Ruth who also has Tourettes came to stay the other night to provide my overnight support. We were sitting together on the sofa watching TV when she started to tic, ‘Hit head.’ My arm instantly and obediently responded and I hit myself in the face.
Ruth then slapped herself in the face, and said, ‘Hit head’ again. I managed to keep my arm in check for a moment by sitting on it, but I echoed back ‘Hit head’ instead, which made Ruth hit herself again – and so we went on, seemingly locked into an endless cycle of ticcing and head-hitting. But while this was clearly painful, we both found it funny, and it was laughter that eventually helped us break the cycle.
Setting each other off in this way is one of the dangers of hanging out with other people with Tourettes, but the benefits far outweigh the risk of getting boxed in the head. It’s much more likely that tics bouncing off each other will be brilliant rather than painful.
We were both fine after our round of alternative boxing and we went on to have a lovely evening chilling and chatting.