There have been many occasions I have sat at the end of the day and thought to myself “I haven’t tic’d today”, then one night I realised I had been ticcing and in fact ticcing quite a lot all day.
My ability to mask some of my tics had become so natural and tuned that I had not only managed to hide them from other people but had managed to mask them from myself.
Now that I was aware of these tics, I began looking deeper into them. I realised that I have quite a few hidden tics, some from myself and a lot more hidden from other people.
All my tics cause me problems the main issues being anxiety, stress and reduced cognitive ability.
When I am aware of tics, I know that I will struggle with certain tasks, but when I am unaware of tics, I have realised I get frustrated.
Combine this with my ADHD and Autism then things can get out of hand quite quickly.
There are two tics that stood out as being hidden from me. These were a very subtle breathing tic and an abdominal tensing tic.
The breathing tic is the most frequent of the two, the abdominal tic usually coming along with the breathing tic and works in synchronisation with it.
Both have been awakened right now as I type, as most of us know just thinking about them wakes them up.
My neck and eye tics are well masked and hidden from others when I really try but I have recently stopped masking them in the presence of people I feel comfortable with. I will always be aware of these tics because of the level of pain and discomfort they cause as well as effecting my vision.
The one hidden tic that does not require masking is in my head, this can be anything from repeating a word to repeating a line from a song over and over driving me mad for hours on end.
There is another tic that is almost hidden, many people have seen it but never realised that it was a tic.
I hop on my right foot, maybe a few times in the first few minutes after I set off walking and then randomly throughout the journey. I manage to mask this by pretending I have an injury which seems to fool most people. This tic has stopped me using a treadmill as I have ended flew the end many times in the past.
To conclude, because you don’t see somebody with Tourette syndrome ticcing doesn’t mean they are not, also the level of a tic cannot be judged by how obvious or loud it is, the same can be said of the level of its side effects it has on that person.
In fact, loud vocal tics give me a release of stressful energy and at times a feeling of elation.