Making Fun of Tourette’s

Google “OCD jokes” and “Tourette’s jokes” and you’ll see a big difference. Of course, OCD is no stranger to stereotypes — but they are at least much closer to the truth than the ones about TS. People with OCD do not necessarily, but do frequently have obsessions with germs, neatness, symmetry, and orderliness.

So it’s not that I have a problem with people making fun of Tourette’s. As long as it’s done in a respectful way, it’s OK to make jokes about pretty much everything in my opinion, and can add a touch of optimism to an otherwise depressing situation. The problem is that when people make fun of TS, 9 out of 10 times, they’re not even making fun of TS — they’re making fun of what very few people with TS actually do. Not just that, but they’re making fun of what very few people with TS actually do while wrongly assuming they do it out of anger or inability to control rage, or at the very least poor impulse control in general, which is also not true. (Some studies indicate people with TS might actually have better impulse control than the general population, because they have so much practice resisting impulses!) So they double-misunderstand it. You can’t make fun of something you double-misunderstand. So all I ask is that before you make a joke about TS, learn what it actually is. I’d be happy to laugh with you about how I randomly blink, clear my throat, sniffle, or gasp repeatedly at inappropriate times because I can see the humor in it — I just can’t see the humor in something that’s mean-spirited, or has no bastion of truth.

3 thoughts on “Making Fun of Tourette’s

  1. Yeah, it all depends on where a joke is coming from, for example, to me sufferers with mental illnesses are qualified and valid to make jokes about hings they personally experience…people without mental illnesses are often not qualified to make jokes at the expense of mental illness though…so part of it is, who is the person making the joke, another is, yeah, is it an informed joke, that speaks to the reality of something and has empathy within it? Or, is it a joke based on ignorance or stereotypes or cruelty or mockery, etc.? Actually I guess the last one matters more than if the person HA
    S an illness or not, it’s about the spirit and the nature of the joke…

    I actually don’t know a WHOLE lot about Tourette’s, I’d be interested to know more, I did watch a documentary about children struggling with Tourette’s once, it was very good…of course I myself have OCD…and actually for me, cleaning, germs, symmetry actually play very little role in my forms of it. So sometimes, it is frustrating to me that only certain kinds seem to be known or thought of by the population at large, nd they assume if you have OCD, it’s about stuff like that, or checking locks, doors, and ovens, etc. mine is much different in most ways.

    • willitbeok says:

      I agree. Like I wouldn’t feel comfortable making jokes about something like bipolar disorder because I don’t have it — maybe if I had a close friend who did, and we were really close, I might feel differently.

      Do you remember the name of the documentary? :B This is a really good one, if it’s not the one you already saw:

      A lot of people have both OCD and TS. There seems to be a sort of weird branching off where some people with TS tend to have OCD, and the other half tend to have ADD or ADHD. It’s like there are two sides to TS and it tends to lean one way or the other… which is interesting to me because OCD and ADHD are almost like opposites. With OCD you have people who are monomaniacal and very focused on specific things to the point of obsession, and with ADHD people have a hard time focusing on one thing, and drift hyperactively between subjects.

      My main tics are what I mentioned; gasping is the one that interferes with my life most, but I also have blinking, rubbing/touching, muscle-clenching, sniffling/snorting, and throat-clearing which tend to come and go more.

      Germs and things I perceived as toxic or poisonous were huge concerns for me as a child, and symmetry… the symmetry has carried over more into adulthood than the “contamination” fears, although a hint of it will probably always stay with me. But I totally relate that OCD can be different too. What’s interfered with my life more than anything else have been my relationship/romantic-related obsessions/fears. It’s hard as Hell getting along with someone new when you constantly feel compelled to ask “Do you really like me? Will you hurt me? Are you going to do this or that? What if you don’t like me? Are you sure?”

  2. ijustwant2bemyself says:

    Excellent post! Sometimes I can’t relate with OCD jokes because I’ve had mainly the “pure O” variety with a sprinkle of checking compulsions. The CDO joke some “non-obsessive-compulsives” use when commenting a picture that screams “I’m so OCD!” to them annoys me so much. First of all, because people without OCD automatically associate OCD with order and symmetry-related obsessions, but also because CDO would stand for “compulsive disorder obsessive”, and thus wouldn’t make sense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s