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Disconnected Brains: How isolation fuels opioid addiction - Rachel Wurzman

Jul 6

What does it mean to be normal? And what does it mean to be sick? Part 1

 I've asked myself this question. From the time I was about seven when I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. Tourette's is a neurological disorder characterized by stereotyped movements I perform against my will, called tics. Those tics are technically involuntary in the sense that they occur without any conscious attention or intention on my part. But there's a funny thing about how I experienced tics.

They feel more unvoluntary than involuntary because I still feel like it's me moving my shoulder, not some external force. Also, I get this uncomfortable sensation called premonitory urge right before tics happen, and particularly when I'm trying to resist them. Now, I imagine most of you out there, understand what I'm saying. But unless you have Tourette's, you probably think you can't relate.

But I bet you can. So let's try a little experiment here and see if I can give you a taste of what my experience feels like. Alright, ready? Don't blink. No, really don't blink. And besides dry eyes, what do you feel phantom pressure, eyelids tingling. A need. Are you holding your breath? Uh huh. That's approximately what my tics feel like now ticks and blinking, neurologically speaking are not the same.

But my point is, is that you don't have to have Tourette's to be able to relate to my experience of my prime auditory urges, because your brain can give you similar experiences, and feelings. So let's shift the conversation from what it means to be normal versus sick. To what it means that a majority of us are both normal and sick. Because in the final analysis, we're all humans, whose brains provide for a spectrum of experiences. And everything on that spectrum of human experiences is ultimately produced by brain systems that assume a spectrum of different states. So again, what does it mean to be normal? And what does it mean to be sick? When sickness exists on the extreme end of a spectrum of normal?

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