a person hanging from the rim of a spilled coffee mug

Crying Over Spilled Milk

You know those days where you feel like you are being tested by the universe? Anything and everything that could go wrong seems to be going wrong, and you are left in the rubble. Okay, maybe I am being a bit dramatic.

But we have all had those days where the smallest inconvenience pushes us over the edge. I remember one particular instance of this very clearly.

Lessons from a cup of coffee

My car had broken down, it was raining, and I had to walk to the train station. On the way, I got myself a coffee as a little pick-me-up. At this moment, it honestly felt like the only good thing in my day was that beautiful, delicious coffee.

I held it in my hands, warming my cold fingers on the walk to the station, savoring little sips along the way. Then I arrived at the train station, saw my train had been canceled, and I dropped the cup. I am slightly embarrassed to say that I literally cried over spilled milk that day. I broke down like a little baby over this seemingly insignificant coffee. But it was the final straw for me that day.

What does this story have to do with narcolepsy, you may ask? Well, there are a few lessons that I learned when reflecting on this day that I want to share with you.

Frustration = Cataplexy = Crying over spilled milk

Since diagnosis, I have learned that a number of different emotions can trigger cataplexy. I have discovered that, for me, one of those emotions is frustration.

At the time, I didn't know this. I mean, I hadn't even been diagnosed with narcolepsy at this point. But reflecting on this day, I can see very clearly that this was not just a case of me being clumsy. I had experienced cataplexy.

When I look at the bigger picture, it is obvious that I was extremely frustrated and reaching my limit when I finally lost to the cataplexy, and muscle weakness took over my hands.

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Community Poll

My biggest cataplexy trigger is ____________

Things that keep me from my breaking point

After living with narcolepsy for a while, I have learned a few things that can help to bring me down from my breaking point.

Acknowledging my emotions

Firstly, it is always a good idea to deal with your emotions as they come! I just kept pushing down my frustration on that particular day until it built up into this catastrophic, cataplectic mess. I find that if I acknowledge my frustrations, even when they are small and seemingly insignificant, I am less likely to lose it over something like dropping a coffee. It is okay to be frustrated and to feel whatever you are feeling, and the more you ignore it, the more likely it is to come back bigger and stronger later.

Going easy on myself

Secondly, don't judge yourself! Sometimes you will have cataplexy attacks, and that's okay. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, so don't let that add to the frustration spiral! Sometimes you will drop your beloved coffee and cry. But remember, you can always buy another coffee!

Do you find that emotions impact your narcolepsy symptoms? Share with our community in the comments below!

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