Monday, March 26, 2012

My Dad's Side of the Family Definitely has OCD and Tourette's!

Ever wondered where I got my OCD and Tourette's from? Well from right here of course!

Well not exactly from shirts hanging in a closet! But compare this side of the closet to my mom's side of the closet and I think you can start to get the picture! 

A bit of a difference there, huh? Well, the first picture is my dad's side of the closet, and you can tell that it's quite a bit different from my mom's side of the closet. Not only are the shirts ironed and flattened perfectly, but each hanger is exactly the distance from the hanger on either side of it. 

That's because my dad has OCD, and as you can tell, my mom does not. My dad's hangers HAVE to be exactly the same distance from the other hangers in his closet as you can see, and as he has mentioned to me before it is one of his many OCD "compulsions". You don't have to live with my dad for very long to know that he has OCD, and living with him for my entire life, it sure would have been hard to miss the OCD. 

I remember that when I was a kid, my brother and I would play little games with him to see how long he could go without his OCD taking over. Of couse we didn't know that this thing he had was called OCD, we just thought it was funny. One time my brother kept dropping peas on the table by accident and my dad kept putting them back on the plate. He just couldn't stand seeing even one pea on the table! Then either my brother or I (I don't remember which one) decided to purposely put the pea on the table and start joking with him and say "let's see how long he can stand it without putting the pea back on the plate!". My dad waited a few seconds then just had to put the pea back on the plate! We started laughing because we just thought it was so funny! It was all in good fun though! My dad and mom were laughing right along with us. 

Another time, my dad ordered a beer sampler when we were out to dinner. When the beer came, there were 5 little cups and in each cup was a different kind of beer that was shaded a different color. They came all jumbled up and my dad just HAD to order then from darkest to lightest in a straight line. My brother and I thought this was very funny as well! 

There have been a lot of moments like this over the course of my childhood, and i'd have to say that it's pretty clear that I got my OCD and Tourette's from my dad and his side of the family. Whenever it comes up, my mom will say "Oh yes, my husband definitely has OCD". 

My dad also has some tics but it is a very touchy subject for him. No one ever brings it up, and he never talks about it. Ever night when my dad comes home for dinner, he makes these gulping/hiccuping sounds and he has been doing this for as long as I can remember. His body will also suddenly do these little jerks/twitches every once in a while and sometimes he will do a quick shivering movement when it isn't even cold in the room. 

My dad isn't the only one on his side of the family who has OCD or tics though, not surprisingly, since it is genetic. My dad is one of 4 brothers, and at least three out of the four have clear OCD. One of my uncles asked for a vacuum for his 6th birthday, and when he got his very own mini vacuum, he went around for weeks as happy as can be vacuuming every dust particle in sight. He gets very embarrassed when my grandma or anyone else brings that up though! And sure enough a good majority of cousins will routinely report that his or her dad clearly has OCD. In addition, I have two other first cousins on my dad's side that I know of who have been diagnosed with Tourette's and/or OCD. 

So my Tourette's and OCD is obviously genetic! I know that much for sure. My mom has also now become convinced that my brother has Tourette's as well. We've known he has had tics for a while, but he recently started doing a humming noise and a lot more blinking and mouth opening. Since he is 15 and is very insecure about this kind of stuff though, my mom doesn't dare even try to bring him to a neurologist just yet. Whenever my mom hints at anything in the anxiety/tic department, my brother will get VERY angry with my mom and will tell her to never talk about it with him again. So she is hoping that in a few years he will mature enough so that she can get him to a neurologist.

She mainly wants to get him diagnosed so that he will be able to have the accommodations he needs for the SAT/ ACT which he will take in just a few years. She also wants him to one day be a Tourette's Syndrome Youth Ambassador and go up to Washington DC for the TSA Youth Ambassador conference since we found out about the TSA Youth Ambassador Program too late for me to get involved with it. She thinks this will look really good on his college application and knows that if my brother ever became more secure about his tics that he would just love it because of how much he cares about and loves helping other people. Well we will see how that plays out over the next few years. I can tell you one thing for sure though: if he does ever become a TSA Youth Ambassador, I will be soooo incredibly jealous!!! 

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