Stress can cause tics to rage out of control

I sit here on a Sunday observing my daughter from afar. She is working on decorating a cake for one of her art classes and the project is due tomorrow. My heart aches as I watch her because her tics are being a great nuisance to her today. It makes it so difficult for her to create manual little sculptures to put on top of her cake with all the hand and torso tics she is experiencing.

What drives me crazy, though, is the fact that one of the reasons her tics are so out of control is because she is stressed. And she is stressed because like always — or almost always — she leaves her work for the last minute.

I have a constant battle with my D. Our battle consists of her not being able to prioritize.  She believes there is no problem with the manner in which she handles her school work — or anything else in life, for that manner. This is the ADD part of her diagnosis.  This is a greater issue, I believe, than her tics — even though when the tics are like today, I don’t know which is worse.

I constantly tell her she will not be able to completely succeed in life if she does not start scheduling her tasks accordingly and give herself the time needed to complete them and not have to stress herself out. I swear sometimes I think she does it just to spite me because I live my life stressed out trying to ensure she does everything that she needs to.

My daughter is very stubborn and very set in her ways. We have been in counseling throughout her life. Currently we see a psychologist every two weeks. Her doctor tells me that I need to let go of some of this stress I put on myself. She insists that if I do not let my daughter fail or come close to failing, then she will not see the need to change her ways.

As a mother, this is advice I have not been able to follow. During her senior year, I couldn’t because I needed to ensure her grades stayed high so that she would qualify for a scholarship ,and now I can’t let her fail or come close because she needs to maintain a certain GPA to maintain the scholarship.

There are days when I say to myself, “Look it all worked out. You stressed over nothing, but the reality is it is not over nothing.” I know I will not always be there to guide her to ensure she succeeds. At some point, she will need to do this on her own. I just don’t know when the time will come that I will be able to do this.


  1. All I can say is WOW!! I have an 18 yr old with ADHD and a 12 yr old with TS so I TOTALLY get what you are saying!! I myself had a major breakdown this week, sobbing in the garage (so nobody would hear me). I have been so depressed because I truly feel like I just can’t do this anymore. I watch my son struggle daily when all he has to do is become more organized and like your daughter, not wait until the last moment possible to do a project. I’ve done everything I can to help him from setting up his binders with all he needs, etc. But I’m still finding h.w. assignments in his coat pockets, on the floor of his car etc.
    As far as my 12 yr old. STRESS DOES SOME AWFUL THINGS!! I have seen him actually get mean and physical when really stressed. And how do we keep stress from their lives?? We all have stress and we always will since, that is life. We also see a therapist and they are both medicated. I don’t know when we will feel like “ok, I’m done”. I don’t want to be “done” per say, but done with the worry, the constant ache in my heart for them. I feel like I’m sad all the time anymore. I spend most of my time going around picking up their pieces.
    I’m sure my “venting” is not helping you right now but it was nice to hear a story so familiar to my own right now. It’s also good knowing I’m not alone.
    thanks for you post.
    God Bless!

    • Hello Lynn,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Please don’t feel like your post is not helping me, on the contrary I actually sighed of relief when I read your post because OMG someone who feels the same way I feel at times. I too feel the ache in my heart when I see my D struggle to get things done. The last 2 weeks have been especially difficult. She is near the end of the 1st semester and all the projects, papers etc.. are coming due. She is stressed beyond belief, her tics have been so intense. This week she took her first final and it took her 3.5 hours to complete this test for a class that only meets once a week for 1 hr 15 minutes. Her tics were so bad that she could not focus (plus her ADD), she has a stomack tic and for the last 2 weeks it has been relentless, this tic takes her strenght away. She has accomodations with the OSS department but she decided she wanted to take the test in the class with everyone else. Thank God her professor was an angel and sat there with her until she was almost done. Toward the end he told her to go home, relax and then e-mail him the last 2 answers. I too wonder when I will be able to stop worrying, stop stressing. All we can do is continue to have faith that God will continue to give us the strength to be there for them and that one day when he (God) feels the time has come, they will completely be able to do it on there own or almost on their own.

      God Bless,

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