Everyone who knows me knows that I have Narcolepsy. It isn’t a secret. I don’t hide it. So, with that comes the standard never-ending sleepiness that is infamously associated with it.
No, seriously – I wake up so mind-numbingly tired that I can barely think at all, let alone of anything other than sleep. It is the curse of the condition. You are never, ever, anything but sleepy.
However, that isn’t the only aspect of the affliction that affects me. There are so many others that most people never realize. For instance; lately, I have been plagued by blank outs.
That’s right; you read that correctly - blank outs. Everyday, most times at least 2-3 times a day at least I suffer from what we have come to call blank outs. I can be reading, watching a movie or even in the middle of a conversation. It doesn’t matter how active I am or how much I may have slept the night before. Regardless, to me the world goes blank. I can complete a task as if on autopilot, keep walking or just collapse.
File Not Found.
The Number You Have Dialed Is No Longer In Service.
There is no gradual slip from consciousness or indication to warn me. It is as if a switch has instantly been flipped and everything is blank, gone. It can last a few seconds to minutes or even hours. When I do manage to come around it is generally with a jolt. It is as if being hit with a burst of adrenaline. I have to look around me and try to rapidly determine what has happened and assess my situation.
Now, this may sound fairly harmless at first glance. I mean, most people have dozed off before, if even just for a moment. But this goes beyond that. I say this because everything goes blank. Your mind goes blank, often your awareness of where you are to even what you were doing. If you’re lucky you can try to piece together what was going on or gather some idea of how long of a lapse of time you are missing.
That is, if you are lucky. I won’t lie; years ago I had an accident as a direct result before I knew I even had such a condition. It took a long time before I ever even understood what had happened. To this day I am extremely careful, especially about driving. In fact, I didn’t even drive at all for around 8-9 years or so.
You may not even be able to truly imagine what it’s like. I suppose you could relate it to working on something on your computer when, for whatever reason, it reboots and you lose everything you were working on. However, I suppose in that instance you might still have an idea of where you were at or what you were doing/going with things. For me it can be a complete void.
This is something that I have to struggle with on a daily basis. Others do too. I can sit down in my chair for a minute in the evening and then in a blink it’s some time later and I have no idea if I sat out meat for supper the next day. I may not know if I finished my daughter’s feeding or what I was meaning to do. It can be frightening. Basically my brain collapses in on itself into a sudden cycle of deep sleep but without going through the proper motions. There is no rhyme or reason. It just happens.
Sometimes, it isn’t just a look on my face or an expression. Sometimes I really am just blank. And I always try to apologize to my Wife. I never mean to go blank. I can’t control it. And I know it is an endless source of frustration for her and my family at times. But I felt it was something worth sharing. Because, Narcolepsy is more than just a comical excessive napping like people see in the movies. It is so much more complex and no two people suffer exactly the same.
Everyday I can only hope that there are fewer blank spaces in my day.