Growing up I was always outside and always being active and practically lived outside, but once high school came things started to change. Sophomore year I started realizing that no matter how much sleep I got I never felt awake or refreshed. I started comparing myself to my friends and family as the time went on and by the time I got to college, I could hardly make it out of bed let alone to class. I would drive an hour to school but be so tired from the drive I would take a 15-minute nap that would turn into two hours and I would miss my class. I tried talking to my professors and a few were very helpful and insightful, but no one seemed to really understand how I was truly feeling. At this point, I kind of felt alone and lacked any energy to go and make friends at school, so later that year I was talking to my doctor and after an evaluation, I was diagnosed with depression. It really started to get to me when the fatigue and tiredness didn’t ever go away. Junior year of college I had basically given in and I just left. I lost all interest in my major, and I lost all hope in almost everything because of how tired I was. I decided the best thing to do for me was to get a full-time job and reflect on who and what I wanted to be. I was driving an hour to work every day, so that part never changed, but by the time I was six months in I had already used all my tardy’s and absences for the rest of the year, because I wouldn’t hear my alarm, I would snooze it too many times, or I would just call in sick to sleep more. There was a short time where I started to love sleeping because it was what I wanted to do all the time and when I was asleep I didn’t have to deal with the mind-numbing fatigue I felt 27 hours a day. Now, a year later, I have come to the conclusion I hate sleeping and I have got myself back into school and am pursuing a nursing degree. Even after talking to so many family members, friends, and my doctor still no one could tell me why I was so tired. It wasn’t until my older brother who has sleep apnea was retested for narcolepsy as well and that is when the light switch came on. He told me his symptoms and how he felt all of the time and he was diagnosed with severe narcolepsy. That same day I called the doctor he goes to and set up an appointment to be evaluated. The doctor ordered the sleep test and there you have it, something so spot on, something I never even thought about, something so many people can’t comprehend, and it just had to be something without a cure.
Jeremy 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.