the last issue I spoke of overstimulation, and how dealing with disorder
on top of everyday chores can be like holding a car high in the air.
Despite the phenomenal amount of effort they are exerting, overstimulated
people can appear to others to have a short fuse, and to be rather miserable
towards others. I suggested that anyone, but especially Touretters,
needs to carefully choose what stimulations, or "weights", to add to
their carloads so that the strain does not cause them to look like a
bad person when they really only wish to be good. Now I continue with
some possible T(r)IC(k)S:
most obvious strategy might be to just live alone: after all, if a person
is just fine before other people "add weight" to his/her carload, then
why not just eliminate those other people? That is certainly a choice
that many people with TS make, and it was a choice that my fiancée and
I have each made at times in our pasts. However, this time she and I
have agreed that we will try to lighten our carloads in other ways.
your issues. For example, if deciding that maybe the house
doesn't need to be vacuumed religiously every Saturday might mean that
we'd freed up enough mental energy to do something pleasant with each
other instead, we both realize that that particular ritual was just
not a battle worth choosing. Trying to do both would overload us, and
we would end up doing neither well. One weight gone.
things make a difference. Yelling over a loud stereo. Demanding
the person look at you when you speak. Touching the person. Having 20
friends over all at once rather than 2 friends at a time. Spontaneously
dropping a plan on a person without talking about it beforehand. Avoiding
these things can make a car a lot lighter really quickly. Another weight
Don't set yourself up. Life is full of stress and transition.
Knowing full well that you can't handle either of these well, don't
go looking for more when it isn't necessary. Think long and carefully
about major decisions that will guarantee considerable extended chaos.
Another weight gone.
I don't inhibit tics at all. Sometimes I even transfer
my tics. In fact, if I feel overloaded and just want to scream for awhile,
I do. It's important to have people in your life that are understanding
of these things. Another weight gone.
about overstimulation with your family and/or partner. My fiancée
and I are each getting good at looking up and seeing the other's trembling
car chassis overhead. She notices that I bite my nails and retreat to
the couch when overstimulated. I notice that she closes her eyes and
shakes her hands. By seeing that the other is overstimulated, we can
each realize that the others' strained civility is not personal, and
so we don't yell back. Instead, we roll out from under the others' car
and let him/her put it down for awhile, knowing that (s)he is working
hard but needs a rest. Another weight gone.
humour to lighten the load: it's a great distracter, and blows
off some stimulation.
when the person has carried their load well, and remark on it
- the next time (s)he is straining from the effort, it will help make
it worth it to him/her to keep holding on to the load.
one day your load isn't so heavy, help the other person hold theirs.
Take some of his/her weights (maybe a household task (s)he usually performs)
and put them on your own load. Another weight gone.
your carload light. Gets lots of sleep. Allow yourself some
time everyday to indulge in satisfying and de-stimulating rituals. Take
time off away from each other - spend a weekend apart, and alone. Another
When you are just too overstimulated to talk (or listen) effectively
face-to-face, find a less stimulating way to communicate
-- leave a note, write an email, leave a message on the answering machine.
Another weight gone.
Commit to continually changing yourself. If I blow
up, we talk about redirection. If she overloads and loses track, we
talk about how to implement more structure in that situation. Then next
time in that situation there are no rage or ADHD complications to add
more weight to each of our cars. Another weight gone.
to self-exploration and introspection. Without recognizing
who and what you are, you are doomed to continue repeating your same
mistakes again and again, wasting esteem, time, and energy. Understanding
your strengths and weaknesses helps you to maximize success. Another
by bit, things get lighter!!