Tourette Syndrome and Anxiety
Even though studies show that Anxiety is present as a comorbid in this nuerodevelopmental spectrum disorder approximately 30% of the time, anecdotally most of my friends (and all of my family) with Tourette have talked about suffering from anxiety at some point in their lives.
From School Anxiety (and school refusal! 😳) to Separation Anxiety (thanks OCD!) to Social Anxiety (thanks SPD & tics!) to just plain “It’s 4 am and I Can’t Sleep Because the World is Going to End in a Massive Earthquake/Burglars are Going to Break Into Our Home/I Can’t Stop Thinking About the Wrong Thing I said/I Need to Confess Something I think I did I Wrong” Anxiety (no, seriously, thanks OCD) to I Can’t Do Something I Once Loved Anymore Anxiety (okay, look OCD, we really need to have a chat…) to Random Sobbing Anxiety over incidents that happened years ago — my three Ticcers have had it all.
As you can see, for my three guys the anxiety is mostly driven by their obsessive OCD that is so common in Tourette.
And, from dragging them into school — literally — when they’re certain you’ll die if you’re not in their sight (every day for a whole year), to finding just the right journal for the confessions to go in, to worrying at 4am about their ability to make it through another episode of panic over allowing a classmate to borrow their cell for ten seconds to call home to being unable to convince them to join in whatever fun the rest of their friends or family are doing…we’ve done it all.
As a parent it hurts seeing them go through this — aches to the point that I’d give my right arm to make it go away.
Since that isn’t an option medical science has afforded us, we’ve found other ways to cope. Especially through holistic approaches to our lives that impact in positive ways — like music and exercise, which are what my family members with Tourette swear by.
Which is great because working out is good for all of us, including me, and when we find fun things to do together it strengthens our family bond.
That includes random dance offs in the living room, hikes up a mountain to shout our names from the top and days on the water with the kayaks.