A transparent shadow of a black woman supports a full color version of herself sitting on a bed, fully dressed and accessorized to leave the house, but sweating and tired.

Still Trying to Accept My Limits

Yes! I finally got Jury Duty! I have never been selected before, and it finally happened: I was given the opportunity to contribute to my community, and I was excited!

Internally I struggled with whether I should fill out the exception form for my narcolepsy. I asked myself if I could stay awake and remember all the information they would discuss. Something inside of me said I would be fine and to at least try.

The day before, I did everything right

I convinced myself I would be capable and that it was just 1 day. I was sure it would be over by noon, and I could take my Ritalin, drink some coffee, and I would be OK. I figured this would be a good plan and I was able to start preparing the day before.

I didn’t drink caffeine after 6 PM on the evening prior to jury duty. I made sure I didn’t eat anything that would bog me down the next day and make me sleepy. I did everything right. I took my Xywav on time and took it when my alarm went off for my second dose. I left plenty of time between my second dose and when I was supposed to wake.

Waking up the morning of the court day

I woke on time and started to walk toward the bathroom, and my narcolepsy said, "NOPE, GET BACK IN BED." My eyes and legs were so heavy I went right back to bed. I didn’t even have time to set the alarm again! I might have been asleep before I even hit the pillow.

I woke up after the jury duty was supposed to start. As you can imagine, I was upset and depressed I couldn’t do this 1 thing! This was important to me. I wanted to experience it and I wanted to contribute to my city and my county.

Being excused from jury duty due to my narcolepsy

The next thing I had to do was to reach out to the judge. If you miss jury duty, you will have a warrant issued and you can get fined.

I was able to email them and explain my situation, and within a few days, I was sent an email saying I was officially excused. It was such a relief! The stress of thinking I was responsible for missing such an important proceeding, and what the consequences could be, was very consuming.

I need to remind myself that I have limits

It is the little things like this that remind me I must stop and listen to myself. Pushing myself results in the opposite effect with narcolepsy. The excitement and planning will knock me out, and I need to accept this. I have been diagnosed for over 10 years now, and it happens a lot.

There was something inside of me telling me that it would be hard, but I ignored it. I need to remind myself from time to time that I really do have limits. I must learn to accept that I cannot do everything I want to do.

I'm working on accepting myself

I get the same result when I am happy to go shopping. One time, I attempted to "run in quickly" to a store, and my husband found me in an aisle with no recollection of why I was there. How on earth could I have thought I could be on a jury and be fair to someone?

Years after my diagnosis, I find myself feeling resentment that I have limits that are real. I’m working on acceptance, and I feel it is getting better. I don’t like it, but I am trying!

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