Memory and Dream

When I tell people I have narcolepsy, they tend to not know what narcolepsy is. Clinical definition encompasses daytime sleepiness, with sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations, and in some (me included), cataplexy.

Most people are even more blank once I've gotten that mouthful out.

For me, the biggest impact has been the crossover between awake and dreaming. Stress causes my symptoms to flare up, meaning that I generally end up being less able to discern what happens and is experienced by other people versus what happens within the framework of a dream.

Sometimes, the dream-continuation of conversations are easy to pick out, with out-of-character behaviours, or stuff that just isn't in context with reality (walls eating people, pets talking, living somewhere else entirely, etc). But other times, the dream-extended conversations are really simple and mundane, and when combined with being around people with poor memory, is extremely frustrating- they know I have narcolepsy, so they're inclined to blame all discontinuity in our perception of something on my medical condition, rather than considering that their memory might also be at fault.

Its frustrating.
Rhan Rhan
26-30, F
4 Responses Jun 26, 2007

It's the fact that narcoleptics can go straight into REM sleep that causes the line between dreams and reality to get very blurry. I've had narcolepsy for 30 years, and I find the dreaming aspect fascinating. Initially it totally freaked me out, and I spent several years having very disrupted nights. Over time I've gotten to a point where I can handle about all of it pretty well; but there are still times where I come up out of bed in a panic. But that is pretty rare now. I've learned to accept what is happening in the dream, and just go with it. Do you guys experience lucid dreaming? Where you know you are dreaming and have some degree of control over what is happening? It makes thing very interesting. What sort of things do you dream about? I talked with a narcoleptic woman once who felt that narcolepsy actually allowed us to access other parts of our brains that normal people do not. She thought the dreaming state opened up windows to alternate realities and timelines. Pretty freaky, I know; but given the dreams I've had, I wouldn't instantly say she is wrong.

i was just reacently diagnosed and i have been doing y research cause other than what theyve told me i dont know anything well i do now but i didnt before my four days of reading testimonys and hard core research and let me tell you my symptoms already suck but im terrified for whats to come also there are alot of things that have been happening to me like the dream/reality issue where i cant decide if im dreaming or not and seeing stuff that aint there ive always done tht but always though i was just playing tricks on my self i guess but after doing research its just another symptom im at this point feeling exstreay defeated but very hopefull i was supposed to start colledge in the fall and i think i might have to hold off on that now but its nice to know that im not alone in this i just wish there was more awareness for people with out narcolepsy more tolerance and understanding and i have made it my personal mission to tell everyone i know what i have learned about my disease and also to make sure indianapolis hears me that its time to be more aware of our sleep behaviors i think im more screwed up from not knowing i had it and thinking i was just lazy and worthless than i actually am from the disease thanks for sharing your story it really helps when your new to this

You are more than welcome. I have only met one other young woman (offline) with narcolepsy, and its been uncanny for the two of us how things in our lives are similar for the overall lack of knowledge or exposure to narcolepsy by the public. Most people tend to reference Deuce Bigelow, Rat Race, or Moulin Rouge, which present less than flattering characterizations of the symptoms. I haven't seen My Own Private Idaho, but I'll try to do so at some point, as I'm interested in seeing different portrayals of narcolepsy, in order to better understand how people react and respond to hearing about narcolepsy.

I appreciate you writing about this and sharing it with people here. I for one have only been exposed to narcolepsy from the movie My Own Private Idaho. <br />
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It's nice to get an inner perspective of it.<br />
Thank you. Also, I can see it as being very frustrating.