I have written about narcolepsy more than once, on here particularly. What most people probably don’t realize is that I take more than a passing clinical interest in the condition.
The biggest problem that I see with being a true narcoleptic, is that because of comical and inaccurate portrayals in the media, it is almost impossible to take seriously. For example, the assumption of most upon hearing that a person has narcolepsy is to say something like, “uh oh, don’t fall asleep while talking to me, hahaha!” This automatic sleep happens in only the most severe cases, and is quite rare. Those unfortunates can only be helped by being prescribed large doses of amphetemines, and close monitoring. A monthly doctors visit is required to ensure liver function remains normal, and that stimulant levels are consistent in the bloodstream.
Aside from a sleep study that measures your brain waves, there are several other indicators of narcolepsy. One of those, is what I like to term, the never-ending nightmare.
It starts with the usual narcoleptic shutdown. You get dreamy, and it feels like to close your eyes and sleep would be the best thing in the entire world, no matter where you are, or what you are doing. Your body actually buzzes with a high as it anticipates a snooze. It is something that has to be felt to be believed, and I truly doubt anyone who hasn’t felt this could even begin to understand how compelling this desire is. It brings to mind the description of the hit from a heroin needle. A thousand screaming orgasms.
Except you don’t sleep. You start to dream about things, but your REM sleep starved brain has catapulted you into a fourth stage sleep cycle, desperate to provide as much deep sleep as quickly as it can. Let me clarify. Your body is on first stage sleep awareness, but your brain has plunged into the fourth, and deepest stage of sleep. Should your sudden and vivid REM sleep get scary, well, basically, be prepared to live it.
This was the first real sign I had a problem. Aside from never, ever, feeling rested. No matter how many hours of sleep I seem to have gotten. I would wake up again, and again, only to discover that I had not awoken at all, because bits and pieces of my nightmares stayed real. I would sit up on my bed, having just shaken off something that was crushing, and suffocating me, only to hear that same demonic voice still speaking to me from a dark corner. I would be awake, but not awake. This cycle would continue for several intervals, and I would spend what felt like hours shaking off nightmare after nightmare.
It was only last year that I was finally given a large enough stimulant prescription to stop this from happening during the day.
It happened again though. The shutoff, and the nightmares. This time, however, it was quite a bit worse than demonic voices, or sleep paralysis.
I literally tried to shake it off and wake up in my bed, scared, but relieved that it wasn’t real. I shook my muscles just like I taught myself to do. Nope, I was still there.
I’m still here.¼/p>