Full transcript of neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman’s TEDx talk on Disconnected Brains: How isolation fuels opioid addiction @ TEDxMidAtlantic conference.
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Rachel Wurzman – Neuroscientist
What does it mean to be normal? And what does it mean to be sick?
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. Now, 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 experience 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. All right, 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?