Hey everyone! So I haven't posted about this yet, but this has been something that has been going on for about a solid month now so I figured it's time to post about it! I wanted to make sure this was going to stick before I posted about it, but its pretty clear that it's sticking so....here I go!
For the most part in the past, my only vocal tics have been sounds. Some of them were louder and some of them were quieter. In high school I had a few tics that consisted of multiple syllabus like one that sounded like "reh" and one that sounded like "wuh" but I've never really had word tics....until now. The two tics that seem to be taking center stage right now are vocal tics where I say "woof", "um woof", and "no". It's a very new experience for me having tics that are words, but i've gotten used to it pretty quickly and so have my friends!
When I say "woof" "um woof" and "no" as tics they sound distinctively different from when I am just normally talking so most people can usually tell that they are tics. They are usually said in a voice that is louder than my normal speaking tone and they sound very "tic-like". The "woof" and "um woof" tics are usually louder and more high pitched than my speaking tone and can sound playful or "sassy" and the "no" tic is also said in a louder and different tone than my normal speaking voice and I tend to turn my head down and to the right when doing that tic.
Life is going on and pushing forward as normal though even with these new tics! They have created some amusing situations and have elicited some interesting comments from my friends but everyone who spends time around me is getting very used to them pretty quickly.
Just the other day in fact, I was sitting with some of my close friends in the college dining hall and a girl who I had met briefly but who doesn't really know me very well yet asked if she could join us. I said sure because I am pretty much always up for meeting new people and making new friends! She sat down with us and it wasn't long before I started doing my "woof" tic. The girl who I didn't know too well asked if I was okay because she didn't know that I have Tourette's and I told her that yes I was okay and explained to her that I have Tourette's. When i'm explaining I have Tourette's I usually like to add in something personal at the end to let the person know that i'm okay with having Tourette's and it's not something that we need to be super serious about all the time. The more relaxed I am about Tourette's, the more relaxed that the people around me will be about it. So this time I ended with saying "Most of the time, my friends actually find it pretty amusing". My friend Sarah responded to this by saying "yeah....but not all the time". In a joking way I said back to her "Oh yeah? Well what is it the rest of the time then?". And to this she said "No! Haha I didn't mean it that way! I just meant that sometimes it's funny in certain situations when we see a dog or something and you're saying "woof" because it sounds like you're trying to communicate with the dog! But most of them time its just....its just....Normal."
It made me really happy to hear her say this because that's all I want most of the time. I just want my friends to be used to my tics and feel like they are just something that's normal. I want people to get used to my tics so they just blend into the background so that they aren't something that the people around me really pay attention to. I sometimes worry that my tics are annoying or are bothering my friends, so hearing Sarah say that they are just normal for her made me feel really good. Having my tics be "normal" for other people to hear, see, or to be around is really pretty much all I want most of the time in terms of my Tourette's. I do like it when people joke around with me about every now like when I do my "no" tic after someone has asked a question and one of my friends says "well she doesn't agree!" is a friendly joking kind of way or when one of my friends says "I wonder how I knew she was in here!" when they hear my tics from afar because it lets me know that they are comfortable with my tics and feel comfortable enough to joke around with me about them! But most of the time, I just want them to be something that no one really draws attention to that often because they are just something that's normal for me.
So long story short, i'm getting the best of both worlds right now! My friends just ignore my tics most of the time because my they are normal for them to be around and then also know the right times to joke with me about them or to talk about Tourette's with me :)