Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture (A Brief PSA)

Hello my darling little squirrels.

If I may, tonight? A little PSA for you. I understand that it can be offputting and can make people nervous or concerned, I really do. I am here to tell you that we who live with this condition be treated the same way you would treat someone else with a physical difference: With respect, not with pity. Same goes for disdain, not with disgust or assumptions, and seriously, people, I ain’t mad at ya, I’m just here to give you the skinny.

I shake. Yep, I have a tremor, sometimes barely noticeable, sometimes all but completely debilitating. It sucks. It’s frustrating and embarrassing, mostly because it makes people stare, whisper, and can lead to INCREDIBLY humiliating when I get (often shouted) comments like “OH MY GOD, ARE YOU OKAY?!” or “Um, WHY are you shaking? God, that’s weird/sad/scary/” and my favourite of all, and this is one I used to get from my mom before she was educated over the years “YOU’RE SHAKING. STOP IT”

Guess what? Those questions, statements and the side-eyes or looks of horror or pity? They make ME uncomfortable. When I’m nervous or scared, panic/anxiety stricken, or feeling any deeply felt emotion, it makes me shake MORE. Imagine someone is obviously heavily pregnant. Or uses canes or a wheelchair. Hell, if they wear GLASSES. Or has ANY physical condition that is noticeable to the naked eye. Let’s say for the hell of it, you worked at Target as a cashier. A person comes up to you and it might take a couple chances to make correct change or pick at those damn electronic buttons on the ATM thingie. If that person used braces and canes, would you howl “OH MY GOD, DO YOU NEED HELP?!” Of course not. So please stop. We appreciate your concern. And sometimes, yes, I do need help with fine motor skills if I’m having a particularly bad day. I might ask you for a ride if I don’t feel safe to drive, or a fork at a Japanese restaurant when I would usually use chopsticks. Trust me, no one is more aware of my tremor than I am. I don’t want or desire my condition to cause whispers (“She’s got the shakes. Must be the DTs. She obviously needs booze/drugs”) or flimsy pity (“Must be Parkinson’s. Poor soul.”) We appreciate your concern, we delicately raise (figuratively) an eyebrow at your assumptions. It, like so many others, countless others, is a condition that we have to live with every day.  We don’t need it to be spelled out in public.

Why do *I* shake? Does it really matter? I’m fine. If I need help, I will quietly and discreetly ask for it. That’s all. Thanks, really. I ain’t mad atcha. 🙂

Oh, and I DO make fun of it. So it’s not some big shameful secret. I just…Sometimes I get sick of explaining it, ya know?

There’s a (hopefully) funneh entry in the queue for tomorrow. Kisses!


Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture (A Brief PSA) — 19 Comments

  1. I once had to make hot cocoa from a powder – so I got a spoonful of the powder and, by the time I got it to my cup, not that far away mind you, there was nothing left in the spoon. There was just this long powdery trail between the can and the cup. I couldn’t help but laugh, and that’s the way I look at pretty much everything related to my illness. I mean, it was hilarious, so laugh. You’re doing it right.

  2. Shake shake shake….shake your boo-ty!

    Sorry. That was probably rude and disrespectful. But that’s all I could think of. 🙂

    People are dumb. And mean. I’m sorry.

  3. Speaking as one of the ignorant I’d like to point out that although your tremor is something you’ve lived with for a while, to someone new it might seem like cause for immediate concern: heat stroke, or insulin shock or some other dangerous condition. Hence, questioning it is merely an expression of concern, in case you actually do need help. If an ignorant person such as myself chooses to ignore it, that seems to me to be an indication that they don’t care about your well-being.

    • EvilCritter, I so appreciate your post. What I’m working on as far as clues (and I’m no scientist) is that I was dead sober, on a forced 3-healthy-meal a day diet,and had weekly blood work done for a full two weeks and I still had the same symptoms. So that can count out heat stroke and insulin shock. There’s a plethora of other things that could be wrong (I’ve consulted Dr. Google and boy is he scary) but we’re taking it one day at a time, right? Thanks so much. xoxo

  4. Man, do I know how much that sucks. I shake *all the time* too. And like you, it gets worse when I’m upset or scared or anxious. Reactions run the gamut from “are you ok?” to “omg wtf” and I so wish that people would just know that a. no, I’m not a crackhead, and b. it makes me feel weird when you stare at me like I’m a freak.

    Mine’s due to a chronic illness, but like you said, the why doesn’t really matter and I really just wish people wouldn’t make such a big deal about it.

    So thanks for this post, Miss B. It helps a lot to know that I’m not the only one, and it’s great to read a humorous take on it. You’re awesome, and I wish every good thing for you. Love your guts!

  5. If it’s humor you’re looking for, how about a shake weight? I can’t even say it without cracking up. I don’t think those ads will ever be unfunny. Maybe the next time someone looks at you sideways when you are shaking, you could offer them some sort of shake weight explanation, like you overdid it with the shake weight. Or you’re going for some kind of Guinness record. Then he or she will be the one who gets embarrassed! I’m sure you could come up with some funny reply better than I can. Hell Miss B. you are hilarious. That’s why I tune in. You make me smile all the time. Well sometimes you make me worry, but mostly smile 😀 Love you Miss B.!

  6. I once had a clerk at the Post Office ask me if he could pray for me because my hands were shaking so badly. I suffer from Bipolar I and I’ve gone through several changes of medication in order to eliminate the side effects. The tremor I had on my previous, high dosages of medication was ridiculous. On a few occasions I shook so much that I actually fell down. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in this post!
    Cheryl Siler last post: F is for Flatulence

  7. Ah yes, the tremor…it’s so much fun. I’ve had it to varying degrees since I was a pre-teen, largely due not so much to my epilepsy, but to the meds that I take for it. To quote Alanis “Isn’t it ironic, dontcha’ think?” that I shake from the meds I take…TO KEEP ME FROM SHAKING?! Supposedly the tremors are better than bouncing myself off of furniture/the floor/trying to drown myself in the shower. Meh, it’s still really effing inconvenient to everyday life.

  8. Wow. This is just like what happens with me. It has gone on since I was in middle school. (Boy did I get picked on for it) I found out I have lupus last year, I just assumed that was the cause. My family all knows about it and they understand when I say “my hands are working today” and they give me a hand. I hate it. Thought it was too much caffeine, but was still there when I quit. Thought it was just nerves. Gets worse when I’m frustrated with my illness. Who knows. At least you are not alone!

  9. Just when I thought we couldn’t have more (unfortunate things) in common. I’ve had essential tremors my whole life. Mom has them, her sister, etc.

    Combined with anxiety AND a drinking problem, it basically tops off the crap salad and makes life extremely difficult.

    I absolutely hate and refuse to use debit card machines at the grocery store, for example.

    You’re not alone.

  10. MissBanshee–I think you miss evilcritter’s point. I don’t think she/he was suggesting that in fact the cause of your problems was diabetes or heatstroke, but that the symptoms look the same. While YOU know that you aren’t having a diabetic incident and that your tremors are not cause for immediate concern–passersby might not and so are inquiring about your well-being. DT and Parkinsons are not the only two reason’s people shake–it’s often the sign of a medical emergency.

    I agree that people can be rude, and that the ‘ew’ comments and pitying head tilts are never called for, but please cut some people some slack if they ask if you are alright and offer help.

  11. I will continue to treat you like I have for what? 6? 7 years?

    This is not limited to telling your crazy ass that you be crazy.

    love you baby.

  12. I wish you luck in figuring out what causes your tremors, and fingers crossed that it is nothing serious. And Dr. G, yes, that was the point I was making.

  13. A wonderful RX solved this problem for me after yrs of embarrassment. Most mornings i was unable to apply mascara without putting an eye out. I got horrified looks from my boss when i had to deliver his coffee using both hands for fear of dousing his expensive suit with an espresso tidal wave. I once chased a kalamata olive around a Panera salad plate for 5 min before it escaped, plummeting to its demise beneath the table as my fellow lunch-mates watched with concern and utter confusion. My rescuer: 50mg Metoporol each AM, & had to lay off caffeine (sad face). Best wishes for improved health!!

  14. Just thought I’d share with you that I needed a dose of Banshee so much toady that I went back and read some of your 2008 archives, and may I just say? You have SUCH lovely skin. Vair jealous.

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