Music and Tics

I find that when I play guitar my tics calm considerably. Usually when I’m in a calm patch playing guitar will almost eradicate them – I’ll have the odd occasional moment but otherwise can maintain enough control to be able to play. It’s not quite as effective at the moment though!  It usually has a better effect than you see here, but I think that knowing I was being recorded gave me some stage fright. But still I think this video demonstrates the change in tic severity when I play.  I will say this though (for my pride’s sake): I wrote that bassline, and I completely murdered it here. Timing was off, speed was off – as I mentioned before, I think I had some stage fright.

I would love to hear other people’s experience with music and other creative activities to see whether it is the same as mine. I know it’s a cheesy term, but once I’m in “the zone” I tend to switch off to everything else around me, there’s just me and my guitar in a little bubble.  I frequently don’t even notice really obvious things like people trying to talk to me!  When that happens – which can take a few minutes sometimes – it’s the most blissful feeling, especially when you spend all of your time moving about.

This is also the first time I’ve videoed myself ticcing for a while! I don’t like seeing it, which again probably sounds stupid!  In case anybody wonders, the reason you can’t hear the any phonic tics/background sounds etc is because when recording video of me playing bass I have to plug it in to the microphone jack.

Apologies for the short post, I know I’m usually a little more in depth and chatty.  I’ve had a bit of a ticcy day today and had a pretty pants time trying to get to sleep last night for the same reason.  That was really frustrating – I’d had a comparatively calm day up until that point!

One last thing – if you’d like to hear me NOT murdering that riff, check out my band’s soundcloud where we have various rough recordings – that song is called “wooly aphids”.  It was named after the creatures that killed my girlfriend’s cactus, we’re not a normal bunch.  🙂

Just a little late edit to the post:  That bass is made from solid Cedar and Maple – which in hindsight was a terrible idea with the tics.  On one hand it is fairly damage resistant – but on the flipside I have almost lost teeth and bruised various parts of my body ticcing while wearing it!  (and it is really heavy!)


About unexpectedmonkeys

My name is Al, I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome in my mid teens and it has definitely not improved with time! I’ve discovered how interesting it can make life but I’ve always tried to keep a positive attitude and keep moving forwards.

4 responses to “Music and Tics”

  1. stripeysquirrel says :

    Wow dude, that’s a big deal 🙂
    I totally understand not enjoying watching yourself tic, to me seeing anyone tic sets me off to see myself would be frustrating and likely make me worse.
    I do find that I usually calm right down when focused on something to varying degrees depend on the activity. Creative stuff is best, which is great as I’m very creative, gardening tends to be the most effective and pleasurable. It’ll usually make the tics disappear, it calms me down physically and emotionally and I can often enter that blissful separation from the world 🙂

  2. stripeysquirrel says :

    Oh I forgot to mention, the world is at it’s best when I can have my noise cancelling headphones on, playing music that I can get lost in. Bliss!

    • unexpectedmonkeys says :

      I’ll second that. During my calm patches I usually have a pair of noise cancelling headphones plugging my ears when I am out and about in public alone. Helps keep me distracted (although air-guitaring along by accident probably doesn’t look very normal…) with the bonus that I can’t hear my tics and by extension don’t get so embarrassed haha

      • stripeysquirrel says :

        Yeah snap, am kinda aware that I’m tic’ing but I can’t hear it over the music/podcast. And the physical ones I can, sorta, turn into a dance. Even if I have it on silent nobody knows I’m not listening to music and one of those confident people that doesn’t get embarrassed by people staring!

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