I Have Narcolepsy

I chose to watch the True Life episode about two people that have narcolepsy and cataplexy. This episode follows two people recently diagnosed with narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder inhibiting the brain’s ability to regulate sleep/wake cycles normally. Narcoleptics often fall asleep at any time of day and suffer from extreme sleepiness that they cannot control. Most people with narcolepsy also develop cataplexy. Cataplexy is a sudden muscle weakness/spasm that is typically triggered by emotions such as laughing, crying, or fright.

The girl that was recently diagnosed with narcolepsy used the restitution narrative. She talks about how she wishes she could just get control of the situation and then she would be fine. I think the severity of the condition of narcolepsy hadn’t quite hit her yet. When she met with a doctor, she was told that the narcoleptic symptoms would continue to get worse. And from that point I believe she used the chaos narrative like the other people in this episode of True Life.

One stigma is shown in the episode when Katie’s boyfriend makes her try harder. Many people with narcolepsy debate back and forth on whether or not they should take the drugs that could potentially harm other parts of their bodies, but help with the symptoms of narcolepsy. Many people also think narcoleptic people can control their behaviors if they want to, but don’t try enough.

When the people in the episode saw medical professionals, there were mixed reactions. The doctor, in Julie’s case, disagreed with her about not wanting to take the drugs, so she felt somewhat of a negative experience.

People with narcolepsy definitely have different rights and responsibilities than people not suffering from it. In the episode of True Life, one girl couldn’t even be trusted to drive a car, one girl doesn’t shower on her own because it is unsafe, they constantly are battling with this disease and having doctors appointments as well as seeking other treatments to help treat their symptoms.

Illness narratives are very useful and important to patients. They can help people cope with their diagnosis and learn to live with the medical condition they suffer from on a daily basis. It can help patients and their loved ones make the best out of the situation and live the best lives they can while having a medical condition. (Lecture 4.2)

MTV. “True Life: I Have Narcolespy”. Director Carlos Puga. MTV video, 41:12. October 18, 2011. http://www.mtv.com/shows/truelife/

Lecture 4.2 Illness Narratives. Week 4: Experimental Approach. ANP 204 course website.http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-2/

 

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Krystn Hartner says:

    Narcolepsy varies among each patient just like most medical conditions do. In this YouTube video Emily shares her narrative about her narcolepsy. She first noticed she had it when she started to see hallucinations while she was sleeping at night. Emily understands that hers is not as bad as others, but the doctor said that in time she could develop cataplexy (when you fall asleep anywhere). Emily has taken medication for her narcolepsy but it gave her bad anxiety so she decided to stop. Unlike in true life, she is still able to drive a car and do all of her daily functions without having the fear of falling asleep. However, she says that she always feels tired and she thinks people will look at her as lazy because they don’t know she has this disease. If culture believes that she is lazy, I think that this gives Emily a sense of wanting to get better and getting rid of this condition that is making her sleepy all the time. At the end of the video she states that she is looking for better alternative medications to help her because she wants it to stop. Looking at all the cases of this disease you can see that from patient to patient it varies and that depending on the person medication may or may not work.

  2. Krystn Hartner says:

    Narcolepsy varies among each patient just like most medical conditions do. In this YouTube video Emily shares her narrative about her narcolepsy. She first noticed she had it when she started to see hallucinations while she was sleeping at night. Emily understands that hers is not as bad as others, but the doctor said that in time she could develop cataplexy (when you fall asleep anywhere). Emily has taken medication for her narcolepsy but it gave her bad anxiety so she decided to stop. Unlike in true life, she is still able to drive a car and do all of her daily functions without having the fear of falling asleep. However, she says that she always feels tired and she thinks people will look at her as lazy because they don’t know she has this disease. If culture believes that she is lazy, I think that this gives Emily a sense of wanting to get better and getting rid of this condition that is making her sleepy all the time. At the end of the video she states that she is looking for better alternative medications to help her because she wants it to stop. Looking at all the cases of this disease you can see that from patient to patient it varies and that depending on the person medication may or may not work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnnpwbmBv_c

    “I Have Narcolepsy” YouTube video, 8:03, posted by “EmilyRader” August 15, 2013. http://youtu.be/mnnpwbmBv_c.

  3. Pamela Perez says:

    To compare the experiences of different patients, I chose the video “Living with Narcolepsy” from youtube. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxQ5dAQC9wo

    In the video, a couple of people who have narcolepsy, along with some parents of the narcoleptic children, are sitting at a cafe, discussing their own individual experiences in life as narcoleptics. I think that one of the major differences in the experiences that these people had to Julie and Katie’s experience, is the support group that they had and how well informed the people around them were. You can see from the video I chose that the parents were very supportive and active in the lives of the young adults by making sure that there are people they can trust and go to within the kids schools and to also inform their friends. I believe this is a major component to the ‘healing’ process and the overall experience, because that support group becomes really valuable when you hit a narcoleptic episode. You want to make sure that people aren’t stigmatizing you wrongfully (like being called lazy because you sleep all the time) when it isn’t the individuals’ fault. Because narcolepsy can be a dangerous, embarrassing, and sometimes even depressing experience for a lot of people, it needs to be handled worth care and having positive attitudes from the people around you is essential. Katie’s boyfriend kept pushing her to try harder, as if she had the power to control narcolepsy and the side affects thereafter is she decided to take the prescriptions. However, that isn’t how one should handle the situation since it creates more pressure on the patient. It isn’t about getting better tomorrow, it’s about taking it one step at a time to get better for the future tomorrows. Overall, it seems like everyone is pretty acceptable to this condition, at least from the patients that I saw from both videos. Nevertheless, it makes me wonder how accepting people would be if it were a Hispanic or African American male/female or some other “minority” group or if narcolepsy is seen as the devils work in certain cultures because that would definitely affect the experiences of people suffering from narcolepsy.

    Bibliography:
    -YouTube. “Living with Narcolepsy.”
    YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxQ5dAQC9wo (accessed July 27, 2014).

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