a woman living with cataplexy frozen in a dark space with shapes surrounding her

My Cataplectic Dismal Abyss

When first diagnosed with type 1 narcolepsy, enduring countless cataplectic attacks really pushed me into a dark, deep pit making simple tasks to be the most terrifying. I found myself becoming more and more frustrated with each passing day, unable to comprehend the actions of others who chose to push me away during my time of need.

As my journey progressed I began to feel at fault having realized I was failing to communicate with those who were offering support. Rather than keep it all locked away in my Pandora’s Box, I chose to express what life with cataplexy is truly like in the poem below.

This Is Type 1 Narcolepsy

A quick spike of emotion, a simple laugh, or smile sends your body into a dismal spiraling downfall that leads you into an unknown realm of darkness that hides behind your eyelids as your body hastily collapses in what feels like slow-motion.

The complete numbness that overtakes your body leaving you in a paralysis state you wish you weren’t so fond of. Your veins flow with thick warm blood that pulsates emotions of rage and vulnerability.

The throbbing from your veins quickly transfers to your brain becoming the focal point of feeling as you lay there on the cold floor, lifelessly.

The eyes of the world are glaring at you, setting a wildfire that burns right through your helpless soul as the humility kicks in. Just when you think you are able to calm down and come to, your body decides to throw you another curveball.

Your face runs cold like ice. Full of panic, bipolar bodily functions shift your temperature and causes your cheeks to become toasty as if you’d been out frolicking in the sun. Your face then begins to seize up. The uncontrollable twitching just draws more attention to your taboo-self. Hoping your lips won’t follow in that action, they decide to mimic a strike allowing pools of drool to run down your rosy, clammy skin.

Your brain challenges you to mutter one word, daring you, wanting to make you feel inferior because it knows the one word you long and crave to say, “help”. Sadly, the only sound your body will produce is of a gibberish dialect that conveys uncertainty and fear.

You ponder a lot while you are at your lowest state, not thoughts one would assume. You ask yourself, “Who will ever accept me?” “What fool would happily draft themselves into this seemingly never-ending war?” Despite these thoughts, I always wonder how long this episode will last.

Knowing there are many more that I will face, I am ready to take them on. The heart that beats inside my chest is too proud and strong to flinch and fathom the thought of failure.

I am invincible and will never give less than 200%. I will continue to be the stubborn woman my parents raised me to be, settling for nothing less than what I deserve and desire.

With each passing day, I learn something new about the world...

Life is simply what you make it, it’s yours for the taking. So here’s to a long life and a merry one full of sweet dreams.

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