Here’s a new interview from Ask Stefanie with Marc Elliot who is a well-known motivational speaker with Tourette’s Syndrome and OCD. He discusses what it’s been like growing up with tics and compulsions, how teachers and other kids reacted, and especially how he’s grateful for his parents’ support. Marc offers some interesting, and in my opinion good, advice at 21:23 in the interview: “I think it’s really important if your child is dealing with a lot of stuff, tics or anything for that matter, that you do not feel entitled that the school should be understanding. Because the reality is it’s like, if somebody wants to be understanding it is their choice. And it’d be great if we all lived in a world where people were understanding, but if you come at it with the mindset of ‘Look, they don’t have to be understanding,’ it’s only going to be a positive experience after that. [. . .] Even if there is a law that says they have to be understanding, that doesn’t mean someone has to be understanding.”
Marc has coprolalia, and in another interview I’ve seen has said that this actually comes more from his OCD than his TS. The OCD is what causes him to think of the worst thing he could possibly say in any given situation. I wonder if this could be true for more people with TS and coprolalia as well? Personally, I have a hard time identifying with the urge to say swear words as I’ve never had it, but I have had lots of thoughts of doing/saying taboo things in various social situations, so in that way I can understand very well. It’s just that I have a hard time understanding getting to the point of actually doing it. But I do understand my own tics, and that in a way they’re very similar. I also notice that my breathing tic seems to get worse in situations where I feel like I can’t do it; like the fact that I’m suppressing it is making it worse.
Another interesting point at about 30:50: “What is so interesting now Stefanie is that now that I’m not ticcing, I am now seeing all these other things about my personality and about my behavior that I do, that I never could really see before because I was ticcing so much.” That may apply not only to those of us with OCD spectrum disorders, but everyone with problematic thoughts or behaviors — once we begin getting over problems, new ones appear, or come out of the shadows. That’s one reason to be so positive about learning to master one’s OCD/tics or at least be aware of them; because, once we do that, we can begin tackling other, very real problems, which may actually be even worse in the end. We start to see the more “real” problems in our lives. In a way it could also be discouraging; “Look, when you get over this, you’ll just have a bunch of other things to get over of!” But from my perspective, it’s a relief; at times, OCD problems are so frustrating that I’d be glad to have any other problem to work on. Also, life is an ongoing challenge for everyone; no one is ever guaranteed at any time that they won’t have any more challenges to deal with; in fact, quite the opposite, in continuing to exist we are guaranteed new challenges every day, whether we see them and are open to solving them or not.
This is a long interview which I’m only halfway through and have a baby crying; so, I will pause for now. I may have more to say about it later.