an open rebellion against the proper authorities
Living with Tourette’s is a never-ending journey of learning & fostering mental self-defense mechanisms, only to know that those very defenses can and eventually will turn on you and will in turn need to be defended against. When most people think of Tourette’s Syndrome, they think of uncontrollably hurling expletives out of control, a breed of tics which only affects 1% of those diagnosed with the neurological disorder. What we don’t talk about nearly often enough is the mental & emotional toll that it takes to live with a brain that is actively and consistently sabotaging itself, over and over and over again.
Imagine trying to play chess against Professor Xavier, who can read your every thought and possible plan of action. Any offense or defense you construe will be intimately understand inside and out by those assaulting you. The catch is that this is all taking place within one brain. We with Tourette’s can become attached & fixated on certain thought patterns & processes and the more we try not to go down that rabbit hole, the stronger the itch becomes and the less control we have over whether or not to scratch it.
Often times, if you’re seeing a physical or vocal outburst from someone with Tourette’s, that’s the tail end of a battle that began deep in their brain and fought each layer up to the surface into the “real world'“ full of NTs (neurotypicals: people without mental disorders). If we appear to be distracted or distant or have to ask you to repeat what you said a couple times, keep in mind that we’re in a perpetual state of multitasking on so many interconnected & interwoven levels. It can take a lot of effort to maintain that control while also keeping up with the perpetually mercurial social cues & niceties that are required when interacting with an NT. All of this is amplified by environmental pressures & variables.
Long story short….living with Tourette’s can be downright exhausting. I took these self-portraits mid-tic after a particularly rough morning with the Depression/Anxiety that also come along with TS (and that good ol boy, OCD), but thanks to the kind and gentle words of encouragement of a friend who had a beautiful and emotional reaction to previous TS portraits I had done, I decided it was about time I revisit this series. I hope to maintain the pressure on myself to photograph myself more often.