Narcolepsy and Grief
Last updated: April 2023
Grief is something that I have been used to from a young age. It is extremely hard to go through, but narcolepsy and grief feels like a different ball game.
I personally feel that narcolepsy really complicates the grieving process. Some of the symptoms of narcolepsy, such as vivid dreams, nightmares, and sleep paralysis, can make the grieving process harder and more complicated.
Narcolepsy complicates the grieving process
I often have such horrendous nightmares about a person I have lost. Sometimes they can be extremely violent dreams with really distressing themes. As time has gone on, I have found that it can really complicate my feelings about them. With my dreams often feeling like memories, it can really alter my perception of them.
As much as I try not to let it, I can't shake the feelings that I have associated with that person because of the nightmare. Logically, I know that it was just a nightmare, but the feelings it leaves in my body are linked to that person no matter how much I try to undo it.
I also can't help but feel that as time goes on the bad dreams that I have are going to outweigh or outnumber the good memories that I have.
Reliving bad memories over and over
Not only that, but there are the nightmares that force you to essentially relive bad memories over and over. I often have recurring dreams directly about or linked to their death. Now I know sometimes this can be linked to unprocessed trauma and PTSD, but it's hard to know if it is just my narcolepsy finding something to hone in on, if that makes sense.
It's like you are spending the day trying to forget about the bad memories, but then you go to sleep and it feels like you are reliving it all over again.
Seeing a loved one again, then realizing it was just a dream
Sometimes the vivid dreams are not nightmares, but it will feel like the person is there again. And waking up is adjusting back to that reality all over again. And it is hard. Feeling like you were hugging them in your dream, waking up thinking you can go and do it again, then realising that it was just a dream is rough. It's that sinking feeling in your stomach and the heaviness in your heart when you realise that they are gone.
Then there is the sleep paralysis where you are hallucinating that they are there, and being desperate to scream so you can talk to them, but you're stuck, paralysed, unable to say a word.
I guess perhaps there is some comfort in that I get to see them in my dreams. But on the flipside, it's just not enough.
I just want a break from what I'm going through
Narcolepsy makes the grieving process so much harder. It's not that I want to forget the person; it's that I want to be able to get a peaceful night's sleep where I'm not reliving feelings of guilt, sadness, etc. I would just like a break from the reality that I'm going through.
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