It may sound strange, but my biggest fear in relation to my narcolepsy...is having my professionalism called into question. This may not relate to everyone, but being a single, childless 31-year-old, my career is my main priority for the moment.
I began working at the young age of sweet 16. Educated by the extremely strong and independent woman who is my mother, I was always brought up with a strong sense of responsibility and drive.
Self-reliance and hard work
The one lesson I carry with me till this day, and one that I cannot forget, is that in life, nothing is ever given to you. You cannot rely on others to resolve your problems. You can only rely on yourself. You have to fight for everything you want.
My work history is a long and complex one. I’ve worked in many places. I have quit many jobs and made more mistakes than I can count along the way. Regardless of all this, what kept me going was the fact that I knew I always did the best I could with the experience (or lack of) that I had at the time.
Fighting battles on a daily basis
One thing I didn’t count on, however, was having to relinquish control over how I commanded my own life.
In society, there are hurdles we already inherit as women, especially in the workplace. There are battles we must fight on a daily basis just to assert ourselves as competent, working professionals. As a woman with a chronic illness, having to fight in a man’s world is no easy task. I can promise you that.
For over 6 years, I worked in the events management industry. And for 6 years, I lived my days trying to prove to myself that my narcolepsy didn’t affect my work. At the time, I refused to share my narcolepsy diagnosis with hardly anyone, especially with anyone remotely within my work circle.
Looking back now, I can see that this stubborn determination was responsible for my own deterioration, which would inevitably force me to give up my entire career. As much as I tried to ignore it, deep down, I knew I was a ticking time bomb.
Stepping back and new realizations
Inevitably, I was forced to stop and for 2 full years, I stopped as much as I knew how and instead threw myself into owning my condition and advocating for others.
Two years later, I am now back at work.
Unfortunately, I have had to realize that maybe a career in events management isn’t the ideal profession for someone with narcolepsy as it involves high-pressured work, long hours, and extremely stress-inducing situations.
Everything happens for a reason
It was one of the biggest sacrifices I have ever had to make because of my narcolepsy, as my dream was to have my own wedding planning agency one day. Life isn’t ever going to go the way you want it to. That’s just the reality we live in.
I don’t lament my circumstances as I feel that everything happens for a reason, and if you trust the universe and stop fighting it, eventually, you will understand why it chose that certain path for you.
How has narcolepsy impacted your ability to work?
Pursuing a new dream
As for me, I am now working as a content manager in a large company with an amazing and incredibly supportive boss.
My dream to create other people's dream day is, unfortunately, something I was forced to surrender...but in its place is now a dream I had almost given up on – my dream to be a writer.
And as my mother taught me long ago, I will always keep fighting for what I want...as long as it isn’t something that will put my own physical and mental health in jeopardy.
What is the hardest part of coping with narcolepsy?