Four years ago today, for the first time, I shared a picture of a tic I’d just created. It was an image in a series I called ‘God says’ inspired by all the God tics that’d emerged the previous summer.
It was the first time I’d realised the visual potential of my tics. I’d drawing and photography at university but I’d never before made a piece of work that related to Tourettes. Since creating this series I’ve illustrated a number of tics either using the computer or drawing by hand, which, as I’ve described, has always been a real struggle because of my arm tics.
But this time last week it wasn’t arm tics that were preventing me from being creative. It was my dystonic hands – painful and useless after the muscles inexplicably went into spasm on Boxing Day.
Last week, as I organised my clothes and made other practical alterations to my home, my mind occasionally drifted onto solutions to other problems that I hadn’t mentioned to anyone at all. For example, I decided I needed to teach my support workers how to use Photoshop as a matter of urgency because there were creative projects I wanted to finish.
A week on and my hands have loosened up thanks to the Botox injections. They’re not completely right yet – some of my fingers still curl, don’t seem as responsive as they were, and seize up when I’m asleep. But they’re much, much more useable and today I decided to give drawing a go.
When it came to choosing which tic to illustrate there was only one contender – the one that’s comforted me most over the last few weeks:
I was away! I even added a bit of colour, using the computer. My ‘normal’ tics were still troublesome and led to a number of ruined attempts, my bent fingers got in the way a little, and the pen felt clumsy in my hand, but it was nothing compared to my lack of pen-control last weekend.
Here’s what my handwriting looked like when I wrote the Botox appointment in my diary.
Last weekend I was keeping myself super busy to stop my mind from racing off to dark places. Today I’ve been drawing pooing bears to unwind and celebrate my return to dexterity.