True Life: I Have Narcolepsy

This episode of the true life follows the lives of two young women (Julie and Katie) who but suffer from different forms of narcolepsy, the first to be introduced Julie suffers from Narcolepsy  and cataleptic (a condition with which the sufferer loses muscle control for a short period of time). When Julie has her narcoleptic attacks she is still conscious, but she loses all muscle control for about a minute. He condition is triggered by laughter. Katie also suffers from the two same conditions, Katie however  relies on a massive amount of stimulants as well as depressants to have a someone of a normal life. They both have had their lives affected very much from their conditions. Julie stopped going to dance and Katie cant hold down a job. The point at which the two women differ is upon their illness narratives. First there is Julie who is a young teen who has recently been affected by the condition. She already knows that there is nothing she can do to go back to be a 100% normal person so shes not in a restitution narrative, rather she is in a quest narrative because she doesn’t want to take a ton of medication she just wants to make her life the best she possibly can with the cards she was dealt. Now Katie on the other hand is in the restitution narrative in that she thinks she will be able to live a normal life so long as she takes the correct medication at the right time. She thinks that after a while her life will be almost normal. Julies sick rights are that she doesn’t want to use the condition as an excuse to stop her doing anything and she tries to do everything she used to do. Katie on the other hand uses sick rights in that she cant get a job because of the condition and she cant wake up in the morning. All and all the two both handle a similar situation in very different ways.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hannah Weiss says:

    The article I chose was written by a doctor who studied narcoleptic patients. In her summary she discusses three separate instances of patients who came in with narcoleptic symptoms. Only two of the three patients ended up being narcoleptic. When comparing them to Julie and Katie their symptoms seem semi different. The narcoleptic patients discussed in the article I chose to review showed symptoms of a mental disorder such as hallucinations and schizophrenia. Katie does take medication for depression, also a mental illness while these patients were not treated for a mental illness but were treated for narcolepsy which then improved the mental disorder symptoms. The factors influencing their experience were different. The teenage boy’s experience was influenced by his parents observations and his doctors. While the bus driver was influenced by the people she worked for and with so that she would be able to accomplish her job safely and responsibly. I think family has a large part on peoples lives and treatments. Some patients resorted to pills to try and improve their lifestyles probably influenced by their doctor and also their family members. While others just lived with this disorder trying to make the best out of their lives which also could have been influenced by their families to not take medicine.

    Kryger, Meir. “The Mystery of Narcolepsy” Psychology Today. (2013) Accessed: July 25, 2014.

  2. Amber Roberts says:

    Claire Metters is a 38 year old mother who suffers from the condition narcolepsy. At night she experiences nightmares and does not get restful sleep and as a result she is exhausted during the day and needs to nap frequently. Her condition does not allow for her to work and in order to be awake when her children are home from school, Claire has to take a two hour nap in the morning and a two hour nap later in the afternoon before picking up her children. Additionally, Claire always needs at least 9 hours of sleep at night, and even then she still constantly battles to stay awake during the day.

    Claire is similar to Julie and Katie from True Life in that they are all cataleptic in addition to being narcoleptic. This is a condition in which muscle control is lost for a short period of time, and it is triggered by laughter in each of their cases. Like Katie, Claire also uses medications to control her illness, but these medications mostly treat her cataleptic symptoms. But unfortunately she has not managed to find an effective medication to treat her narcolepsy, which is why she must stick to her routine of getting 9 hours of sleep each night in addition to 4 hours of napping during the day. However, even though Claire is not able to keep a job, she is still determined to be an attentive mother who is dedicated to her children. I think that family has the greatest influence of Claire’s experience with narcolepsy because it encourages her to live as normal of a life as possible for her children’s sake. She wants to be there for her children and be awake to see all of their accomplishes, which motivates her to deal with her narcolepsy in the best way possible.

    Metters, Claire. “My Life with Narcolepsy.” Crazy Narcolepsy. (accessed July 26, 2014).
    <a href=";

  3. sarah rousakis says:

    I found a video on youtube by a woman named Emily who was diagnosed with narcolepsy 2 years ago, and she describes how she was diagnosed and what she goes through on a daily basis with narcolepsy and how having this disorder affects her ability to function. Emily explains that she goes through life constantly fatigued all throughout the day and she does not have enough energy to do normal daily routines and she can’t hang out with friends because she is always tired. She worries that people may think that she is just lazy, but that is far from the case. When she closes her eyes, she is almost immediately transitioned into REM sleep, and can sleep for several hours. Emily says she is very lucky, since her narcolepsy isn’t severe enough that she can’t drive, cook, etc. without falling asleep. Eventually she may progress to that stage, and no longer be able to do those things and may not be able to work. I can only imagine what it must be like to not have any control over your body, and worry that you may harm yourself or others due to your disorder. Certainly if people were more educated about narcolepsy and it’s affects on people physically, mentally and emotionally, maybe those with the disorder would feel more understood and less judged.

    Rader, Emily. “I Have Narcolepsy.” (accessed July 27, 2014).

Leave a Reply