Tics, Uncategorized

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.

me and dom

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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My Prayer Square

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I’ve been practicing meditation lately. Not the kind of meditation where I sit for thirty minutes at a session, empty my brain of all things Andrea, and go blue with bliss like that scene in Eat Pray Love where Elizabeth Gilbert hits nirvana as the greeter at the Ashram or leaves all her problems at the top of the bell tower, walks down, and three chapters later is having wild sex with Felipe in a bed that resembles a floating parachute. (That happens to me every day, though, trust me.)

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I’m talking the kind of meditation where you just allow yourself to be where you are at any given moment. There is no judgment of thought. No should’s. (I mean really, people, I’m so tired of shoulding on myself!) No. It’s about just letting whatever is be what it is. Life on life’s terms.

If this meditation practice of mine was compared to a baby’s journey toward development, you could seriously put me in the “Crawling on Her Belly” category, but even us crabs have to scuttle before we can swim.

Take yesterday’s event after Stink’s tennis practice. I didn’t hyperventilate.That was a form of meditation! Hooray! After all, panicking about the future wasn’t going to get my car keys back.

Today, with Stink’s new vocal tic resembling Bobby Brady’s scratchy voice during puberty, thinking about how he was teased about a similar sound a few years ago is simply not helpful. I went on a walk instead and allowed myself to speak truthfully to my spouse about something that had been bugging me. He handled it well, I took his suggestion, he decided to work on his part… boom! So much better than sitting in the den, listening for squeaks with the obsession of a hound dog hunting runaway prisoners.

I’m finding that for me, the real answer to peace is to somehow enjoy the moment exactly as the moment is. Sometimes, it simply means finding a prayer square.

What’s a Prayer Square?

A prayer square, for me, is an upgraded version of “standing on my square” that my friend Barbara used to tell me to do. When I’d ruminate and complain and spin more than a tilt-a-wheel on truck stop java, she’d tell me to get my head out of my arse, clean house, trust God and help others.

One day, after one of her “pep talks” she told me find a square in my kitchen and stand there. “Plant your feet, look at them, and let all your energy and anger and pain just go from the tip of your head down to your ankles and root yourself in the floor.”

At first, that sounded pretty stupid. Sure, I’d try, but inevitably I’d focus on my stained tennis shoes and the damn dog fur, not to mention that the grout in my tile was not a natural black because I am such a bad housekeeper and OUCH! Without fail I’d virtually fall off the prayer square, hit my head on the tile, and wind up with a massive headache from trying too hard.

But eventually, it got easier. Because, well, my best thinking got me nowhere. And as silly as it felt to stand on a square in the middle of my dirty kitchen, it felt better than lying on my couch in a heap of misery over what I couldn’t change.

But something was missing so, not one to stick with dogma just for the sake of dogma, I switched it up a bit. I threw in some prayer.

For me, it’s hard to have monkey mind when I’m thanking God for something in my life. “Thank you, God, for this moment. For this kitchen in all its imperfection. For my life, with all the beauty and all the warts. I feel your energy from the tip of my head to the ends of my toes. Thank you.”

It worked. It really did. Eventually I started being able to stand there longer and longer. But, well, since life happens with kids and dogs and renters and husbands, it became apparent that I would have to leave the house. Every day.

Since it wasn’t always feasible to run back to my kitchen when things got wonky (which for me were, um, a lot,) I found prayer squares in public. Take last night, for example. While hiking up the park lawn to the office, only to find the doors locked for Yom Kippor (Happy Shana Tova, my Jewish readers!) my eye landed on a beautiful pepper tree. Something about the night sky, combined with the warm air and its branches hovering over me like a warm embrace made me feel safe. For a few seconds, I wasn’t thinking about how I would get home without a set of keys. I was focused on the love of that tree.

“Go lie down under it!” my gut told me. And believe me, I almost did. But given it was 8:30, some homeless bums were eyeing me from the office patio and I didn’t feel like being raped, harassed for food, or perhaps even asked for food while I was being raped, I decided it wasn’t a good idea. But I made a promise to it to go back. “Hello, sweet tree! I can’t wait to see you again. I will sit under you, and look up at your branches and just feel whatever I feel. And I thank you for not kicking me out. Because, well, with what I think about sometimes, I’d kick me out.”

Trees are like the best of friends. They listen and they don’t talk back. I hope to be a better friend like that some day, not because I ‘should’ but because that’s what being a friend is all about.

And if you, my friend, happen to be in my area, perhaps we’ll go sit under that tree together. And we’ll not worry about what we cannot change. We won’t fear the future or regret the past but just relish the absolute joy of the present moment with the earth at our feet and the sky over our heads. We’ll just revel in our prayer square and feel God’s love from the tips of our heads to the ends of our toes.

Sounds like a hoot, eh?

Until next time, remember to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

More of my writing can be found at AndreaFrazerWrites, on Facebook at Happily Ticked Off or on Twitter @AndreaFrazerWrites. 

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From “That Sucked” to “Miracle”

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Tonight at my kid’s tennis lesson I had a long conversation with a dad who happens to have an auto-immune disorder. This dad has a kid at my kid’s school who inherited his disease. As fate would have it, another friend of mine’s kid, from the same school, just had her kid diagnosed with the same auto-immune disorder as this dad from tennis. (It was kind of a six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon and wonky diagnoses moment. So fun! Grab the insulin shot and a slice of gluten free bread pronto!)

This just brought up a whole slew of conversation back and forth like, “Would we, if we had known about our wonky genetics, have gone into parenting so readily?”

For both of us, it was an astounding “Yes, of course!” Neither of us could imagine not having the children that we do. It’s not about auto immune disorders but the soul that matters. (Even if that soul happens to be my son who was getting me so darn mad moments before the tennis lesson that I’m surprised I didn’t lose my mind or at least my keys. Oh, wait! I did! But that comes later on in the story.)

Instead, let me tell you the next thing that happened. In between talking about medication and personality and genetic pre-disposition with cute dad, another mom sat down. I looked at her face. If Ellen Degeneres were Indian, this short-haired, brown-skinned soul would be her. I just loved her spirit. And, turns out, I knew her!

PJ!” I said, shaking her hand in greeting.

“Andrea!” she said, shaking it back in unabashed delight.

The one-word greeting spoke volumes about our reunited connection. It seemed to triumphantly whisper, “Yay! We can talk for thirty minutes and have an adult conversation while our kids try not to bash each other’s brains in with tennis balls!”

Except this unspoken thought didn’t stay in our brains. It bled right out of our mouths all over the gum encrusted park bench. Within moments we both blurted out how happy we were to see each other again. Which, well, was a bit odd, given we had only met once before… two months ago… but we remembered each other for whatever reason. (Well, okay, the reason was that in a few minutes I completely analyzed her personality, her wife’s role in parenting, the disposition of her kids and why she likes her job. She thought I was a bleepin’ psychic. I was sad to report that I was just a wacky writer. But somehow I didn’t scare her off.)

Um…can you see men doing that on the football field? “Oh, Jerry, it’s so awesome to see you again. You know, the moment I heard you turn over that motor in your rotary engine, I knew we’d be fast friends. Let me read your palm and afterwards let’s make bmf bracelets!”

Well, silly or not, there it was…this bond between PJ and I that I can’t explain. And there was this bond between this dad and I that I am grateful for, too… two parents of two kids that require a bit more attention than “Suck down these Pop Tarts for dinner, we’re just done with cooking tonight.”

Let me now go on record that, as a Christian woman who has been married for 15 years, it might seem odd that a straight wife like me finds connection between an Indian lesbian and a happily married Italian father, but it is what it is.

Note to my Christian readers, Mom and Farmer Stacey: Do not be alarmed. I’m not starting an emotional affair with my Bollywood princess or blue-eyed auto immune cute dad friend. But I cannot lie. I find them both fabulous spirits and I’d be kidding you, and my very own self, if I didn’t admit that signing my kid up for tennis was the greatest lift to my spirits this month since Costco’s sale on dark Starbuck’s coffee ($15.95/bag – a deal!). When I start shaving my head or wearing a mini-skirt with a tight John Mackenro tee over my Double D’s, you can call out the Jesus squad.)

To add more cherries to the topping of this fun park bench banter (think of me as the peanut butter in between two slices of wonderful, talkative bread) we found out that PJ knows my sister through their kids’ middle school. Fun!

And then I lost my keys.

Boo.

But I didn’t freak out.

Yay!

Because what would be the point? The day up until that moment had been so crazy. (Wonky news from a writing client. No Ebay sales. Wondering if perhaps I should just throw in the towel and get a real job after all or run away with the circus and sell GMO infested popcorn to parents who have more money to entertain their kids than I do these days.)

But Stink made me sit on a parking slab and pray. Which I did. Which was no small feat for this six foot 1 mama.

“Jesus isn’t a magic genie,” I told him, adjusting my 2-foot wide butt to the diameter of the six inch cement chair.

“I know,” he said. “But He’s a miracle maker.”

Which, well, turns out He was. I did not find the keys right away. But I did stay calm which helped me retain my sanity. Each step I took I just remembered that I’m not in charge. I’d figure it out.

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Since my own phone was dead, I used the tennis instructor’s phone. (Old old phone… crack in the glass… thank God… a fellow tribe member of the ‘We’re Doing the Best We Can Club’.)

I called every person on his roster. “Did you take my keys by accident?”

“No… good luck…” was all I got.

So I called my husband.

And he showed up….

…At the exact same time as cute dad who pulled up in his car, keys dangling from his finger. “I took them with mine by accident!” he said.

So then I came home and ate a beet salad that my sweet husband (and even cuter) had made. And we talked about my work options and his business. And how sometimes, even if things don’t go the way we want them to, they go where they need to go. And that’s the kind of peace that makes all the nuttiness worth it.

If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

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Until next time, remember to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

More of my writing can be found at AndreaFrazerWrites, on Facebook at Happily Ticked Off or on Twitter @AndreaFrazerWrites. 

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You’re a Good Egg Mama, And That’s No Yolk

Okay, readers, all five of you that read here, hear this: I am NOT going to be doing my whole Deceptively Delicious approach to Taurine. Why? Because I’m not Jessica Seinfeld, Taurine is not veggies, and BECAUSE THAT’S INSANE.

Let’s get real: My kid is going to have enough to deal with in Junior High without his mother sneaking around him like the Pink Panther sprinkling amino acids in his hash browns.

Him: What’s this white stuff, Mama?

Me: Fairy, dust, kid. Gluten free fuck-it-all pixie fluff. Wait ’til you see how I hide it in your syrup!

I came to the above conclusion today, while standing in line with my husband at Costco. It was our big lunch out where we get to spend $1.82 each on a hot dog and soda. Only it had been such a horrible day of guilt for me, combined with some bad news from work and some friend drama, that I decided to ditch the dog for both the pizza combo slice AND the vanilla chocolate swirl. (I know, I’m a rebel.)

Standing in line, I had this awful sense of impending doom. Not guilt so much as ominous storm cloud harbingers of doom. What’s that stinky feeling called again? Oh yeah, a CONSCIENCE. And it goes something like this: “You can’t drug your child behind his back, dork.” My husband agreed. He loves our son as much as I do. We show it differently and I happen to show it better but in the end, we arrive at the same conclusion. We want the best for him always.

for blog

I mean, what if my little scheme worked? What if the tics went away, but he took off for college, and suddenly they came back and he had no idea why. That would be awkward.

Me: “Oh, sweetie, those duck quacks are just cause you miss me. Come on home. I’ll serve you up some nice hash browns.”

What if there was a terrible reaction and he ended up in E.R. and I had to come clean with my husband. “Oh, that third testicle? It’s just from giving him Taurine. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to be the voice of reason on my mad dash toward nutty thinking.”

No, the CRAZY making had to stop.

I don’t know about you, but I find that my most wonky thinking happens when my self-will is in direct opposition with God’s will. I want what I want, rather than accept what is. I don’t know why God allows tics, or why I can’t seem to drink one glass of red wine without wanting to down three glasses and pretend I’m sexier than a Cosmo model at Caesar’s palace when I’m really just alone on my couch, reading Outlander, wanting to have an affair with a fictional character.

sam-heughan-just-jared-spotlight-04

But the fact is, it’s not a good plan for me to drink – at least not now in my life. And, if I’m going to be honest about what I shouldn’t be ingesting, it’s likely not really a great idea about being dishonest about what my kid is ingesting.

hto blog

Before Costco today I was at Trader Joe’s… avoiding writing… scarfing samples… when the above egg container caught my attention. I had never noticed it before, so why it caught my eye today with my brain spinning more than the stories I tell Stink about amino acids, it just felt safe. “Place Broken Eggs Here” it read. There was no lying. No manipulation. Notice it didn’t read, “Nothing wrong here! Go on with your untarnished egg self!”

No, not only was it admitting to the world that sometimes stuff get cracked, it was offering a safe spot for them to land.

I find that safe place to be here at Happily Ticked Off. I find it with my book (that is truly almost done – third rewrite, folks.) I find it with my girlfriends and meetings and church and my kids and lately, with my spouse. We are really communicating beautifully and it’s lovely.

I know that I’m not always a perfect egg, but I’m loved even with my flaws. And that’s how I want my kids to feel. I want them to know that they have a safe container in their mama to rest. No perfection required.

Thanks for being here for me, people. I know this tics thing isn’t always easy, but I challenge every one of you, like I challenge myself, to remember the intention behind why we do what we do. Are we managing situations for our kids or for us? Sometimes we just don’t know. In my case today I knew it was management for me, because when I decided to put an end to The Sneaky Supplement Tour, 2015 I felt peace.

Plus I spoke to my sponsor. I believe her exact words when I told her about my grand plans were, “That’s crazy.”

Until next time,

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.

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I Could Be Ticked Off, But I’m Too Bleepin’ Excited

kids start school

Greetings from Happily Ticked Off. Remember me? That once faithful blogger who helped you navigate through the highs and lows of tics? The person who gave you all sorts of encouragement when you felt worse than a nit in your kid’s hair after a session with the lice lady?

Side note: Do any of you non-L.A./New York readers have this service? A real, live nit-picker who will comb baby lice out of your kid’s hair one painstaking strand at a time? Yes, even with much of our world in dire poverty, I say without apologies that I blew $400 bucks a few years back to deal with what I can only refer to as the Lice Infestation of 2010. It’s chronicled in this article, “Of Lice and Men.”

SUMMER

Did you all have a good summer? I, personally, did not. Mine consisted of this:

* Commute 1 and a half hours each way for a writing gig that kept promising insurance but didn’t give it

* Schedule kids for play dates and camp dates around my husband’s work schedule – that schedule being his very own I.T. company start up which, of course, does not pay insurance, but we have a dream, people! Dental, schemntal, insurance. Who needs teeth! I’ll start on my smoothie regime, lose weight, save money on the gym, and buy health insurance!

* Ebay on the side to make $29/month to put toward elusive insurance, only to inevitably spend it by the end of the month because I can’t take cooking, cleaning and kid wrangling ONE.MORE.SECOND. so I give my hard earned income to El Pollo Loco, Taco Bell or some other fast food joint that is not full of gluten but inevitably causes me to worry that I’m going to make my kids die an early death from their GMO-laden, toxic, hormone pumped chicken/cows, not to mention increase tics because, you know, I’m going to cure this whole syndrome with food alone.

* Have a few people close to me be less close to me because I’ve been so busy working my patience resembles a burned out elecrical chord on a dried out Christmas tree and, well, apparently I’m not as much fun to be around when I’m on four hours of sleep, six cups of coffee, and enough Oreo cookies to make Santa vomit. 

After 8 weeks of this insanity routine, my kids started school.

Normally I cry.

This year, it was all I could do to numbly kiss them goodbye at the classroom door. On one hand, it saved me the agony of worrying about my sixth (yes, SIXTH) grade boy’s tics increasing. I was too tired to freak out. “He’s a strong kid,” I told myself, and I meant it. “If he’s fine, then stop.” Work, with all it’s zillion tasks and responsibilities, simply didn’t allow for excess rumination. It was fall down and die of fear, or keep moving. I chose the latter.

On the other hand, numbness and stone cold resolve was a real sign for me that in running such a rapid pace I was not only outrunning grief, I was outrunning joy.

When was the last time I sat with my kids and read a book?

When was the last time I had coffee with my mom at the mall?

When was the last time I sat in my room, organized my photos, and just laughed at some of my family and friends’ ridiculous hair-do’s, not to mention my own?

While I can’t say I didn’t do any of those things mentioned above, I wasn’t as present as I’d like to be.

But today, after almost 10 months of marathon training, I was given my walking papers at work. (Well, not 100% true. My job was reduced to 75% of its original description. Which means 75% less pay.)

Fear? Anxiety? A wee bit. But truthfully, not that much. I truly feel God has a plan for me. Despite a whole lot of uncertainty ahead, joy and hope is bubbling up to the surface.

I’ll get to be present.

Present on my site.

Present in my home.

Present in my community.

And people, that is SUCH a gift.

I’ve missed you.

Andrea

(Pic of Stink, Pip and Miss L, starting 6th and 5th)

Wait, there’s more!

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

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Acupuncture Video #3 – Western vs. Chinese Medicine

In my third video of a series of acupuncture pieces, Martina Eberhard discusses the difference between Chinese and Western Medicine. Hint: It’s not that one doctor’s office has Fortune Cookies. Though if one did, I would make sure yours read: “Focus on you child’s gifts today!”

Happy end of weekend.

Andrea

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Gluten Free Living/Vitamins/More Revelations!

A new reader asked me to point her toward some of my more concise posts on diet and T.S.. (Me? Concise? Is that possible?)

It got me thinking that I should really add a tab on diet/nutrition to this site. Until, then, though, I’ll leave her and you with a link from my old website.

Gluten Free/Caesin Free Living and Tourettes

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2011/09/10-ways-to-go-gluten-free.html

This is a great book on T.S, diet, etc.

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Treatments-Tics-Tourettes-Patient/dp/1556437471/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331674008&sr=8-1

Here’s info on how to test for food allergies

http://www.lifehappins.com/2/post/2008/11/the-abcs-of-igg-testingfood-allergies-and-tics.html

My Revelation

Stink’s Tarzan is still with us. I’m trying really hard to love it. Perhaps instead of viewing it as the squatter that constantly interrupts my son’s speech, I will view it instead as a quirky visitor who adds spice to our days. If only Tarzan would cook and clean toilets I might consider permanent adoption.

While I will never stop looking for ways to eliminate this sucker (stricter diet? more acupuncture? less Wii? better vitamins? drug options?) I had a super big epiphany today about me.

I was sitting in Bible Study, and we were asked to talk about a time when we simply could not forgive someone – no matter how much we were called to do it for our faith.

“Who would like to share?” our 82 year old kick-butt leader asked us. (I seriously want to be Rosemary one day. She hikes, wears Ugg boots, and is a nurse working as a lactation consultant. She had a shower at her home last weekend for one of our knocked up sisters in Christ. She called it “Better Than Sex” cake. Moving on.)

No one wanted to share their stories of un-forgiveness and anger. I don’t believe it’s because they were all so pious. It’s hard to talk about the ugly side of ourselves. Lucky for my leader, I have no shame.

“I have someone I can’t forgive,” I said. “Tarzan!”

I explained how, no matter how much I tried, I simply could not accept that annoying sound. I admitted that I’ve come a long way from getting totally nutty about it, but it still bothers me. I want it to swing on outta there.

“I am not 100% defeated, but I’m not 100% at peace when my son tics. I want to love Tarzan as he is part of my child. But I don’t. I hate him. (pause) With all my heart. (Pause) I don’t forgive him. (Pause) But I want to.”

People nodded and said they would pray for me – which is totally awesome. I do believe it’s God’s grace that is strong when I am weak.

Then a beautiful Barbie of a woman – call her Jodie – chimed in. In a venue where she could have left me with happy platitudes, she cut right to the core: “I don’t think you’ve accepted the tics because it’s not really about the tics. It’s really about you. When you are able to accept everything about you and love yourself the way Jesus 100% loves you, the tics will lose their power.”

Well, there’s that.

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5 Ways To Face TS and Tics In 2012

I’m excited to bring you my very first post at my new website domain! Like my son’s favorite present from Santa, I hope my site can be a treasured gift to you so that you can find joy despite a diagnosis you may not be thrilled with. If there’s something you disagree with, let me know.

For those of you new to my blog, you can catch up on my TS journey at my old site here. But like Tourettes, despite good and bad days getting used to my new platform, this is my new home. Welcome!

For my first entry, I thought I’d cut and paste an entry I wrote in response to a friend of mine who was worried about her son’s new facial tics. She, like many new moms at the beginning, has moments of complete devastation. Sure, there are times when she feels like she’s okay with her son’s diagnosis (like the time when her son’s tics are the most minimal – shocking, I know.) But just when she feels like maybe she’s accepted his condition, a new twitch starts. With it comes fear, riding on a raging horse.

She wrote that she felt bad about, well, feeling bad! Like somehow she should be more accepting! Other moms in our group, it seems, are “over T.S.” and she isn’t.

For those of you who might feel like you are alone – that other folk can handle T.S. (or any disorder) and you’re in a fetal position in the corner drowning your sorrows with Two Buck Chuck from a sippy cup (hey, I resemble that remark!) rest assured – we all have our off days. Or weeks. Or months. Just hang in there – you will feel better in time.

Here’s my two cents on the subject. I edited my response a bit for the purposes of this blog.

I have been better lately for a variety of reasons.

1. Time: I have been down this road for FIVE years. I get the waxing and waning. I’ve done it all, from food and diet to supplements and possible medication options. I’ve done the holistic docs. I’m starting acupuncture. I have gotten to a point where I accept that Stink has TS and I”m doing my best. I don’t feel like ‘why can’t I fix it’ because I know I can’t 100%. But that leads me to #2.

2. A Plan.I have one. I’m going to do Brain Balance. I need to make some money to do that. This means selling some articles, teaching some online writing classes, Ebay, etc. Doing what I’m passionate about not only makes me joyful, but it has the added benefit of making me think less about the tics so I can actually change something I have control over: my attitude.

3. My Faith – Hope: Christianity has been a tremendous source of support for my up and down emotions.

* Note: Where I ramble like a Bible Thumper –  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This passage is a source of great hope for me. It means that my “suffering” is not in vain.

That tics are just like a puzzle piece. For a while, like when Stink was first diagnosed, the puzzle pieces seemed jarring. It felt like they would never fit together. Slowly, with my plan, I got the border put together. That was my emotional balance.

Now I have some of the middle put together. I can see a beautiful picture despite some missing holes. With faith, the holes can be filled in with a picture I create. That picture is a life where Stink is happy, healthy, funny and over T.S.. And if he’s not over T.S., it’s not in vain, because his character, and mine, was shaped from it.

* More thumping: And a sidenote!  I encourage all of you to find your own personal road to faith! Romans 5: 3-5 promises “And we rejoice in the HOPE of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance: perseverance, character: and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not disappoint us.” (Hooray for hope! I love hope!)

4. Finding my Passion: My writing has been tremendously helpful to me. It’s my love. I can’t form sentences and write blog posts while, at the same time, obsessing about tics. It’s simply impossible. In writing this blog, I am serving others as well. I have bad days like we all do, but in lifting others up, I am selfishly lifting myself up also. The key for me in helping others was realizing that I can’t just serve when I’m feeling okay. God can use me when I’m feeling like a piece of spit out gum stuck to the sidewalk. Before long, I’m blowing good bubbles of encouragement. And I even forgive myself for stupid analogies like the one I just wrote.

* Last thing on serving others: This is not meant as some do-good Christian tip. I don’t care what your religion is or how you feel. Taking your eyes off yourself, and putting them on someone else, is the cure-all for anthing. Don’t believe me? Try it. You’ll get hooked.

5. Acceptance: I accept that some days I’m just down. I don’t like the verbal tics any more than you all do. I have moments where I can’t be in the same room with Stink. I need a break. I have to fight for my “me” time and my “down time” and work on my marriage to do this. It’s created a wedge between my husband and me, at times, as I’m no longer the “yes” person where he gets all the breaks after his hard day at work and I continue to slave. Yes, I have down time while the kids are at school, but I also do a hell of a lot of work while I’m at home alone. I know… I KNOW… I’m worth some relaxation. Rex is starting to understand that. It’s not been a fun road, but he’s getting there, and that is all I need. Love is not a feeling – it’s an action. It’s a verb.

To help with all five points above, I am not ashamed to say I take 75mg of Zoloft every day. It’s evened me out enough to take my head out of my ass and face life the way life is. I hope to not be on it forever, but if I need to take it, I will. My good friend, Chrissy, sent me a link that talks about depression better than I could.

In closing, please know I’m here for all of you. I hope you’ll consider making a plan for yourselves to then get a plan for your child. If it’s meds, go for it. If it’s back to work, go for it. If it’s exercise, go for it. But know this: if it weren’t TS, you’d face something else at some point in your life. Perhaps your mom would die, throwing you into a tailspin. Or a husband who cheats on you. Or your child could have some other illness or you could be diagnosed with something.

I truly truly believe, now, that TS is the invitation we all need to accept life on life’s terms and do the best we can. I pray that you all find peace and are not so hard on yourselves. I’ll take the same hope for me, too.

Until tomorrow, remember my motto: A kid who tics with confidence outweighs an insecure  ass wipe any day of the week. (I should probably consider revising this tagline, but for now, the sentiment remains! Hug that ticker today!)