Getting Used to the Stares

Posted on March 7, 2022

Andrea’s Story

My hands started to shake when I was in high school, earning me very colorful nicknames like “palsy” and “coke head.” I tried to laugh it off, making jokes and trying so hard to ignore the stares.


As my disease progressed, small things became more difficult. But it wasn’t until I had kids that I truly began to realize how essential tremor (ET) would impact my life. Cutting a baby’s nails is nerve wracking enough—imagine doing it with a tremor! Unfortunately, the stress of the pandemic and my proximity to middle age seems to have made my tremor significantly worse.

I’ve explored the standard medications, but they haven’t worked well with my dysthymia. Maybe once my kids are older I can focus on different treatment options, but for now I’ll just have to get used to the stares.

Categories: Personal Stories

3 thoughts on “Getting Used to the Stares

  1. I used to get similar taunts when I was in school. Fortunately, mine hasn’t progressed too far – but eating or carrying an open cup of coffee is frequently a challenge. I’ve hit the point of avoiding eating in restaurants.

  2. I’ve had ET all my life, so my friends in school called me “shakey Jake”. Adults are crueler I think, at least that’s been my experience. I explained ET to a gym trainer and her response “Oh, cool” – I knew she hadn’t listened to a word I said, so I never went back there. I definitely could do without the stares and whispers though.

  3. Hello All,
    I stopped all the coffee splats at work by buying deep heavy mugs, so a normal coffee only comes up half way. My work mug weighs about a pound and a half. Still doing a two-handed carry, but no more spills. Typing is a puzzle; I think I will need to switch to voice dictation soon (not going to be easy in an open office). And, stares? I’ve told my husband I’m going to lean forward and eat from the plate if I have to. People who stare will be invited to feed me, to save them from my “bad” table manners. So lot’s of bravado when out in public, and rumination over slights when I’m home.

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