Brendan S. 

I have tried so many times to join some type of support group, but with the rarity of Narcolepsy it became difficult. My story is a very long and winding road that lead up to me meeting with my doctor, even though I was so stubborn that there was never anything wrong with me. I commuted everyday to University of Louisville from home, which is 104 miles round trip; no matter what time of day, how many hours of sleep I got, or how awake I felt, within 10 minutes of being in the car my eyes felt super heavy and my head would begin to tilt back. I would fight it until eventually my brain would shut down for a few milliseconds- to a few seconds to regain some sort of wakefulness. I always thought it was my diet or that I was drinking so much caffeine. I tried to change everything I could, but no matter what I did, within 10 minutes of being in the car, I was asleep or fighting it. This happened also while I was taking classes at Uofl. I would be so engaged in a subject and really enjoy the conversation that I would be involved in in class and I would get an inevitable jerk in my leg, moments later getting very sleepy and ultimately falling asleep. I was diagnosed during my Sophmore year at the University of Louisville. During my Sophmore year I went from being a REACH Ambassador, which was a big deal because my passion was to help others and as a REACH Ambassador I was able to help incoming Freshman survive their first year. I was a part of a special group of Ambassadors that came from a scholarship I was awarded for being low income. During that time I had 5 students that I got to have meetings with, emails, and actual friendships with. When I went back for training in the spring of my sophomore year I was told to report to my Supervisors office. He told me that because I had a bad semester (1.3 gpa; I was falling asleep in my 8am, and every class past that), I needed to step down as an Ambassador because I couldn’t help others if I couldn’t help myself. I was devastated! I thought that I had my opportunity to make a difference pulled out from under me because I was having problems that I couldn’t understand and I couldn’t fix. That semester I was given a different job, I was to sit in an office and study; nothing more, nothing less. Even then I would fall asleep and my Supervisor finally started to realize that the problem I was facing was bigger than I could handle. It was his recommendation that I go and see my doctor about my issues and that was the first time I heard the word Narcolepsy come out of someone’s mouth. My Physician set up my sleep test and within a week I was diagnosed. That was 2 years ago and each day I have my ups and downs. I struggled so much, but I made it through some of my darkest days. I boosted my GPA back up and graduated from the University and now I currently work for UofL while pursuing my masters. 

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