A piece of paper with a prescription bottle on it being torn in half by 2 hands

A Journey Navigating Life Without Medication

I don't even remember how long I've been without medication. I remember thinking about how important it was to me and how important medication is to my life and my ability to perform my activities of daily living.

Don't get me wrong; it is still very important for me. However, this adjustment that I made, as of my writing this, has really shown me how much I can accomplish without it. In the same breath, it also makes it very apparent why I needed it in the first place.

Accidentally not renewing my insurance

Here's some background: I turned 26, and earlier in 2023, I ended up not filling out paperwork to renew my insurance. I didn't really think anything of it because for the last couple of years of my life, I've always forgotten to do this, and every time the state of Iowa just puts me on a new insurance. I thought this was going to happen again.

Of course, I don't want to forget to do those vital things. I just have some things going on in my life that make it very difficult for me to perform those actions. Those actions mean something as simple as opening up mail, reading it, and responding in a prompt time.

What happened next shocked me.

Having to go without it

I didn't just get put on a new insurance; I actually didn't get insurance at all. That really confused me; what made this different from any other time? Among multiple phone calls and looking different things up, it looks like because I forgot and me making a couple of extra cents on my paycheck meant that I no longer qualified for state insurance.

Which is crazy to think about; I never thought that I wouldn't have access to my medication, I wouldn't have access to therapy, I wouldn't have access to my primary care provider.

Alas, here I was.

Not prepared

Now let me tell you: I've had scares in the past of not having insurance. Remember when I referenced earlier that I'm usually just waiting for them to put me on new insurance? During those times of limbo, I might not be able to get my medication. Within a couple of days, I'm able to get my medication because of the state putting me on new insurance. So I do know what it feels like to go without medication due to insurance.

However, what happened here is something that I really wasn't prepared for. It took me down a dark path.

Coming to terms

It was crunch time; it was time for me to figure out what I could do myself to help promote wakefulness. This was it, putting my money where my mouth is. You see, I've always discussed the possibility of not being on medication for my narcolepsy. What I didn't know was that the universe would just drop this on me. I thought I had time to figure out diet and exercise regimens that would help me. I didn't.

So here I am, as of I'm my writing this, and I'm very tired, actually. I often say to people that sometimes I forget that I have a sleep disorder, especially when I'm on my medication. I feel so well-adjusted to the real world when I'm on my medication that my symptoms don't show up as often as they would without medication. I miss that feeling. I want that feeling back.

I have been feeling the last couple of months like a person with narcolepsy again. And trust me, that's weird to say. To admit that I need to come to terms with my sleepiness when it randomly hits me. How that affects my relationships, how that affects my job performance, the company that I created for sleep disorder awareness, my clothing brand, and me working with the local high school students. I'm even in a fashion show that stands to highlight me as an artist with narcolepsy in the designs that I create and what that means for sleep disorder advocacy.

Trying to be patient

All these things that I'm accomplishing have been increasingly difficult. It makes sense. And this time, I have to offer myself grace and remember that I am doing a lot, my artist career will thrive, the work that I do with the children will thrive. I just got to be patient. More importantly, take naps in between all things I'm doing.

This is just a little journal entry. I really hope that you enjoyed it. If so, please leave something in the comments. Talk to me about something you're going through.

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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