The invisible disability. I am a hardworking, self-reliant woman who “has it all together”. That’s how I was described in high school. I had everybody fooled. My daily existence involved fighting to stay awake through each class and trying to mask Cataplectic attacks so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself. I did well. No body knew. I’m 37. The number of times I’ve crumpled to the floor from Cataplexy is beyond countable. I will choose not to see a comedy show, go to a bar, dinner, hang out with friends, dancing in the evenings because laughter and enjoyment make me vulnerable. I’m a ragdoll without a puppeteer.
Heidi lives with narcolepsy. The symptoms of this incurable disorder include: falling asleep unexpectedly, extreme sleepiness throughout the day, disrupted sleep during the night, sudden loss of muscle control and even hallucinations.
But the impact of narcolepsy in daily life reaches far beyond these symptoms.