Narcoleptic College Student
By November 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm 1,532 4
Hi, my name is Blaze, and I've recently been diagnosed with narcolepsy. I've had symptoms since I was around 14 or 15 (I'm 19 now). I'm a sophomore in college, but I've been dealt a lucky hand this semester and was able to get late classes, so I haven't had as much trouble staying awake in class as I usually would. If I don't get any coffee before a class, though, I'm a wreck and falling asleep within 20 minutes. Since I was diagnosed, I'm finding it easier to manage myself in terms of keeping awake, but it's still tough sometimes trying to get enough energy to do my work. I feel completely depleted of energy after waking up from a full night's sleep, and I'll find myself in a sort of fog a lot of the time, where I'm not thinking clearly, or, when it's really bad, have gaps in my memory.
I'm not on any medication, mostly because my mom doesn't want me to be because she's afraid it'll mess with my liver too much if I start a lifetime of medication now. My doctor told me to just try and keep myself caffeinated and schedule naps around times I need to be awake, and that's been working okay so far for me, but my schedule is a bit lax now. I'm worried that it won't be enough for me when I need to go out into the real word and start working in my field.
I'm having a hard time convincing my parents that my narcolepsy is something that warrants medication, and I don't really think they "get" exactly what it is. I try to explain that it's an actual disorder, but honestly I think they're still in denial about it. Do any of you have similar problems? It seems every time I try to talk about narcolepsy, the response is "oh, that happens to me too," and I know that's not the case. The first time I told my mom I was hearing voices when I was falling asleep (which I would later learn are just hallucinations, which made it a lot less scary), my (Catholic) mother hung a crucifix in my room. So, I know they don't really get it, but I feel like they ignore that my narcolepsy is a real thing. A lot of it, I think, has to do with how it's portrayed in the media, as an actual thing my dad said to my doctor was, "but she doesn't fall asleep in her food or anything!" It's not as bad as they'd expect narcolepsy to be, so it's not really a problem to them.
Do any of you have any suggestions for talking to stubborn family members about this? I'd appreciate any thoughts or comments on it.