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I think my brother may have a mild form of Tourette's syndrome ...

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by wedgewood, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. wedgewood

    wedgewood Member

    ... which, in my family, the appropriate reply to that statement would be, "oh, really? That's all?"

    I'm not here to bag on people with Tourette's. Yeah, it's the one disorder that seems socially acceptable to make fun of, but I think it has to be agonizing for people afflicted by it. My brother isn't the type to yell out 'pussycat, shit, fuck' out of the blue. It's not that extreme. And maybe it isn't even Tourette's. But there certainly are verbal and physical tics. It's become a lot more noticeable over the past couple of years.

    A few examples: Today, we're watching football in the living room. Not much conversation at all since Steve is a quiet guy, a very private guy. But it's not a library either. Random bits of conversation thrown back and forth. But mostly, we sit and watch quietly. And then, every so often, it's: "Ssssssssskkkk. Sssssssssk. Ssssssssk." Those are the noises he makes. He usually follows that up with a cough or something. Like it's totally normal.

    "Jesus, Vick is getting killed," I'll say. "Cleveland's defense is pretty good," he'll add. A few more minutes of silence, watching the game. And then he'll do the sign of the cross thing. That's what I call it. Sort of an aborted sign of the cross, really. Fingers to the forehead, fingers to the chest, fingers back to the forehead, fingers back to the chest, fingers to the forehead, etc, etc ... then fingers to the nose like he's scratching himself like it's totally normal.

    It is normal these days. The new normal. But it's sooooo fucking awkward! I'm used to it, but I can never get used to it, if you know what I mean.

    Oh, the other thing is the hands. This one tic, and it's all silent, it's like he's having a serious conversation and being demonstrative with his hands to make a point. It's very strange, but it's also intriguing. I wanna ask "Who are you silently talking to? What's it about?" But I don't.

    I'm just curious if any of y'all have had similar experiences. I'm not exactly inclined to address the tics. But .. maybe I should? Whaddya think?
  2. wedgewood

    wedgewood Member

    Weird. The C word got changed to pussycat.
  3. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    If it was my brother, I'd just say 'What's the deal there?'
  4. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Yeah, definitely something amiss upstairs. I'd check into it if he was my brother. How old is he?
  5. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Doing the head-chest thing three times, then ending with the nose leads me to OCD more so than Tourette's. My brother used to have to touch things three times before he'd leave a room. He eventually lost the OCD, but he had it when he was probably 11?
  6. THIS .... THIS... THIS...

    How old is your brother?
  7. wedgewood

    wedgewood Member

    He's 50.
  8. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Tourette's at that age is extremely rare. It does sound more like OCD. Poor fella! Hell yeah I'd try to get him treatment! These things are treatable, folks! People don't have to suffer.
  9. X-Hack

    X-Hack Well-Known Member

    I have a mild form of Tourette's. It's mostly facial tics that are hard to suppress - particularly forceful eye blinking where you flex your eye muscles as you're scrunching them closed. Its jot involuntary, but its a physical urge you cant really suppress, like your eyes being attached to rubber bands which someone is pulling back (best description I heard, from a novel with a Tourette's patient as a protagonist). These are often accompanied by soft grunts. Also throat clearing and humming. It totally sucks. It also waxes and wanes. I can sometimes go weeks and months with only mild symptoms and then out of nowhere it intensifies and can last for, again, weeks or months. Almost nobody with Tourette's does the swearing thing - though of course thats what the (unbelievably ignorant) public most associates it with. Other than the sssssskt sound, it sounds more like OCD. But have some sympathy for the guy. Both conditions are a bitch to live with. And in the case of Tourette's. Any medical treatments are short-lasting in their effectiveness.
  10. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Was he ever a 3rd base coach? He's signalling you that the hit and run is on. Protect the plate.
  11. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    My Tourette's is milder than X-Hack's, but has been with me all my life. If he's developing it now, it's likely OCD -- as ijag suggested. Do get him checked out, because the consequences of letting it get worse are significant.

    It can really affect a person's ability to function. There was a man who lived in my old apartment building who had to check every room he left three times to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything. That eventually spread to elevators, his car, etc. He couldn't work, which led him to develop anger issues and other problems. It was a sad story.
  12. Quiet Man

    Quiet Man Active Member

    That's interesting. I do that same thing with my eyes. And I also have a throat thing, though it isn't clearing so much as just these little breathing noises that I'm compelled to make. I recall as a kid my Dad's way of dealing with it: "You sound like a one man band over there. Knock it off."

    Both of these things, as you said, will go dormant for long periods of time but then invariably return. The throat thing was really bad this spring, after I hadn't really noticed it in a long time. I was beginning to wonder if it might be some kind of allergy. Never occurred to me that it could be Tourette's. And perhaps it isn't, but now I'm curious.
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