Hello, HealthCentral readers!
My name is Lauren and I am a junior journalism student at Drake University. My disordered sleep started just a year ago during my sophomore year of college when I could not fall asleep at night. This probably sounds pretty typical for any stressed college student, but I couldn't keep up. My friends would do homework until 2 a.m. and wake up for an 8 a.m. class.
My roommates would head off to bed at a reasonable hour (for a college student) and I would sit in our living room until 3 a.m.-sometimes 4 a.m. After a few months of this, I realized the situation was interfering with my academic and social life as I experienced constant fatigue and lack of energy.
I shared my frustrations with my mom and we decided I should seek medical advice. I filled out numerous surveys about my symptoms, and proceeded to the Iowa Sleep Disorder Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
Initially, I diagnosed my self with insomnia. I recalled the nights I saw the red light of my alarm clock get seemingly brighter with each passing hour. I thought of the nights when I sat in the living room, while my roommates crawled into bed...to fall fast asleep. The days I was exhausted. Physically drained. Sure, insomnia.
But after talking with the doctor, and reviewing my symptoms, sleep schedule, and overall health, he could tell I was more than just an overtired college kid. I underwent an overnight, comprehensive sleep study and was diagnosed with narcolepsy in late October. Narcolepsy? I remember the doctor coming in the room and telling me narcolepsy wasn’t a big deal like cancer…that I could live a “normal” life. Was he saying that to make me feel better? He presented me with booklets of information, ways to cope with the disorder and names of support groups. It sure looked like a big deal.
I would say that my life’s been pretty “normal” since I’ve been diagnosed. The past year I’ve experienced the ups and downs of living a busy and active life while coping with narcolepsy.
I am excited to write about my experience with narcolepsy and learn from you. Please feel free to comment or shoot me a message!
When were you diagnosed with narcolepsy? What symptoms did you experience before you were diagnosed?
Published On: September 27, 2011