A person that has fallen over because of hair wrapped around them; an electric trimmer being held above

How Narcolepsy Styles Me

From pajamas to out-the-door, this guide gives you a peek into my narcolepsy-related wardrobe choices.

When narcolepsy came along, everything changed

Narcolepsy makes it difficult for me to keep up with able-bodied people. I first noticed this in college when my narcolepsy symptoms onset – I suddenly had to work thousands of times harder just to accomplish basic tasks. I struggle with everything from getting up in the morning and running errands to basic hygiene.

The longer I live with narcolepsy, the more I come to realize how much it has affected my life. When narcolepsy came along, everything changed — my career, my body weight, my friends, my ability to drive.

These aren’t the only things that changed due to narcolepsy, though. Now, narcolepsy influences my own personal style – everything from wardrobe choices to hairstyle!

How narcolepsy influences my personal style

Before narcolepsy, I had long, thick, beautiful naturally curly hair.

I shaved my head for the first time in 2020 due to the severity of my narcolepsy and my inability to properly care for my previously high-maintenance hairstyle. I’d been thinking about shaving my head for a while to reduce the amount of time I needed to care for myself on a daily basis.

Shaving my head to save time and effort

I have curly, ethnic hair that is beautiful when long but difficult to care for. It required braiding for protective styles, styling after each shower, and it would even get tangled and impossible to brush out if I went too many days without caring for it.

I was scared to shave off my hair because it felt like losing a part of my identity. Once my thick, curly hair was gone, I was sad. But the longer I live with short hair, the more I realize how much time and effort I save on a daily basis. I doubt I’d go back to long hair, unless I could find a new medication that practically eradicates my narcolepsy symptoms.

Dealing with negative reactions

When I first cut off my hair, I got a lot of negative reactions. People would often exclaim, "What happened? I miss your long hair!" or, "Your hair used to be so beautiful! You should grow it out again!"

Unfortunately, due to the severity of my narcolepsy, I do not get to choose my hairstyle. I prefer it long, but keep it short out of necessity. I just wish people would keep comments related to appearance to themselves – you never know why people undergo physical changes! It isn’t always out of personal choice.

The most comfortable clothes for life with narcolepsy

In addition to my hairstyle, narcolepsy also heavily influences how I dress myself.

I tend to sleep in clothes that I can easily turn into daytime outfits with just the addition of a pair of nice pants, belt, and a jacket. Other times I will restyle overfitted sleep-shirts with leggings and boots. Anything that helps me get up and out the door as easily as possible!

And, since I am frequently taking daytime naps, it makes it easy to switch between "sleep" and "wake" clothes – since it’s the same outfit, just styled differently at different times of day.

How have your narcolepsy symptoms influenced your personal style? Please share in the comments!

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