Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tourettes Tuesday: Getting Overloaded

Today we're going to talk about Tourettes Overload, a term I created. Have you ever seen a computer malfunction and you see the screen start to get scrambled. or the TV start to get all pixelated? That's what my fiance says that I look like. I had to ask her because I'm usually too bothered with being overloaded to notice.

The phrase I call being "overloaded" is that when you're TS urges or tics overcome your ability to compensate for them and be normal. It usually comes in my life as a day or so where my tics are so strong that I can't suppress them. This can last as much as a night to a couple days. This most likely happens on days when you've been more stressed than usual or you've had days where you're in public or in front of people and you feel that you have to be "on pointe" all the time. That means that you start suppressing all of your tics and trying to be normal to the point that at the end of the day you could be the equivalent of that little old lady holding up the car with superhuman strength so that it doesn't squash a baby. You end up having two options: hope someone moves the baby (the reason you have to suppress your tics) soon, or let the car (your tics) squash you both.

On off days I like to decompress with  music!

So as someone who has gone through all of this before let me offer you some tips. These are what I do on long days.

  • Express don't suppress: Your tics are actually part of your normal. The less you try to suppress them in public the less likely you'll have them popping up later.
  • Take frequent breaks in a stressful day: When you know you're going to have a day when you're going to have to be "on pointe" for long stretches of time try to take frequent breaks. Even taking a lunch by yourself or getting out of the office for five minutes can help.
  • Pamper Yourself: At the end of the day when you can feel an overload coming get your favorite food and slip into your best jammies. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to decompress before being around people again.
  • Beware of Tic Rage: As you're using super-human strength to keep that car from squashing the baby you might be shouting and yelling at anyone moving too slow to save the baby. But in the real world no one knows (or cares) what you're struggling with if you don't tell them. So if they don't know you're having a bad day they might thing that your rage is aimed at them. Be sure to try to stay calm and let people know you're struggling. Most of the time they'll understand. 
But above all eventually you have to let the tics happen. Do what you got to do but when you feel overloaded stop and let it pass. You'll feel a whole lot better after getting it all off your chest so-to-speak.

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