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/