When You Are Feeling Embarrassed of Yourself

When You Are Feeling Embarrassed of YourselfWhen Feel Embarrassed of Yourself:

I have had Tourette’s Syndrome since my earliest memories. It used to be really bad and painful. I could hold it in at school, but the greedy monster of needing to have a tic would come crawling out of shadows when I got home. The more I tried to satisfy the urge, the more the repetitive motion hurt me; then, the more I had to do it.

Age and wisdom has taught me my triggers. I have small, yet painful tics. I sat in the office of a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, giving my history, while having tics, yet the doctor said he never observed any. That’s how well I hide them, but they are still quite painful.

However, extreme stress brings the tics out in the most vicious way. The tics present in a way that is entirely new and different.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know that spent awhile at the Mayo Clinic. Talk about stressful. Packing. Traveling. Sleep deprivation. Uncertainty about appointments. Doctors who didn’t listen. After a day of travel and the first two days of appointments, I broke down. All of this was after even finally letting my dad push me around in a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk any longer. I just had nothing left to give – not even to walk.

I reclined back in my hotel bed. (Shout out to Megan for recommending the bed wedge!) I was fatigued and crying, yet I couldn’t sleep. I tried to hold a book to read. That didn’t work because my head was out of control. Dystonia normally causes my head the pull backwards and sideways. My tics are normally very hidden.

Yet, I couldn’t stop pushing it forward, rolling it from side to side, clenching my jaw and neck muscles, and finally throwing down my book. The tics that normally feel like a sneeze or an itch, but I was out of control. Stress took my normally small tics and made them large, uncontrollable, and horrifically painful and embarrassing. I couldn’t let my dad into the room.

Negative Self-Talk:

With tears in my eyes, I though about how if I could see a video of how I looked, I would be embarrassed of myself. I would be horrified of how I looked. How pathetic and stupid I must look. I might have looked stupid. I might have looked like a worthless person.

What does that say about me? Because I move my head in a painful manner, I have no worth? I would never say that about another person. I would never think that about another person.

I rail against the stigma of handicaps and mental illness, but as the stress of seeing doctors (yeah, go figure) for two days had me moving in ways that had me locked away into the hotel room, and I realized that I was judging myself in the same way I wouldn’t want to judge someone else. I wouldn’t want someone to judge me. I’m sick. I’m not stupid. I’m in pain. I would give anything to be able to just cry and fall asleep when I get stressed out, but instead my body reacts differently.

I started to wonder if my different was bad. I wondered what people would think if they really knew. My emotions tell me that my body’s neurological problems are “bad,” and other people react “good.” The false good and bad dichotomy that I’ve learned and lived by since I was very young was at work. Sitting still and getting good grades is “good.” Moving around and getting bad grades is “bad.” I want to be good. Yes, there are good things and there are bad things, but not everything falls neatly into either. In this case, my embarrassing and painful health condition was neither. So, when I hurt myself from repetitive motions because I am stressed out, I believe I am bad and worthless because I am not normal. I am not being the quiet, A+ student.

I don’t have any answers. This is just my story.

I want other people to know that they aren’t bad when their health conditions make them abnormal. Aside from what is normal?, because maybe a lot of people go to their bedrooms and act out in private, I just wanted to write this because I know that I can’t be the only person who feels like this about my health conditions.

Rationally, I know that I’m not a lesser person because I have health conditions and odd neurological reactions to stress – not just odd, but really, really embarrassing. I am writing this because I cannot be the only person who deals with feeling embarrassed of myself, even in private. I cannot be the only person who feels like a hypocrite because I judge myself in a way that I would never to do another person.

I suppose, I would encourage you and myself to embrace ourselves and treat ourselves with the same kindness that we would show to other people. I know that golden rule is to treat others as yourself, but when you treat other people better than yourself because you are mean to yourself in your mind, remember that your emotions lie to you. Try to replace some of your emotionally driven thoughts of embarrassment with the kindness you would show to someone else in your situation. I know it’s easier said than done, but if I can practice it, you can too. I’m really stubborn and resistant to change, but that kind of thinking is self destructive, and I don’t want that pain anymore.

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Categories: Chronic Illness | Tags: , , , |
  • I love you and I’m so sorry you have to go through this! You are such an amazing woman.

  • We are our own worse critics. When one struggles with health problems, all that person can often see is what is wrong and what isn’t “normal” You were tired and exhausted and when this happens – the negative self talk become louder and harder to correct. You are amazing and someone to admire!

  • there is no such thing as normal! it’s true that we often are more harsh on ourselves than others though & that we should stop negative self talk! you are so strong! 🙂

  • I just want to give you a big hug right now. I know exactly what you mean when you said you were exhausted after your Mayo visit – I remember being physically and mentally exhausted after mine. The good news, the bad news, the disappointment of learning nothing new…it’s all so difficult. I also completely understand that negative self-talk….for me it’s the frustration of not being able to live independently (even though I live with my husband – the knowledge that I struggled so much on my own is hard for me) and not feeling “lazy” when I can’t do everything that I want to do because of my sleep disorder. I know it’s hard, but try not to be embarrassed or too critical of yourself – you’re amazing in so many ways!!

    P.S. – you still haven’t told me what you learned about your meds. Let me know! 🙂

  • You are so strong. I can’t even imagine what you go through, but I do know that you are strong and such a huge encouragement to others.

  • I love this post. You have such a gift of vulnerability! Thanks for sharing your heart. Accepting yourself, tics and all, is the only way for others to learn to accept you as well. Same goes for all of us and our own personal “tics.”

  • I am sorry you are going through this. I know I have no idea what it’s like at all, but when you said you were judging yourself in a way you would never judge anyone else – like i said, I don’t have any experience with what you are going through, but it’s taken me a long time to realise the whole treating others the way you want to be treated should also be treat yourself the way you would treat a friend.

  • Sarah, I am so sorry this is happening to you. Just know that you are not alone. You are not alone in your struggle or in how you feel. I think going through these situations we feel all these things that most people aren’t sure of. Before I ever had RA all the feels I feel I never felt before. I am not one to judge people for any reason, disability, gender, looks, sexual orientation, the list goes on, yet whenever I am having a bad flare and can’t function I am so embarrassed for myself as well. I think this is a different situation that you but similar. I am sure there are many others that are just like us. Inside I want to flaunt my disability to the world because I am not ashamed of it but when it comes to a head I just hide.

  • Thanks, Joyce. It is so hard to remember that no one is “normal” when you’re feeling bad about yourself, but when I do things like write this, it helps me. I hope it helps other people!

  • Sarah I want to thank you for always being so open and honest. I love reading your blog because it is raw and often about subjects I don’t understand or have much experience with. I think this is an important lesson for all of us whether we suffer from any medical conditions or not, your tweet states it all – treat yourself the way you would treat others. Whenever I am being incredibly critical of myself I always ask “Would I ever say or think this about somebody else?” The answer is almost always no. It’s a powerful reminder.

  • Wow, I actually had no idea you had tourette’s. I know very little about it, besides what I assume are cliches about in the media. This was actually fascinating for me to hear a little more about how it affects you. But girl, you are right, you are worth just as much as anyone else, tics and all. You’re beautiful. Happy Friday:)