a woman holds up a magnifying glass to examine a prescription bottle of pills

Is It Me or My Medication?

During college, I struggled with anxiety and depression. This was prior to my narcolepsy diagnosis, and at times I wonder if the things I was experiencing weren't just symptoms of narcolepsy.

I went to the local doctor and was prescribed a few different medications, none really solving the core issue: I was so damn tired all the time.

I started experiencing hallucinations in college

By my senior year of college, I was struggling to make it to class on time. After work in the morning, I would go home and nap until my afternoon classes. There were times I couldn’t wake myself up for those, even with an alarm.

It was during this time I started experiencing hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations. These are dream-like hallucinations that happen upon falling asleep or waking up.

Changing my antidepressant medication

After graduating, I returned to my hometown and started seeing my family doctor. I explained my life of tiredness and misdiagnosis of thyroid problems, then some of the issues I had with different antidepressants I took in college. She prescribed me Prozac in the summer of 2017, later referring me to a sleep specialist in 2018.

Fast forward to this year. I have been on Prozac consistently since then, as well as Modafinil, Wakix, and Xywav for about a year. My life has been great recently. I am almost finished with my in-person college classes, and my degree will be done in a year. My partner has switched to day shift, which has been something I’ve been praying about for years. The spring weather has renewed my joy and I felt like I’d been at a high point this semester.

That is, until one day I noticed my eyes seemed to be messing with me.

Feeling disconnected

It wasn’t like I stood up too fast or hit my head, but out of nowhere my eyes and brain seemed a little disconnected. This weird sensation didn’t last long — maybe a few minutes, then it disappeared.

I brushed it off and didn’t think much of it. As the days went on, this sensation was happening more frequently. I felt like I was watching a 3D movie without wearing the 3D glasses. Everything seemed dream-like; was I experiencing exactly what I was seeing? I could hear and touch and smell just fine, but my eyes didn’t seem to be signaling to my brain the way I know they should be.

What has been causing these strange side effects?

After a few days of this happening on and off, it started happening all day. I would wake up in the morning and within an hour I would blink and everything seemed weird. I started asking some of my friends with narcolepsy if they had experienced anything like this. One friend mentioned the word “disassociation,” and I went to Google with my questions.

I remembered my sister (who also has narcolepsy) experienced similar things after being on Prozac for a few months. She ended up at the iMEDicare a couple of times until she figured out the Prozac was causing her to feel out of whack. I reached out to my GP, explaining the situation, and decided to take a break from Prozac.

Stopping my medication

It’s been about two weeks since I stopped taking it, and (knock on wood) the weird disassociation has ended.

It can be frustrating at times to live with a chronic illness that requires so many different medications. There have been times that I just wanted to stop them all and take a break, but I know my body and current lifestyle would suffer from that. Sometimes I experience things that cause me to ask, “Is this me or my medication?”

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.