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How To Have Tourette’s Part 24 – Two Days Without Tics

I am currently one billion times more placid and lovely than this lame lake

Life is good, my friend. Despite the manic birds that start tweeting outside my window at 4 every morning, life is good.

If you have ever put together a bunch of  sleepless nights in a row, you know that you can become accustomed to something as horrible as being tired, lethargic, and slow. If it goes on long enough, you forget how good you were capable of feeling during the times when you were sleeping well and sleeping enough.

Once we’ve become acclimated to a less-than-ideal situation, “Good days” and “bad days” start to be measured by the state we are accustomed to, not the better times before.

But when you finally catch up on sleep, you realize and remember how good you used to feel. And wow, what a revelation!

Have you ever backslid on healthy eating for a while? Do you remember how good it felt to finally get back to good eating habits and say, “Wow, why did I ever get away from this?” Same thing with getting back into an exercise routine. “Why did I ever stop this?”

That’s where I’m at with tics today. By the time you read this, I’ll be well into my third day without having a single tic. And the most acute sensation I have is not joy or calm or happiness or disbelief, although those are certainly happening.

What I’m most aware of is an overwhelming feeling of remembering. Of how much I’ve forgotten about  how good it is possible to feel.

The urges are still there, and the itch to have tics is actually as strong as it’s ever been. But I’m learning how to shut it off. I’m getting better at it every day.

But again, it doesn’t feel like learning. It feels like remembering–remembering the way things are supposed to be. Maybe the way they were intended to be. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I expected this to be a longer post, but…two days without tics and counting.

Not much else to say!

Life is good. Is there something you’re forgetting?


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  • cinderkeys May 27, 2010, 1:05 am

    That’s fantastic.

    Is there a technique you’ve picked up? Something besides just white-knuckling through it?

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:08 pm

      Yes, but that’s a long story. I treat the urge to have tics in the same way I treat pain–with specific movements meant to address the source of the pain. The urge is usually localized in one (or many) body parts and shifts constantly, so the movements I use shift constantly as well. Make sense? Just kidding…I know it sounds weird–it is weird!

  • Amy Harrison May 27, 2010, 2:39 am

    Great going Josh.

    I’m coming up to the end of my half marathon training with the race at the end of June.

    It has taken me so long this year to get back into shape with many failed starts, but I’m fully in the rhythmn of good living and it just feels, well, good. I’m more alert, more focused and just want to hang on to this momentum of running up hills and eating healthily!

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:08 pm

      You should run across the ocean and come visit me.

  • Andrew Frenette May 27, 2010, 5:58 am

    That’s great to hear, Josh. You are to be commended for your efforts.

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:09 pm

      Andrew, the coolest thing about it is that the better I get at it, the less effort it takes. It just becomes the norm.

  • Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave May 27, 2010, 6:00 am

    my toes are permanently crossed!

  • Heather May 27, 2010, 6:44 am

    CONGRATULATIONS! Here’s to DAY 3! Now go buy yourself some extra-crunchy Skippy and eat the whole jar! 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:12 pm

      On my way. It’s over 55 hours now, I think. Nothing yet.

  • Hilary May 27, 2010, 7:01 am

    Hi Josh .. that’s such good news .. no wonder you remember the times as they can be and as they are ..

    Long may it last – Hilary

  • John May 27, 2010, 7:08 am

    That’s great news Josh!!!

    As far as remembering goes…that is the reason why I started keeping a journal of my workouts and my runs. For those days that I don’t think I can do it, I can look back at those notes and see that not only can I do it, but I have done it.

  • ami May 27, 2010, 9:02 am

    Outstanding news Josh. I like the idea of remembering something good as a way to reinforce what’s happening. I think a lot of people could benefit from remembering a good, quiet, healthy state of being as a way to deal with their current challenges.

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:13 pm

      Thanks Ami. I told you you were a genius. Looks like you’re starting to believe me:)

  • Carlos Velez May 27, 2010, 10:08 am

    I don’t know much about Tourette’s, and didn’t know that the tics were something that one could control. I also didn’t realize it was a real urge to tic. I always imagined it was more involuntary and just something to be endured.

    I am amazed by your news. I think it illustrates beautifully the capacity for change that humans possess. “That’s just the way I am” is a limp excuse. Congratulations Josh! That’s really inspiring.

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:21 pm

      Unfortunately, doctors don’t know much more about it than you do, Carlos. Everyone has assumed that it was something to be endured, including me. For far, far too long.

      The urge kind of feels like a sneeze. You could suppress a sneeze, right? But there’s no relief. It doesn’t feel good not to sneeze. With me, when I have a tic, it’s like releasing a sneeze, but the urge only goes away for about 2 seconds.

      It’s not over yet, but it will be soon. I’ve no doubt. Thanks!

  • It’s time to break out the peeps! This is your longest run yet.

    Physical goals are so critical. Everyone should have physical goals as well as mental, spiritual, monetary etc. goals. I am working on my lifetime goal of being able to do 100 pushups in a row… gotta long way to go, but working on it every week.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:22 pm

      Peeps ahoy. And I’d add one thing to your comment–physical goals are important, just as are mental, spiritual goals, etc. But I don’t believe that you can improve one without improving the others. The better I move, the better I can think. The better I can think, the more money I can make and the more use I can be to myself, my family, and others.

      Everything affects everything. I really do believe it.

  • Picsiechick May 27, 2010, 10:41 am

    Sometimes it works in reverse, too. Like being advised to not do a physical activity until something is healed, even though it doesn’t hurt much….and I can reduce the frustration of that a littel by remembering a different health crisis during which I didn’t have the strength to walk my dogs around the block. I’m grateful to not be there right now, and looking forward to when I’ll be back to learning to run.

    Congratulations to you, Josh! I am proud of you!

    Hugs and butterflies,

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 12:23 pm

      Have you tried running on your hands in the interim? Just kidding. Thank you as always, TD.

      • Picsiechick May 27, 2010, 12:58 pm

        Almost. That’s what building John’s webpage is kind of feeling like. The worst of that will be over soon….then I can start my own….then I can get back to training. LOL


  • Bamboo Forest - Tick Tock Timer May 27, 2010, 7:53 pm

    “The urges are still there, and the itch to have tics is actually as strong as it’s ever been. But I’m learning how to shut it off. I’m getting better at it every day.”

    The urges are there now. But… with enough consistency at non-tic living, will your nervous system no longer produce them? Can you retrain your nervous system?

    Oh, I’m sure you’re an expert on tics and alternative treatments. But… you may consider giving yoga and most certainly daily meditation a try–to see what potential benefits it could have.

    Continue on.

    • Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2010, 8:01 pm

      I’m only an expert on my tics, but I believe you’re right. The urges are there, but I can shut them off with a movement. What I believe will happen–and I can’t prove this, but it feels right–is that one day I will be able to visualize the movement that resolves the stress, without actually performing the movement, so nobody would know anything was going on.

      • Bill Jones June 1, 2010, 10:00 pm

        I think you can do the visualization now.

        If you know a movement right now that can “take care” of a tic/stress right now you could visualize that specific movement.

        You’ll have to visualize the movement as if you were really doing it and “push/fight” just as hard. You could visualize it as if you were watching yourself or from the inside. The great thing about visualizing is that you don’t fail.

        There are several studies supporting visualization and we practice it with a physical therapy technique: Total Motion Release. Having finished watching Grip/Rip tonight I feel the same way about that…that is you could test ROM then visualize a press and retest.

        I don’t think Adam likes me to compare the two but having done TMR for a few years and having seen Grip/Rip there are some similarities. The next few weeks/months are going to be fun!

        Talk to you soon,


  • Grace May 28, 2010, 12:48 am

    Josh, I am so happy for you! That is so incredibly awesome!

    I have been following your blog off & on for a while now because I have a google alert for “Tourette’s” as I try to keep up with any knowledge or developments as soon as they come out & so your articles frequently show up there. My oldest son who just turned 18 has Tourette’s & is in that lucky minority of those who get worse as they get older instead of better.

    His tics get worse every time something challenges his immune system & this spring’s allergies have made his tics the worst they’ve ever been. We’ve also noticed sugar/refined carbs make them worse so we’ve just started a restricted carbs diet to see if it helps (pretty much meat, veggies & limited fruits/nuts/beans).

    He is really, really depressed & discouraged with his situation. It has affected his memory & his attention as well. We homeschool & he is struggling to get anything done – everything takes an inordinate amount of time.

    His tics are made worse by voices so I have to try to quiet his 4 siblings constantly throughout the day because he “hums” so much that they’ve begun tuning it out – which has led to him doing it even louder, almost bellowing, & we’re starting to worry that a neighbor is going to become alarmed & call the cops. It’s hard to even have a conversation because the tics hit over & over again as we talk. My DH & I have been trying to avoid having him use medication, but are starting to think we may have to.

    I showed him this article hoping it would give him some encouragement & even though his tics are not what most would call severe (he can still go out in public & restrain most of them), he says that before this latest waxing he could relate to what you’re saying but that his brain feels so messed up right now, & it’s as if the original “ground rules” for his tics are doing some kind of change up that he is having trouble sorting out.

    I realize that you are an expert on YOUR tics & not everyone else’s, but because you went thru a similar sort of depressive phase I was still hoping that you might have some suggestions of things he could try that might help? He constantly derides himself – keeps calling himself a freak & an idiot after he goes thru a series (to the point that I am wondering if he has incorporated his negativity into his tics) & I worry that his attitude is making things even worse, but I do know that it is breaking my heart.

    Anything positive you could suggest would be so very much appreciated!

    • Josh Hanagarne May 28, 2010, 10:37 am

      Grace, why don’t you contact me through the contact form up top and we’ll set up a time to talk?

      • Grace May 29, 2010, 1:34 am

        Thank you!

  • holly May 28, 2010, 8:51 am

    are u living in the wild?

  • holly May 28, 2010, 10:40 am

    i’m trying to ‘connect’ on facebook, but need some help. do u have a private email?

  • Debbie June 1, 2010, 2:02 pm

    So I read the first five Tourette’s post and then jumped to the last. And now I’m in suspense. Have you been able to keep shutting off your tics? And whether yes or no, are you still feeling good? I hope so.

    • Josh Hanagarne June 1, 2010, 2:06 pm

      Sorry Debbie, there are some severe ups and down in there between 5 and 24. But the short answer is I’m feeling wonderful, thank you. Better every day:)