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Tics In Adults and Work Accommodations

fire alarm

The fire alarm of doom

Today’s post is for who fall into the Tics in adults category. Specifically, adult Tourettics with jobs.

Yesterday there was a fire alarm at work.

A fire alarm. Good grief, when the fire alarm goes off at the library it sounds like the end of the world. Screeching, pealing, piercing awfulness, accompanied by blinking lights that are spread throughout the building, oh, every two inches or so, it felt like.These are the kinds of lights against which, closing your eyes is beyond futile.

The last time this happened was about six months ago. After we evacuated and reentered the building, they were unable, for some reason, to turn the lights off for another few hours. I gutted it out and I paid the price. My tics went absolutely berserk and I was effectively screwed for the next three days. That combination of lights and unholy noise got in my brain and started kicking everything they could find.

I wrote it all down, made whatever notes seemed useful, and go back to normal.

I’d never felt anything quite like it.

Until yesterday, that is, when it happened again. But this time I got out relatively unscathed. Six months ago, I told everyone in our department what had happened.

This time, as soon as we got back in the building, (the lights were still on), everyone said “Just go. We’ll handle it.” So I went, because the expectation was there. I hadn’t tried to hide what had happened the first time, or to fight through it gain, because what would be the point?

If you are an adult with Tourette’s Syndrome–or you are old enough to have a job and you have the disorder–I would encourage you to fight any embarrassment you might have, and swallow any pride that might come at a cost you’d rather not pay.

Maybe they can accommodate you, maybe not, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

I could have made it through the last couple hours of work yesterday, lights or no. But if I had, I suspect that I wouldn’t be up to writing today, or doing much of anything else.

Make things easy on yourself wherever possible. Don’t take advantage, but allow people to help you whenever they are actually able to. Work is usually one of those situations.

If anyone in my department is reading this, thank you.

If you have Tourette’s Syndrome and you’re interested in hearing more about how I have managed my tics to a state of almost complete non-existence, please subscribe to the newsletter and watch the video.

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