Being Narcoleptic

Hello Ladies and Gentleman,

I want to share my true life experiences with you out there who are searching for information about narcolepsy or if you believe that you may have narcolepsy. Get yourself tested as soon as possible if you think you might have it, although in most cases it is hard to detect because stress, depression and being over worked have similar characteristics.

Here’s a full definition I copied quickly:

“Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder, or dyssomnia, characterized by excessive sleepiness and sleep attacks at inappropriate times, such as while at work. People with narcolepsy often experience disturbed nocturnal sleep and an abnormal daytime sleep pattern, which often is confused with insomnia. Narcoleptics, when falling asleep, generally experience the REM stage of sleep within 5 minutes; whereas most people do not experience REM sleep until an hour or so later.

Another one of the many problems that some narcoleptics experience is cataplexy, a sudden muscular weakness brought on by strong emotions (though many people experience cataplexy without having an emotional trigger). It often manifests as muscular weaknesses ranging from a barely perceptible slackening of the facial muscles to the dropping of the jaw or head, weakness at the knees (often referred to as “knee buckling”), or a total collapse. Usually speech is slurred and vision is impaired (double vision, inability to focus), but hearing and awareness remain normal. In some rare cases, an individual’s body becomes paralyzed and muscles become stiff. Some narcolepsy affected persons also experience heightened senses of taste and smell.

Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder. It is not caused by mental illness or psychological problems. It is most likely affected by a number of genetic mutations and abnormalities that affect specific biologic factors in the brain, combined with an environmental trigger during the brain’s development, such as a virus”

I never thought to go get myself examined if it wasn’t for my wife. I had episodes of just random passing out in the car all the time when in the passenger seat or crazy drowsiness when driving. The tipping point was one night while driving home with my son from my parents house, I had to fight just to stay conscious, swerving in and out of traffic.

In the past few years, I worked an insane amount of hours and I had a few (I say a few, but I’m sure it’s a lot) random pass outs like while on a ski lift, in cars, in work offices, at home, while talking to others and during two car accidents. Everyone kept saying that  I wasn’t getting enough sleep or that I was working too much. To me, I felt fine even on occasions while driving to work in the morning  and I’m dosing in and out of consciousness. Frustrated, at one point I even thought maybe I was getting too comfortable in my car seat but who thinks like that.

I contacted my doctor who referred me to a neurologist and before you know it I was booked into an appointment to do a sleep test. They monitored my brain waves etc, etc (not going to lie, don’t remember all the things they said). I went to the center in Dartmouth, MA and let me tell you it was pretty nice in there, better then some hotels…lol. I had to be at the sleep center at I believe at 7 pm dressed light. The technicians were very friendly in explaining to me everything that they were putting on and what I could and couldn’t do once the testing started. I had sensors on my head, chest, and legs monitoring waves, breathing patterns, and movements during the night. After that it was confirmed, I have Narcolepsy.

I’m still collecting my thoughts, so I’ll write about it randomly here and there.

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