Narcoleptic College Student

By girlfromtralfamadore Latest Activity November 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm Views 2,090 Replies 5


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.

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Replies (5 replies)

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  • aburko
    aburko November 10, 2013 at 11:56 pm   

    Hey there! I'm a college student too and I was diagnosed my freshmen year, I'm a junior now. Having narcolepsy in college sucks… college is just not accessible for people that can't stay up, pull all-nighters, or have early classes. I've been lucky and my mom has been really supportive of me and understands what narcolepsy is about. At this point I would just keep encouraging your parents to go to doctors appointments with you so they can talk with your doctor and learn about how serious narcolepsy is. Before my parents went to the doctors with me, they thought I was a medium (because of my hallucinations) or that my sleepiness was due to laziness

    Also, if you aren't already, I'd recommend registering with the Office of Disability Resources (or something similar) at your school. At my school they make sure to alert my professors of my condition (with my permission) and give me priority scheduling so I can make sure to get late classes.

    Anyways, good luck and hang in there! Know that you're not alone :)

  • LazyJane
    LazyJane November 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm   

    Hang in there, kid. I'm 35 and was just diagnosed last month even though I've probably been narcoleptic since I was around 12. It runs in our family, too, but my mother still seems to pretty much be in denial about it or the severity of it. My father is a little more open-minded, but still skeptical. Do your research. Share lots of facts and information. Do what's best for you; either they'll come around or they won't but you need to take care of yourself and maintain a positive support system even if it's an online community. All the best!

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