As those of you who have been following my blog know, I experienced a very short bout of Coprolalia about a month before camp this year. I'm not sure why it started or what triggered it, but for about a week I would very quietly say the f word. After that one week though, it completely went away and hasn't shown up at all sense then. I was really thankful when it went away, and I think it truly just was a strange fluke!
At camp quite a few of the campers and counselors have Coprolalia, so I was a little nervous that I would pick it up again. The first two days I was around a lot of people with Coprolalia and it seemed to have absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. I was feeling no urges to say curse words even though my other vocal tics were more frequent and being triggered by all the people ticcing around me. Some people even picked up my tics! It was so odd to hear other people doing my tics! One of my tics that a lot of people seemed to pick up was my tic where I say the word "no" and two people even picked up my tic where I say the word "woof".
Anyway, one night a lot of the campers and counselors were sitting in the same area waiting for something called tepee time to start everyone's tics started to go crazy! We all started setting eachother's tics off and my tics of course were being set off too. A lot of people with TS have something called echolalia which means we echo the words of others. This is one of the reasons that it's so easy for those with TS to pick up tics from other people. For me, I usually don't pick up other's tics that often, but sometimes I will hear someone tic or just say something regularly and I will echo the word back regardless of what the word is. It doesn't happen to me now as frequently as it used to when I was young, but every now and then i'll echo back a word or phrase that I hear. Sometimes I will echo back a simple word like "lunch" or a phrase like "let's go to lunch", but sitting there waiting for tepee time to stop, I echoed back fairly loudly a curse word that one of the campers ticced. I had absolutely no idea that I was going to do that and it took me by complete surprise. I was so shocked, mainly because it was completely involuntary and came with no warning and as soon as I realized what I had ticced, I quickly put my hand over my mouth and without thinking I said "oh my gosh, i've never done that before.
Even though I've had a very brief tic of saying the f word very quietly, it seems to have been a fluke and seems to be gone for good, and I have never echoed back a curse word with literally no warning whatsoever. My campers immediately noticed my reaction to my tic and I can only assume I must have looked very shocked and somewhat scared even. My campers were absolutely amazing. It was so sweet how they werew concerned about me and wanted to make sure I was alright. They weren't concerned with what I had ticced (the word was pretty mild compared to other curse words, and even if the tic would have been a more serious curse word, they still probably wouldn't have been concerned about that at all), but instead they were concerned because of my reaction. They wanted to make sure that I was emotionally okay. I told them all that I was fine, and that the tic had just caught me off guard and surprised me. I didn't want them to worry about me.
Even with this explanation though, my campers still wanted to reassure me that everything was okay and that they were there to support me just like I was there to support them. The thing that really stuck out of me is when one of my campers said to me "It's okay, we all have Tourette's here!" That was so sweet of her and it really did make me feel better! I absolutely love how amazing and compassionate all the campers at camp twitch and shout are. They are such sweet kids who care about the other campers and their counselors so much. It was a real blessing to have been able to spend the week with these kids! I always feel like I learn so much from them every year. They are so strong, beautiful, and compassionate, and I know that others out in the world will see that just as I do :)