I have gotten a couple questions about my tics and what they are exactly, so I decided to explain them in a blog, as well as the tics I've developed in the past three months.
To start, it is officially called a tic disorder, but the things themselves are called tics. The causes are a bit unclear, but it is mainly believed to be because of anxiety, sleep deprivation, or certain mental conditions, such as OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder), ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), and autism. In some cases, PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) can also be a cause.
So what are tics? Tics are sudden and involuntary muscle movements and/or sounds. They are quick and repeated, and they are repetitive. Tics don't have a pattern (they're nonrhythmic). They're more common in children and teens. Tics can also appear to be voluntary to an observer.
There are two types of tics: motor tics and vocal tics. It's pretty straightforward, but in case it isn't... motor tics are movements, and vocal tics are sounds or noises.
Some examples of motor tics can be shoulder shrugging, repeated blinking, touching someone or something else, or nose scrunching.
Some examples of vocal tics can be coughing, sniffing, grunting, or repeating a word, phrase, or incoherent sound.
In few cases, the word or phrase can be offensive (such as repeating profanity) or obscene. The same goes for motor tics: some may flash offensive signs or gestures.
Tics are mostly mild cases, and don't need treatment, but if a case is more severe or interferes with daily life, a treatment is available. Medications are prescribed that lessen or calm tics. Behavioral therapy may also be taught, especially for children.
What triggers tics? Tics are commonly triggered by stress or anxiety, illnesses or allergies, fatigue, and strong emotions such as excitement or anger. Tics also tend to get worse when they're thought or talked about.
In most cases, tics go away on their own after some time, usually after a few years.
Tic disorders do come with tic attacks (which aren't very fun... a little embarrassing at times). A tic attack is a fit of movements and sounds that are typically made up of one's usual tics. Tic attacks are usually triggered by mistaking an urge or sensation to tic, or some stressful situations. They can last anywhere from half a minute to several minutes (which I've dealt with a 10 minutes attack during English class). The attacks go away on their own but medications for tics can be taken during that time to calm the ticking.
One thing that many people believe is that tics are the same thing as Tourette Syndrome. They are not the same thing. Tics are a part of Tourette's. Tourette's is the official diagnosis when a person with tics has had or has continued to develop tics for 12 months or more. It's a complete nervous system disorder that involves continuous and repeated ticking. Tourette's usually develops during childhood or during teenage years, and can last for years. In some cases, it can be lifelong. There is no cure for it, but it can be treated via presciption medication or therapy to control tics.
However, the exact cause of Tourette's is unknown, but it is believed to be because of genetic factors (for instance, if someone else in your family has had Tourette's) and environmental factors. Certain bran chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, may also be part of it. Tourette's occurs in all sorts of ethnic groups and populations, and it occurs more frequently in males than females.
My own tics started to develop halfway through April of 2021, when I noticed I had random urges to lift my fist and hit downward. Most of the time, I hit tabletops, and I did hit myself quite often. I didn't think much of it until I started to make noises that sound like "mew". I looked into it online and found that whatever was going on was likely tics.
When I got it checked, it was confirmed to be tics. I have developed two motor tics and four vocal tics in total since.
My motor tics are the punching thing and a neck crane. The punching tic isn't as frequent anymore; it's one of my more rare tics. The neck craning tic can be a bit painful; basically, my neck stiffens and goes forward and to the side (I know that sounds weird, but that's the best I can explain it).
My vocal tics are more frequent than my motor tics. The first one is "mew", which has been described by someone as sounding like a cat. My "mew" tic is usually accompanied with the neck crane, so it looks a little odd when one experiences it. The second tic I developed was repeatedly saying "sorry". I found that I usually say it three or four times in a row, and it seems to occur when I'm in a sort of stressful situation. The third tic is an offensive one, and it's a repeated "fuck. off!" (yes, there's a slight pause after 'fuck'), and this one sometimes has the neck crane. Thankfully, I have not experienced this one in class, and hope I never do. The fourth tic sounds something like "kyoo". It's like saying "cute", but without the last half of the word. These seem to be more frequent during tic attacks, which turns heads whenever I'm in class.
I have gotten questions (both on and off Paint) about my tics, so I'll answer the more common ones.
Do tics hurt? Overall, no. I only feel pain via my motor tics, and those are usually a more dull pain that's very brief.
Do you get offended when someone calls your tics cute? A lot of people think my tics (some of them) are cute, and I've grown a bit used to it. Some people think my "mew" tics are sneezes, and I guess people have a thing for kitten sneezes. So, no, I don't get offended.
Do you take medication for your tics? Currently, I do not. My tics haven't been bothersome or interfering with my life at all, so I have no need for medication.
Do you tic in your sleep? Ticking does not occur during sleep (at least, that's what my doctor told me), so no.
How do you deal with tic attacks? So far, I've had two tic attacks. The first one happened while I was home alone, and it was a bit surprising to find myself ticking so much. It was short, maybe a couple of minutes, and they just calmed down. The second attack happened at school in my English class. It sucked because the teacher called on me to answer a question, and I began ticking. She skipped over me, but I did get asked if I was okay from another classmate. That attack lasted about 10 minutes.
Do you hate your tics? The simple answer is no. I don't hate my tics. They can get annoying at times, but I don't hate it.
That's all for now. I hope you've learned something about tics. I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone might have.