As I continued on, my fixation on vulgar utterances continued along with me. Much of my previous post took place when I was in fifth grade, and much of this one will take place when I was in sixth.
I had adjusted to this new living arrangement, despite some difficulties, and things were going generally smooth. I still saw my dad everyday due to him taking me to school, not to mention the time he spent at my house on saturdays doing yard work. The hardest part of all of it was the general environment of my house due to my mom feeling left alone. It made it so my sister and brother-in-law visited far more often. On such occasion is when my consistent and constant curses were found out.
The more I whispered these words to myself, the more guilt I started to feel. The more guilt I started to feel, the more I couldn’t stop. I was really afraid of being found out, so I tried my hardest not to say any such things around my family. I did not stop trying to conceal my utterances, but they were of such that I would not be able to hide them forever.
The majority of my family was watching TV in the front room, and often times when they did that they watched something I didn’t want to watch, so I’d go and watch something in my mom’s room.
At one point when I came out to socialize, I walked past where my brother-in-law was sitting and at that time I started cursing, as I always did, under my breath. He looked at me, and fairly quietly asked, “what did you just say?” Immediately in panic, I said, “Nothing. I didn’t say anything…”
Here is where my memory does not serve me well, I cannot remember whether or not I later admitted to him that I had indeed cursed and I could not stop. Or, if things were left alone. All I know was that the guilt was starting to become too much to bear.
I went to my mom shortly after this event and talked to her in her room. I remember prefacing it by saying something like, “I’ve been doing something bad” or “I’ve been sinning”, possibly, I could have even asked, “You’ll still love me no matter what, right?” Either way my mom had me continue on. So, I told her what I had been doing, all about my cursing and how I could not stop. I nearly broke down into tears until I realized she was smiling and said something simple like, “I know. It’s okay.” Relief swept over me and she continued on, “I’ve just been waiting for you to come to me about this.” She explained how it wasn’t my fault, that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. My urges to make vocal noises, even swear words, was all something that I could be naturally doing just because that’s the way I was. And that it was nothing to be ashamed of.
We made plans for me to go see a specialist, and so I was given a day off from school and we had to drive out to Arroyo Grande (I believe) for me to be tested. I was then diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and put on Zoloft to help me deal with my tics. The guilt was completely gone. It helped significantly. I never had urges anymore, I couldn’t directly think about how I made those sounds and not feel an urge to have any tics whatsoever. Despite all of this guilt being taken from me, I started to feel like this diagnosis made me different, weirder, or defective.
In addition to this, I started feeling more and more curious about killing myself. Suicide became something that I thought about all the time. Not that I specifically wanted to commit suicide, but my fixation seemed to move from these verbal tics to this thought of how I could possibly do it, and would I? I started to distrust objects in my room and what harmful destruction they could have over me.
When I told my mom about all of this, she immediately wanted me off of my medication. My tics came back, but those suicidal thoughts and the feelings of being defective were completely gone.
My TS has significantly calmed, and though you may still see me go through bouts of motor or vocal tics, I do not feel overwhelmed by them. And though my diagnosis helped me realize that there are certain things I don’t have to feel guilty about, this wasn’t my only interaction with guilt, or with suicidal thoughts. Both of these things play an intimate part of my overal story and how I became an atheist.