Updated: Aug 30
Hello again, Inspired Tutors readers! It's Beth from Progress Tutoring. I feel like there is so much to share about being a neurodivergent family, so I didn't want to leave you hanging. What IS day to day life like with Tourette's, OCD, ADHD, and anxiety for our family? Here's to hoping you can find solidarity or new inspiration in this post.
Changes are part of life. Tics are no different. You could have a tic that lasts a few weeks to a few months, then disappears without warning, while another one takes its place. Kicking your legs high into the air as you lay down, touching your butt and sniffing your hands, feeling like you have to say, "I'm sorry" (also OCD and anxiety related), vocal tics like a small grunting in your throat, throat clearing, blinking hard, eyes rolling, feeling like you have to kiss your parents a certain number of times (also OCD and anxiety related), etc. These have all been tics and obsessions we have experienced or are currently experiencing in our family.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
This might look like becoming obsessed over little specs of grains in your cereal or getting grossed out while eating when a gross thought intrudes your brain, then not being able to finish your meal. It might look like intrusive thoughts, like the dog dying and your parents dying, and you're left all alone. You might feel as if things have to be really clean or organized a certain way, and if they're not, your equilibrium and mood are off for the day until they get clean or organized. You might feel the urge to say or do something even though it's harmful or dangerous or risky.
We like to call this attention "advantage" according to one of our favorite YouTubers, Casey Neistat. It's the ability to hyper focus. This can be really useful when a deadline is coming up, but it can be detrimental when you've procrastinated due to a lack of focus and the deadline is tomorrow. Hyper focus turns to burnout, which turns to procrastination, which turns to......you know if you've been there. It can also look like frequently interrupting others, lacking self-awareness (not considering others, talking too loudly, disheveled appearance because you are in a hurry) and lacking social awareness (think about talking on and on and not reading the signs that someone has lost interest).
Spiraling thoughts, like "If I don't do this, they'll be mad at me, so I have to do it the right way or else someone might get mad, and if they get mad then I'll look embarrassed and I'll hate myself and, and, and...." It's walking in a slumped posture, not looking people in the eye when you're talking with them, avoiding social situations where you might have to put yourself out there a little, making sure you have someone else with you to lead the way into whatever it is you're doing. It's your armpits sweating through your shirt when you're commuting to work because you'll be interacting with people at the same job you've been doing for years. I could go on. For me, Lexapro has been a relief! Whew! (no medical advice here. just saying what worked for me)
Ok, so funny thing is that after I wrote all that, I felt a bit wiped! Honestly, it kind of feels like a little 3 ring circus inside all of our heads and we are all trying to direct ourselves and help each other direct themselves. But here's hope: If you haven't read my first "Life Neurodivergent" post, have at it. You'll see that life is manageable and enjoyable. We push through challenges and make a meaningful life for ourselves. A little more inspiration: Between my husband and I, we've ran several half marathons, lived overseas and learned a new language, made a huge life and mindset shift from our childhood and adolescent trauma, started our own businesses, are preparing to go back to live overseas next year. We've made it through nearly 10 moves in 15 years and have a really smart 7-year-old. Life neurodivergent can be pretty sweet.