that my disabilities give me. I needed to learn how to calmly communicate without being overly emotional.

This was quite a challenge because I was only eight, The School was called The Andrus Children’s Center. Being apart from my parents was a very difficult experience, They came on weekends and eventually took me home on weekends so I could practice the skills I had learned.

I grew a lot as an individual at Andrus.

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2013 NJCTS Children’s Scholarship Award Essay: “My Battle for Confidence”

This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2013 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it! And here is my profile on the NJCTS website.

McCarthy, ConorThere is nothing that upsets me more in life than when someone gets upset with someone who is going through something very stressful just because they have to put up with that person’s stress.

This seemed to always be the case with my Tourette Syndrome, which started up when I was about 10. I’ll never forget it. The scariest part about having Tourette is when it first starts affecting you. Before I knew what Tourette was, I would feel the urge to curse. My parents would get very mad at me. I didn’t know what else to blame it on besides myself.

When I was diagnosed with Tourette, it made me feel a little better, not not quite. People stared, and I felt alienated. I always had to leave the classroom at school, and I didn’t feel like a normal kid. At that point, I didn’t try as much. I didn’t see the sense in it if my Tourette wouldn’t allow me to perform my work most of the time.

In fifth grade, I left my hometown school district for one for kids with special needs. I was a little nervous at first, but I soon felt I finally fit in somewhere. The kids there weren’t strange or mean. They were just people that had to go through similar things that I had to. I made a lot of friends, and I no longer felt alienated by other kids. We went over each other’s houses and even got into a little bit of harmless trouble once in a while.

I finally realized that I was just the same as every other kid. Continue reading

Extreme Tourette: Video of a bad tic attack

I never really watch the videos my parents tape of my tic episodes/attacks or whatever, I just upload them. I was watching this one with my mom because we needed to find some to send to Dr. Mogilner.. I can’t believe these were going on every night. Sometimes I don’t even know what tics I’m doing and when. Weird to watch really. Just figured I’d share.

7 tips to help manage your temper while ticcing

When I was younger, I had trouble with my tics that eventually led to temper tantrums. According to the website for Stress Free Kids, kids’ temper tantrums and meltdowns are one of the most challenging moments a mom or dad can face. They happen at the most inconvenient times and places.

Children with Tourette Syndrome, SPD, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD and Autism often reach overload and have more meltdowns. Temper tantrums are very different from a meltdown, but the way they make parents feel during the moment are the same. Here are 7 tips that will help: http://www.stressfreekids.com/9771/kids-temper-tantrums-and-meltdowns.

Anger: Fighting the feeling

Hello everyone. It is very rainy where I am. Last night, I saw the movie “Brave” with my friends and family, and it was so awesome!!!! I loved it! I am proud to be part Scottish. My tics were OK until last night after the movie, when I had a complete breakdown.

I forgot my Zoloft the night before, and my heartstrings are being pulled in two different directions and it’s getting very hard. But, I knew it would be. I had a feeling I would become super depressed, angry and sad.

You know about my agitation where I need to hit things? That’s what I had the urge to do last night. And I was so tired of it that I fought it. I ticced and it was hard to contain it, but I didn’t want to deal with hurting myself anymore. I succeeded, and today, I don’t feel easily agitated at all. Well, I hope you all are having a sunny day. 🙂