OCD and head tics?

This post has been thanked 1 time. 16 August 2015 - 14:30

Forum User
Join date: Jul 2015
Thanks: 14

Over the last couple of years or so I've developed a compulsion which is kinda like a tic with my head. Sometimes it's just a half shake to the side when I get intrusive thoughts or I'm in an anxious situation and other times it's a full on shake from side to side, more so recently a full shake. I've tried looking for other people who have developed this sort of thing and only found a couple of people.

It can be really frustrating at times it feels like I've got no control of it, Unless I focus on not doing it as soon as I stop thinking about it happens straight away. A lot of the times when it keeps happening I stop thinking about whatever it was that triggered it and just focus and obsess on it happening and it's very frustrating.

I've recently cut down on my medication by a bit and also started CBT and since then it's been happening more and more often. Originally it only used to happen whilst I smoked cannabis but then started happening all the time. I've long stopped smoking weed and for a good while it only happened ever now and again but over the last couple of weeks it's come back full on.

Even though I've read up a couple of people having similar compulsions I still feel like I'm alone in this habit.

This post has been thanked 1 time. 17 August 2015 - 12:44

Forum User
Location: South East
Join date: Sep 2013
Thanks: 571

Hi Boxed Terrapin. I would mention this to your CBT therapist. It must be frustrating not feeling as if you have any control of the tics. Good luck with this. Diana

18 August 2015 - 9:21

Forum User
Join date: Jul 2015
Thanks: 14

Thanks Diana. I have told her, I''m guessing it will be something I'll have to learn to stop doing especially in CBT.

18 August 2015 - 13:46

Forum User
Location: South East
Join date: Sep 2013
Thanks: 571

Hi there. Tics is a subject which I know very little about. Sorry not to be more helpful. You could try contacting OCD Action for a chat about this. I am sure that there will be someone in the organisation who can answer your questions. Bw Diana

18 August 2015 - 21:22

Profile
Forum User
Join date: Dec 2014
Thanks: 488

Oh I've had my share of those BT. And I've spoken to others who have.

For some reason they were especially bad in my mid 20s. I think it was just life circumstances I found difficult. And again over the last 10 years.

These will be either a jolting of my head forward or side to side(like a yes or a no), or saying stuff under my breath, or tapping myself or tapping something. All the gestures/words seem to give the compulsion going on in my head extra weight when the thinking isn't cutting the mustard any more. So they're like reinforcing compulsions to give the main compulsion a nudge. I think these have probably been a feature all along with me though I've tried to mask them or suppress them for obvious reasons! I remember being shown a video of me at a wedding one time and I was horrified how visible the things I thought I was hiding were. Gave everyone a good laugh anyway! (I had to kill them all obviously)

I know OCD and Tourette's have a lot in common and I wonder how much that has to do with this. My sister had something similar that was never diagnosed AFAIK.

Did you have a nervous tic as a child? I mean before OCD became a player in your life?

21 August 2015 - 12:56

Forum User
Join date: Jul 2015
Thanks: 14

Hi Sisphus thanks for the reply. I've never done anything physical like this before that I've had little control over. I have however spent most of my life very anxious and have always done things like tapping my leg or nipping it in anxious situations, but I've always had control over it, I think.

The best thing I can do when the 'tics' are happening is change it to something less noticeable. Instead of it been like a twitch or shake, I can change it to a slight lift of my head and at the same time close my eyes and roll them upwards. This is a lot more subtle and I don't think other people are able to notice it. Sometimes blinking really fast helps me  control it as well.

Talking about weddings I'm going to a close friends wedding in a few weeks and I know that been around a lot of people I don't know will be a real struggle for me. I've been dreading it for months now but I know if I don't go it will be something I'll regret in years to come. I'm scared that my anxiety and OCD is going to become unmanageable and I'm going to ruin the wedding.Even though my head twitches are really embarrassing, I'd rather spend all day and night doing that then something much much worse. My friend whos wedding it is knows a little about my OCD which just that thought alone makes me feel better about going. If it gets too much I can always get a taxi home anyway.I'm starting ERP today and I know my head twitching is going to be out of control, I'm sure my CBTherapist will be able to address all this anyway. I hope I can handle ERP.

21 August 2015 - 18:24

Profile
Forum User
Join date: Dec 2014
Thanks: 488

Hey BT,

I hope ERP goes well for you. I think it's all about outlook with that. Just keep persisting and coming at it different ways. Expect a lot of failures but obviously aim high and keep trying. It's a war of attrition!

I think I used to chop and change my gestures in a similar way, patly to keep them covert, partly because like chewing gum, some would become less effective after a while. Actually that was always the case with me and compulsions, would often haveto do some kind of maintenance to keep the mantras effective. Sheesh, occasionally, writing these things down, you really get an outside glimpse into the mind of a madman.

Well who knows, if the wedding is a few weeks away, maybe you can make some in-roads by then with exposure exercises. It's not always easy, can be a right BEEP but that said, I have been surprised how quickly some ERP stuff has postiviely impacted on the need to do compulsions. And that's a real unusual and good feeling when you feel yourself catching yourself and thinking "wait no, now we know there is actually a choice here, and if I go left instead of right, actually, nothing bad happens at all" - sutbleshift in your thinking that gives you some leverage over it. So just give it a whirl and see what happens. Worst case scenario, you don't make a dent in your compulsions and you'll just be the same as normal which you're alreay familiar with. So, nothing to lose.

I surprised myself with some social activities during ERP. Kind of expected the worst and was able to largely shrug all the OCD off and act normal for hours, with only a handful of stumbles. Which is insanely good with how it was before. And even then it varied, but still, on average, not pretty!

Either way, you'll be fine. Put it out of your mind till it comes around. I've tried the alternative and it never helps!

David.

15 June 2020 - 22:14

Profile
Forum User
Location: Leicester
Join date: Jun 2020
Thanks: 0

Hi, I realise this is very old post, but I have these head shakes and hold my breath I wish I could stop.

Reply to this topic