Thursday, October 11, 2007


Today at lunchtime my left eye developed a tic. It was very annoying. It felt like my ... what do you call the bit under your eye? Not the eyelid, but the bit the lower lashes are attached to? (Is there a name for that? Lower lid?) Anyway, it felt like it was jumping all over my face. Violently.

This has happened before, occasionally, and I knew from experience that even when it feels dramatic it quite often is not visible from the outside. I happened to be eating lunch with a couple of colleagues, and could not concentrate on the conversation with this dance happening on my face, so I interrupted to ask,

"Can you see my eye twitching?"

They peered at me.

"Yeah!" they chorused, and one added, "It's really jumping around!"

"Damn," I said. "Do you know how to make it stop?"

They didn't, although they'd both experienced it themselves.

But what makes it start in the first place? I have been getting enough sleep, and eating well, and I was not feeling particularly stressed. When my eye did not stop twitching I did start to feel a little stressed, though, so I took a couple of Panadol to see if that would help. (Also because it was the only medicine I had with me.) The twitching eye was making me feel like I had a guilty secret and had been found out. It made me not want to look anyone in the face, which is not a good thing when you have thirty students watching you.

About an hour later, a little while into my first class after lunch, the twitching stopped. Perhaps the Panadol worked, or perhaps it was going to stop anyway. It was a huge relief, because it meant I was able to look at my class properly. I had been facing the board and ducking down behind the (ridiculously high) podium every five minutes to rub at the eye.

After work I had dinner with a few other colleagues, and told them about it. They were sympathetic. They'd all experienced eye-tics at odd times, for no apparent reason, and we came to the conclusion that perhaps it was a job hazard. We thought about our jobs and sank into gloom. (We had just been discussing a new student testing system being instituted at our university that is making us all a little grumpy, since although we did not write the tests we do have to administer them, almost weekly. They are not good tests.)

I asked my colleagues if they knew how to make the twitches stop, and to my great surprise one of them answered immediately.

"Chocolate," he said, firmly.

"Chocolate?" we said, and there was a considerable lightening of the atmosphere. "Chocolate? REALLY?"

"Yes. Chocolate," he said. "It's the magnesium. The twitches are caused by a lack of magnesium in your diet, and chocolate has magnesium in it."

I decided to Google this 'fact' when I got home, but now that I am home I find myself strangely reluctant. It doesn't seem like such a good idea after all. In fact, I think that it is time for me to develop a little faith, so I have reversed my decision.

I will not Google the eye-tic healing powers of chocolate. I will BELIEVE.


Anonymous said...

Yay! was eating chocolate while reading this post!

Eat quite a bit of chocolate each week, especially while sitting at the screen.

Never get eye twitches!


Badaunt said...

My faith is justified! It works!

kenju said...

I'll try to remember that when I get a tic in the eyelid. I wonder it if works for other tics and twitches too?

Pearl said...

cool. I get that too. I'm not researching it. Any excuse for chocolate works for me.

Unknown said...

Wearing sunglasses, avoiding caffeine and shortening the eyelashes in the corner of the eye are some other remedies for blepharospasm... but chocolate is probably just as good. =)

Badaunt said...

Mattias: Sunglasses? I just went an entire summer without wearing them. I usually do, but ... I don't know why I didn't. Took the wrong ones away with me (new ones I turned out not to like), didn't feel the need, got sick to having to remember to bring them ... how interesting that that might be related.

And 'blepharospasm'? Thank you! That is SO much more impressive than 'tic.' Maybe I can use it as an excuse to take time off work. 'Blepharospasm' sounds almost life-threatening, or at least too rude to ask for details about.

Anonymous said...

I used to get the tics all the time. I don't think I've had it happen since I quit teaching. . . hmmmmm. . .

I have been taking magnesium to lower my chocolate cravings, and it works. But I'd rather have chocolate.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to take chocolate for the eye tic, and chromium picolinate for the inevitable chocolate craving. Sounds like a balanced approach to me. Yup.