I Have Narcolepsy


The True Life video that I chose to watch was about Narcolepsy and Cataplexy. First Narcolepsy is a sleepiness that usually occurs in boring, inactive situations and is partially relieved by motor activity and mental stimulation. (Desforges 1990). In the clip the young ladies that were interviewed slept and random times of the day and long times during the night causing them to miss a whole days of work, or any interaction with the people around them. Along with Narcolepsy the common symptom to come with it would be Cataplexy which is a disorder when the affected has muscular weakness usually brought on by excitement or emotion (Desforges 1990). With the two cases that I watch, if the ladies were not falling asleep or sleeping for a long period of time, the time they were awake the little laugh at something can trigger their Cataplexy. It was either sleep or falling out without being able to use your muscles for a period of time with these ladies and it was something that they had to deal with on a daily basis.

One cause suffered using a restitution narrative where she was just diagnosed with her case four months prior to the show. She explained how if she could just get control of the situation how she would be able to react differently. Later she met with a health care professional who told her that her case of Narcolepsy and Cataplexy would only get worse from not on, and limiting her to things like driving, swimming and taking bathes. She was then using Chaos Narrative like the other True Life guest where what they did in their social life was disrupted by the illness of Narcolepsy and Cataplexy.  The Girl that was recently diagnosed had to use the sick role to help her understand that she possibly does need to seek medical help but she really refused to take prescription drugs, but her being a minor her parents were the ones to make the final decision on that. The other woman who have been having the illness for over 10 years now used her narrative to explain to her boyfriend how her medication was helping her to try to live a normal life, on the contrary he thought otherwise and felt that it would be hurting her in the long run rather than helping the current situation.


Viacom International Inc.. “I Have Narcolepsy.” . http://www.mtv.com/shows/truelife/true-life-i-have-narcolepsy/1672872/playlist/#id=1672872 (accessed July 22, 2014).


Desforges, Jane . “Narcolepsy.” The New England Journal of Medicine323: 389-394.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anya Odabasic says:

    I have always found narcolepsy to be interesting but never knew anything more about it than what I saw from the movie Rat Race. I found a blog that talks about a personal experience that was very powerful. Seeing as we are all students, I think we can all relate.
    Basically she is saying she has an exam, she is trying to study but falls asleep mid study and doesn’t feel rested when she wakes up. She takes her meds, somehow gets to campus and passes out in the middle of the exam from her cataplexy. Probably something that normal people have nightmares about is passing out in an exam or sleeping through one and people with narcolepsy experience such traumas everyday.
    Even though both of the True Life ladies and this lady (R) from the blog suffer from narcolepsy, it affects everyone differently, which is stated in the blog. (R) describes intense hallucinations where she thought she was in a car accident or even being attacked. I think this can partly be attached to gender and culture. Being a female, one feels more vulnerable instinctively so I can only imagine that with a syndrome that makes you more vulnerable, natural instincts come about more intensely. Also just the type of family she was raised in or environment could set off hallucinations connected to her anxieties and worries.

    “Narcolepsy Struggles..” Narcolepsy Speaks. http://narcolepsyspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/narcolepsy-struggles/#more-10 (accessed July 23, 2014).

    http://narcolepsyspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/narcolepsy-struggles/ – more-10

  2. Alexis Rife says:

    In the narrative that I read, the author, Bethany Hagen, describes how our society today depicts the issues associated with narcolepsy as comedic and unrealistic when in fact they are very serious. As Hagen explains, narcolepsy can lead to unemployment, fractured relationships, and even injury or death. In personal examples, she tells of how once she crashed into a pasture fence because she fell asleep while driving and how she once fell down stone stairs at her college because she fell asleep while walking. Before her diagnosis, Hagen and her family brushed off the idea of narcolepsy as a cause for her erratic sleeping patterns. Society has taught us that narcolepsy is not serious. Hagen tells that she and her father did not see it as a real possibility but rather believed her insomnia to be the underlying cause. I think this case is very similar to the one you described in the True Life episode you watched in which the afflicted women would miss whole days of work because of their narcolepsy. In modern society, it is generally important for us to have the support of our loved ones. Bethany Hagen had the support of her family and has learned to live with her condition. However, the woman you described tried to treat her own narcolepsy with medication but did not have the support of her boyfriend, which may, as you said, be hurting her rather than helping.

    Disability in Kidlit. “Bethany Hagen: The Real Narcolepsy.” Accessed July 25, 2014. http://disabilityinkidlit.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/bethany-hagen-the-real-narcolepsy/

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