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Joy. Every Day. Just Cuz.

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My daughter knows how to have joy. Whether it’s baking, or playing the piano, or singing or just playing with the timer on her new camera (see above!) she commits to beauty and contentment.

She is strong. She does not cater to popular opinion. Bring on the Justice sparkles and the “Peace Love and Monkey” tee shirts. NO THANK YOU. She’ll sit there quietly, back straight, with crisp black Mary Janes at the ends of her perfectly crossed ballet legs. She is kind and respectful, but she accommodates no one.

This mama has been has been watching her and taking notes. She’s onto something. Why NOT commit to joy, even with my to-do list bursting? Even with demands pressing at me wherever I turn?

I’ve had this realization that while I Ebay, write my articles, consider full time work and attempt to take care of my children (at times I feel like I’m lagging on that last part) I might as well enjoy every second of it. And while you’ll never catch me baking or taking artsy pictures, I sure as hell enjoy a Costco trip. Grocery shopping and budgets be damn, I can squeeze enough laughs out of a one hour run to last me for the day.

Take yesterday.

After downing more samples than a drug addict at a cocaine-for-all buffet, I was making my way from the Rotisserie Chicken section to canned beans when I  had to stop. A burly man and his wife were blocking my cart as they eyeballed the Vitamixers.

Wife: (startled) Oh, are we blocking you?

Me: Yes, you are. But it’s fine. I’m not in a hurry. (Which was true.)

Wife: (thrilled) Oh, thank you! How kind!

It was a little thing, but I could totally feel her light up from the inside over the fact that I didn’t call her a lazy ass slow poke for halting my progress.

Later on, while in line to pay, I saw the same couple next to me. The wife had just finished asking an elderly lady if she needed help lifting the 2000 pound bag of Pedigree. I suppose the wife could have been one of those predators that take advantage of needy octogenarians, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I could sniff her faith out a mile away, too, and just had to ask.

Me: I know this might sound odd, but are you a church goer?

Wife: Yes I am! How could you tell?

Me: I guess you just had a whole lot of God coming out of you. It’s nice.

Wife: You, too! Praise Jesus!

What could I say to that?

Me: Sounds good to me!

Lest any of you non-Christian readers think I’m about to get into a “Your kid’s tics will be healed if you drink the Jesus juice” rant, rest assured I’m not the Bible Thumper type. But I do love to connect with people, which is why seconds later I found myself at the coffee grinder, talking 20 minutes to man whose name turned out to be Bob. Come to find out he was also a member of the same 12 step association I belonged to. He later introduced me as a new friend to his wife, which of course I turned to and said, “Um, mam, I hate to break his anonymity, but did you know that your husband is an ALCOHOLIC?”

On the way out the door, I spoke to the transgendered item checker who, despite looking more manly than the week before, still goes by the name Krystal. She agreed that it is indeed cold outside but it’s no excuse for people to drive like mother cluckers.

On the way out the parking lot I looked the other way at the teenagers joy racing in the electric disabled carts. Why? Because I was young once, too, and their smile made me smile and that meant joy.

Later that night, I heard thump thump thump coming from upstairs. I could have gotten annoyed, but I didn’t. That was the sound of the two people I love most, having some joy with my daughter’s new camera. Apparently the timer feature is awesome for flying shots. Who can argue with that?

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A few hours later, while painting my nails with my daughter, I heard more squeak squeak squeaks coming from my son’s room. I sighed deeply.

Pip: Mom, you wrote a book for other people to deal with the tics. Why don’t you read it again for yourself?

Me: You have a point, kid. I’m working on it. But I’m not perfect yet. I’m trying.

After that, despite flogging myself like I normally do for just not being over sounds that my kid can’t control, I went on painting my nails. I joked around with my daughter (who of course scolded me for the inappropriate ones. How did I give birth to Jane Eyre?) And I internally gave a quick “Thank you, God” that my kids are still here in my home, safe and sound, despite  a few noises.

And joyful.

Thank you God, for the joyful.

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Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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FREE Happily Ticked Off Book Anyone?

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I’ll send you the PDF in exchange for an honest review left on Amazon here.

Send me an email at Andrea.Paventi@Gmail.com and I’ll send it your way.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and talk to you on Friday as I work my way through the “how to suppress tics” list one item at a time. (See previous post.)

God, grant me the serenity to accept the tics I cannot change, the courage to change the tics I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Andrea

 

20 Ways to Reduce Tics

As many of you know, I’m all about raising a kid whose spirit outweighs a few tics. But now that my baby is, gulp, a month shy of 13, it’s become apparent yet again to take a look at management. His tics are loud. I mean, so loud and startling at times that this morning I yelled, “Holy Tic Man, take it down a notch!”

I get that he can’t help ticking. And I’m beyond happy that he’s okay with his Tourettes. (I know that many of your babies are not as comfortable with them. We deal with other issues and believe me, I get the heartbreak. You have an ally in me!)

But here’s the deal: I suffer from anxiety. I do. It’s waaaaay better now than it’s ever been, but here’s why. I don’t get to sit around all day and tell my husband through tears, “Ohhhh, I can’t work and pay the mortgage. I’m having a pity party and you’re not invited.” No. I take responsibility for my tendency to feel more neurotic than Willy Allen on 3 cups of Expresso fearful at times. I:

  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Take a little bit of Zoloft
  • Go to a few meetings each week
  • Talk to a therapist when I feel overwhelmed
  • Sleep well
  • Stay off of all mind alterating substances (No doobage and booze for this gal. I’ve been tempted lately, believe me, but I refrain.)
  • 2 cups of regular coffee in the morning only

The same has become true for Stink. The time has come for him to be a bit more pro-active with his vocal outbursts. If he can’t control them on his own (which apparently he can’t) we get to help him. We are the parents. We make the rules.

If you’re in that boat of wanting to suppress tics, here are some options for you.

BASICS (We’re on all of this except the dairy. That’s next.)

  1. Limit Screen time
  2. Insist on at least 30 minutes of exercise every day
  3. Limit sugar, food dyes and artificial flavors.
  4. Insist on a strong multi-vitamin
  5. Insist on a really good night sleep
  6. Get off gluten
  7. Get off dairy

MORE ADVANCED (We have the doctor and we started the magnesium. Next is the Taurine)

9. Naturopath – find one in your area that will take an integrative approach to tics. Ask him or her about supplements.

10. Supplements – Ask your naturopath about Taurine, Magnesium, a good fish oil

 SUPER INDEPTH (This is happening in January after Ticmas Christmas.)

11. Salvia Test: Complete a 23andme.com‘s genetic saliva test to see what his DNA has to show for itself. Once you know, your doctor can see what is working in his body and what is not and treat it more efficiently.

12. Finger Stick Food Allergy – Get a finger stick food allergy panel by Alletess Labs.  Cost is $120. The test kit is sent to you, you can perform it in the convenience of your home and and then ship directly to the lab. Have results sent to your doctor. Once you know what your child is allergic to, you can start eliminating offending foods.

BONUS OPTIONS

13. GAPS: The GAPS diet is very intricate, but it has stunning results. In a nutshell, it heals the stomach lining so that food no longer slips through the holes, hits the blood stream and causes brain inflammation (which can cause tics.) Personally I would not resort to this diet without knowing if your child does indeed have a leaky gut. I would work with a naturopath on this.

14. Hemp Oil: There has been much research lately about the non-habit forming part of the pot leaf providing tremendous relief (or shall we say “re-leaf” for tics and twitches. Here is a link that someone in my Twitch and Bitch provided. Her son’s tics were so bad he had to miss school. They are 90% reduced now.

15. CBT: Known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, this technique allows a child to transfer a loud or strong tic into one that is quieter and less obvious. It requires a certified therapist to work with your child.

16. Meditation: Just 30 minutes of meditation per day can rewire neurons and calm down the dopamine that causes tics. Learning to breathe and center oneself can keep give your child an opportunity to have more control.

17. Therapy: Having your child talk to a therapist can be huge in teaching them how to advocate for themselves. It’s crucial (in my humble opinion) to have them see their part in everything. While they can’t control tics, they can control how they advocate for themselves and how they behave toward others.

18. Treat the other Conditions: Most kids with tics have other issues. Often times when one treats the ADHD or the OCD (or whatever else is present) the child is calmer and the tics become fewer.

19. Hobbies: Insist on helping them find a hobby they love: Often times when a child finds something they are passionate about, the tics become less when they are focused on it.

20. Love Them and Have Fun: That is the best tip of all. Your child might not always remember a tic free childhood, but they will hopefully remember one filled with the support of people who adored them no matter what.

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Come back this week as I’ll break down this list over the course of the next six weeks, giving more detail on each tip.

Until then, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

My book, Happily Ticked Off, is available on Pre-Order on Amazon. Get your copy today!

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Free Range Me

Well, my kid made it to Arizona safely. Shockingly enough, I didn’t spend the entire vacation without him in an anxious mess. Sure, I breathed a sigh of relief when I knew his plane landed safely, but that was about it.

The few days without Stink included lots of cherished time with Pip and her dad. We all stayed up late a few times, curled up on the green couches with books akin to those fat fluffy seals sunning themselves on rocks at the pier. (I’m currently reading Anne Lamott’s Grace, Eventually and just laughing out loud. That woman is brilliant and about as neurotic as I am. Though I have better hair – and that’s not saying much.)

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The day after he left, I had tea with Tuskany. While Pip and her daughter swapped books in the next room, Tuskany quipped that I had some free-range characteristics in my laissez-faire approach to parenting. I had to laugh, because in many ways, she’s not wrong. I didn’t check Stink’s luggage. (For all I know, he could have loaded up that suitcase with Twizzlers, pens and porn.)

I didn’t know who was parent chaperone was until I arrived at the airport that morning, groggy and disheveled from lack of coffee – hair resembling a greasy ballerina with bed head. (But my locks still looked better than Anne Lamott’s. The day I get dreads is the day I leave AA, my husband and join a traveling Reggae band: Mama Frazer and the Traveling Tickers, yah, Man.)

In stealing kisses from my man-child and reminding him to brush his teeth at least once on the three-day trip, I forgot to ask for his chaperone’s phone number. I reckoned to myself that if he needed to get in touch with me, he could take my advice and ask another parent chaperone or the teacher to use their phone.

I’m not sure how you, reader friend, would handle this. I do know that Tuskany would never operate in such a manner. I can attest to the fact that she is truly one of the best parents I know. She has this responsible thing down pat. (I mean, her kid eats veggies every day. EVERY DAY.) And her daughter, well, she’s a genius. Even Stink thinks so. (After Disneyland a few weeks back – which Tuskany was gracious enough to treat us to – again) he turned to me and said, “Mom, Nadia is the smartest girl I ever met. And she’s only in THIRD grade. Um… I think she’s smarter than me!” To which I responded, “She is smarter than you, kid!”)

Yup, I’m certain that this wunder girl’s mother would not only be sure that her daughter had her own phone, she would not be on a plane with a bunch of rag-tag public school kids going on an excavation in the first place! (I’d tell you the places they went, but I lost the itinerary before we even got to the airport. I had fuzzy ideas of sites containing red rocks, deserts and Indian caves with the name “Canyon” tied onto the end for the tourists – replete with gift stores and ash trays made from quartz.)

The thing is, though, I just knew Stink would be fine. He was surrounded by responsible adults. I even had cell phone #s for some of the parents who promised to send updates and snap shots. Here’s one from someone who, thank God, was kind enough to show me how much Stink was enjoying the culture on Day 1. I mean, really, could a mom be any prouder?

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Turns out all went well! When he landed late on Thursday, I watched him hunker down the hallway through the security gates. The moment he saw me, he threw himself in my arms. “Mom, I’m home!” he said, eyes tired, mesh shorts a bit stained from chocolate.

Or mud.

I couldn’t be sure and frankly didn’t care. I was just happy to have him home. He smelled of sweat, sweets and 12-year-old tween – the most glorious odor I’d sniffed in three days.

“Did you have a good time?” I asked him, taking one of his bags from his sagging shoulder.

“Yup,” he said. “But I’m so glad to be back.”

On the car ride home, his voice cracked. “Mom,” he said, looking at the rain outside, “This night… it feels so feels holy.”

Side note: This kid is going to grow up to be a con artist or a pastor. The verdict is still out. But I digress.

“Holy, huh? How come?” I asked.

“I guess because I was nervous to fly,” he said, “But then I said a prayer to God to get home safely. And then, I just felt peace… because I figured either I’d make it home to you or to my permanent home. And either way, I’d be okay.”

Re-reading that statement just now, I burst out laughing. It’s so melodramatic. But it’s also a true statement of his heart – a heart of a boy that beats of intellect, concern and faith. Its professions like that which not only make me grateful he has a God, but grateful that I do, too. This God of mine kept me from over thinking his trip. Without Him, I’d never let Stink go.

I’m certainly not saying that people who have faith are not allowed to be protective. But for the way I’m wired, which is pretty much tighter than a drum on pots of Yuban combined with hyper monkeys if I take myself too seriously, God keeps me from having a panic attack and screaming naked after my kid’s plane on the tarmac.

Classmates: “Dude, we’re at the Grand Canyon already?”

Stink: “Nah, that’s just my mom’s butt crack.”

My cheeks in the wind are not a national landmark any sixth grader needs to witness.

With Stink gone, I held onto my own faith and my favorite acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. I reminded myself that the chance of his plane crashing to the ground was pretty far-fetched. But if we’re being honest, it was also too scary to imagine, so I just didn’t think about it. I trusted my gut, and my God, that he would be fine.

The night of his homecoming, after kissing him on the forehead, I had my own holy moment. I lit a candle, got into the bath tub and gave thanks to God. “Thank you for bringing him home… to me. ”

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Andrea

Connect with me on FacebookTwitter and at Armonia on Mondays. (Email works, too! Warning: I’ll likely email back.)

Follow Happily Ticked Off on Facebook!

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In an effort to get people connected, you can now find posts from this site as well as other inspirational T.S. related stuff, on Facebook.

Follow me here! Feel free to write me, also, at HappilyTickedOff@Gmail.com

Talk at you soon – and can’t wait to connect.

Happy New Year! Tic Resolutions?

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Keeping this short as I’m at work. (Unless you’re my boss reading, in which case I am diligently coming up with 75 Examiner Headlines.)

How was your holiday season? How are the tics? How are you dealing with them?

One dear friend of mine from my private group keeps a Victory journal. It’s a faith-based writing memoir in which she shares her struggles and hopes for her son with God. By writing down verses and scriptures, she has an automatic go-to way to release some of her fears. I love that!

As for me, I am a pray-er and list maker. Here are my goals for dealing with Tourettes this year. Would love to hear yours.

Fantasy Goal

Not let tics bug me in the least!

Realistic Goal

Find the courage to accept the tics I cannot change, change the tics I can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Vocal Tics Gone

Thanks to acupuncture, Stink’s vocal tics are gone. I mean GONE. Given how much crap he ate over Christmas, combined with video games and lack of sleep, I don’t believe this is just coincidence or part of the tic cycle. Acupuncture is the reason, so I’m grateful. (Stay tuned this week as I video tape the lovely Martina speaking on this subject!)

Still Shaky Shaky

Unfortunately, my son’s head shakes/nods are at an all time high. I mean, NON stop. (How they don’t bug him is amazing. I honestly get so drained being around it sometimes. I swear, it’s ME who needs some kind of hyno-therapy for this. Still, not depressed like I was years back. Just working on acceptance. There is hope!)

Martina thinks that the supplements will kick in after six weeks and to be patient until then. If the constant shakes don’t go away, it’s time to reconsider how much time he spends on the computer.

NOTE: I pray that he does find relief via the herbs she is prescribing, because he SOOOO loves his gaming. He is not playing all day. He plays weekends only. During vacation he plays 1 – 2 hours/day. This might seem like a lot, but as a kid, I watched TV 1 hour-2 hours/day. I also biked and ran and hung out with friends, just like Stink. We’ll have to see.

Realistic Plan for 2014 for Tic Treatment

* Gluten free unless a birthday party in which he gets pizza and cake. (Similar to me and wine. It’s all moderation.)

* Computers weekends only except 10 minutes/during week to feed some virtual plant in some game. (I know, it’s dumb)

* New sport introduced for daily exercise

* Dog for him to walk daily! (Stay tuned! He got a promise for a dog on New Year’s Day which was also his 11th birthday! Tics increase in the tween years, so I’m keeping this in mind.)

* Acupuncture 3 days/week + supplements

More Hardcore Plan if tics don’t decrease by Spring

* No 10 minute virtual plant feeding during week

* Going dairy free again

* Revisit the idea of Brain Balance now that I’m working and might be able to swing the 5K

* Consider some kind of Lens Treatment for tics

* Revisit an environmental doc to guide me on pros and cons of letting a kid be a kid (video games) and supplementing with good stuff I’m already doing

For Me

* Daily exercise

* No wine during the week

* Church on Sundays with family

* Bible Study daily (just ten minutes)

* Life Group (small groups of people thru church) to connect with once/week and remind me that my life is not based on tics but something so much greater than myself

I pray that 2014 brings you peace that transcends understanding. I pray that you (and I) remember that all kids have something. We can’t always fix the tics, but we can encourage the gifts our kids are born with. Personality trumps Tourette Syndrome. Love you all!

Check out more posts about Tourettes at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome where this blog is syndicated.

Sounding Off About Vocals – A Real Term for This Irritation!

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Those of you with tics who have written to me often say that your noises bug you.

Those of you without T.S. but who live with it say the sounds can drive you batty.

I have nothing but sympathy for people with T.S. when their symptoms drive them nuts. Honestly, if my friend’s kid is ticking, doesn’t bug me in the slightest! But when it’s my kid, I really struggle.

Perhaps this is like people who have sympathy for the anxiety/neurotic/blabbermouth type. You might find me those other emotionally-inclined people funny, but if you lived with them, you might want to kick them to the closest pharmacy and insist they down a bottle of Xanax with a Zoloft chaser.

For those of you who have issues with vocals – despite feeling guilty for having such issues – I am pleased to announce you might actually have a mental disorder!

This just in from someone in my Twitch and Bitch private group: I had to share with my loyal mamas here!

You’re welcome.

Misophonia:

Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound”, is a neurological disorder in which negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, and disgust) are triggered by specific sounds.  The sounds can be loud or soft. The term was coined by American neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff and is often used interchangeably with the term selective sound sensitivity.  Misophonia has not been classified as a discrete disorder in DSM-5 or ICD-10, but in 2013 three psychiatrists at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam formulated diagnostic criteria for it based on the largest cohort of misophonia patients so far, and suggested that it be classified as a separate psychiatric disorder.

The disorder comprises a unique set of symptoms, most likely attributable to neurological causes unrelated to hearing-system dysfunction. It can be described as an immediate and extremely negative emotional response accompanied by an automatic physiological flight response to identifiable auditory, visual, and olfactory stimuli. The disorder disrupts daily living and can have a significant impact on social interactions. A 2013 review of the most current neurological studies and fMRI studies of the brain as it relates to the disorder postulates that abnormal or dysfunctional assessment of neural signals occurs in the anterior cingulate cortex and insular cortex. These cortices are also implicated in Tourette Syndrome, and are the hub for processing anger, pain, and sensory information. Other researchers concur that the dysfunction is in central nervous system structures.  It has been speculated that the anatomical location may be more central than that involved in hyperacusis.

Symptoms:

People who have misophonia are most commonly angered, and even enraged, by common ambient sounds, such as other people clipping their nails, brushing teeth, eating crushed ice, eating, slurping, drinking, breathing, sniffing, talking, sneezing, yawning, walking, chewing gum, laughing, snoring, typing on a keyboard, whistling or coughing; saying certain consonants; or repetitive sounds.  Some are also affected by visual stimuli, such as repetitive foot or body movements, fidgeting, or movement they observe out of the corners of their eyes; this has been termed misokinesia, meaning hatred of movement. Intense anxiety and avoidant behavior may develop, which can lead to decreased socialization. Some people feel the compulsion to mimic what they hear or see. Mimicry is an automatic, non-conscious, and social phenomenon. It has a palliative aspect, making the sufferer feel better. The act of mimicry can elicit compassion and empathy, which ameliorates and lessens hostility, competition, and opposition. There is also a biological basis for how mimicry reduces the suffering from a trigger.

Prevalence and co-morbidity:

The prevalence of misophonia is unknown, but groups of people identifying with the condition suggest it is more common than previously recognized. Among patients with tinnitus, which is prevalent in 4–5% of the general population, some surveys report prevalence as high as 60%,[11] while prevalence in a 2010 study was measured at 10%.

The Dutch study published in 2013 of a sample of 42 patients with misophonia found a low incidence of psychiatric disorders, with the exception of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (52.4%).  It has been suggested that there is a connection between misophonia and synesthesia, a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.  The basic problem may be a pathological distortion of connections between various limbic structures and the auditory cortex, causing sound-emotion synesthesia. There are people with both misophonia and synesthesia, and many people with synesthesia have more than one form of synesthesia (there are over 60 reported types).  Misophonia may very well be another type of synesthesia.

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They are now doing studies to see if there is a relationship between ADD and Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome (4S).  Individuals with ADD are typically not bothered by loudness of noise – rather, the softer, repetitive, common sounds are the ones that irritate, distract, anger and sometimes send them into fight or flight mode.

Photo taken from here!
Check out more posts about Tourettes at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome where this blog is syndicated.
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