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You inspire me, Chucker ...

Posted by Tired-or-Wired on May 31, 2001 at 09:49:40:

In Reply to: Re: posted by chucker on May 30, 2001 at 22:18:43:


I feel your pain from your failed relationships. It is by far one of the bitterest pills to swallow for Narcoleptics ... the often devastating, depressing, downhearted dynamics that occur between a Narcoleptic and his/her non-Narcoleptic partner.

I spent 17 years as a witness to the verbal and emotional abuse belayed on my mother by my father.
I clearly remember uncountable times asking my father, "Where's mom?" only to hear the standard reply, "Where the hell do you think she is? In bed!"

Sometimes, in an attempt at "family bonding" my father would try to take us on a long drive in the mountains. Within 10 minutes, my mother would be sleeping. My father, incensed, would harshly elbow my mother and yell, "Wake up, G..dD….it ! How am I supposed to stay awake with you sleeping? Just talk to me, damn you!” She would try, fail, try again, fail; and ultimately the drive would be cut short by my father choosing to, rather than throw another elbow, abruptly whip the car around back in the direction of home.

If one visual memory stands out more than any other of my mother, it was of her sprawled out on the living room couch --mouth open, light snoring, my father sitting adjacent in his lazy-boy throwing resentful glances like daggers at her sleeping body. And his anger would only intensify when suddenly, around 9:30 p.m., she would awaken with enough stamina to function and attempt completion of her few mandatory tasks that she had started in short, ill-fated attempts throughout the day. "You can't sleep at night because you sleep all day!” he would scream. “Can't you see what you're doing to this family? The kids had to walk home because you slept through when you were supposed to pick them up! We never eat dinner until G..damn 10 p.m.!!"

Sometimes my brothers and I would play tricks on my sleeping mother ... putting the cat's paw in her mouth, fashioning absurd hairdos, applying garish makeup. If we successfully pulled her completely from her slumber, she would be enraged ... something I now realize is normal; for most Narcoleptic persons without medication (remember, she was not diagnosed at the time, sleep is greedily coveted ... no matter how much one might get, it is never enough, and its importance never depreciates.

My mother and father are still together; he stayed with her over the years because his alcoholism was an equal vice, a trade-off to her sleepiness. And on weekends, when my father suffered from a night of overindulgence, the situation was accommodating ... he could sleep off his self-induced misery without fear of condemnation. The unknowing of her Narcolepsy played hugely in my mother's complacency to stay with my father; the years of teachers denouncing her as lazy, stupid and good-for-nothing reeked havoc with her psyche, and in her mind, she thought she had a pretty good deal in simply finding a man who would marry her. You could say they had a bond in their inadequacies -- his drinking, her sleeping.

Now that my mother's condition is acknowledged and she is medicated, my mother and father are still together. Their bond now is slightly less dysfunctional; they stay together out of guilt and their shared responsibility in caring for my Schizophrenic/Narcoleptic brother. It was, and still is, a very sad picture.

But I feel fortunate to have seen what I've seen, felt what I've felt, and learned what I've learned. It has shaped me profoundly empathetic, and, I like to think, healthily introspective. It drives me to try to express the obscure, shadowy things that occur in the minds and sensory processes of us Narcoleptics -- things that are convoluted, wordless and vague -- so that those who feel troubled, lonely and on the verge of sinking into Narcolepsy’s life-consuming quicksand might take comfort in knowing that they are not alone -- that others know the degree to which they struggle -- and above all else, to encourage them to continue their self-perseverance and hold fast to the hope of what tomorrow might bring.

More later I hope ...

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