I am married and have 3 kids. I read Tarot cards, do astrology, love fringe science, write poems/ditties/short songs, smoke, drink, etc.
I enjoy reading ... oh yes, I have Tourette's Syndrome.
The full blown kind. You know, swearing and aggressive jerking and all that.
Oh yeah, I also have Asperger's Syndrome.
I was diagnosed at age 31. I have tics that are triggered by sensory input or any changes to my routine, and tics that are cycle based.
I deal with it in a number of ways. One of them is Karaoke.
About Guy - the long version
Born in 1975 - Aquarius - 5'11" (1.8 metres) - 11 stone 5 pounds (165 pounds)
I grew up in Essex in the UK and went to numerous primary schools; we moved around quite a bit. As a child, I was anxious and high-strung. I asked questions of my poor mother all the time. I could never relax and had to be always on the go. And I was a fussy eater.
When I was younger, I had walking problems and had to relearn how to walk properly; consequently, my knees grew out of alignment and were prone to 'locking up,' causing me to fall to the ground. For years, I had to concentrate whenever I walked.
My father (undiagnosed Aspie*) left when I was 6 years old. I continued to see him on a two-week basis for a very short time, but that petered out very quickly as the whole process was too upsetting for me (I was told). I didn't see him again until I was 15.
My mother married again to a man whom I now refer to as my father, which is a little strange because he is only 15 years my senior, but nonetheless, he was there filling the role, and as far as I am concerned, he did a cracking job.
At senior school, my Aspie nature really took over. I had no real interest in women; I got my kicks from working hard and achieving goals I had set for myself. To illustrate, when I was to go up to high school from primary school, I insisted that my parents buy me a briefcase. My vision of school was very much "You go there to work, and learn, and everybody takes it seriously. You will be treated like an adult."
Obviously, this couldn't be further from the reality. On the first day of high school, my briefcase and I were laughed at … hard. It was taken from me and launched into the air by older kids (I was an extremely small 11 year old). When I got home I insisted that my parents buy me a 'normal' bag.
As the years went on, my school work ethic was replaced by the need to learn social protocol. This took years and all my resources; in fact it was so stressful I couldn't wait to leave the school environment and start work as an adult.
The mere notion of carrying on and going to college or university sickened me; I wanted to leave the concept behind of being forced to work alongside people you would never choose to share time with.
Numerous jobs later at the ripe old age of 21, I met my wife. She was 18 at the time and the friend of a former girlfriend. As I forget what type of person I was, my wife describes me as an angry person who drank a lot, hated people and could never relax.
*Aspie – slang for Asperger's
She says I had a softer side but it was really hard to get to.
I played in a band and drove a black Vauxhall Chevette (which she liked). Not a pretty picture there, but the love of my life was determined to get to the 'real' me; she refused to believe that I was just an arsehole with no redeeming qualities.
Years went on and we moved in together. I was an unredeemable arsehole for some time. I told her parents I couldn't wait for the asteroid to hit the earth and wipe out all of mankind, so we would all experience 'sweet release.'
Not a high point in our relationship.
In fact, in the early years my wife's poor parents had listened to many jaw-dropping did-he-just-say-that type statements. Kudos to them for staying strong.
It turns out that all my anger and negativity came from my internal struggle to understand myself. I had Asperger's Syndrome, but didn't know it. I thought everybody was having the same experience of reality as me, and I was just crap at living.
My Tourette's was locked up deep inside me, and the internal pressure was enormous. I was extremely angry and frustrated, and I directed that rage at everybody and everything. My mother in particular bore the lion's share of that bitterness.
As time went on, my energies were directed into trying to understand why I was such a fuck up. I took a 'personal growth' route, read many many many books on psychology / religion / spiritualism / magic / occultism … etc.
I created a framework for myself in which to view the world and was starting to become less of an arse (though my wife says I was drinking less and that is why I was less of an arse).
We had kids and we moved around a lot. To date, we have lived in 8 different houses (another factor contributing to my stress levels--I hate change and my life is littered with change).
We had our first child when I was 25, the second at 26 and the third at 30. That final child did it for me; my stress levels were through the roof. Self-loathing was at an all-time high. I was in such a state that I nearly destroyed our marriage.
I had my own business then; I was a telephone tarot card reader. I enjoyed the work, but needed a crap every time I turned my phone on (stress ?!).
Eventually, I had a breakdown and could no longer work; my wife took over the tarot card reading business.
At this time my son was being studied at nursery because he couldn't talk and showed Autistic behaviours; it was advised that we look into it. So we did.
My mother-in-law bought a book and recommended I read it. It was 'Real Person, Life on the Outside,' by Gunilla Gerland. I read it and my world fell apart.
The answers were there in that book; it was if she was writing about me.
So, we finally had a working theory that I might be autistic in some way. My son and I got assessed in 2006: my son's official title was "Autistic spectrum disorder" and mine was "High functioning Autism/Asperger's".
In that same timeframe, my other neurological "wonder" exploded into the beast it is today. It seems that when I realised that there was a reason I wasn't coping, I stopped trying so hard to cope and this 'unlocked' my Tourette's.
When I finally absorbed my diagnosis (Asperger's and Tourette's--oh yes, I forgot to mention I went to hospital to get the Tourette's assessed), I fell into a deep, dark depression.
An Aspie depression may not look like a regular person's depression. For me it manifested in an overwhelming need to play pool. If you did not play pool yourself, you did not exist in my world. This even included my family, which was disastrous. I am not going to go into it, but let's just say, my married life nearly ended ... again!
The second threat of a marriage break-up was enough. I started taking my pills again (anxiety meds), exercising, drinking less and began smoking. I tried my damnedest to not let my obsessions take over.
Long story short, my wife studied all she could on Autism and Tourette's (she gets obsessed too, though she is not an Aspie) and we came to an understanding about what is permissible and what is not.
We basically tried to reach a balance where I do what I need to do to satisfy my Autistic requirements (obsessions, being alone, avoiding sensory input) and to be a Father and husband, actively taking a part in family instead of just being around, in the background.
My life was far harder before my Tourette's was "unlocked." I was more miserable, more frustrated, more angry, more driven by some invisible relentless force. In fact, my life was a nightmare for years.
Tourette's for me has been a blessing; I am more relaxed than I have ever been. Sure there are days when I am sick of ticcing, fed up of not being able to go shopping with my wife or to the movies with my kids.
But I cope with it.
I would never, ever in a million years go back to the way it was. When people suggest "this cure" or "that remedy," all I see is a return to my former state. It may be narrow of me to think that, but that is the only thing I fear in life: a return to my original condition.
I am happy as I am. I laugh a lot; my family laughs a lot.
We all get on, and that's all I could ask for out of life.