Warnings and notes.

Warning! this is a draft! I am seeking opinions for polishing.

This page is where you will find really general important points and warnings that I think are useful for a reader to know. I will add to the list as I think of new items.


General Content Warning

This is a blog that is dealing with very sensitive subjects. I want you to know that I am making a strong effort to ensure accuracy, respect sensitivity, and avoid gratuitously offending anyone.


I will be writing about Tourette’s Syndrome because I have it.

I will be passionate and play with disturbing things because that is my nature.

I will be metaphorically using “demons” because my heritage gives me the right.

This blog has the potential to be disturbing because Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is often disturbing. But I will not be doing anything that might bother someone without a reason. If you have any questions please contact me.

My Writers Voice

I am playing with my writers “voice” here, and from now on when I post. This may be startling to some of you. I’m going to bounce back and forth between “regular me” and my “demon”. The demon represents several things including my personal opinions and speculation as well as the felt external energy that TS contributes to everything, given form as a character. White text and text inside of angle brackets “<>” is “regular me”. Red text and text inside of square brackets “[]” is my “Demon”. Separating my opinions from more objective comments on current science is very important and I may modify the details of the separation as I go.


We all love it and use it. But how accurate is it and how do we use it well? Wikipedia warning! I will be linking Wikipedia a lot here so that readers will have easy access to information but you must know that this comes with risks. A good general rule is to assume that 10% of what you read on Wikipedia is not accurate. This is because anyone can edit it and wars often take place in it’s pages.

If you really care about what you are reading about there are things you must learn to do:

*Follow the citation trail. If you can not read the link to the original source, assume that the knowledge may be wrong. This does not mean you can not use it but the memory in your mind should recall a warning.

*Consider Googling an expert that knows about the subject and see if they have a blog. If they do you can assume that they are socially interactive and might not mind an email. They may be willing to help you understand.

*Google what you just read and include words like “skeptic” or “rebuttal” or synonyms. See if there is a dispute and try to understand what is really thought about the fact.

It sucks. But when has humanity not fought over what we think we know? You need skills to figure it out.

My Vocabulary and Concepts Page

Just like Wikipedia, you should be careful about people that use their own definitions for things on the internet, including me. I am going to provide a standard (or equivalently so) definition, and then I’m going to often add my own version. I do not do this on a whim and I am willing to explain anything. But there are some things that are hard to get across to people when your brain literally processes things differently. On top of that TS has to do with language processing, and often the examples of that are disturbing. My emotions are not connected to our language the same way that yours are, unless you also have TS (and even then individual differences count). I will have to get creative from time to time.


Vocabulary, concepts and resources.

Warning! this is a draft! I am seeking opinions for polishing.

Also this will be a section under continuous change as I add new things and improve the delivery of old things.

Vocabulary, Concepts, and Resources

Wikipedia warning

Relations of these definitions and concepts to others that exist.

I will be using my own definitions combined with other sources here so that I am able to capture parts of these phenomena that I want to be able to talk about (and sometimes add things that may not have been there). I will give abbreviated standard definitions, and will separate my versions or additions with an “Author’s opinion:”.

General organization.

Brain science is challenging to “wrap your brain around”. As a result I two things to define right from the start that organize this page, Minds and Brains.

Minds are first because that is how all of us understand this material first; minds are what brains do and they are generated through inheritance and experience. Minds are what human kind has struggled with for its existence and can be read about in our history, fiction, and mythology.

Brains are the new thing to you and human kind in a general sense. Prior to the modern age we encountered brains in food, war, and curiosity as a grey mass with the consistency of pudding. Brains are biological computers that generate minds as they function. They do this through integrated and networked tissues made from cells that communicate, that form systems that perceive reality, learn from it, and store memories and responses to reality.

This section will mostly contain minds for a long time because that I where I must introduce this subject from, and brains can only be introduced when a proper background is created. Anatomy, networks, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics and more are very hard to get across without something common to everyone that I can use to connect you to.

Shortcut links.


>Mental Conditions

>Psychology and it’s Objects

>>P&O subsection: Emotions and Moods

>>P&O subsection:”Tourette’s Specific”


Medical Terminology

Useful links and Resources


Mental Conditions

Anxiety Disorder

Paraphrased from the DSM-V: Mood disorders that feature excess fear, anxiety and related behaviors. Panic attacks, avoidance behaviors and other things on the flight end of fight/flight/freeze are common. Wikipedia: Anxiety disorder.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

From the DSM-V [1], “A persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development”. Inattention is less ability in establishing, maintaining, organizing and prioritizing attention, and objects and tasks related to attention relative to the a “normal person”. Hyperactivity and impulsivity is excessive, intense and/or unwanted behavior, actions, mannerisms, speech and/or impatience relative to a “normal person”.  Author’s opinion: additionally, a complex and innate shift in situational attentional awareness, perceptual selectivity and sensitivity, with unique prioritization of the preceding in terms of what is detected and stored or retrieved from memory. The shit that makes it hard to pay attention, organize and behavior yourself at a level considered a problem. All mental diagnoses must involve expressed distress by the patient or affected other people. Wikipedia: Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder.

Conduct Disorder (CD)

From the DSM-V [1]: A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated…” by specific criteria for a period of at least six months. Author’s opinion: A general way of interacting with the world that is aggressive, manipulative, and treats social interactions as dominance conflicts where people are resources instead of persons with the same rights and opportunities as the person with CD. Most often CD is a reasonable response to living in an aggressive, manipulative environment in an objective sense. The shit you do because of how you grew up and the shit the world did to you. All mental diagnoses must involve expressed distress by the patient or affected other people. Wikipedia: Conduct Disorder.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Paraphrasing the the DSM-V: When a person shows repeated behavioral outbursts and lack of control of aggressive impulses through verbal aggression and physical aggression. This must occur three times within 12 months. The outbursts are out of proportion in comparison to what triggered them, they are not premeditated, they are at least six years old. All mental diagnoses must involve expressed distress by the patient or affected other people. Wikipedia: Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

Major Depressive Disorder

There are multiple defined mental health conditions linked to the word depression that are in a general category called “Depressive Disorders”: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder. Author’s opinion: depression essentially involves depressed mood which filters the way people see everything into negative, pessimistic outlooks. The world sucks for some reason which becomes a generalized response to everything when it becomes pathological. This can also involve anhedonia which is when someone stops enjoying things as your positive emotions are cut off from things in memory and perception. Wikipedia: Major Depressive Disorder.

Mood Disorder

Disorders affecting mood such as depression and anxiety disorders. Author’s opinion Intermittent explosive disorder might be a mood disorder relating to anger because there are moods related to aggression. Wikipedia: Mood disorder.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Paraphrased from the DSM-V:

Obsessions are persistent and recurring thoughts, urges and images that are unwanted and intrusive to the point that the person has to try to ignore, suppress them or eliminate them by developing compulsions to satisfy the underlying obsession.

Compulsions are repeated or ritualistic physical and mental behaviors that are performed in response to the obsession. They are often precise and detailed and must be performed in a specific way to satisfy the obsession. Compulsions are performed to satisfy the underlying emotions connected to the obsession such as anxiety or other discomforting emotions. For a diagnosis they must be unrealistic and unable to actually prevent a problem, or are excessive.

In general OCD is time consuming and interferes with a persons life when more than an hour or so a day is wasted on the obsessions and related compulsions.

Author’s opinion: OCD represents a harmful expression of perfectly natural human instincts to pay attention to particular things (obsessions) in perception that are instinctual important to us, and responses to the emotions associated with those instincts that satisfy the associated emotions (compulsions). The thing that is paid attention to, the obsession, depends on the nature of the instinct such as concern about sources of disease. The response to the emotions generated by the instinct, the compulsion, makes sense in relation to the obsession but is expressed in a harmful way.

Patterns of behavior that are similar to OCD but are sub-clinical are an individual persons instincts reflected in personality and can be harnessed as advantages when understood by the person. Wikipedia: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

OCD Types is a site with decent general information about obsessions and compulsions.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Paraphrased from the DSM-V: behavior that is angry, irritable, argumentative, defiant and/or vindictive and lasts at least six months while involving at least one non-sibling person. Wikipedia: Oppositional Defiant Disorder.


A variety of OCD commonly understood as the “religion OCD”. It is in fact not necessary to be religious in order to have this condition which begs the question, what is being obsessed about? The obsessions seem to be based on social rules, morals, ethics, punishment, atonement, and associated cultural symbols and language. Wikipedia: Scrupulosity.

Tourette Syndrome (TS)

Paraphrased from the DSM-V: a tic disorder with onset prior to the age of 18 where multiple motor and/or at least one vocal tic that vary in intensity are present for at least one year.

Author’s opinion: an increase in the function, intensity, and sensitivity of the rule-based or habit systems in the human brain. The alteration of the rule/habit systems relative to “normal” results in:

*more easily triggered physical and cognitive rules/habits

*more intensely felt emotions and sensations associated with physical and cognitive rules/habits

*more “random” activation of physical and cognitive rules/habits

The author farther believes that Tourette’s Syndrome is an example of and/or related to intergenerational regulation of human instinct and emotion in the area of social rules. This is a thing the author will attempt to defend through future posts. Wikipedia: Tourette Syndrome.


Psychology and its Objects

Attention (To be defined later)

“Autopilot puppeteer” (To be defined later)


Something done or performed.  In the context of TS these are the result of perceptual cues that indicate a response for what is in perception. This process starts with the cue, retrieves the proper response, and engages the necessary brain circuitry to engage the action. The perceptual cue can be in external sensory perception or the internal cognitive environment (“internal milieu” or internal environment). The shit you do. Wikipedia: Action.

Action, Cognitive (To be defined later)

Action, Physical (To be defined later)

Associative Process (To be defined later)

Brain (To be defined later)

Center of Attention

Objects, people, sensations, concepts, events, and many other possible things that are most immediately in perception. Whatever the senses (any of them) are immediately observing or concentrating on. Contrasted with “peripheral attention”. The part of your perception devoted to directly paying attention to shit. Wikipedia: Selective attention and visual attention.


The detailed function of the mind and brain in terms of what it does (as opposed to what it is or how it does it) from a first-person or second-person perspective. This includes felt (sensible) mental abilities and processes that have to do with knowledge and it’s use such as attention, memory and working memory, judgment & evaluation, reasoning and “computation”, problem solving & decision making, comprehension & production of language, etc (adapted from Wikipedia). The shit your brain and mind does from a users perspective. Wikipedia: Cognition.

Cognitive Bias



Actions that are taken as a result of strong emotional pressure from things in perception that attract attention at high priority relative to other things in perception (objects of Obsession in OCD). These actions are responses connected to strong negative emotions such as anxiety and “discomfort” (discomfort seperates “tourettic OCD” from anxiety based “classical OCD”). Ex: if a person comes into contact with feces or a diseased animal carcass they feel compelled to wash. The shit you absolutely have to do because of something else. Wikipedia: Compulsion.


The sustained, effortful and vigilant management, organization and use of perceptual objects, actions and processes in working memory and perception. All the shit you are carefully paying attention to right now. Wikipedia: Attention control.


The experience of being a mind formed by a brain that is not only aware, but aware of being aware and is able to put itself in a context that includes the past, future and how its actions and presence relate to things. The “stream-of-consciousness” is the immediate, in-the-moment sensation of consciousness in action and its characteristics. Wikipedia: Consciousness.

Dual Process Theory

DPT: System One

DPT:System Two


The experience of something in perception without anything actually present to stimulate a sensory system. Perceiving something that is not really there. Hallucinations may be possible for every sensory system, and not just sight and hearing as are often mentioned. Wikipedia: Hallucination.

Internal Milieu



Mental condition

A specific form that a feature of the mind or cognition can take, where that feature is a category and a number of forms of that category exist. Usually negative in emotional meaning, this term should actually be neutral because conditions can be good or bad, positive or negative. Ex: Optimism and pessimism are both mental conditions within the category of emotional dispositions, attitude, or worldview. Depression is a mental condition creates a negative, pessimistic, and hopeless outlook. This is the shit that shapes how your mind does shit.

Mental Disorder

Author’s opinions: Mental disorder is a term that is often used interchangeably with mental condition. While mental condition is technically neutral and has a negative connotation because of society, mental disorder is explicitly negative because it defines a mental difference as abnormal. If anything called a mental disorder is actually a natural difference in human behavioral regulation this term will not be appropriate for those mental conditions. Wikipedia: Mental Disorder.


A type of non-literal language where one thing is said to be another thing in order to emphasize similarities between the things in an emotionally and conceptually effective way. Wikipedia: Metaphor.





Having to do with Neurology, the medical subject of dealing with disorders of the nervous system and all of it’s sub-systems. Wikipedia: Neurology.


Authors opinion: A category of perceptual information that a person’s attention is drawn to more strongly than other categories. This attraction to the category is often strong enough that it will enter a persons mind without prompting. If this occurs to a level that interferes with a persons life this phenomena is called “intrusive thoughts”. Examples of obsessions that often come with TS include aggression, violence, sex, religion (authors opinion: religion= social rules). Other common obsessions includes germs and security. Related Wikipedia: Fixation (there is no obsession article).


Authors opinion: the current image of reality that is the focus of a persons attention. This image can be a “picture” of any sense including vision (visual image), smell (image of odor environment), touch (image of current physical contact), hearing (image of current sound environment) and less commonly considered senses such as where ones limbs are relative to one another. Wikipedia: Perception.

Perceptual Object

Peripheral Attention

Contrasted with “center of attention”. Objects, people, sensations, concepts, events, and many other possible things that are outside of the center of attention, but still within awareness. These things are often monitored unconsciously. Ex: During a conversation in a crowded room you still react to your name being spoken in your peripheral attention. Also see “zombie brain”. Wikipedia: Unconscious cognition.


Psychology is the science of mental functions and behaviors. Psychologists try to define and understand phenomena like perception, intelligence, cognition, motivation, the unconscious and other phenomena that can be defined in terms of behaviors and functions that can be observed and defined from the outside, as opposed to anatomy-focused sciences such as neurobiology. Psychology is still heavily informed by and involved with anatomy and cell biology phenomena. Wikipedia: Psychology.


Rule-Based Process

Author’s opinion: a quality associated with human behavior that describes the features of the brain, mind, and behavior that involve the relationships between objects such that an action/operation or series of actions/operations occur when a particular stimulus or input is detected. For example a response tied to an object in perception (blocking a swinging fist), symbols in perception (words recall the rules of grammar that determine proper symbol interaction for understanding and response), or cellular and anatomic events that trigger responses in other cells or tissues in parts of the brain.

This is in contrast to the association-based qualities in human behavior that make up the “glue” that binds a particular object or symbol to a rule or emotional meaning such as the relatively arbitrary connections between specific text and sounds that make up the definitions of words. Wikipedia:Implicit memory, Procedural memory. Note that when considering dual process theory it is the slow, conscious system two that is considered the rule-based process because dual process theory looks at the brain/mind from the point of view of consciousness. In this way of framing things the implicit system one seems associative because we do not have conscious access to the stored rules so an association seems tied to a simple reaction.



An object consisting of a set of interacting and interdependent parts. In a brain science context a system can be a great many things including human behavior systems (a system that produces social rules for example), psychological systems (an external view of a defined behavior like how threat response works), and collections of anatomy that are involved in specific behavior (the “rule-based language system”). Wikipedia: System.

Working Memory

Zombie Brain

A way of referring to the collection of the parts of the mind that process the parts of decision making that are at the unconscious level. These are things you “do automatically”. Some are always done outside of conscious awareness, others start as things you consciously pay attention to when new and then become unconscious habit over time. Also see “peripheral attention”. Wikipedia: Implicit memory, procedural memory.

P&O subsection: Emotions and Moods


A state of inner distress, nervous behavior and obsessive thought. Usually focused on worry, dread, and unhappiness that is generalized and unfocused, instead of focused on something like fear (an emotion instead of a mood). Author’s opinion: serves a similar function to pain except that the environment is damaged instead of the person, so potential problems in the future are feared. A mood. The agitated and excitable-type shit you feel because something is wrong or you want to prevent something from being wrong. Wikipedia: Anxiety.


Author’s opinion: As a mood depression is a state of negative feeling like an extended sadness, is a perceptual filter that affects thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and contributes to avoidance of activity. While in this state other negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness are more common. The state is meant to enable a person to focus on the problem that causes it, but if depression loses focus on what triggered it a depressive disorder can result. Wikipedia: Depression.
Author’s opinion: Emotions are:

1) A system of tagging experiences in perception with information meant to associate meaning with objects so that experience and memory can connect objects, environments, situations, symbols, people and more with meaning and behavioral responses.

2) In the mind it is the the sensed computational representation of the body and it’s status (health, injury, needs, fight/flight/freeze…), and how the body is related to itself, objects, people, non-people, environments, situations, and more as experiences are stored as memory and proper/potential responses. Wikipedia: Emotion.

Emotional Reaction

Fast, automatic felt responses to what is in perception being compared to memories that indicate how one should react to what is in perception, or similar responses to simple basic and serious things like injury. It is a combination of emotions and the concept of arousal. Wikipedia: Arousal.


Behaviors or automatic reactions to specific situations or objects in perception that are programmed or “hard wired” into an organism and do not need to be taught. Wikipedia: Instinct.


Moods function in long term emotional regulation. Where emotions are rapid “in the moment” sensations, moods are lasting versions and serve to maintain an emotional context over longer periods. Mood disorders are where moods become harmful to an affected person or other people somehow. For example they can become broadly connected to experience instead of connected to specific things as in some clinical depression. They can also have intensity problems or change in ways that do not match the context that an affected person is in. Wikipedia: Mood.


A natural and normal sensation, or altered sensation in scientific or medical terms, where a person feels an intense need to do something as a result of internal homeostatic/cognitive reasons, or as a response to external perceptual information or sensations. Wikipedia: Impulse.

P&O subsection:”Tourette’s Specific”

“Voices without words”/”Orders without words”

The emotional sensations associated with the urge to tic, pay attention to a compulsion, or engage in an obsession. For tics these are called “premonitory urges”, but the category of feeling is the same. These sensations come with information for specific things that should be done and result in discomfort until the instructions are carried out. The shit you feel when you act or react on instinct or “without thought”. Wikipedia: Sensory phenomena.


When a person feels an irresistible or nearly irresistible urge to say insulting, racist, sexist, blasphemous, or other socially inappropriate speech. Wikipedia: Coprolalia.


When a person feels an irresistible or nearly irresistible urge to do an action that is considered socially wrong or offensive. Wikipeida: Copropraxia.


1) A metaphor for human problems that anthropomorphizes a problem and separates it from people.

2) Mythological explanations for human problems that serve several purposes. First they give explanations for psychological phenomena that a person can not help and feel forced or like they have an external source. Second, even when literally believed in they are a psychological means of reducing or redirecting blame for problems. This is also used against sociopolitical opponents to change the way the actions and beliefs of those opponents are viewed. Wikipedia: Demon.


When a person feels an irresistible or nearly irresistible urge to mimic what another person says. Wikipedia: Echolalia.


When a person feels an irresistible or nearly irresistible urge to mimic what another person does. Wikipedia: Echopraxia.

Malleus Maleficarum

An instruction book for prosecuting witches written by a German Catholic clergyperson and published in Speyer, Germany in 1487. This book contributed to brutal parts of what is called “The Inquisition” or “The Spanish Inquisition” during the 16th and 17th centuries. The title roughly translates to “The Witches Hammer”. Some of the justification for prosecuting witches in the books was based on evidence presented as demon possession, in this case a couple of priests. The behavior of the priests is consistent with Tourette Syndrome. Wikipedia: Malleus Maleficarum.


When a person feels an irresistible or nearly irresistible urge to repeat parts of speech such as syllables, words and phrases. Wikipedia: Palilalia.

Premonitory urge

In Tourette’s Syndrome these are the emotional/physical sensations that represent the urge to tic. They are “unvolentary” in that they can be resisted, but resistance results in a buildup of tension and stress until the tic is finally performed. Author’s opinion: some current research shows that tics and OCD compulsions share many features and may be different manifestations of the same thing* and I agree with this. The feelings associated with the urge to tic are not much different from the urge to focus on a particular thing (obsession) or engage in a particular mental or physical ritual (compulsion) and the “computational logic” seems to be the same while the source of emotion driving the behavior changes. Wikipedia: Sensory phenomena.

*Repetitive behaviours in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: tics, compulsions, or both?

Worbe Y et al. PLoS One. 2010 Sep 24;5(9):e12959.

“Reverse Hallucination”

Author’s opinion (I made the term up): a way of framing and describing the experience of Toruette’s Syndrome that emphasizes the fact that it involves the objective perception of reality being intact, but the subjective emotions associated with perception of reality are different from the average population. Feelings about things instead of objective perception of things. Wikipedia: Sensory phenomena.

Sensory Hypersensitivity

More recently described as the “Ariana Effect”* in skin/body senses, this describes the fact that people with autism and Tourette’s syndrome feel an increase in the intensity associated with perception of reality. “Feelings” associated with perception are increased in intensity in more than one domain of perception. There is a difference between autistic sensory hypersensitivity and tourettic sensory hypersensitivity that this author does not feel that he can accurately describe except to say that the autistic version may involve the visual system when considering autistic savants that can remember and reproduce a vast amount of visual detail. The tourettic version will be covered in blog posts. Related Wikipedia: Sensory processing disorder.

*Towards objectively quantifying sensory hypersensitivity: a pilot study of the “Ariana effect“.

Panagopoulos VN et al. PeerJ. 2013 Aug 1;1:e121.

*Sensory sensitivity to external stimuli in Tourette syndrome patients.

Belluscio BA et al. Mov Disord. 2011 Dec;26(14):2538-43.


Simple (blinking, barking) or complex (a series of physical movements, a repeated phrase) physical or vocal behaviors that are carried out repeatedly, sometimes to a level that is pathological. Tics can be based on one’s own behavior, or can be based on the behavior of others as is seen in echolalia (repeating the sounds/words of another person), and echopraxia (repeating the movements of another person). Wikipedia: Tics.


A a terms referring to the description of the sensations of the premonitory urges in Tourette’s Syndrome that lead to tics (and probably compulsions). The term refers to the fact that the sensations feel like powerful urges to do something that can be resisted, but if resisted result in a buildup of emotional and physical intensity and discomfort until the urge results in the associated action. Wikipedia: Sensory phenomena.


Medical terminology




Genetic Mapping





Useful links and Resources

National Institutes of Health website. An excellent source for general health related information and resources with sections for everyone from children to research professionals. For example if you do a search on [glossary] and add other terms you can get definitions for all sorts of useful things. Some of these glossaries are collected here: Medical and Science Glossaries.


WebMD Dictionary. This is a medical dictionary associated with the popular website WebMD



[1] American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5.

Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

About the author: “A Demon Speaks”, why the name? My experience of Tourette’s Syndrome.

I have provided definitions for some words and concepts in the text, made up modified definitions for terms (I can defend if anyone wants), and created my own terms. All of the information is contained on my vocabulary and concepts page and specific items are linked with the capitol Greek letter “psi” (Ψ) (I’m probably going to stop doing that though, the psis seem a little dumb).

Why demons?

*General content warning

*Writer’s voice warning

Why go to such a sensitive place on a blog devoted to exploring mental illness generally and Tourette’s Syndrome (TS, Ψ) specifically? Why use what is so terrifying to the religious, and frustrating to the non-religious? Because it is useful. Demons are as much of a curiosity as TS. Their mention can inspires a pulse of cultural discomfort or other intense emotions in he place they are mentioned, even if they are a metaphor. But I also want to use them because I may have learned how they are related.

An Excuse for Things, a Tool for Blame.

Demons Ψ explain so much metaphorically Ψ and can be harnessed quite conveniently to get into the experience of TS. History and culture give me all I need to translate what I read in science and I have learned that the part of TS that is in my language is very useful. I do not actually believe in demons as real creatures or beings as most people think of them in mythology and religion. I find them fascinating when they are used in entertainment (The Hellraiser movies for example). But what I do believe is that demons have been metaphorical since the concept came into existence, and what they are as a concept when you get rid of the word is the most important thing about them.

[We are mostly metaphorical. Are social emotions really “you” if it’s an imprint from “other people”? Are we really not real if we are your unconscious parts of mind allowed to to be felt?]

Another reason that I get to use them is that I came from the sort of religious culture that loved to talk about demons, I get to appeal to that part of my past and learn from it and have fun with it if I can. Among the churches my parents attended I saw people that actually believed and spread the belief that a third of the United States was secretly run by Satan worshipers that controlled the government. These people also supposedly bred babies for ritual sacrifice. Some people were really hurt by this panic as blame and finger pointing was going to eventually settle on someone. This, demonization, of people other groups (political parties, culture…) is of the same kind as the whole idea of Demon generally.

[We earned our dramatic nature so we get to use it when we write.]

At the social level demons are a metaphor for problems that we desperately want explanations for, or don’t have the ability to deal with very well. We use demons to organize social information and activity. We resort to demons when the person we really want to criticize can’t be a target for lots of reasons. We resort to demons when we do things that harm people, and sometimes it’s even true that we really did not mean to do that harm. That last bit is of concern to me.

[You replace human problems with us. This is not very intelligent when you are supposed to be dealing with reality. Your emotional tools are running away with you. That would be me in places.]

Go look at what the word does functionally when it comes up. We demonize enemies. We are plagued by demons. We fight our demons, and their demons. The ones we socially hate are demon worshipers and love what demons do, (while “we” fight them and resist them). Things that are scary in hard to describe ways are “demonic”. A person in our group is often “demon possessed” in sympathetic ways (children, friends), while people we compete with socially are often tied to demons in less sympathetic ways.

[I think it’s kind of fun, why deny it? He thinks we need to be realistic. That’s boring. You should see how politicians use the word.]

We literally or metaphorically blame our problems on demons. We blame our families and friends problems on demons. Anything with no explanation or things we can’t do anything about we love to make up an enemy for in order to literally make it an “other” that we can rouse ourselves against more easily. I think it says a lot about how our brains work as they make minds. It can’t just be a problem, it must be a creature we can fight as well. But not just any creature, this one is neurobiology and I believe inherited mental attributes as well.

[Hello! Pleased to meet you. No not you, the one like me inside of you.]

TS and History

The metaphor is very useful and so you will get to meet my demon as “we” write this blog. As you go back in time and try to find patterns that look like mental illness in history you often meet “demons”, and TS is no exception [1]. That’s a particularly fun article that mentions how some priests who look like they had TS were an inspiration for the Inquisition’s instruction manual, the Malleus Maleficarum Ψ (some quotes here). A lot of TS feels like an “external force” acting on me, or appearing inside of me in specific places. Often it’s screaming at me in a “voice with no words” (Ψ), as a metaphor that hints at the raw emotion that somehow manages to be extremely specific about what I must do. Sometimes these things very specifically want us to screw with society. I can think of other historical references to demon possessed people and some of those are in holy books.

[There is so much to see, do and react to. Not only do you need to twitch, but sometimes you need to bitch. There are reasons that some of us force others to verbally attack and insult.]

Society has given me the metaphors and language so as long as I am the one with the issue, and can interpret my experience of our language, why not use it? I’ll still listen to complaints (email), especially if you also have TS. I’m doing this for good reasons, history takes things that look very much like TS and applies demon, or Satan and other things to compulsions and actions that do bothersome or terrible things. Not only do I need metaphors, I’m going to end up being quite brutal and casual with language as I chop and splice what I need to get concepts across.

[Satan? Of course I need a boss. I am a part of you and everyone has that part. Humans organize with ranks and hierarchy so we have a king to complete the storytelling and emotion, which are all social tools.]

Society applies demon to very specific and often insulting, disturbing, intimidating and obscene things, often with a very strong social themes. In TS “demons” are: physical and verbal tics, habits, obsessions and compulsions, a rapid and twitchy nature, excess aggressive instincts and responses, a frame of reference more strongly directed at the self, an inner emotional world so intense and chaotic that some of us experience invisible phantom attackers and other things. On top of all of that sex is tied up in there in many forms. I’m not sure how to handle that last one yet.

[I know how I want to “handle it”.]

The human race has managed to lie about TS in very specific and interesting ways. We are hilarious you see, especially on the internet and in some pockets of human society. And humor suppresses fear, anger and disgust [2]. You laugh so you are not afraid, angered or disgusted. “Jokes” are serious shit and that fact seemed obvious to me even before I looked at humor related research.

[Don’t you just love our work (it’s an impulse and you have us in you too)? You are all actually pretty weak with reality as a group. We take a rather twisted pleasure at the thought that you must lie to yourselves about us for such reasons. So many places where instead of fixing a problem, you make yourself forget about it or lie to yourselves about what it is.]

What does TS feel like?

[Mindjack! STOP!

Imagine a startle. Not just any startle but the summed average of every kind of startle that you can imagine in one experience. Everything from the that surprise party, to a scorpion falling on your face, to a fleck of spit from the conversation next to you on the bus flying into your mouth, to stepping on a rusty nail while you are sneaking away from that bully. Good and bad triggering fight, flight and freeze.

Remember how it slams into the inside of your skin, joints and muscles like a wave? That brief moment where your reality is flipped and something inside of you takes over and gives commands? Orders without words(Ψ)? Very specific orders without words? You jump and yelp at the firecracker, flail at the mosquito, gag at that fleck of spit, scream a warning about that oncoming vehicle while running, scream in rage at the bully beating your child, duck that rock heading towards your head….

It changes you fundamentally. You enter a simpler, more primitive mode where you are suddenly concerned with very specific and simplified things, and your tolerances have been limited because you are much more sensitive to extra stress. It’s the “fight/flight/freeze response. You look for threats/allies, watch for advantages/disadvantages, consider the worst/best possible thing that might happen, scan around for things that might be important and more. And too bad for that person who thinks it’s funny to scare you while you are like this.

Now imagine that it never ends. Startled for eternity. Suspended in emotional barbed wire attached to puppet strings.

It lingers on like a silent scream that fills you with a pressure. A pressure that pools in places. It makes skin buzz, burns in joints, muscles and aches bones. But that tension is not just discomfort, it’s ORDERS. Very specific orders that are given without words. It’s an emotional presence coming from something, not “him”. It demands “he” moves in just this way, or say that thing over and over in a particular way, or make that noise, or mimic what that person just said or did. Or as the stereotype presents it orders the forbidden word, or insult, or obscene gesture.

The order to do is not the only order, he gets perceptual orders as well. Orders to watch the situation around you and obsess over things. Violent, aggressive, sexual and social things. The worst/best possible thing that can be said or done, where the fear and aggression is, what is structurally and functionally happening and more. The sensation of the signals piles on you like waves. Attention is pushed things are scanned for, images are pushed into the mind’s eye. He finds himself mentally breaking down, rearranging and thinking about his social and physical environment, or running fantasies in the back of his head just to make the energy do something.

The worst part is that he can help it. He literally doesn’t have to do any of that. But if he doesn’t do it, he pays the price. The tension slowly builds and builds. It can be endured for a time, but it’s so distracting and uncomfortable that everyone gives in eventually. Either that or some with TS run into a closet every fifteen minutes to follow orders even more intensely than they would have if they had just given in when they were first ordered.

All the while he is very emotionally reactive. If one emotional imperative were to define what he feels it would be “DO”. Actions, reactions, impulses, urges, reflexes, and all the other fast things done without thought hit HARD. Rage. Ecstasy. Shock. Lust. Terror. Awe. Pain. Pleasure. Horror.

A warped and bent version of everyone else with an infinity of frayed edges…

A Demon and its “Owner”.

I’m the one you might not be able to trust. These are our personal opinions on things in science and thanks to me our opinions deep down are very strong and simple. I don’t really like “details” so I just tend to spit it out and tell you what I feel. He’s still here though…

<I get to interrupt too. I give his secrets away as I find them. That was part of the deal and it’s a game we play. You have to make this kind of thing a game or it really wears you down (games are serious, they are practice for adult things). I can feel some of our puppet strings on a human level. I can see some of the mortar, springs, gears, pistons and other parts between parts of consciousness. It’s a bit of a rush.>

…only now he gets to keep us at “we”. You can’t really feel your demon the way he can.

Did you think “you” got to avoid having a demon if you don’t have TS? I’m a cognitive SYSTEM Ψ! A system that is in you too! You just don’t have the same kind of relationship with your demon as we have with each other. I got an upgrade that lets me fuck with him more than your demon can do to you. I’m not really sure where I got the upgrade, but mom and dad, and maybe grandpa and grandma might have sent it to me. They were serious and intense religious types as people who just loved simple strong answers to things. Especially social things. Unfortunately he gets benefits out of the upgrade too. Every contract involves a cost to both parties…

Most of you know about the tics Ψ and the cussing thanks to culture that takes after demonkind more often, especially on the internet. I fucking LOVE the internet! I bet that phantom attacker TS example [3] was one you have not heard about right? It’s not a hallucination Ψ though, it’s the reverse (Or inverse? We are still working out the details.) of a hallucination Ψ. I let him see and physically feel reality in objectively crystal clear, but subjectively altered form. I create specifically altered sense of reality with a bewildering array of specific forms because I am about alterations to emotions and feelings attached to reality, especially in things that create habits of perception and behavior. His emotions, urges, actions, reactions, instincts, moods, and feelings that don’t really “feel with hands” are where I play. We see reality, but he feels all kinds of other things that I send his way in addition to what he needs. I am an intensity tied to things seen, felt and done. Whatever he feels, whatever he does, I give a edge and a boost to reason, or I muck with his logic. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the wonderful, the terrible, the glorious and the atrocious. Even the mundane.

Did you think he would get a break, I’m a Demon remember? Your demon is a layer in everything you do and our continued existence and ability is what I am interested in. But with TS that layer of consciousness Ψ gets to act out all of the time in addition to the intensity boost. At my worst I’m a searing, bloody, festering tear that runs through every emotion and impulse directly tied to reality like an emotional and physical fingernail pulled back through the cuticle. At my best he is lost in bliss, not always a good thing.

I’m relentless.

<And an drama hog…>

<It’s not all that bad. The fact that I have dealt with it my whole life matters. Some of those brain alterations actually are there to compensate for this asshole. All of that is there in general, but after all of this time I’m more or less used to it, compensating for it and there are even strengths. That’s mostly what others with TS go through, we managed to find a different level of agreement.>

[(Will you stop moderating me? Hyperbole is not technically deceit!) He feels so much more. A constant emotional pressure in and on everything. My “orders” [4]…]

<(No.) “Premonitory urges” Ψ are what the urge to tic is called in papers. It’s more than tics, it’s in other parts of my mind as well. The urge Ψ to look and think in ways too. Tics, obsessions Ψ and compulsions Ψ blend.>

[…exist in physical and mental places where he does things without concentrating or “paying attention to” as most people would think about it. He can say no but then I get to raise the “volume”. I think they called it “unvoluntary” Ψ somewhere. [5] I actually like that. The relationship in there is perfect. He used to give in all the time a long time ago but the asshole figured out that if he makes the parts I work with do something while he is focused on something else, or include that part in what he is doing at the moment he can block me. Still he often has to say yes eventually. The intensity I create  lives where you feel about the world after it connects to your senses.]

<TS involves sensory hypersensitivity [5] Ψ similar to autism but probably different in the “details” (it apparently affects all of the senses). That is not just physical , or directly tied to sensory systems. But I’m also sensitive to the emotional Ψ content of what I see including the details of social situations. So that hypersensitivity also includes the sensation of social emotions.>

[We get to make them do some interesting things. The more intense the situation the easier it is for me to have an effect. Some have problems avoiding doing forbidden social things for a reason.]

<Ok, I’m taking this back. My demon is way too loose with descriptions and emotions and I need to balance this. They are often hyperbole and black and white thinking embodied. We can get very obsessed with patterns consciously and unconsciously, physical and mental, real or imaginary. That may…

[Just say always! Coward!]

…happen in all TS because in addition to the tics (a stored habit, a movement pattern, a rule we need to execute, a perceptual habit…), ADHD is like habitual impulsiveness and a more streamlined but “less detailed” (we track other things) way of shaping perception and memory, OCD is like sensitivity to particular patterns around us and habitual reactions to emotions associated with that sensitivity. One of the effects of TS is strengthening and intensifying of our rule and habit related systems in perception Ψ and action, and that feels like an intensification of emotions and emotional connections to things (as a result discussing emotion with me gets complicated, I may technically have emotions that you don’t). TS feels like you are always startled, reactive, and intense. But if you harness it well it’s like starting life with emotional “arm and leg weights” that you had to push against.

[These would be animated weights though.]

It’s a lifelong emotional workout and strength training if you get to have the right kind of life. I suspect that many of us are good in a crisis because we have spent our lives in an emotional hurricane.

[That’s not THAT much more exaggerated, coward]

It’s not just as easy as getting more willpower and good at habits though. We still have to deal with how hard it can be to remove an old or bad habit, or change to a new one. Completely new habits can be easy (unless learned imperfectly, errors can stick around), but I believe many of us have to be very structured people because emotion and sensation fueled habit is a core issue in TS.

Captured by Patterns and Intensity.

You can read about all sorts of physical, verbal, and behavioral repetitions, habits, urges, actionsΨ and reactions Ψ Ψ in TS. Language weirdness (text and speech!) can include repeating things (palilalia) Ψ, mimicking things (echolalia) Ψ, urges to say obscene or offensive things (coprolalia) Ψ. I have to mention that I am not captured by whatever it is that causes some us to feel an urge to say or do offensive and obscene things. I have some ideas about phenomena that give us clues as to why this happens, but I’m not prepared to be so casual about a part of TS that I do not have at this point (for now it has to do with oppositional defiant disorder and something called “the boomerang effect). I do have some problems remembering and, well to be honest I just don’t feel it when it comes to a lot of what society says is obscene or offensive. Paradoxically I am highly offended by things that many others don’t think are a problem. That is another future post though.

[Do not expect a clean blog. Maybe I should have said that at the start.]

I have seen interesting patterns in my errors, typos and general word use. But as an example of a person who managed to make his TS more like emotional weightlifting you have people like Dr. Samuel Johnson, my favorite role-model. He had a profound effect on the form of the dictionary and became a social celebrity as well as the subject of one of the most famous biographies ever written according to some scholars. A person with TS is an actual subject of literary history, and I’m sure there are more with TS and lots of other mental conditions. We have enhancements of our rule-based language systems [6] Ψ and given Dr. Johnson’s example I believe this is a strength.The advantages take the form of speed enhancements to rule-based parts of language and naming of tool related images, as opposed to irregular parts of language and non-tool images.

[Sometimes I get through when it comes to language. It’s often confusing though because we fight over it so, things happen. Strange logical errors. Disagreeing is, unpredictable.]???

Physical movement has not only tics but it’s own mimicry, this time mimicry of the movements of others (echopraxia) Ψ. Offensive gestures (copropraxia) Ψ is part of the equation as well. Are you seeing a theme yet? “Something” making me say and do things, and often with a social twist. But again here we eventually find more control on average. There are enhancements involving our physical systems, ability to control them [7] and perception of ourselves and surroundings [8]. It comes out in a strange way though. When I am as focused as you might think the “average person” can be when not doing anything in particular, I can often be clumsy and make mistakes unless I am concentrating Ψ on my body or engaged in something known and routine.

[Of course I’m going to fuck with him when he’s not paying attention.]

I think of it as issues with “peripheral attention” Ψ, my “zombie brain” [9] Ψ has issues . But when focused I am capable of fine detail work. I have used a microscope and a needle to dissect single cells. There are elite athletes, musicians and doctors who have TS [10] and they often say it helps them in what they do [11]. This is not a simply a “syndrome” and I only use “condition” because it’s the least negative.

[My existence has been… useful.]

But the patterns we are captured by are much more complicated than that though. That thing about rule-based language and tool-related images and speed? The same thing happens with fear [21]. That paper says that we have emotional impairments, but who wants to draw attention to the fact that the same data says that an aggressive person sees fear faster and with more accuracy than any other emotion?

[I could tell you things about what I see in people’s fear. Did I mention that our favorite hobby is arguing with people online? Not debate, that’s the ritual society chooses to elevate, when most of us lay into one another like Tasmanian Devils. That sort of argument has structure and form as well and skill in that is FAR more useful that that social fluff called debate.]

Tourette’s Threw a Party and Everyone Was Invited.

Things get more complicated than verbal and physical though. Looking at what co-morbid conditions (other diagnosable conditions) that TS can come with is like looking at a big set of extreme parts of human nature that tend to be talked about negatively by society (I think it is more complicated than this though). Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder Ψ (ADHD), obsessions and compulsions Ψ (OCD/OCB), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD, Ψ), mood disorder Ψ, anxiety, depression, rage attacks, schizotypy…

[I have so much of an effect that I literally warp our lives. Our lifelong game results in a surprising amount of change to brain anatomy [12], our whole physiology, our psychology, the behavior of genes in cells and more. They use us to study stress. We manage to have enough of an effect that 90% of the time TS comes along with other mental conditions[13] Ψ. Heck, 36% of us have more than three extra definable mental issues[13]!]

ADHD (Ψ) comes along with TS 70% of the time, and drops to about 17% in adults.[14]. OCD (>comes along 60%% of the time, that drops to about 30% in adults [14]. Just about all of the types and flavors of OCD are possible but there seem to be some uniquely associated with TS. Obsessions: Aggression, Violence, Sex and Religion (that last on is called “Scrupulosity” and is more like a social rule obsession). Compulsions: Touching, Hoarding, Checking, Counting, Symmetry and Ordering [15].

[There are reasons the feeling of constant “fight or flight” or always being “startled” matters. Those OCDs are very, intensity focused things. That symmetry compulsion has some interesting aspects when it comes to arguing for fun, many relationships involving intense emotion in arguments have symmetrical aspects.]

Of course it sounds scary in a list like that. We have natural instincts Ψto pay attention aggression, sex and society. That stuff is objectively important to us so there are going to be systems sensitive to them, and some humans will be more sensitive to them than others. And some people will be so sensitive that their lives or the lives of other will be negatively affected because biology is not perfect. Those people get the official diagnosis. The compulsions that come along are are more complicated. We all uniquely interact with the obsessions, and the compulsions relieve the emotions associated with the obsessions. But research suggests that people with TS are more in control of themselves than most people in many respects [6][7][8]. As time goes on a person with TS can take control of their life, several studies see  increased control when focused on something we enjoy or take seriously.
Rage attacks? This has to do with three co-morbid conditions at least.

[When he gets pissed I pour gasoline on the fire! He has been so consumed by me that he tunes out everything else. Until recently, he’s more boring now.]

To me it feels as if all of my emotions and moods are stronger than they are for other people, or some of them at least. 20% of us have Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED, Ψ) versus 8% of the general population [16]. That’s a fancy way of saying I can get VERY PISSED OFF.

[I’m surprised he has not been on Youtube with the way we used to yell at video games.]

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD, Ψ)? This is what they call it when you are angry, irritable, argumentative, defiant, and/or vindictive for more than 6 months, with some other details [17]. Statistics were hard to find in papers but I do have a CDC link that says 26% of us have ODD or CD (next section). That is compared to 1-16% in the population at large, and yes that range means that the accuracy needs improved overall [19]. At the least we are twice as likely to have confrontation or conduct problems according to that paper.

Conduct disorder (CD, Ψ)? CD is a bit of a grab bag. Conduct is essentially “behavior” after all so this would be “disordered behavior” which is pretty non-specific. ODD is thought to graduate into CD. CD is defined by repeated violations of the rights of others and/or violation of age appropriate norms for at least 6 months [17]. One recent study [18] compared 65 18-year-olds with 65 controls and found a rate of 23% CD in TS compared to 3% of the controls. So what does this mean for TS? Since CD is such a broadly defined thing it connects to many kinds of mental and emotional issues in many ways. Since we act and react with more intensity as people with TS, the best I think we can say is that whatever “regular people” deal with that contributes to CD we will simply respond to more intensely and form habits more strongly and easily.

[If you challenge me I don’t care what your problem is. If you are in my way you are a problem. If you disagree with me you are wrong. If you bother me you are an enemy. Peeves are irritants, irritants are problems, and problems are threats. Threats are, I’m not sure if we have ever gotten to that point.]

Every reaction and response feels as if it is turned up. The rage attacks are mostly reported in children, but adults also complain of them. I live a life that requires me to try to never allow myself to use strong emotions without control, and I am used to “dialing it back” in intensity as a matter of routine. If challenged and mastered this even gives us advantages. The intensity of the anger, rage and other emotions never decreases over time (in my experience), but the control and ability to endure the emotion increases. Eventually we can express these emotions with more control because we literally grow perceptual recognition filters and inhibitory breaking systems on a more adult level, but we have to be careful about habits. When we get enough control over intense emotion we get another added benefit over and above the introspection and control, we get a perceptual filter for other people. Learning to recognize and control intense emotion in yourself lets you see it in others and THAT is quite the moral and ethical situation that I will leave for another post (what do you do when you see others do things they are unaware of?).

[This also helps with the hobby of arguing online. One might even say our ability to read and use intense emotions is, demonic. Sees where fear is, develops control of and an ability to see aggression, skilled with rule based language, can sound simple and decisive. Demons whispering in crowds anyone? Just how deep is this metaphor?]

“Inappropriate sexual activity”? As I mentioned, that is not one that I am going to tackle right away. I’m going to see how well I do with the other subjects first because there are limits when I am inexperienced. The most I will say is that my opinion is that the excess emotional intensity counts here in a general way, and life is what determines what a person does with it. I’ll add to this section when I am comfortable.

[Don’t look at me, he’s right. A Demon cares about the survival of it’s person.]

Anxiety (Ψ) and depression (Ψ)? is another one that is an extreme version of normal. We develop depression and anxiety more than “regular people” at around 30% in both children and adults [20] because the emotions drive us there. Shitty treatment feels shittier. I could keep going. There are connections to Bi-Polar, schizo-obsessive tendencies, trichotillomania (hair pulling), autism…

Why Demons?

[When your head feels like it’s full of everyone else, how could we resist? WHY NOT DEMONS!]

[1] Tourette’s syndrome: from demonic possession and psychoanalysis to the discovery of gene.

Francisco M.B. Germiniani et al. Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria, 2012 Jul;70(7):547-9.

[2] Emotional structure of jokes: a corpus-based investigation.

Yu-Chen Chan. Bio-Medical Materials and Engineering, 2014;24(6):3083-90. doi: 10.3233/BME-141130.

[3] Schizotypal personality traits in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.

A. E. Cavanna. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 2007 Dec;116(6):385-91.

[4] Sensory gating scales and premonitory urges in Tourette syndrome.

Ashley N. Sutherland Owens 2011 Mar 22;11:736-41.

[5] Towards objectively quantifying sensory hypersensitivity: a pilot study of the “Ariana effect“.

Vassilis N. Panagopoulos et al. PeerJ. 2013 Aug 1;1:e121.

[6] Speeded processing of grammar and tool knowledge in Tourette‘s syndrome.

Matthew Walenski et al. Neuropsychologia. 2007 Jun 18;45(11):2447-60.

[7] Enhanced cognitive control in young people with Tourette‘s syndrome.

Sven C. Mueller et al. Curr Biol. 2006 Mar 21;16(6):570-3.

[8] Time processing in children with Tourette‘s syndrome.

Carmelo Mario Vicario et al. Brain Cogn. 2010 Jun;73(1):28-34.

[9] “Could an Inner Zombie Be Controlling Your Brain?”

Carl Zimmer. Discover magazine, September 8, 2008

[10] Reading resources for TS and associated disorders. Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada forum.

[11] “Up In Your Head: Can Having Tourette Syndrome Make You a Superior Athlete?”

By JOSEPH DIAZ and LAUREN EFFRON. ABC News, August 14, 2014.

[12] The functional anatomy of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome.

Christos Ganos et al. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Jul;37(6):1050-62.

[13] The Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: the current status.

Mary Robertson. Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed. 2012 Oct;97(5):166-75

[14] Tourette’s syndrome in adults.

Joseph Jankovic MD et al. Mov Disord. 2010 Oct 15;25(13):2171-5.

[15] Tourette syndrome, associated conditions and the complexities of treatment.

Mary Robertson. Brain. 2000 Mar;123 Pt 3:425-62.

[16] Prevalence and clinical correlates of explosive outbursts in Tourette syndrome.

Kevin Chen et al. Psychiatry Res. 2013 Feb 28;205(3):269-75.

[17] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

The American Psychiatric Association, May 18, 2013.

[18] Psychosocial outcome and psychiatric comorbidity in older adolescents with Tourette syndrome: controlled study.

Gorman DA et al. Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Jul;197(1):36-44.

[19] Oppositional defiant disorder.

Hamilton SS et al. Am Fam Physician. 2008 Oct 1;78(7):861-6.

[20] Tourette’s syndrome in adults.

Jankovic J et al.  Mov Disord. 2010 Oct 15;25(13):2171-5.

[21] Rapid presentation of emotional expressions reveals new emotional impairments in Tourette’s syndrome.


The purpose of this blog.

A brief warning for parents: This blog is about Tourette Syndrome, but it is not a blog intended for parents of children with TS, or children with TS (although both groups could potentially benefit. This is about the experience of TS as an adult by an adult with the condition. TS is associated with a lot of sensitive things that are sensitive for good reason, however someone should be willing to discuss those things. This blog is an experimental creative work, and this page is my reasons and justifications for what I am doing. Many things that are worthwhile are risky and I am working hard to make sure this is the worth-while part.


Who and What?

I am a 38 year-old trained molecular biologist/cell biologist who has had to put his science career on hold because of a diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 2009. I spent the next 5 years using my science background to learn enough brain science, anatomy, psychology and many other things with the goal of understanding what it means to have TS (and ADHD). The result was one of those things that completely changes the way you look at yourself and your past. I found out that I was a member of a group of people with the most diverse expression of what is called mental illness that I have ever seen. And there were benefits! And drawbacks. An example of a benefit is that we process the rule based parts of language faster than much of the population at large.

Speeded processing of grammar and tool knowledge in Tourette’s syndrome[5].

We found that TS children were significantly faster than typically-developing control children at producing rule-governed past-tenses (slip-slipped, plim-plimmed, bring-bringed) but not irregular and other unpredictable past-tenses (bring-brought, splim-splam). They were also faster than controls at naming pictures of manipulated (hammer) but not non-manipulated (elephant) items. These data were not explained by a wide range of potentially confounding subject- and item-level factors. The results suggest that the processing of procedurally-based knowledge, both of grammar and of manipulated objects, is particularly speeded in TS. The frontal/basal-ganglia abnormalities may thus lead not only to tics, but to a wider range of rapid behaviors, including in the cognitive processing of rule-governed forms in language and other types of procedural knowledge.

About_ TS Enhancements

That’s a hell of a lot of emotion to work through and what complicated it was how this new knowledge was showing me things about myself and my mind. I would be dishonest if I were not willing to admit that at some points I have been a little manic about this. In fact I tried to blog about this before and the results are hard to explain. (for some reason a fandom got mixed up in this, it was an interesting time). Emotions and TS are complicated which is why I’m doing this and have wanted to do this.

So I’m taking a chance and putting this up here. I’m going to slowly work through papers that talk about TS and tie together my hypotheses and reasoned speculation while giving an idea about just how solid the data is. And I’m going to try to do it at an average language level. Does that sound far-fetched? Good because I am doing this as a person whose neurological condition is in his very language processing, and who in centuries past would have been called demon possessed[3]. I could use the pressure.


Pope Inocencius VIII supported the publication of the Malleus Maleficarum … written by two Dominican monks. In the book, they reported the case of a priest with no clear signs of cognitive dysfunction or eccentricities, which exhibited abnormal tongue movements, vocal tics and coprolalia whenever he kneeled in reverence of the Virgin Mary. He said that he couldn’t prevent those behaviours from happening. The priest’s symptoms were attributed to an act of the Demon and he was “cured” by an act of Exorcism.

In the same book, there’s also the account of a woman who uttered obscenities compulsively during the mass, which could be interpreted as coprolalia at the exact moment that the priest gave the final blessing, the Dominus Oubiscum. These should probably be the first written reports of persons with TS, whose symptoms were interpreted as signs of demonic possession, which resulted in them being targeted by the Inquisition and, not surprisingly, ending up in a fiery death at the stake.

So I hope that I am entertaining at the very least.


How: Two voices, me and…

Some of you might think that I’m too worried about risk, I can’t help but see this as risky. I tend to be very paranoid about how I present myself to society, (which might be connected to what is often called the “religion OCD”, Scrupulosity Ψ). At the minimum the tendencies shape my personality. It’s hard to describe but I am effectively obsessed about society. It took me some time to realize that I have spent my life stuffing the emotions and impulses related to that social obsession into a kind of “reality simulation” (possibly OCD intrusive thoughts related)  that I can even support with some literature that references such a habit in TS as “mental play”[4]. I use this simulation to try to think about my social environment (or fantasy environments) in terms of best/worst things, problems, strategies, and lots of other things. It’s actually a useful paranoia and combined with that language enhancement is very very interesting.

In fact the sheer number of changes to the structure and chemistry of our brains is such that, I can’t just use the language that we already have available to us and do this well. I’m going to have to get creative. This blog is going to get very metaphorical and analogical. I have a lot of symbols to use, abuse and create in order to get across what I need to get these things I see out for others to consider and criticize. It might be utter shit but I won’t know until I let other people see it.

But not every way of passing information on is a good one. Because of the nature of the material, social sensitivities (reasonable and unreasonable), and my own emotional investment I need to watch for things. My own bias coloring things is a problem so I need to create a process for separating myself from the material. I’m less sure about what other people are sensitive to, but for now I will try to be approachable and fair with criticism.

To fix bias I’m going to pretend my Tourette Syndrome is a demon in metaphorical role-playing. I will try to let those emotions come out as another voice alongside “mine”, which seems a risky thing to do on a social level at least. In reality “I” will be normal me as much as possible, but it will probably be a more analytical way of thinking more than “natural me”. This will be hard to avoid because Whatever TS ultimately is, it is about very simple, intense emotion and emotional connections to perception and action. It’s a childlike thing and as sensitive as this might be, it reminds me of a fundamentalist conservative religious stereotype. If you are a conservative fundamentalist religious person you have every right to be offended, but it is what it is. If I make a routine out of separating my analytical side from my impassioned side that might do the job in showing the reader what the science says and what I think and feel. Let’s see how much deeper this rabbit hole of social sensitivity goes shall we?

*Not only will I be presenting TS as a demon, I will be presenting MY TS as a demon. I am not every person with TS so I need to separate me from TS in general.

[I’m a bad influence you see. I’m a big chunk of selfishness and self-interest. I want to use the simplest and strongest language that puts me into everything in some way.]

*TS has to do with social memory and emotion in a way that can create urges to do socially inappropriate, even violent and hostile things. Racial epithets, insults, obscenity. “Fun” stuff huh? Still this will represent a cognitive system that everyone has. We are just convenient to learn about it.

[Fuck all of you. I have my own shit to worry about. Wait, I need your help and company sometimes don’t I?]

*TS has to do with physical sex. More male persons get it than female persons, but that can easily be a function of society treating male and female persons differently as a group. Either way there is a general system there as well.

[You are something of a tool to me. I don’t hate you, I like you actually. It’s just that I tend to see you in terms of me and what I feel and do.]

*TS has to do with sexual instincts. It might be a bit before I can talk about that one, but I can admit that TS is associate with various sex related excesses. Sexual instincts may just be more intense in general though, and there may be no innate tendency to violate the rights of others.

[Sensation, is fucking awesome.]

*TS has to do with gender. The personality characteristics are strongly associated with things considered “masculine”, but girls and women with TS seem to have more masculine characteristics. Someone is lying and I think it’s society.

[I’m a hedonist, assertive, unintentionally aggressive, a show-boater, an exaggerator, an optimist, I always have to mess with things and figure them out and I am similar things in female humans with TS]

*TS has to do with violence and aggression. I have to have a lot of self control to function with people best. It just seems to be what I am.

[I’m just over excitable. Who doesn’t like to run around with abandon?]

*TS has to do with patterns, connections, relations and sensitivity to such. And as I said it’s in my very language processes. The funny thing about neurobiology and language is it says I am literally in your head. So what part of my TS is in your head and what is it doing?

[Is this an appropriate time for an evil laugh? Yes I think that it is.]

I think that I will at least be entertaining.


So what will this “demon” do for me? It will let me get the emotions and associations out while still expressing the science for what it is. That’s not a bad thing. The bias that emotion contributes may or may not be justified. Bias is a neutral, it just means that your decision is pushed in a direction and most of the time we hear about inappropriate bias. To control bias you have to understand bias and make it a tool. It helps to be honest and as obvious about your bias as you can.


All of that was to say that this blog is about me and everyone. But every picture of everyone has to correct for the individual in telling the story.



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[3] Tourette’s syndrome: from demonic possession and psychoanalysis to the discovery of gene.

Francisco M.B. Germiniani et al. Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria, 2012 Jul;70(7):547-9.

[4] Mental play in Gilles de la Tourette‘s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Cath DC et al. Br J Psychiatry. 1992 Oct;161:542-5.

[5] Speeded processing of grammar and tool knowledge in Tourette‘s syndrome.

Matthew Walenski et al. Neuropsychologia. 2007 Jun 18;45(11):2447-60.