View Full Version : Anyone have this?

09-16-08, 03:52 AM
I have mild Tourettes with some OCD symptoms. One strange thing I have is that I mentally do this pattern. Left, Right, Right, Left. Then I reverse it Right, Left, Left, Right. Then I build bigger patterns: LRRL RLLR RLLR LRRL (left) RLLR LRRL LRRL RLLR (right). And so on and so on. I get to about 6 levels deep and then lose track. I find myself doing it compulsively usually when relaxing, watching TV or whatnot. I might do it with my toes (right foot/left foot), or fingers, by twitching symmetrical muscles somewhere in my face or body, or even by looking back and forth with my eyes.

So here's what's really crazy. I recently took up drumming. One of the rudiments you learn is a paradiddle. It goes RLRR LRLL. So now over the past couple of months this pattern I've had for 30 years (RLLR) has been transformed and I now find myself twiching paradiddles (RLRR).

Anyway. It's nothing life threatening but I'm curious whether anyone else experiences this. I've never seen any documentation of this sort of thing mentioned about Tourettes or any other disorder for that matter. The patterns I've seen people talk about in OCD never seem to be like this (nested using muscle twitches).

09-16-08, 04:39 AM
I suspect that you're just a born drummer. I've been a muso for 30 years.... nothing professional, just learning and playing various instruments. I've played the piano, (5 years), violin, (14 years), singing, (20 years), and now I've been playing the drums for 2 years.

One thing I did notice is that I naturally like rhythms. I'm not OCD or tourettes. But I have a natural affinity for rhythms. I should have taken up the drums a looong time ago.... But I didn't and have regretted it.

But the same thing happened to me. I thought. Hey I've been doing these paradiddles the whole time! And it was easy to pick them up and do them.

Not only that, but poly-rhythms. I've been doing these since I was a kid and didn't know. A basic poly-rhythm is something like:
3/4 - left hand.
4/4 - right hand.
2/4 - kick.

All the same meter, with emphasis on the '1'. It was then a simple step on to more complex polys, like changing meters on the 3/4, so that the '3' is the '2' of the 2/4. Or using same meter polys of 5/4, 3/4 and 7/8.
Then you start swapping limbs. 3/4 LH, 4/4 RH, 2/4 K -> 4/4 LH, 2/4 RH, 3/4 K. Without missing a beat.

BTW. Practice with a metronome! VERY important.

09-16-08, 08:47 AM
I'm not a drummer, but I find rhythmic movement to be soothing. I've got the leg-bounce, of course - but I've got this great foot-rest that makes a noise each time my heel hits. Nice.

My understanding of OCD is that you must compulsively do things a certain way, whether you "want to" or not - but seeing as your pattern has changed - I don't know. Maybe Mijahe is right - maybe you just love rhythms - and most likely find them soothing as well.

09-17-08, 11:01 PM
I should also have taken up drums long ago. I've played Piano and Guitar for years and found each very challenging. Drums feel way more natural for me. Thanks for the advice, I am religious about the metronome. I've also had a 3/4 + 4/4 polyrhythm thing that shows up occassionally but it's not nearly as prevalent. A lot of times when I'm listening to something in 4/4 I find myself tapping along in 3/4. Hmmm, I'll see if I can get that going more deliberately. If my brain just does these things naturally then I see that as an advantage and will try to harness it.

Yeah, this definitely isn't compulsive. I just notice that I've been doing it for a few minutes unconsciously and then, once aware, really enjoy the feel so keep nesting as far as I can. Something similar that I think a lot of people have is the crack in the sidewalk. You know how it's kind of satisfying to try to not step on the cracks? That's what this LRLL thing feels like. I remember as a kid that everyone did that little mental game but I suppose for OC folks it could be very frustrating.