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Tourette in Popular Media, Entry 1: The South Park Episode

For Entry 1 of my series on Tourette in Popular Media, I decided to go with the infamous South Park episode, "La Petit Tourette". I'm going with this first because of all the things I'll be talking about in these posts, this single episode of South Park might be the one I have to personally reckon with the most, and certainly the one that I most need to come to terms with. I want to investigate not just how the average person thinks of Tourette's, but what I myself thought of it before my own diagnosis. This is a good place to start because, up until a few years ago, I truly loved South Park.
     Not everyone reading this is as old as my old self, but back around 1997, when I was seventeen, South Park was the absolute bomb diggity for people (boys) of a certain age (teenagers). Here on TV, finally, at long last, were four cartoon boys as crude and vulgar as my friends and I believed ourselves to be in real life. I was not a particularly self-aware seventeen…

Tourette in Popular Media, Entry 0: Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

Hey everyone! I've decided to try a little experiment with my blog. I don't remember how the idea came about, but I thought it would be a fun exercise to go through depictions of Tourette Syndrome in popular media to examine how they've influenced how the average person might perceive TS. While this is a purely academic exercise, it's awfully personal to me and I imagine it is to some of you as well. A person's beliefs about TS and TS patients can profoundly affect those of us who suffer from it, from personal relationships and dating to college admissions and job hunting, not to mention, as I'm discovering, parenting.
     I know I have a tendency in my blog posts to ramble, but I want these entries to be accessible, pointed, and relevant. I'm going to do my best to keep these pieces laser(ish)-focused on what effect the media in question might have had on viewers' beliefs about TS. I will surely digress here and there, and I want to leave space t…

Awareness

Well, it's Tourette Awareness Month until June 15th, so I figured I'd update the ol' blog for a change in honor of that. I hope everyone reading is doing well, and I'm sorry for not writing for a solid four and a half months. Since my last post in January, the world has almost fallen into WWIII, the Chiefs won the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, Tiger King was a thing, and the world presently stands in the grip of Covid-19. Good times, am I right?

The whole Covid thing has thrown me for a real loop. I find a lot of comfort in routine, and that has obviously been disrupted by the spread of the virus. My work is still open, though I've been home for the last four and a half weeks because I am lucky to work for a very generous company. My co-workers and I were given the opportunity to stay home and parent at a reasonable percent of our normal pay for up to four weeks. I threw some PTO in there, so my total at-home time should top out at around 6.5 weeks. Ha…

Bipolar

Hey gang! Sorry for the extended hiatus from regular updates. Honestly, I just haven't had much to write about lately and I imagine you all dislike filler as much as I do. Thing have been going pretty well for me. My tics have been pretty steady, even with the inevitable increase around the holidays re: holiday stress. No, today I'm writing for another reason entirely.

I've been seeing a psychologist for talk therapy since June of 19 and a psychiatrist for medical intervention since July of the same year. Through a number of conversations with my psychologist, we decided it's likely that I'm suffering from bipolar disorder, specifically type II. Bipolar type II is typified by longer stretches of time in the depressive phase of bipolar disorder and never reaching the stage of full mania most commonly associated with the condition. Sufferers of Bipolar II reach a stage called hypomania, which is just what it sounds like. Much like a hypodermic needle is inserted just…

Conversationally Speaking

I thought it might be interesting to talk about the effects Tourette Syndrome can have on something as basic as our ability to participate in a conversation. My wife and I have a 2 year old son now, and a huge percentage of our interactions with him are based around helping him learn to speak. He's right on schedule as far as learning goes. He can parrot just about any word he hears, though he hasn't quite mastered the "v" sound yet. It's really endearing when he says, "I luh you!" Verbal communication is so important from such an early age. Yeah, it's important to be able to write coherently, but have you ever heard someone yell, "Quick! Write 911!" No. No you have not.

Which is why it can be so frustrating that TS can have such a negative impact on our speech. I try never to speak (HA!) for anyone else in my blog, so I'll stick mostly to my own experience. I have a ton of mouth and jaw tics that interfere with my speech regularly, th…

Parenting While Tourettic 1

There are a ton of resources online for parents whose kids have TS, and rightly so. Every child with Tourette who is loved and supported from diagnosis day on is a child who will grow up loving themself, TS and all. Unquestionably good. But what about the opposite situation? What if, on top of all the challenges of becoming a new parent, you're also a person with Tourette Syndrome? I sure don't have all the answers, but I'm going to share my observations, strategies, fears, and coping mechanisms with you here. Away we go!

Congratulations! You're going to be a parent! It's going to be great! Awful challenges that turn out to be totally worth it! A strengthened bond with your partner when your baby is crying and you agree to ignore it for another five minutes! Changing diapers, which it turns out never gets less gross! The certain knowledge that sleep is for the weak and that there is, in fact an amount of spit-up you can tolerate on your clothes without getting chan…

Like a Horse and Carriage

Tourette's and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, but the horse just can't stop ticcing and so the carriage is constantly bouncing around and the occupants are being tossed about like a bag of popcorn mid-pop. I'm writing this mostly as an excuse to ask other people how having Tourette Syndrome has affected their marriages and relationships, but I'm also writing it because the more I think about it, the more I realize that my TS has played a prominent role in the shape my marriage has today. I often wonder how that shape would be different if I didn't have TS or if I'd been diagnosed long before my wife and I met and it was a known quantity in my life. Also, my wife is amazing and she deserves a blog post about how just amazing she is.

First, some dating background. I fell in love for the first time when I was seventeen, and it was exactly how all the songs said it would be like. Just a life changing, "I want to feel like this forever" fe…