Despite the flurry of excitement surrounding my life lately (read: engagement, squirrel, etc.) I have been feeling rather down. It's not the holiday blues, or the bronchitis that refuses to leave my lungs in peace. Nope. It's something else. Something that I've dealt with my entire life--but only recently had a name for.
It's the narcolepsy.
I was so relieved after receiving my diagnosis--finally having an explanation for why I never had the energy that others around me seem to possess. Blog, you probably remember the hope that glimmered in my eyes as I recounted my conversation with my sleep disorder specialist. I had to restrain myself from giving him a big old bear hug, you know? I was going to be able to sleep. Really, honestly, sleep. All the appropriate sleep cycles, and not just all that dreaming crap I've put up with for 25 years. I couldn't believe it.
Well, blog... that hope isn't sparkling in my eyes anymore. After discussing the prescribed medication with my mom, a registered nurse, she raised some serious concerns. The medication, which I will not refer to by name, has some side effects that are potentially deadly. Among them: seizures, severe difficulty breathing, confusion, depression, loss of consciousness, and even death.
Side effects aside, the real reason I'm putting this drug on the back burner is that it alters brain chemistry, which I worry can potentially cause a trigger of mental illness. Because bipolar disorder runs in my family, brain chemistry is not something I want to fool around with. The consequences could turn my world upside down. And a good night's sleep? No matter how much I ache for that very thing... risking my mental health is just not worth it.
So I guess I'm holding out for plan B. My doctor tells me new drugs tailored for narcolepsy are coming down the pike in the next 2-3 years. These new drugs will target hypocretin, a hormone that is thought to be responsible for narcolepsy.
I've gone this long without real sleep. What's another 2 or 3 years? Well, I asked myself that very question last night, and the only response I could muster was twenty minutes of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I know there are people going through much worse right now in their lives, so I'm going to try to suck it up and wait patiently. In the meantime, I'll be napping and going to bed at obscenely early hours.