Narcolepsy: Fight the Zzz’s!

October 19, 2013

My fight began at age 10. I fought to stay awake, to stay in school, to go to college. I fought to have a social life, to keep friendships and simply drive a car. I fought to stay healthy, play sports and hold a job. And I fought to be believed by doctors, by professors and by many others I encountered in everyday life.

This invisible battle went on for 16 years, and it continues today- only now, it has a name. Many patients with Narcolepsy and Cataplexy have gone years, even decades, without a diagnosis. When there are no answers and no reasonable explanations, you begin to question everything about yourself.

My diagnosis gave me hope. I finally understood what I was up against, and for the first time in my life, I was truly proud of myself. There was a reason I had tried so hard and failed, over and over again. It was not because I wasn’t good enough: I had been battling a severely disabling neurological disorder for 16 years.

Narcolepsy will never be my excuse, but it is why I forgive myself when I cannot accomplish things as quickly as others. Today, I no longer fight my invisible illness. I have accepted my limitations and am proud of my accomplishments. Instead, I hope to raise awareness. Today, I fight for the estimated 150,000 undiagnosed patients with Narcolepsy in the U.S. alone, waiting to be given that name, so they can finally get proper treatment and learn to forgive themselves as well.

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