Dr. Ticcy is a pseudonym for the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada National Office, which draws on information from experts across Canada and beyond to answer questions from the TS community. Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the salutation “Dear Dr. Ticcy.”
Dear Dr. Ticcy,
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I just moved into an apartment building. I am worried that a neighbour will complain about my tics, particularly my coprolalia. I’ve been ticcing a lot because I am a little stressed about living alone for the first time. What if they try to evict me? What do I do or say?
Ticcing In My Apartment
Dear Ticcing In My Apartment,
Your anxiety is understandable. Rest assured, you cannot be evicted for tics. Tics are part of your medical conditions and even if they are disruptive, it is no different from a baby’s loud cry or someone with lung problems coughing and wheezing loudly.
It is a human rights issue—you have the right to housing and can’t be denied housing due to an involuntary medical condition that you are born with!
With that said, as a good tenant and neighbor you will want to try to balance your needs with the needs of others in the building.
Consider the following:
- Give the building manager, and if appropriate, the other tenants, information on TS like the TSFC’s Q&A pamphlets for example. This will help them to understand that your symptoms are not voluntary.
- Consider asking the TSFC to send an In-Service Provider to give a presentation to anyone interested in learning about the condition. The TSFC Presenter is a third-party expert; this allows them to navigate the situation easily.
- Perhaps the Building Manager, and if appropriate, the other tenants, would agree that in some instances where you are symptomatic, you can have your own space removed from others—say a spare room on a lower level where you can let tics out. If you don’t feel comfortable going to the space to let tics out, no problem, you don’t have to, it is entirely your choice. You decide whether you want to suggest this or not. You cannot be forced to go to a different room that is not your apartment.
- Self-advocate! Your symptoms are not your fault; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
- Model the behavior you expect from others. Acknowledge that many people don’t know what TS really is and explain it without attacking the other parties. If you are understanding towards them, they are more likely to be understanding towards you.
- If someone tries to evict you, get help in the form of information, an advocate, or possibly, legal representation. Call your local housing authority to learn about your rights and next steps.
Congratulations on your new apartment!