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From my blog: “ACCENT” at www.nijolels.wordpress.com

 

I find it frustrating to read statements like, “Nervous tics are often noticed in children, but they commonly disappear within a few months or years.”, or “Well, at least it won’t kill you.”…as I’ve heard from more than one doctor. But, on the other hand, it is uplifting to hear and read that the disorder does not adversely affect intelligence or life-expectancy.

At 50-something years old, I still experience the symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome , such as intense , rapid blinking of the eyes, twitching of the shoulders , neck, toes and fingers, and tensing up the stomach muscles. These symptoms began when I was in my early years of grade school. As for the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder…It used to involve checking and re-checking the locks on all the doors in the house before going to bed. This particular action is not as prominent in my life as it was when I was a child. Now in my “old(er) age” it’s more a matter of general anxiety and intrusive, repetitive thoughts about possible danger.

I remember having these “issues” from the time I was around 7 years old…mostly blinking intensely and continuously. I don’t remember ever being teased about it in school or elsewhere, but I could tell that people noticed. In those days, no one spoke about it as a known “syndrome”. It was simply referred to as a “nervous tic”. I remember my father asking me from time to time, when he would notice my blinking, “What’s the matter Honey? Are you worried about something? Relax! Everything’s fine!” My response was usually a heavy sigh and telling him simply,” I know Dad!” followed by the frustrating feeling that I just “can’t help it”. I’m grateful to my parents for their calm concern throughout my life.

I deeply sympathize with people who have these afflictions in a stronger and more frequent form and consequently feel much more discomfort, both physical and emotional. I know that it feels like you’re uncomfortable in your own skin and your body’s response is to try to relieve this discomfort…often in the form of involuntary muscular movements. Some feel that all they can do is waiting for it to pass, which reminds me of a saying: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…. It’s learning how to dance in the rain.” My particular “storm” has never passed completely, so I’ve had many opportunities to find ways of “dancing” through the various episodes of TS and OCD.

I only started reading about this behavior and hearing about the subject in my adult years. Nowadays it’s wonderful to have the media paying attention to and informing the general public about this and other neuropsychiatric disorders. From time to time I go to the website of “The National Tourette Syndrome Association” and its Facebook page for updates on meetings and conferences, as well as fundraising projects for children, teens and adults.

More information can be found at:

http://www.tsa-usa.org

Maybe because I was so used to the symptoms when I was younger, I never looked for information about TS or OCD. I remember being diagnosed for the first time as having “generalized anxiety” around 20 years ago, when I felt desperate to get relief from excessive worry and nervousness. It was literally making me sick. (Isn’t that so typical…seeking help when you’ve reached a “breaking point”!?)

Besides visits to psychiatrists and psychologists or certified counselors, I have sought and found effective relief from stress and anxiety through books, seminars and webinars as well as through certain types of music that I listen to day and night. Soft music often does the trick. (I generally feel that music is one of life’s miracles, and I thank God for it.) I also seem to forget the tension and tics when I’m involved in group activities, such as singing or dancing. (There’s that “dancing” again! :o))

Having Tourette Syndrome and/or OCD is no fun, but I agree with the advice: “When life gives you lemons… Make lemonade!
  • I have a diagnosis of bipolar type 1, depression and have a past of bulimia. I was diagnosed when I was in my twenties. I always knew something was wrong because I couldn’t control my emotions, and I was sad all the time. Art has been a coping skills to escape these diagnosis and to get away from the negative people in my life. 
At six years old, I was drawing and painting—experiencing my mind and imagination by creating art. I did this to get away from the arguments and not being able to get along with my peers and parents, unless I was a well-mannered boy. If I was well-mannered and drawing, I was perfect in my parent’s eyes. I didn’t have a lot of friends and I connected more with females because they were easier to talk to and more sensitive. Through everything, I always felt better when I did art or listened to music. Another solace of mine was physical exercise, such as walking or going for a bike ride. This went on for several years. 
At ten years old, I started smoking cigarettes and doing drugs. But again, I always relied on my relatives, art and music to get me by. Currently, I am in an art day program called Millennium in Eagan MN. I have done several drawings, paintings, and macaroni images. I have increased my time I put into my artwork and therefore it has rekindled my love and joy for it. It has made me a lot happier then I remember.
I thank God for all the people that have helped me with my life. 
Randy Legried
  • You would never guess from this picture that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, severe depression and anxiety and anger issues less than a week ago. That’s me. That’s who I am. Masking how I feel and being able to put on an act that I’m always okay is a fantastic talent of mine, it’s something I do quite well. I don’t hide as much anymore, I’ve learned to show my emotions. Don’t hide because you’re scared of what others will think or say. Mental Illness is not something that should be taken care of behind closed door shutters. Tell your story. Believe in yourself.
  • you don’t earn your wings doing earthly things :)

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