52 Weeks of TS: Week 7

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Tuesdays over the next year, noted Tourette Syndrome advocate Troye Evers will share his “52 Weeks of TS” blog journal with the TSParentsOnline community. In cased you missed the first 6 weeks, you can read them here. For more information about Troye, please click on his name or visit his website.

Did you know there are a lot of things that revolve around the number seven? There are the seven deadly sins, seven stages of grief, Seven Wonders of the World, and last but not least all the things that I have to do in sevens. Good morning, OCD. Of course, I waited until week seven to discuss this.

There are different ways people with OCD exhibit his or her obsessive compulsions. Some people’s obsession revolves around cleaning and straitening objects, some revolve around germs and some revolve around numbers. If your OCD revolves around numbers, you might feel the need to lock your door, or touch something a certain amount of times based on your number. If you don’t do it right, there might be the fear of something bad happening to someone, perhaps a loved one.

Like TS, it varies from person to person. For me and my OCD I have the cleanliness, straightening, germ, and number compulsion. I do a lot of things in seven, but not for the fear of something happening to someone, I do it because it doesn’t feel right until I do. I brush my teeth in sevens, (seven sections, top and bottom seven brushes, seven times) I put on my deodorant in seven swipes, I pack my cigarettes seven times seven, and the list goes on.

I have two entrances to my kitchen, one of my newest things to do is walk in a circle through my kitchen seven times and touch the door each time around before I can sit down at my desk. With all my tics and OCD, I’m not sure how I find time to do anything else.

I’m really shocked at the ignorance of society in the world today.

A few weeks ago I discussed my adult decision to get life insurance, I am thirty-seven years old, I have a husband, so why not? I had a doctor come to my house and do a complete physical, which was not a fun day. I have no problems with physicals, I get one once a year with my general practitioner, and I’m always as healthy as an ox. (Where did this saying come from? Are oxen, really that health?).

I received a letter this week from the insurance company stating, “Unfortunately, we are unable to issue a policy due to your medical history of bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and tourettes syndrome” REALLY?! There are so many things wrong with this, the first thing being, as far as I know I’m not bipolar. I believe I might have been diagnosed this as a kid, but you try growing up in suburbia Illinois with TS, and being gay, that would put anybody on an emotional rollercoaster.

Secondly, as far as I know, none of these conditions is a life-threatening disorder. OK, so if I did have bipolar (which I don’t.), I might get into such a funk and feel suicidal, but life insurance policies do pay out for suicide. Lastly, whoever wrote the letter could not even capitalize each of the disorders, and spelled Tourette with an “s”. I guess as a writer, these are things that just annoy me. Ignorance is not bliss!

I am a strong individual, and I find ways to deal with life. I wish I could be a super hero. I would want to be bubble boy, encaged in a big plastic dome. I’m not sure how I’d fight crime, but I would fight germs. Armed with my disinfectant, I’d spray the city clean. Oh, we can dream, can’t we?

Until then I’ve decided to stop touching people, and just need people to stop touching me. We walk in to a room full of friends and shake hands, hug and kiss half the people in the room. The thing is, I know you just kissed everyone else in the room and probably held the pole on the subway on your way here. To me, it’s disgusting. Now it comes to, how do I transition from shaking people’s hands, to not?

This week I have tried to transition to the fist bump, but I still find it repulsive. I guess I’m just going to be more open about my OCD, and when it comes to shaking someone’s hand just tell him or her I have OCD. Who knows, it might lead to an educating conversation.

I do wonder, am I giving into to my OCD, should I be fighting the compulsion more? The only thing is I kind of like my OCD’s, everything is clean, in its place and sanitized. What’s wrong with that? If anything, I’d love to get rid of the tics, and the anxiety. Those are the things that really drive me crazy on a daily basis.

Unless you suffer from any of this, it is so hard to explain how it plagues someone. Every day, every minute, I’m dealing with my tics, and anxiety. If I’m somewhere I don’t feel comfortable ticcing, my anxiety level skyrockets due to the fact that I’m suppressing my tics.

My anxiety feeds off my tics, and my tics feed off my anxiety. It’s a back and forth cycle that never ends. If I was going to try to explain my anxiety, I’d say it feels like being on a roller-coaster, climbing that first drop. That feeling you get just waiting for the thrill of the drop.

The only problem is you never make that drop, you just wait there in anticipation, and the feeling never goes away. I’ve tried meditation, but think of it this way, would you be able to get into a meditative state on a roller-coaster? I doubt it, but it might look funny. I love roller coasters, but I don’t want to live on one.

I guess I’m just going to take a deep breath and count to seven. :-) I’ve dealt with it this far and life insurance or not, I plan on living a long and healthy life, and I will continue to open my mouth and educate. Besides my sanitizing spray, bubble boy has one more weapon, a weapon that we all have, a mouth! Open your mouth and educate.

Until next week, “I’ll tic to you later.”

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