Undiagnosed Late-start

I've been having motor tics since I was a kid (I don't remember when they started), and the vocal tics began two months after I turned 18. I didn't know they were tics until when the vocal ones started, and I looked them up. I believe what I googled was something like "My neck keeps ******* and I can't stop it." There were many searches I did before that one, but only that one brought up the word "tic". I'd never heard of that word. I'd heard of Tourette's Syndrome thanks to the movie What About Bob, but nothing more than the swearing part. I didn't know that younger people could get it too.

The three tics I had as a child were these: a lip pout, a neck jerk to the left, and something like a violent shiver (moving my torso left and right really fast so it looked like I was shivering). I thought they were normal because they were rarely commented on them. The only one people noticed was the shiver one and they'd ask if I was cold. I'd say yes because I didn't know what the hell it was. I was aware of that weird feeling I got before one, and I knew it wasn't me doing it. I called them muscle spasms.

These three never changed, and they weren't very often, but they were consistent. I'd get them once a month, maybe twice on occasion. I never went a month without one. Usually the shiver and lip pout came together, but they came in any set.

In April, I was sitting at my computer when I realized I had that familiar weird feeling. It was worse than usual, and as soon as I stopped trying not to do it (I could hold them off longer back then), it got really bad. For four days, I ticced every two seconds. I nearly threw my neck out. I got a cople more physical ones, like putting up my arms like I was guarding my face from a blow. And I got a vocal one that said "Hm". This, I knew, was not normal. So I did my research and found the information I needed since I was a kid.

After that particularly bad bout was over, they settled down. But they were no longer once a month. The minimum now is 5, maybe 10 a day. 5 is only if I'm distracted all day. I lost the arms one and the "Hm" one, but I got more vocal and motor tics. I now have somewhere between 25 and 30. Some have evolved (mine rarely change completely). I got my first facial tics that summer.

All of my vocal tics are a different form of the same action, which is inhaling through my mouth. I am very prone to more of those if I hear another sound. My first regular vocal tic was a gasp, which I hated. I don't mind any of the others I have, but that gasp was horrid. I'm not a person who gasps at anything. I'm not much of a talker. So whenever I would talk and I'd gasp in the middle of my speech, I think it made me sound like I didn't talk because I had to gasp for air each time. I hated that tic. Luckily I don't really do it anymore, only on rare occasions.

For example, my friend had the hiccups, so I picked up that tic. It wasn't too bad, but the next night another friend got the hiccups, and that really set it off. I echoed her every time she hiccuped. It was hilarious and awful at the same time. That's how the other four people in the car (my friends already knew) found out about the tics. I still have it, as well as around 4 or 5 vocal tics.

The funny thing to me is I have yet to get any tics below my neck, except for that shiver one. I still have that and the lip pout. The neck jerk evolved, luckily. That one could've strained my neck, and I don't need to go through THAT again.

Maybe I do have them and I don't know. My hands occasionally jerk up, or my leg jerks, but I don't get that premonitionary feeling like I do with the others. So I categorize that as a muscle spasm. If I'm wrong on that, please let me know.

I don't mind having tics. I'm used to saying "I have tics." It's not a bad thing. But I do need to see the doctor about it. I'm scared to get the TS diagnosis. The idea of saying, "I have TS" scares me. Having that label on it is permanent, it says to people that you have a problem. For some reason, "tics" doesn't say that to me.

I'm nervous about telling my parents. My mom's noticed the facial tics, but other than that, I've been good about hiding them. I was going to tell them on Thanksgiving, but the holidays got in the way. Now I'm just stalling because I'm nervous. Any tips or pep-talk would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
chococat159 chococat159
1 Response Jan 13, 2013

I have had facial tics for over 50 years...since I was a kid. About a month ago, I saw a hematologist, and she was the FIRST doctor that has asked about them. I told her that I have had them all my life. I am quite sure that I will be referred to a neurologist to be checked. Mine are at their worst when I am tired. I would rather find out for sure, instead of people wondering what is wrong with me. If I have Tourette's, I want to know.