Positive Affirmations Help Me Accept My Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy first impacted my ability to drive and I hated myself for it. I was driving back to my college campus one night. The freeway streetlamps were my only companions, blinking at me as I passed.
Despite the music blaring from my car stereo, I felt my eyelids growing heavy. I tried shaking my head, pinching my skin, and even slapping myself. I could feel myself drifting farther from reality. It was a 25-minute drive, and I hated myself for every second of it. I wish I could say that I felt myself drift off, but I didn’t.
Falling asleep behind the wheel
All I remember was that I was dreaming. I was talking with someone, perhaps discussing cotton candy rabbit pelts for all I know. I laughed myself awake, and what I experienced next was one of the most sobering moments of my life.
The freeway was desolate. There was not a soul to be seen. My car had maintained speed and direction while I slept. In that moment I felt a prickle of mortal fear. The condition of the road, the lack of other drivers, and the maintenance of the straight direction during the particular stretch of freeway that I was unconscious for was what saved my life.
Self-hatred is pointless
This experience stands out to me for obvious reasons. To start, it was one of the last times I drove at night. Currently, I do not drive at all. While I deeply miss driving, I’ve since decided that I value life more. Something about feeling the swish of the grim reaper’s cloak around your ankles helps you sort out your priorities.
Second, I realized that hating myself for my condition was pointless. It has since taken me a full year of therapy to realize that the ways in which I was treating myself were awful. I can attest to the statement that no amount of self-hatred will improve narcolepsy symptoms.
Coping with narcolepsy symptoms
One of the most helpful tools I’ve found for coping with my symptoms is repeating positive affirmations. One study in particular shows that self-affirmations can decrease the levels of stress hormones within the body during a stressful event.1
Narcolepsy symptoms can be traumatic due to their severity and the lack of control that comes with them. Positive affirmations help me feel as if I am working with my body, rather than against it.
What are my positive affirmations?
It can be difficult to recall words during sleep attacks. Thus, some of the simpler positive affirmations that I reserve for severe episodes include:
- “I am safe.”
- “I am worthy.”
- “I am loved.”
I am able to utilize more elaborate self-affirmations when I am not experiencing severe sleep attacks. Some of these include:
- “I am not my symptoms.”
- “I might fall asleep and that’s okay.”
- “I am worthy of care.”
- “My wakefulness does not determine my worth.”
When I am able to let go of the need to control my symptoms and the judgment that comes with being unable to, I am able to focus on the things that are within my control. I can breathe again.
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Do you ever take a nap in your car?