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The little things that tend to be overlooked.

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  • The little things that tend to be overlooked.

    As I've read about brain science in general and what TS seems to be in particular there are a lot of little things about myself that I think are related to TS that tend to not be noticed by science and medicine. The things that I'm talking about are little things, reflexes and responses, that people in general take for granted that seem to be heightened or "turned up" somehow in TS in myself. But it might also be true that there is less inhibition (suppression, or "brakes") of the intensity which can look like the same thing.

    I'm going to share them and I was hoping that others here could let me know if they have noticed the same thing.

    Coughing: I seem to cough more intensely than other people, but honestly this is the lease significant one.

    Sneezing: This one is more significant. Having a lifetime to listen to sneezes I would say that I sneeze louder than most people. It tends to make the cat get off of my lap.

    Shivering: When it gets cold enough to trigger it, the shiver reflex is can be almost overwhelming, but I'm not so sure about this one.

    "Goose bumps": I've noticed that my goose bumps seem to stand out really intensely, and there is a weird little thing that I can do with them that I have not seen other people able to do. If I push my finger into my skin (upper arm works well) fairly firmly and push it across my skin I get a stripe of goose bumps where my finger was in contact after about one second. They disappear after a few seconds. If it's colder it seems to work better.

    Vomiting: This one is a little gross, but when I need to do this sometimes I get muscle soreness from the intensity with which I seem to vomit.

    I'm not sure what else may or may not be more intense than normal, but these are ones that I was wondering about. It would be interesting and even valuable to understanding TS if there were a general increase in intensity in lots of little physical reflexes and responses. There are already some heightened responses (or less inhibition) that have been observed in TS such as Prepulse inhibition (PPI). In the startle reflex can be engaged by puffing air into the ear. This reflex can be reduced in intensity (inhibited) if a smaller puff of air is given first (the prepulse). But in TS there is less inhibition so we basically startle more. Which brings me to my last example.

    Startling: I startle more intensely, and my wife tends to play with that when I am at the computer reading by sneaking up on me XD.

    So have any of you noticed anything like this?

  • #2
    Re: The little things that tend to be overlooked.

    This is interesting, Flutterguy. I don't have those responses, with the exception of startling more intensely when I'm extremely anxious. Otherwise, just probably about average.

    When I was a child, however, I had the habit of speaking very quickly, in general, and VERY quickly when speaking to my sibling. When we spoke to each other where there were other children around, I remember a number of occasions where we were asked what language we were speaking! Sometimes even adults asked! Since then, I've slowed waaaaaaaaaay down.

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    • #3
      Re: The little things that tend to be overlooked.

      This is interesting, Flutterguy. I don't have those responses, with the exception of startling more intensely when I'm extremely anxious. Otherwise, just probably about average.
      I would say that I startle more when anxious as well.

      There is more than one kind of TS in the same kind of way that there was autism and aspergers. It's possible that if I am seeing something real it's not shared by everyone. Not everyone is equally affected by TS either. But I really don't believe in "average", even if you have not noticed anything that looks significantly different between you and everyone else with respect to TS.

      When I was a child, however, I had the habit of speaking very quickly, in general, and VERY quickly when speaking to my sibling. When we spoke to each other where there were other children around, I remember a number of occasions where we were asked what language we were speaking! Sometimes even adults asked! Since then, I've slowed waaaaaaaaaay down.
      I had and still have that problem. Slowing down is something that is difficult for me but I'm still working on it. How did you do it?

      Interestingly that one might be related to ADHD (or shared between TS and ADHD). My niece has ADHD and we can get into what I think of as an "ADHD conversational mode" where we talk to each other in rapid fire bursts and change subjects in constant tangents, and take turns as well as leave one another space to say what we mean. I think it's a real way of communicating we don't think much about. I just wish it would not turn on with everyone else as often.

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      • #4
        Re: The little things that tend to be overlooked.

        How did I slow down? Um.. definitely not by choice or effort. Just getting older, chilling out, brain cells dying perhaps!

        No one has ever complained that I spoke too quickly to them. Probably due to instinctually attenuating speech speed to whomever I'm talking with.

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        • #5
          Re: The little things that tend to be overlooked.

          Originally posted by Flutterguy View Post
          I would say that I startle more when anxious as well.

          There is more than one kind of TS in the same kind of way that there was autism and aspergers. It's possible that if I am seeing something real it's not shared by everyone. Not everyone is equally affected by TS either. But I really don't believe in "average", even if you have not noticed anything that looks significantly different between you and everyone else with respect to TS.



          I had and still have that problem. Slowing down is something that is difficult for me but I'm still working on it. How did you do it?

          Interestingly that one might be related to ADHD (or shared between TS and ADHD). My niece has ADHD and we can get into what I think of as an "ADHD conversational mode" where we talk to each other in rapid fire bursts and change subjects in constant tangents, and take turns as well as leave one another space to say what we mean. I think it's a real way of communicating we don't think much about. I just wish it would not turn on with everyone else as often.
          Thanks for mentioning this. My 9, soon to be 10 yr old son has TS and just today his grandpa was talking to me about how FAST my son talks. I guess I stopped noticing it or it is normal to me. I do at times (when he is super super hyper) ask him to "relax" and he seems to instantly take a deep breath in and out and that helps. Otherwise my dad pretty much said he can't understand him as he speaks with such enthusiasm and TOO fast.

          I have a question I really would like to know about more - since you have TS and I don't know any adults who have it..I would like to ask here...if you have this experience or know what I mean. Basically, when my son has what I call a "flare up" of tics - especially since he started having complex vocal tics - he seems so different at these times - his energy, mood, personality. He is the sweetest kid - SO smart, compassionate, etc. When he has a flare up he has this energy about him - he is ramped up - he must speak to me 1000x times faster than what my dad experienced and he must do it to help him release the tics. He talks kind of at me over and over and over again with excitement and intensity. It's fine -I encourage him to let it all out. But he also seems distant, doesn't sleep well and doesn't seem too well at those times. To me he almost seems agitated - just pent up with this energy that intense exercise cannot release - seems nothing can. Although it might seem like tension to me, he tells me when he is like that he feels really great. It's confusing to me but I am very interested to know or understand it somehow so I can react the right way and support him. Any thoughts or experiences? Thank you in advance...

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          • #6
            Re: The little things that tend to be overlooked.

            HBM,
            It's a bit tricky. Let me set this up.

            Has your son been diagnosed with ADHD and how old is he? I ask because I have ADHD and for me at least the rapid fire conversation is probably related to that. If anything the TS is fuel for how the ADHD can be shaped. I can't say that TS does not come with that, but it seems to be a more "hyper" issue to me (my niece has no TS).

            I've checked this out with my ADHD support group and they seem to like this description. ADHD is like a shift in situational awareness. An ADHD mind is set to a faster tempo because we store and pay attention to information differently. I liken the general behavior to someone who would "be on point" in a military formation. You have to scan a lot and look out for something dangerous or unexpected. Important details are more related to the dynamic of the immediate situation. People with ADHD are not such good "paperwork types". Another consequence to the mindset is less memory for things like names and numbers. Another benefit is that we seem better at high stress jobs. We don't store things to memory the same way either. Dates and times can slip easy. Really good routines and structure are important like using lists and consistent schedules.
            It's a mental shape that good objective descriptions still need to be found for.

            TS is more like a part of your emotional system as it relates to perception has had the intensity turned up really high, and it's oddly disconnected from yourself. It's like a startle that never ends in some ways. All of your actions, reactions, urges, impulses and similar have a more intense edge to it. Good and bad emotions, fun things can be even more fun. That edge is some extra emotional information and normally ones emotions are always connected to something that is either tied to action or perception, so we find things to connect it to. Something has to be done with that energy and we end up stuffing it into habits. Many of us, maybe even most, always have habits. The best of us manage to pick the best habits so the tics are very little problem. It's a bit "chicken and egg" from there because TS involves issues of the habit system, but did the intensity or the habits come first? *shrugs*

            These two things blend in ways that are not perfectly understood.

            I have a question I really would like to know about more - since you have TS and I don't know any adults who have it..I would like to ask here...if you have this experience or know what I mean. Basically, when my son has what I call a "flare up" of tics - especially since he started having complex vocal tics - he seems so different at these times - his energy, mood, personality. He is the sweetest kid - SO smart, compassionate, etc.
            Many of us are still quite childlike in attitude and outlook even as adults. That can be good or bad as some of the benefits and drawbacks are a bit childlike.

            When he has a flare up he has this energy about him - he is ramped up - he must speak to me 1000x times faster than what my dad experienced and he must do it to help him release the tics. He talks kind of at me over and over and over again with excitement and intensity. It's fine -I encourage him to let it all out.
            Tics can change with developmental stage. They can change with stress level. We tic more the less focused we are. We tic less the more focused we are on something we are good at and enjoy. Sometimes the more extra perception and unused body we have the more we tic. Stress makes us tic more. Boredom makes us tic more. Tics can be tied to specific things, I used to have a jaw clench when I argued on the internet. Tics don't release as much at they get shaped.
            I would talk to a professional because it's possible to be caught up in a habit like that long term and control is what your son needs to learn. I see that you are already looking at CBIT in another area. That seems like a good way to go and I see a lot of good things said about it. I don't actually have any experience of it myself, but I fell into something like it growing up unintentionally. I replaced many tics with other things like better tics or holding myself somewhat rigidly and stiffly. There are options.

            But he also seems distant, doesn't sleep well and doesn't seem too well at those times. To me he almost seems agitated - just pent up with this energy that intense exercise cannot release - seems nothing can. Although it might seem like tension to me, he tells me when he is like that he feels really great. It's confusing to me but I am very interested to know or understand it somehow so I can react the right way and support him. Any thoughts or experiences? Thank you in advance...
            Tics do feed tics. Doing a habit more makes doing it again more easy and I have made myself more intense in the past in different ways (sometimes manic). That is why I suggested that you talk to a professional there could be several possible things going on. Your son's attention could be more taken up by the intense and involved ticing, or they are expending more brain power against a TS that is intensifying on it's own course (I have seen papers that actually measure an increase in attention demand from the TS related inner energy), or the ADHD is intensifying (this and the previous may relate to age), or they are becoming too self-focused by habit because rapid fire conversation is hard to have and pay proper attention to your conservation partner (my niece and I manage ok), or other things.

            Is any of this helpful?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The little things that tend to be overlooked.

              People with ADHD are not such good "paperwork types". Another consequence to the mindset is less memory for things like names and numbers. Another benefit is that we seem better at high stress jobs.
              Very true for me, except that with overlapping related diagnoses sometimes I think the strengths and weaknesses are not really consistent, or are difficult to pin down to one issue. I am really bad at names but remember numbers very well, particularly lab values or med doses someone is on. I have all sorts of mechanisms in place to be able to function well despite my less than amazing ability to do paperwork, much of which is taken on by my fabulous receptionist/secretary. The easiest and most enjoyable parts of my job involve quick reactions in high stakes situations. Despite these tendencies, and likely in part due to the beneficial aspects of these diagnoses/tendencies, I have managed to succeed in my chosen field.
              I know many others here also have done so, and I know other people with TS and/or ADHD in what would otherwise be termed 'high stress' jobs who do fabulously and enjoy their professions.


              Many of us are still quite childlike in attitude and outlook even as adults.
              Am not!
              Sorry couldn't resist

              Flutterguy, did you mean to distinguish between 'childlike' and 'childish' here? I very much agree with the word you used; childlike.
              Gina Higgins
              MD, CCFP

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The little things that tend to be overlooked.

                garih,

                Very true for me, except that with overlapping related diagnoses sometimes I think the strengths and weaknesses are not really consistent, or are difficult to pin down to one issue. I am really bad at names but remember numbers very well, particularly lab values or med doses someone is on. I have all sorts of mechanisms in place to be able to function well despite my less than amazing ability to do paperwork, much of which is taken on by my fabulous receptionist/secretary.
                Well, the name/number thing will be modified by the life one has. I'm doing a little personal experience speculation here and my take on it is that in ADHD routine remembering of names and numbers is difficult because there is a weaker emotional connection to the information. In today's world names and numbers are arbitrary symbols with little connection to the thing they represent beyond the shape and sound (that's my experience as a standard American though). Names and numbers associated with one's job (especially health critical numbers like the ones you have to remember) are easier to remember. When I was working in laboratories numbers associated with my job were easier to remember. Ask me to remember a phone number and the situation is different .

                A fascinating bit of associated information (more speculation, I like to do that) is that if you look at the history of names, names usually had more commonly known meanings than they do today. First names and last names (when a culture had them) had some sort of meaning in the cultures in which the originated. The more information there is associated with a symbol the more personally relevant it becomes and the easier it is to remember. If the symbol "does work" beyond shapes and sounds it's more meaningful.


                The easiest and most enjoyable parts of my job involve quick reactions in high stakes situations. Despite these tendencies, and likely in part due to the beneficial aspects of these diagnoses/tendencies, I have managed to succeed in my chosen field. I know many others here also have done so, and I know other people with TS and/or ADHD in what would otherwise be termed 'high stress' jobs who do fabulously and enjoy their professions.
                I had a similar experience with my career experiences. When it came to actual lab work like individual experiments I was a lot more effective. I could have three or four things going at once and all I needed was a four-function timer. Slipping individual steps of experiments into times relative to one another eventually became easy. It was the planning, thinking and organizing around that where I had problems.

                If I only knew about the ADHD and TS at the start of graduate school! I could have taken the benefits and drawbacks into account. There are lots of little things that I remember having problems with that were just confusing problems without reasons at the time. Now I'm trying to figure out what I do and don't have an aptitude for, and what sorts of jobs I can or should consider given those aptitudes and my experience.


                Flutterguy, did you mean to distinguish between 'childlike' and 'childish' here? I very much agree with the word you used; childlike.
                I may not have the best grammar in the world (now I'm noticing that maybe my use of single and double quotation marks might be off here), but my word choice is always very carefully considered. I used "childlike" deliberately. So many of these things are ultimately neutral so picking (and even making up) neutral terms for things that can be positive or negative depending on life and context is very important. Some people might consider the aggression and sex tOCDs disturbing, but really those are just general things that we all look out for in good and bad ways and it makes sense that there would be some variation in innate skill and emphasis.

                To get more specific about "childlike", I find that elements of the TS/ADHD brain (not totally sure which parts are which in some cases) seem to emphasize certain qualities that are mostly known in children. Like children I can be a little too "self-focused" in a way that can can cause problems, but they are unintentional and I genuinely like people and don't want to be rude or neglect anything so I try to take steps to account for that. I'm insatiably curious in a way that is like wanting to "play" with everything (regardless of what the larger society thinks about the individual things) physically and mentally. I have a single-minded focus on whatever my current goal is that even leads me to power-walk everywhere (a focus that can be excessive).

                Interestingly and related to the "shape" of TS and childlike behavior, in my current study efforts I'm seeing correlations between TS psychology, tOCD/OCB, and one of Piaget's stages of cognitive development. I'm seeing pattterns between TS excesses (neutral things) and the early and late parts of the pre-operational stage (symbolic function and intuitive thought sub-stages). And I'm seeing patterns when comparing TS-related difficulties (and related tOCD/OCB) when lining things up with features of the concrete operational stage. It's like a small slice of childhood development is developmentally over-represented in our minds.

                I don't think this is some kind of "disorder". I think that TS represents a genuine place where human behavior is regulated (ADHD too but that is a whole separate issue). The benefits are too useful and specific to individuals and groups, and the drawbacks seem to be complimented by other people around us in ways that make sense in a group of interdependent primates. I'm not quite sure how to responsibly speculate about precisely what is being regulated in TS, but I suspect it has something to do with social rules and pattern sensitivity. Or maybe just patterns and rules in general and life determines which patters are most important, though I do think that the more common features of may be suggestive of a social factor.

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