A film reel, popcorn, and a television remote control

Exploring New Hobbies With Narcolepsy: Movie Theatres and Gaming

Narcolepsy type 1 consists of a variety of symptoms that make participating in life difficult. Throughout my diagnosis journey, I’ve learned to avoid activities that my sleep attacks can make dangerous or generally unpleasant. This has been a painful process on my part.

I am sure that other people with narcolepsy can relate to this feeling of loss. Sometimes it strikes so deeply that I fear it will swallow me.

Finding what works for you

In time, I have found certain activities that are possible for me to participate in with narcolepsy. Please keep in mind that every person with narcolepsy has different sleep attack triggers, so what works for me may not work for others.

Likewise, what doesn’t work for me might be just fine for other people with narcolepsy. We are all different and our physical limitations do not determine our worth.

Movie theatres

I have loved attending movies at the theatre ever since I was a child. The smell of popcorn was infatuating. The bustle of those dark, crowded rooms piqued my interest. As an adult with narcolepsy, I now struggle to stay awake for the very reasons that I used to love visiting the theatre.

Fragmented viewings

The popcorn, dark lighting, and comfortable chairs all work against my condition and lull me to sleep. Now I enjoy movies from the comfort of my home, where I can get up and walk around if I feel a sleep attack coming on. I’ve realized now that I finish movies in pieces. It is extremely rare that I finish a movie in one sitting now.

My experience of movies is now forever fragmented. It’s annoying, to say the least, considering how deep my love for movies really is.

Live gaming

Gaming has been a hobby that I have been able to continue participating in despite my narcolepsy. However, having narcolepsy still impairs my ability to play to my best ability on a regular basis. Live first-person shooters are my drug of choice, in particular, Call of Duty.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and becoming slightly estranged from most of my family, I’ve had to find different ways of socializing. I recently joined a large, live gaming squad and have been able to meet and play with tons of different people virtually.

Stimulation and sleep attacks

Gaming is wildly stimulating for my mind, but my brain, unfortunately, cannot fight its sleep attacks sometimes. When I start falling asleep during a match, my playing abilities are heavily impaired. This has resulted in heckling from my teammates and can be frustrating at times to deal with.

Dragons to slay, someday

I hope one of these days I can become confident enough about my disability that I can shout back, “Hey, my narcolepsy is acting up, so bugger off!” The only thing that holds me back is my own fears. One of these days, I will find the will to overcome them, but for now, I just suck it up and take the heat.

How do you share with your community when you are struggling due to your condition? Do you find it’s worth the energy it takes to explain and defend oneself? Let me know in the comments!

This article is part of an author series on hobbies. Check out the other articles in this series:

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