I often say that Tourettes is the most frequently misunderstood condition on the planet. Tonight I’m going to throw down a challenge and suggest it’s also the strangest condition there is. Here’s why…
At the weekend Poppy and I went to an exhibition at Somerset House. It was of a series of suggestions by architects about how to renovate some of the disused and abandoned spaces in London and turn them into public attractions. This fascinating exhibition was nestled in the vaults beneath the main building.
But they were also quite damp, with the odd leak here and there. We went past a bucket that’d been placed under one regular, rhythmic drip. Each drop of water clanged against the bucket before echoing slightly inside: tu-dunk…………… tu-dunk…………… tu-dunk. As we went on round the exhibition this noise continued even though we’d moved well past the drip.
How was this possible? Simple, its source was no longer the leaky roof – it was me. I’d instantly picked up the sound as a tic. Poppy found this hilarious – not only was the sound very similar, I was also ticcing with the same regularity as the drip. We went back and recorded it on my phone. Have a listen for yourself:
It’s quite common for me to copy sounds around me like this. It’s called echolalia, and can be a feature of other neurological conditions as well as Tourettes. Normally it doesn’t last for more than a few moments, but I’ve been dripping on and off now for days. I’d expected to come back from the exhibition full of new ideas – I hadn’t expected to bring a drippy new tic home as well.
As surreal as it is living with Tourettes, I’ve generally got used to odd things happening. But every now and again it brings something new to the table that leaves me completely in awe of how odd my brain can be – this is definitely one of those.
So my challenge is: if you’ve got a condition you think trumps Tourettes for strangeness, share it in the comments section below.