themighty logo

How My Narcolepsy Is Like a Covert Agent


Narcolepsy is like a covert agent… a skilled one… like Jason Bourne skilled. As a matter of fact, for me narcolepsy was so skilled that it would launch sneak attacks at the most inopportune times, and I’d never see it coming!

Once I drove a quarter of a mile, eyes wide open, and couldn’t remember driving that quarter of a mile when I came to. Another time, I drove for nearly 20 minutes and couldn’t remember any of the trip except for leaving and arriving. Then there were the sleep attacks while traveling 70 miles per hour. Not the recommended way to get your adrenaline rush! Sometimes narcolepsy would drug my coffee at work; it’d get so bad that all I could do was stare at the computer screen, trying desperately to keep two cogent thoughts in my head while my mind was trying equally as desperately to take a vacation.

Narcolepsy, in true covert agent fashion, not only deceived the target, but others as well. How else would it avoid having its cover blown? The evidence? “Oh, you should get more sleep;” “If you don’t drink so much coffee, you’ll sleep better.” Yeah, tried that and things didn’t go so well. “You should exercise more.” I would… if I had the energy.

I started to ask myself, “Why are my dreams so vivid?” and “Why is lucid dreaming so easy for me?” For years, I’d been complaining about chronic fatigue — sounds way more clinical than “being tired all the time,” right? It wasn’t until I was seen by a FNP (family nurse practitioner) who actually stuck with me long enough to suggest a sleep study that things turned around. I had the sleep study done. Lemme tell ya, trying to sleep with electrodes and wires is not an easy task! Once the results came in, Agent Narcolepsy’s cover was officially blown. Like Michael Westen, but without the sharp threads.

Turns out, I was diagnosed later than many (mid-30’s), but that was fine because I finally had answers, I had the truth, and I could handle the truth! Medication has helped, but I know there’s no shaking this burned spy. Rather, I accept the new norm — I live with a (former) covert agent that makes life challenging… but I’m still the better dresser!

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Gazometr.