Awesome guy with NSFW Tourette syndrome uses a power washer


#5

Before:

After:

Pictures taken about two years apart (my stuff is medically induced; I was a little bit twitchy/squeaky as a kid, but that was at most 1% of what I’ve had since the pharmaceutical poisoning).

The change in hair is because I can’t maintain sufficient stillness for it to be safe to have sharp things near my head.


#6

On the subject of Tourette’s, I thought Richard Herring’s podcast with Jess Thom was pretty good:


#7

Do you mind if I ask you a couple things? Don’t answer if you don’t want to.

I just wonder what the experience of having verbal tics is like. All of us have our voices do things we don’t want them to do on occasion but there are lots of different ways that can happen. If my voice cracks while are singing a too-high note then you feel like you just physically failed to do what you meant to. We also have our bodies do things we don’t want, like muscle spasms. If I say the wrong word in a sentence then I just think I made a dumb mistake. So in both of those cases I integrate the experience of not doing what I want into my identity.

But I’ve also had experiences, though only internal ones (we’ll call it “hearing voices”) where something I think does not feel like it is integrated into my identity, and I’m tempted to assign it it’s own identity.

Not that these are the only two options (and not that everyone with verbal tics would have the same experience), but I wonder how verbal tics interact with identity. Is it like a “muscle spasm” where you feel like you just did something you didn’t want to do by reflex? Does it seem like the verbal tics have their own “identity” - that when you vocalize certain things it wasn’t you who vocalized them?


#8

There was a guy with Tourette’s that use to deliver parcels to our building, and he seemed to be trying to cover it up by singing, so he would start to curse or growl and then break into “woah-ohhh girrrrrl!”

Or maybe he didn’t have Tourettes’s. Surprisingly large number of videos on youtube of people with Tourette’s singing.


#9

I truly do feel for people with this condition, not only for the “it’s difficult to be around other people who don’t know” aspect, but because it truly seems to require so much energy in these severe cases.

Like, I don’t know if it’ll come across as callous or rude, and I’ll freely admit to not know a whole lot about it, but it seems like it would extremely tiring to have the near-constant vocal and physical tics, especially the slapping. I’m guessing people with Tourette’s get tired of the tics, but does one actually become physically exhausted beyond just being frustrated?


#10

I hope something comes out that may help you just as much without causing any problems. Doesn’t sound fun at all. But … on the bright side, long hair suits you.


#11

Jonathan Lethem’s “Motherless Brooklyn” had a protagonist with Tourette’s. I can’t speak to how accurately it’s written, but it was an empathetic treatment as I recall.


#12

I knew one girl who had a milder form of tourette’s. She’d squeak, kinda sounded like a duck at times. I’ve never been around someone that had a more pronounced version of it but judging by the video of the kid power washing it does seem very difficult with that severity of tics. Wonder what “a day in the life” would look like.


#13

I’m probably missing the point of the video, but the conclusion I’ve reached is that I think I need a power washer.


#14

If it weren’t for the spasms, I’d just have assumed the swearing was because he was British. I do know some extremely sweary Britishers. In that first video, it looks absolutely physically (and, I presume, mentally) exhausting, though.


#15

If you have ever seen the clear-to-the-bone cuts a power washer can deliver… Let’s say a steadier hand is appropriate.

Lest you think I am a Tourettes hater, I worked with a person afflicted with this syndrome for 17 years in a professional setting as peers. We found a symbiosis and did some really great work together.


#16

Then there’s the very well-respected Canadian surgeon with Tourette Syndrome; a MAJOR ‘Touretter’, but an excellent surgeon who shows now sign of his affliction when in the operating room. Read about him (and others) in ‘An Anthropologist On Mars’, by Dr. Oliver Sacks.


#17

Is that you, Bruce Dern?


#18

I work in forestry restoration, BTW; saws and axes and brushcutters are a regular feature. Fortunately, my tics mostly subside when I have a physical task to focus on.


#19

I sort of knew my comment would be dissed… :=(
I am really glad you found a trade that suits you…
We all have “tics” that make us unsuited to various things. My list is really quite long…


#20

Lewis himself agrees that he really shouldn’t be playing with power tools. And I don’t blame anyone who wants to stand well back when I start swinging sharp things around.

It’s all good. :slight_smile:

Prior to the forestry thing, I was a research scientist. Can’t concentrate well enough for that anymore, unfortunately.


#21

well, all I can say is that I hope everyone is doing well…considering the general unwellness of the human condition and the fact that things in general go mildly unwell it will be nice to hear that the well is on the rise and in general wellness does well. well well, well well well


#22

I can’t speak for all ticquers; my experience is not universal. It’s closer to muscle spasm than possession, though.

I’ve always had an overactive and poorly-controlled internal monologue, but I’ve never been prone to disassociative hallucination. The mess is inside my head, but it’s always been there. I just have a harder time now keeping it from expressing in ways apparent to the external world.

I’ve described the experience here previously in another thread:

The verbal stuff is closer to the gross motor tics than the hemiplegia effect. Gets worse with declining mood, more likely to erupt when startled or self-conscious.

I tend to get horse-style lip-blowing, a bit of lip-smacking and frequent tongue-clucking most of the time. When I’m upset or stressed, actual verbalisation gets added to that, but I usually manage to choke those down to a squeak or scream (to avoid freaking out listeners more than necessary). Lately, I’ve also acquired a medium-severe stutter that usually only appears in moments of social/emotional stress.

The verbal tics don’t really feel like an external force, and they’re often clearly influenced by what I’m thinking immediately prior. For example, if I have a sudden recollection of a strong memory, it’ll often immediately elicit a verbal tic that is in some way related to that memory.

Suppression of verbal tics isn’t really a conscious process, though; they hit too fast for that. The suppression is more reflexive, kind of like catching yourself as you fall. Fairly often enough of the tic comes through that I can work out what it would have been if I hadn’t automatically choked it.

The stutter feels much closer to external than the tics do. The experience of that is kind of like trying to pound words through a force field.


#23

Not that surprising; a lot of speech disorders subside if you sing (or use a second language, or even put on an accent). Singing uses a slightly different pattern of brain activation to speech, and the different activation may route around damage.

Similarly, you get Parkinsonian patients who can barely move…unless they dance.

Illustrative tangent: tic disorders are probably somewhat similar to the evil twins of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Chorea.

Down in the bottom of your brain is a region known as the basal ganglia. These structures don’t seem to have much involvement in cognition, but they’re closely involved in motor activity.

The oversimplified layperson version of how it works goes roughly like this: as the robot guys have discovered, running/walking/etc are actually really complicated tasks, mostly due to the difficulty in getting the assorted muscles to contract at exactly the right time.

Instead of making your brain calculate this from scratch each time, the basal ganglia contain a bunch of “rhythm” circuits, with pre-programmed sequences for common motor patterns (running, walking, etc).

As neurons are never truly “off”, all of those rhythms are normally quietly bubbling away in the base of your brain 24/7. There’s a very complicated network of dopaminergic circuitry that functions to activate the desired pattern when appropriate and suppress the others.

Both Parkinson’s and Huntington’s are caused by progressive degeneration of this dopamine circuitry. With Parkinson’s, the system suppresses everything, and the patient turns into a statue [1]. With Huntington’s, the reverse happens: you lose the ability to suppress any of the patterns, creating a constant writhing tremor.

Tourette-style tic disorders [2] are probably based in a similar mechanism. You lose the ability to suppress the not-quite-random static that is buzzing away in the background of everyone’s brain, and it expresses as involuntary behaviour.

[1] The stereotypical writhing tremors assocated with Parkinson’s are actually due to the side effects of the dopamine agonists we use to un-freeze the patients. As the disease progresses, we have to keep raising the dose on those, so the side-effects gradually increase until they become intolerable.

[2] My thing is officially not-Tourette’s, as Tourette’s is a syndrome partially defined by no-apparent-cause adolescent onset. The symptoms of my thing are basically the same, though.


#24

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