It is a funny thing how media have taken over pretty much every part of the modern life. One of the strangest and potentially the most dangerous ways in which media affect our lives is when you take a look at different medical conditions. For instance, you may remember when AIDS was the “hot topic” so to say. It was the most important thing in the world. And then it just got kind of boring and people stopped talking about it. It no longer attracted viewers and readers. And it is not like it has become less of an issue, on the contrary. It is just the cold and outright dangerous, irresponsible way in which media dictate our lives.
Take, for another example, narcolepsy, a condition that I am suffering from. It affects the same number of people as, for example, Parkinson’s disease. And yet, very few people are even aware of the illness. At best, people view it as that funny illness from movies that makes people fall asleep unexpectedly. In fact, this condition is much more debilitating and much more serious than that. I am talking from personal experience.
Namely, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy some five or six years ago, when I was fresh out of college. I later learned that it is quite rare for it to occur later than in teens, but I was one of the few cases when this happened.
The first sign that I noticed was that I started feeling sleepy all the time. I would go to work and after an hour or two, I would find it absolutely impossible to keep my head straight. Unfortunately, I attributed this to my new job that was quite stressful and strenuous. However, as things didn’t seem to improve, I figured that there was something more at hand here. I also started noticing that I just cannot get enough sleep during night. I started waking up regularly and it was all contributing to my feeling of fatigue during the day.
I decided that I need to visit someone and I went to my doctor, a guy I knew since I was a kid. At first, he didn’t think it was narcolepsy because I was not an adolescent. He thought I might be depressed or something like that, maybe simply exhausted. However, after a while, it became quite obvious to him that it might be narcolepsy.
I went to a sleep specialist who ran some tests, and the verdict came in soon. It was definitely narcolepsy. Luckily for me, I was one of the minority of narcolepsy patients who didn’t also suffer from cataplexy as a symptom, losing muscle tone. My doctor immediately prescribed Ritalin, a stimulant medication that affects certain chemicals in the brain and thus helps people with Ritalin. It truly changed my life. I know, it sounds like something from TV commercials, but Ritalin truly made a huge difference, and still does. I can finally go to work without fearing that I will fall asleep during a meeting, or something like that. It is a whole different story now, thanks to the medication called Ritalin.