“As A Person With Facial Tics Disorder, Obligatory Face Masks Have Been A Godsend.”

At a young age, I developed facial tics. It is said that a lot of kids who have them, eventually grow out of them – I was not one of those kids. At the age of 25, my tics are still there, and at times very visible.

I can’t control my tics. It’s the kind of thing you do subconsciously, and everyone’s tics are different. Some people widen their eyes, some twitch their nose, others have to shake their head, or move their mouths. Every person’s tics are different… mine are mostly moving my mouth – which is why obligatory face masks have been a godsend for me.

Think of it like a really bad itch, which is only relieved once you scratch it. If you don’t do the tic, it’s going to drive you insane, so you have to move your mouth in a certain direction or you will go mad. I’ve tried medication and meditation, but nothing has bibidi-bobidi-booped them away up till now.

Growing up, I never really knew anyone who had tics, but over time I started seeing more of them on TV and celebrities actually started sharing that they have tics.

Billie Eilish has been open about it, and I was recently watching the second season of Netflix series ‘Glow Up. One of the makeup artists had them quite frequently.

They’re far more noticeable when you’re stressed, and whenever someone mentions them or you think about them, you can rest assured they’ll be there for the next half hour or so – in fact, as I am writing this article, my chin and mouth have been moving at an impressive pace.

It is something I am quite conscious of – whenever I am at parties, someone almost always offers me a bottle of water, thinking my mouth is going at a hundred miles an hour for other reasons– I’ll leave it up to your imagination to guess why. I take the water, cos it’s free … I mean, I’m no idiot … but it really makes me feel conscious about the fact that my mouth and jaw randomly start jolting and it’s out of my control.

I was once having my makeup done during a makeup course I am taking, and the MUA doing my makeup and I were having a laugh, joking around, and my tics tend to worsen when someone is touching my face – at one point she told me to cut it out, thinking I was doing it on purpose to be funny – after which I had to explain that I in fact, have a facial tic condition and had no control over them. It was awkward, to say the least.

I hate taking videos – because whenever I see a camera, my tics have a field day on me – almost every video I am in features my tics, and I absolutely hate it.

Interviews are horrible – you’re always a bit agitated before, and you don’t really want to be twitching uncontrollably in front of a potential employer. Meeting new people in general can be stressful at times, because they don’t know if it’s a condition, or if you’ve got something bothering you on your chin.

And don’t even get me started on first dates …. Sometimes I feel like my life should come with a tic warning, like the ones they do on TV when images might be distressing on people with epilepsy.

*WARNING: FACIAL TICS MOST LIKELY TO OCCUR IN THE NEXT CONVERSATION*

I’ve learned to embrace my tics over the years, and my friends have all gotten used to me at this point, to the extent that we even joke about it sometimes… but god oh god, this coronavirus has brought me something that I am just thankful for.

While everyone has been whining and being all grumpy over the fact that they have to have their mouths covered for a good portion of the day – I was relieved.

Having your mouth covered means that no one sees you twitch – it’s amazing – I actually feel normal. What’s there not to like??

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