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Tips for Dealing with Tics in Public

Dealing with Tics in public:

1) The first thing I would say regarding dealing with tics in public is to remember that other people's reactions have nothing to do with you, if people react poorly to your tics, it reflects their own ignorance and misunderstanding and isn't your fault as you cannot control your tics and shouldn't be expected to hold them in as that can make things worse. Your tics are the symptom of a neurological condition and are not under your control, but other people can control their reactions to them. If people stare, know that they are probably just curious, but it all comes down to the fact that others' reactions have nothing to do with you, you are allowed to go out in public and live your life just like everyone else.

2) Take a card out with you that explains Tourette's / Tics, you can print them off from online, purchase them or make your own which explains your condition. This can be helpful if someone asks you a question about your tics, it can be a quick way to explain and prove that you have the condition if you don't feel comfortable saying it.

3) Rehearse what to say in response to questions that you may be asked, this can help if you tend to get stunned on the spot and struggle to think of something to say, having a response planned can be beneficial. It can also help to imagine yourself in a situation where people may be giving you a hard time due to their ignorance surrounding your tics, this may never happen, but there is a chance, so planning what to do in your mind could be helpful and could act as an exposure so that if that situation ever did happen, you wouldn't be as anxious and would be able to deal with it, this can give you more confidence to go out in public.

4) Wear a hidden disability lanyard - you can get this from the hidden disabilities online store and this can be helpful as it shows that you have a hidden disability and this can let people know that you aren't making noises and movements for no reason and it can also show that you may require extra assistance.

5) Wear a Tourette's / Tics awareness t-shirt as this can give people an idea of what is going on so you may not get as many unwanted questions, thankfully the awareness of Tourette's / Tics is increasing so hopefully when most people see an awareness shirt, they will know what it is about.

6) Work on anxiety management and confidence building. If you work on confidence building then it can empower you if you keep reminding yourself that this is a condition so it isn't your fault, that you can tic loud and proud and you are allowed to be yourself and remind yourself that you are allowed to go out in public just like everyone else, it can help you stick up for yourself and feel confident. Anxiety management is whatever works for you, it could be calming strategies, using fidget tools or a chewigem, going to therapy or taking supplements or medication to try and manage underlying anxiety. Once the anxiety is managed, you may feel more confident going out in public.

7) Go out with someone you trust, going out with someone you trust such as a friend, family member or partner can give you more confidence and reduce your anxiety, and they can encourage you to find ways to explain your condition if anyone says anything. If someone goes with you, you could tell them what to do if you have a tic attack so that you can be comforted and be kept safe and so that others around you know what is going on so that people don't make a fuss. Some people also use a medical alert bracelet to inform people about tic attacks, so that people don't think it's a seizure.

8) Tic redirection - This may not always be necessary as it is often more freeing to let your tics out, but if you do not feel comfortable ticcing in certain places then this could be an option. Tic redirection is not the same as tic suppression. Tic suppression is where you prevent your tics from coming out and hold them in, but redirection is where you do something else that can fulfil the urge to tic or to calm the tics or prevent it from causing problems. Ways of redirecting vocal tics in public could include singing quietly, humming or chewing gum (do not do this if you have breathing tics or any risk of swallowing or inhaling the gum) .

9) Wear sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses can be helpful for 2 reasons, the first is that it prevents you from making eye contact with people so people are less likely to think that a tic is directed towards them. The second reason is that wearing sunglasses can help people feel less overwhelmed and can reduce tics for some people by addressing light sensitivity.

An image with a teal background and white text that reads 'Ticcing in public'


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