Distractions: A different side of Tourette's

Hi everyone, I went to see my psychiatrist the other day, and I talked to her about how I happen to forget things a lot. I wanted to know if it was from one of the medicines I’m taking. It turns out that it’s just from Tourette’s.

She explained to me that TS basically takes up a part of my brain and makes it so I can’t control it. This apparently takes up a lot of “data usage” in my brain, so I don’t have a lot of space left to remember small things such as phone numbers or adresses.

To show me my small data usage in action, she recited a phone number with a lot of patterned numbers in it. I could recite it back to her pretty easily. But when she told me a phone number that had no patterns or repeated numbers, and told me to repeat it back to her, I couldn’t.

Even though it was just a second later, I didn’t remember the number at all. Then, she told me the number in fragments and had me repeat the fragments back to her. For instance:

Her: 529

Me: 529

Her: 60

Me: 60

Her: 41

Me: 41

Her: Now the whole number.

Me: 5296041

It was a really cool exercise. It was like finding a blind spot in my brain! There was also another new aspect of TS that I learned. I can’t really focus on what I’m doing unless I have an extrasensory thing going on. I can’t do my homework very well unless I have music playing. The music occupies the part of my brain that would normally be wandering off and making me want to do other things so that I can easily do my homework.

She also said that a lot of kids with Tourette’s can be cleaning their rooms and think, “Hey, look, a game!” and go off and do something else. In my case, I may go, “Hey, look, a pencil!” and pick it up and start banging it on things and make a random song. Oh, distractions, distractions.

So now I have to take a few vitamins to enhance my memory, which is fine with me. Thank you for reading!




  1. Hi Emma,

    Great blog! I recognize a lot of what you say, especially the part about being distracted. In the classroom I always have to do anything (like drawing or something like that), otherwise I just can’t keep my attention on the teacher. They find it irritating, because they think I don’t pay attention when I draw, but in fact it is the other way around! They will never get it, I guess..

    About the numbers, I always say I have a brain that flawlessly remembers useless things. I can remember everything, but if I have to, I can’t. I have a problem with forgetting things, some things I just don’t want to remember, but I can’t forget it.

    What I can’t remember are the things I have to do. And I always have to know why something is the way it is, otherwise I don’t remember schoolstuff. Than there are links in my head, so it’s easier.

    I think it’s interesting that it’s different betwee the two of us, maybe every person with Tourette’s has a different blind spot?

    Nice that you call it a blind spot, by the way! That’s exactly how it feels!

    Grz. Laura

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