Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics
Yesterday, when I checked my twitter, I found weird twits made from a person that I respect. He said things like “Mother fucking bitch” etc., and he kept saying it with a hash tag #SurrenderYourSay and a link post. This made me curious and I opened the link. It turns out a web page about Tourette Syndrom and a campaign to make people aware of the disorder and support people with this disorder. The agreement was I let them twitted tics (words or sentences that often said by people with Tourette syndrome for 24 hours in random time. And here’s what my tics looked like :
Tics are classified either simple or complex. Simple motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements that involve a limited number of muscle groups. Some of the more common simple tics include eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. Simple vocalizations might include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds
Of course I feel uncomfortable of them, and some of my friends asked me when they saw my twits. They thought my twitter account was being hacked. One of my friend even thought I was in distress. I explained to them about the campaign, and asked them to open the link.
Here are their responses to my “tics” :
It was only for 24 hours, and I already felt uncomfortable. Though I realized, it was not me that typed those words. Suddenly it made me thinking, how about the people with Tourette syndrome? They didn’t even want to say or do something, but they say/do it instead because they can’t control it, and we (the so called normal people) who don’t know or realize that they have Tourette syndrome, might make a judgments towards them. Then I try to find out more about Tourette syndrome. I opened National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke and found information about Tourette Syndrome.
Apparently the caused of tics is still unknown but current research points to abnormalities in certain brain regions, the circuits that interconnect these regions, and the neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) responsible for communication among nerve cells. Given the often complex presentation of TS, the cause of the disorder is likely to be equally complex.
People with TS can suppress, camouflage, or minimize the tics, although there’s a report that they will build up in tension when suppressing the tics to a point they have to express the tic. Maybe it’s like when we trying so hard not to say sarcastic things to someone who makes foolish mistakes and then bam, we just have to say it and we say it in a wrong place, wrong time. Surprisingly, although the term Tourette syndrome is new to me, I have seen people with TS in my life. Those who have motoric tics like neck/shoulder shrugging or jerking. I only thought it was neurological problem (which of course it is) but I didn’t know that the problem has a name.
From this 24 hours experience, one thing that made me realize is it’s hard to feel empathy. It’s not as easy as it sound or said, especially with people we don’t know really well. All we need is to observe first, and then react. Ignore it or take action, not judge it. Judging is not our job and it’s beyond our capacity as human (which once again, easier said than done).