3 Ways to Maintain Healthy Boundaries with Narcolepsy
Last updated: July 2022
Narcolepsy can be physically limiting in many ways. Whether it is sleep attacks or cataplexy, narcolepsy symptoms are chronic. These symptoms also require a variety of lifestyle modifications to live with.
For these reasons, it is especially important for people with narcolepsy to set boundaries with those around them on how much they can accomplish in a day. Advocating for your limitations is not only better for your own body and psyche, but also better for your relationships.
Maintaining boundaries creates healthier relationships
When I overextend myself for other people, even if it isn’t asked of me, I often end up feeling resentful of the other person. This can be damaging to my own health and our relationship in the long run.
Maintaining your boundaries not only keeps you safe and healthy, but also serves to create healthier relationships. These relationships involve honest communication and a give-and-take, and do not require you to compromise your values and needs.
However, while setting boundaries is important in any relationship, it can also be very difficult. Here are some tips on creating and maintaining healthy boundaries when living with narcolepsy:
1. Learn your limits
Setting boundaries that serve you requires knowing your own personal needs. The only way to know your physical limitations is to pay attention to what makes you feel good and bad. You can ask yourself these questions to help you determine your needs surrounding your narcolepsy:
- What activities drain you the most?
- What do you need after a draining day or activity?
- How long does it take you to recover from a busy day?
- How many naps do you need on a daily basis?
- How long can you be in public before you start to feel overly tired?
2. Be fair to yourself and the other person
When attending an event, will you need a ride home afterward due to being too tired to drive? Call a taxi!
I’ve learned that it’s best to plan accommodations before an event. While it is nice to be able to ask a friend for help in a pinch, relying too heavily on those around you to fulfill your needs can take a toll on the relationship.
There is always a compromise to be found without compromising your needs. Expecting a friend to go out of their way to drive you home might be unfair to them – but there are always other ways to get your needs met!
3. Don’t apologize for your limitations
Never apologize for your limitations or for advocating for your needs. There is no shame in needing accommodations. I personally need to work on this one – but I am getting better at it!
Switching your narrative to a more empowering one
It can be difficult when people do not understand or respect your boundaries, especially boundaries relating to narcolepsy. When I overextend myself for other people, I often end up feeling angry at myself and my body for not being able to keep up.
It’s important to switch this narrative to a more empowering version. When I respect my narcolepsy limits, I am respecting myself.
Do you find it difficult to set boundaries when it comes to your narcolepsy?
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