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Narcoleptic Nick(i)?

Psychology Today states "Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that disrupts the normal sleep-wake cycle. It is a chronic neurological condition in which a person experiences uncontrollable sleepiness, falling asleep, or napping throughout most days. Although this excessive sleepiness usually occurs on a daily basis, it must occur at least three times a week for at least three months to warrant a diagnosis of narcolepsy."

Over the past almost two years, I have been ridden with daytime sleepiness. It became noticeable in February 2016. I worked at a call center at the time and although I am a morning person and could usually live on 5 hours of sleep, I began to notice that 5 hours was no longer enough. I chalked it up to me getting older and just needing more sleep, after all, I was about to be 32 body changes happen in your thirties right? The problem was, even if I got more sleep at night I never felt rested. I'd soon begin to fall asleep at my desk between calls nodding off right into a REM state. Normal for someone not sleeping well, so I figured maybe I just need some vitamin B... didn't help. The turning point, the signal that it was something more than just horrible sleep patterns, was when I got enough sleep the night before and still like clockwork around 12pm I'd become so sleepy it was all I could do to hold my head up and keep my body from sliding into the floor. It was either stay at work and get fired or go home and go to sleep. It was intermittent at first not something that happened every day to that extreme, however, it was enough to be a problem.

Soon I would be unable to cook for my children most nights because the need to sleep would be so crippling. Weekends were the only time I got to sleep in even a little bit. Most weekends I spent in bed taking naps. Eventually, this would lead me to my doctor for some sort of explanation. With a history of depression that was her first diagnosis. She quickly medicated me and sent me on my way. I didn't fight it because I'd once before been depressed and had suppressed it so deep that I didn't know I was depressed until the dam broke and the floodgates opened. The medication helped my anxiety but did little for the sleep issues, in fact, the medication would send me spiraling quickly into a deep dark depression which I have yet to stabilize today. 

After being denied a change in primary care physicians, I put on my big girl panties and demanded a new one. After all, once the first medication didn't work she sent me on my way to find a psychiatrist on my own and while in crisis. by the time I changed doctors I had a pretty good idea of what to ask the doctor to test. I had used an app an app on my phone to track my sleep patterns as best it could. Each night for a week the app would indicate that I was only going into a deep sleep about one or two times a night, it also revealed to me that I snored. I started first with the Sleep Apnea test. The results on that were negative, no sleep apnea and no restless legs syndrome. I would also be informed that I did not experience very much deep sleep or REM cycles. Going back to my new primary care physician the next test I would request is the narcolepsy test. Although I have yet to actually take the test my symptoms are pointing in that direction.

The symptoms I have experienced over the last almost two years have been frightening, so much so that at one point I was literally afraid to go to sleep. The, what I call sleep/wake hallucinations, would severely trigger my PTSD. Voices, tactile hallucinations, disorientation, not being able to tell if the dream was real or not, and the infamous sleep paralysis would all play a major part in my desperation for diagnosis. 

I have all of these symptoms and as of right now I still don't know if I am narcoleptic. My appointment to find out has not come up yet. Even my psychiatrist is almost certain I have it. In fact he almost himself referred me to take the test. With everything that I have been going through over the last two years, I'm not really wanting to add anything else to my diagnostic roster. I already feel like a DSM Rolodex adding an incurable autoimmune disease is not something I want. However, as they say, if you can name it you can tame it. Because of everything that has gone on with me from the depression to the possible Narcolepsy I've lost/left at least 5 jobs in this one year alone; the most jobs I have ever had within a year. I am now employed at my sixth job and in all honesty, it exhausts me. My only saving grace is I only work 4-hour shifts in the evening giving me the chance to actually nap a few times before I have to go to work. My biggest fear at this time is one day it will be so bad I am unable to drive. I can drive now as long as I'm back home by noon to take a nap. Rain completely cripples me. I am not able to function or get out of bed at all on a rainy day, I've missed plenty of doctors appointments because of it. 

I don't know what lies ahead of me for this test. The fear is building that they won't figure out what is wrong with me. It's ironic that some of the things I laughed about were jokes about narcolepsy seen in movies and comedy skits. It was funny then. However with the possibility of it looming over my head, I see now, just how funny it is not. 

Yours Truly,
Narcoleptic Nick(i)?


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