a women kayaks down a battery to the bottom while looking tired

My Recent Kayaking Trip: No Energy, No Choice

My partner recently had a birthday, and in celebration of that, we decided to take a weekend trip with his parents. We got a cabin on the top of a mountain with a beautiful view of a river.

The main event of the weekend was a 7-mile kayaking trip on the river. We have gone kayaking a few times before, but not quite such a long trip.

Having narcolepsy means my body is unpredictable

Leading up to the trip, I was a little nervous because we were told it could take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours depending on how often we stopped, how strong the currents were, and how quickly we paddled. Living with narcolepsy means my body is unpredictable. Sometimes I have plenty of energy, but other times I am hit with a wave of sleepiness that is difficult to fight.

The morning came, and we were packing up to drive to the river. Although I hadn’t slept very well the night before, I was excited about the trip and feeling energized. We got to the river, got in our kayaks, and started our adventure.

My energy was dwindling quickly

The trip started off great. There were a few small currents that pulled us along without having to work too hard. The sky was cloudy, so the sun wasn’t beating down on us with its heat. After paddling for an hour or so, we decided to pull off in a little shallow area and have some snacks and sit in the river.

After our snack and swim break, we got back in our kayaks and started back down the river. It wasn’t long before I started to get really tired. The river had widened and the current had practically disappeared. My energy was dwindling quickly, but we had no other choice but to keep paddling. I gave my partner "the look," and he knew I was struggling.

The FOMO started creeping in that night

Almost 3 hours after our break, we made it to the end of the kayaking trip. I walked like a zombie back to the car, and we drove back to our cabin. Immediately I laid down to take a nap but was unable to sleep. I tried for a while to rest; then my partner came and told me dinner was ready.

That evening after dinner I was barely functioning. I was lying on the couch watching TV when everyone decided to go in the hot tub and have a few drinks. All of them asked me at some point to join them, but I was too exhausted. All alone in the cabin, FOMO started creeping in. As much as I wanted to join them, I knew I didn’t have the energy to be social.

It is important to listen to my body

After beating myself up for a while, I stepped outside and stood by the hot tub. I was so tired I could barely stand up straight. My partner knows me well enough to know my body language, so he brought me inside. I told him that I was sad I couldn’t join them and that I wanted to push through. He reminded me that they don’t hold my sleepiness against me, and he was sorry I was too tired, but it is important to listen to my body.

It can be very frustrating at times when my body doesn’t want to work with me. I feel like I miss out on so much, especially when it involves spending time with people after the sun goes down. Although I try to give myself grace, it doesn’t always make me feel good in the moment.

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