EDITOR’S NOTE: Every Tuesday, noted Tourette Syndrome advocate Troye Evers shares his “52 Weeks of TS” blog journal with the TSParentsOnline community. In cased you missed any of the first 29 weeks, you can read them here. For more information about Troye, please click on his name or visit his website.
After a week in New York that seemed like a lifetime, I’m heading back to Martha’s Vineyard. Even though I was only home for a short time, I was nonstop busy, causing my anxiety to skyrocket, and we know what that means, more tics. I’m glad to head back to the vineyard and try to relax some more.
The first couple of days of the increased Klonopin dosage helped a little, now I feel like I’m back to normal. I have constant anxiety, but there are times when it gets so bad, causing an actual anxiety attack. During these attacks, I have realized I have to constantly urinate. It’s usually not a lot, but I just always have this feeling I have to use the bathroom. It’s not bad, as long as I’m near a bathroom, but if I’m not I feel as if I’m going to explode, and when I finally am able to go there’s hardly anything there.
This reminds of a time about 10 years ago when I was going through a very stressful time, and the same thing was happening a lot. I went to the doctor and they said nothing was wrong with me, I just had a small bladder. It makes me wonder, is this just another part of TS with my anxiety disorder or what?
When I made it to the airport on Sunday, my anxiety level was at an increased high. I love traveling, but I’d much rather just blink my eyes and be in a new place. I would much rather fly than take a bus, or train, but there is still anxiety. Airports are always so crowded with so many people, and I often find it hard to hide most of my tics. It’s just one more setting of people staring, and whispering.
As I enter the airport, I make sure to pull out my driver’s license and my TS medical card just in case any problems occur. I had about an hour and a half to wait unlit my flight was going to start boarding, and with all the anxiety of my surroundings, I ended up in the restroom four times.
Just imagine a fully tattooed person walking around twitching, rubbing and touching his nose and face and constantly going into the bathroom. I was just waiting for some type of drug accusation. Although all the time I spent in the restroom got me wondering, is it possible to get an automatic flushing urinal in my apartment? Not having to touch a toilet seat would be the greatest thing in the world, but I guess I still have to sit sometimes. Oh well, my dream bubble has been popped.
I finally did get on my plane, and a very sweet woman sat next to me. I quickly explained to her that I have TS, and I was going to be a bit ticcy. I just wanted to get it out there before there were any misconceptions. She was very responsive and explained her brother in-law had Parkinson’s, so she could somewhat relate.
Before we took off we talked a little, and she seemed very nice. She noticed an open seat two rows up and asked me if I was more comfortable if she moved up, and I told her that I was fine, I just like to let people know. A minute later, a flight attendant walked up, and the woman asked if she could move up to the open seat. The woman did end up moving.
It’s instances like this that make we wonder how real people really are? I try to suppress my tic in many different settings, but it’s not like an on-off switch, and they can’t be fully controlled. I have been in many settings where I see people stare, or they ask, or I will even supply the educational information they need, and for the most part the outcome is positive.
However, after educating someone I still might see some type of look of judgment, or even someone who has his or her own opinion about my medical status. I try hard to achieve acceptance into a society that singles out and persecutes the different, but I have realized people are fake. They might be one way to your face, but turn around and criticize you behind your back. This is how I feel with the woman on the plane, she was nice one second, but wanted to get away from me the first chance she got.
The flight was not that bad. I know how to deal with my anxiety to a point. I made sure I took a Klonopin before the flight, and just put my earphones on. It was really no big deal that the woman on the flight moved, because no matter what my earphones were going to be put on.
Music is my escape, and it always has been. I will still tic away, but I lose myself in the music and I don’t care. No matter what’s going on in my life, how ticcy I am, or how stressed I am, if I put my music on it calms my mind. I’m not saying it’s a cure to my TS, but it definitely keeps me in check. If I didn’t listen to my iPod on the subway, I would probably end up a mental mess. I have talked to many people about this, and many of them find escape in music, and TV, and any computer type activities. I guess it just keeps our minds distracted, and frankly half the time that’s exactly what I need.
I started this week with a form of ignorance, whether it is polite ignorance or just smack you in your face ignorance, it goes to show you we still need to educate. The definition of ignorance is the lack knowledge, or information, so I will keep on educating, and try to stop hiding behind this “Normal person” facade. I am who I am, and if someone doesn’t like, or doesn’t want to be educated, then that just goes to show you what type of person they really are. Just keep opening our mouths, speak up and educate.
Until next week, “I’ll tic to you later.”