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Thread: Need some tips about tics

  1. #1

    Default Need some tips about tics

    Hey guys,

    My name is Steph and I'm a new member here! I'm 16 and have recently been diagnosed with mild tourettes. Now I know that all of you with full tourettes have it much worse than me, but I'm still finding it really hard to cope with.

    You see, I play basketball at an elite level, and so there is a huge stress factor there with pressure, intensity, and nervousness. And of course, when I am stressed or nervous my tics are much worse. I even have a gag reflex tic, and because of it my body thinks that I am nauseous all the time. Since I am nauseous I don't eat well, and can't perform as well. I also cannot help but blink repeatedly or stretch my neck akwardly while I am playing. My impulsive behaviours caused by tourettes cause me to impulsively yell at refs when they make a call I don't agree with, or get upset and foul someone hard when they aren't being respectful or something else that makes me mad.

    I know that I can't use the tourettes as an excuse for these behaviours, and I am managing the impulsive ones, but I am really struggling with managing the tics. I need some tips on things I can do that will help relieve the stress before I play, or even while I am playing that will help me to be less stressed out, and therefor have less tics and be able to carry on normally without nausea etc.

    I'm not sure if this post is in the wrong place, even though it was sort of to introduce myself or whatever, but please help me! Not many people know about my tourettes, just some select few team mates, and my coach. My coach wants to do whatever she can to help me so that I can reach my full potential in basketball without having to deal with these things too much.

    Any advice at all is welcome, no matter how helpful/unhelpful you think it might be! Thanks so much!
    ~be a miracle~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Need some tips about tics

    Hi Steph!!

    Welcome to the TSFC Forum and thanks for joining us. Your posting is absolutely in the right place and we're glad you meet you.

    You are quite right that tics tend to increase as our stress level's the nature of Tourette.

    I found that some quiet time before an activity like playing a game or giving a presentation would help me. I like to visit the place where I will engage in that activity spend some time alone, before anyone arrives and become comfortable with the environment.

    I also have difficulty with rage reactions, and some time ago my doctor recommended behavioural modification therapy. This is really light duty stuff and is actually fun to do.

    The people who usually provide behavioural modification are psychologists who teach you various strategies to fall back on when a certain situation comes up that triggers a rage reaction.

    Part of the training includes learning relaxation techniques that are useful in dealing with stressful situations.

    The whole idea is to understand what triggers the stress or rage and to develop a plan in advance, that you can use when that situation comes up.

    Another strategy used by some of people with Tourette is tic re-direction. This does not work for everyone, but if you can train yourself tore direct a tic to something else it can help in some situations.

    Suppose one of your tics is to twist your face, and you are in a situation where you would prefer not to twist your face....then you could do something else that would not be so obvious, like maybe curl your toes inside your shoe or make a fist behind your back. The idea is to release the tension by making another part of your body do something that will satisfy the urge.

    Have a look at This Discussion for more thoughts about tic redirection

    Your wonderfully positive attitude will fare well in your finding ways to deal with your Tourette.

    Would you care to share with us how the diagnosis was made? How is your support system at home?

    Ask all your questions here and please feel free to join in any ongoing discussion.

    Looking forward to your participation in the Forum!

  3. #3

    Default Need some tips about tics

    Hi Steve

    Thanks so much for your advice, I will definitely try it out as soon as I can. The discussion on tic redirection was very interesting as well, and hopefully that will work for me too.

    My diagnosis was actually made only a few weeks ago, when I was really struggling with my breathing in a basketball game. I was gasping for no apparent reason and couldn't stop. My assistant coach has a brother who she is close to who has tourettes, and she realized right away what it might be. She apparently told my dad without my knowing it since they teach together. At that same time my mom saw my breathing and remembered a book she had read about tourettes a year ago, and so she did some research and told me she thought I had tourettes.

    It turned out that they were both right--I do have a case of mild tourettes. It explained so many things I have done all my life that I thought were just odd habits I had, including all my OCD behaviours.

    My family support is pretty good; my mom wants to do everything to help me with it. My dad isn't very comfortable talking about it I don't think, we've never really discussed it, which is fine by me as well.

    I also have 4 terrific friends who have been really good about it, and one friend in particular is really helping me through it. There's also my coach who I am fairly close to, who is really helping me with it as well.

    Once again, thanks for your advice, and others please post yours as well! I want to know any tricks of the trade for dealing with this! Thanks!
    ~be a miracle~

  4. #4

    Default Need some tips about tics

    Hi Steph, good to meet you. I'm not sure what you mean by 'full Tourette's... but seems to me that whether TS is mild or not depends on how much it's bothering you... for me, as an example, on a frequency scale, I'd put myself at like a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10 on how often I tic.. but as far as 'intensity' (like how BIG, or, well, INTENSE the tic is), I'd put myself down at like a 2.

    anyway, since all that ticcing rarely bothers me, I would consider it 'mild', but I know many people who tic way less but find it so much more bothersome! And it sure sounds like you're having some bothersome ones. (((Hug)))

    I'm not eating well at the moment either and i'm finding those meal replacement shakes to be a big help.. perhaps you could try them so you could still meet any nutritional needs?

    Many people find relaxing, or aromatherapy, or meditating to be helpful for tics. Not me... strenuous exercise makes the difference for me.... after a night of dancing, for example, I notice my ticcing level is reduced for several days. However, while I'm out on the dance floor I tic a LOT.. but since I"m dancing it's not so noticable. it sure sounds like, as a basketball player, you're getting lots of exercise... do you notice a reduction afterwards? maybe doing a half hour of aerobics or something the night before, or morning of, a game would help reduce your ticcing during the game itself??

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Need some tips about tics


    Sounds like you have the beginnings of a great support network.

    Your Dad may need time to come around, as it may be difficult for him to accept your diagnosis at this time. Sometimes news that comes as a surprise is difficult to accept right away.

    You may consider downloading some of the articles on the TSFC homepage, printing a copy and leave them for your Dad to read.

    Tourette FAQ's

    Nine Faces of the TS Parent

    Also, if he is interested, invite him to say hello here in the Forum where he can meet other parents of kids with Tourette.

  6. #6

    Default Need some tips about tics


    Thanks for the advice about meal replacements and pre-game excercise. I think I will try both of those things along with Steve's advice. And yes, I do notice a reduction of tics afterwards, but there is definitely an increase in tics while I play.


    Yes, I definitely do have a great support network so far. I'm sure my Dad will come around with time, and I will just let him do that on his own I think, he tends to be better off that way. Thanks for the advice.

    To Everyone and Anyone,

    Please keep the advice coming! I have received great tips so far, and I am open to anything else you might have to say! Also, I am wondering whether or not I should tell my basketball team about my tourettes...I am trying to sort of keep it on the downlow, only because some people treat me differently when they find out. But maybe I should tell them, since I am with them everyday, and they see me tic-ing on the court. It might lessen my stress as only worry is that they will spread it around, or that they will treat me differently. For some reason I just don't want this spread around, maybe it's just my way of coping--I'm very independant, and maybe I just feel the need to learn to cope with this on my own. Let me know what you all think!
    ~be a miracle~

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