woman sits curled up on a couch, looking off into the distance with her chin on her hand.

Summer Boredom and Narcolepsy

Summertime and I have a love-hate relationship.

Summer is the time for getting out and enjoying the warm sunshine. This is usually when families take a vacation and have new experiences. I’m sure many people would argue that summer is the best time of year.

While this is true for some, summer is usually the worst time of year for me, at least in part due to my narcolepsy.

My summers have a lot of downtime

Being a teacher for almost four years and now being a graduate student, I have had summer break every year since childhood. As a teacher, the first month or so of summer break would be spent doing a whole lot of nothing. Towards the end of summer, I would finally have a reason to get out of the house and start preparing for the next school year.

Now being a student again, my summer has a lot more downtime. I did take a graduate course this summer, which involved me being out of the house and in a solid routine for a few weeks. That was probably the best I’ve felt this summer. Once that was over, though, my usual summer depression slowly started creeping in.

The summer heat makes it difficult to go outside

At the beginning of the summer, I am outside all the time. I love walking my dog, sitting outside with a good book, or occasionally going kayaking when my partner is off work. I truly believe the sun gives me energy and helps my excessive daytime sleepiness become more manageable.

However, once the summer heat starts climbing, I have no desire to be outside. I feel like the heat sucks the life out of me and makes it difficult to do anything.

My boredom leaves me feeling depressed

After a few weeks of sitting around doing nothing, the motivation to do anything dies away. I start talking to myself, like, “C'mon, Gabrielle, just get up and do some chores.” Then I follow up with, “What’s the point? It’ll only take me a few minutes to do chores, and then I will be bored again.” After which I usually continue to sit and do nothing.

My new routine of waking up, watching tv, sleeping, and watching more tv leaves me feeling depressed. On the days my partner works, I feel like a sad little puppy waiting for my human to return home. I watch the clock as each hour ticks by, wondering what we will do together once he’s home. Even on the days he has off, I often sit around feeling sleepy and sad, even with him sitting by my side.

Having an active routine makes summers more bearable

I know myself well enough at this point to know the summer sadness I experience is inevitable. During my undergraduate years, when I worked part-time in the summer, having a routine that involved me getting out of the house for a few hours made the summers more bearable.

I knew going into this summer that I wouldn’t be able to work due to a trip to Sweden and a graduate course that involved me being out of town for a few weeks. Who would hire someone who can only work for one month?

Living with narcolepsy is easier with a daily routine

I am reminding myself with only a few weeks left of summer that I’ll be okay. I understand this time of year is difficult for me in not having a routine.

Living with narcolepsy has shown me that I thrive when I have a daily routine. It won’t be long before I am back at it again.

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