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Narcolepsy Letter to My 21-Year-Old Self

I went for lunch recently with a dear friend, someone I've known since I was 11. As we sat reminiscing, she posed an intriguing question: "What would you say to your 21-year-old self?" Inspired, I decided to pen this letter.

Letter to my younger self

I would start by saying...

Dear 21-year-old me,

Hi Kerly, you've just turned 21, a significant milestone. Recently, at 18, you were diagnosed with narcolepsy. You may believe that simply taking your medication will return your life to normal. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. It's crucial to embrace your illness, follow your doctors' advice, and take those recommended naps. Learning to listen to your body and knowing your limits will save you a lot of heartache and hardship.

Ignore the noise from people suggesting that if you just prayed more, you would be healed. Your faith is strong enough. Focus on grieving your old life quickly; this will allow you to move forward and embrace your new reality.

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You're fortunate; you've had a wonderful childhood filled with laughter and good memories. Your teenage years were enjoyable, and you made a few friends that you keep for life. You got good education, despite the rough college years due to undiagnosed narcolepsy.

Know your limitations, and advocate for yourself

You can still accomplish great things. Yes, you can no longer drive, but London offers a Freedom Pass, allowing you to travel across the city and the UK for free. Embrace this freedom. Utilize the disability pass for rail travel discounts and special assistance at airports. Do not be afraid to ask for help or use a wheelchair if needed.

It's crucial to know your limitations early. Don't push your body beyond its limits, as this can trigger cataplexy and cause you to fall. Listen to your body and adjust your medication as necessary. Advocate for yourself and speak up if something doesn't feel right. You have a voice — use it.

You'll become a great advocate in the narcolepsy community, helping others and learning from their experiences. When it comes to relationships, remember that you deserve respect and kindness. Don't waste your time on people who don't understand your condition or treat you poorly. Know that you're beautiful and deserving of love. If someone doesn't respect you, they don't deserve your time.

Get ready for a rollercoaster ride with narcolepsy

Doctors don't always have all the answers. Narcolepsy may come with additional health challenges, so be prepared for a rollercoaster. Embrace the therapies recommended to you, even if they're uncomfortable or unfashionable. They will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Accept that part-time work might be more suitable for you. Find activities that you love and that don't drain your energy. There's nothing wrong with not being able to hold a full-time job. The sooner you accept this, the quicker you'll find fulfilling work that accommodates your condition.

Embrace friendships, and also establish boundaries

Experiment with different courses and hobbies to find what brings you joy. Embrace friendships that make you a better person and understand your illness without judgment. Don't hesitate to let go of toxic relationships. They will only worsen your narcolepsy. God will open doors for you, leading you to people from all walks of life. Embrace these opportunities and the cultural richness they bring. They will make you a better person.

Remember to establish boundaries. Being too kind can lead to detrimental relationships. High boundaries and self-respect are crucial. Learn to say no without guilt. I hope these words help you navigate life more smoothly.

Your future self, Kerly at 41

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Narcolepsy.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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