Thursday, December 2

Narcolepsy and Your Marriage - When the Going Gets Tired

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/
Narcolepsy is hard on a marriage.

I believe this is because marriage is a lot of work. It's a responsibly, an agreement, a pact between two people, and it takes a lot of energy, both physical and emotional. When things are going well, it's a beautiful bond unlike any other. When it's falling apart, it can feel like a complete devastation of who you are as a person. 

This doesn't mean that marriage should be perfect. It would be unreasonable to expect that two imperfect people with differing backgrounds and personalities would never disagree. Healthy disagreements can even be good for a marriage. But no spouse should ever feel like a failure. 

I recently read a blog post that broke my heart. It's from the blog of a married man living with narcolepsy. In this particular post, he discusses how narcolepsy has created an insurmountable barrier between him and his wife. The post made me teary because I wondered how often my husband felt that way without me knowing it.

Yes, narcolepsy is hard on a marriage - any chronic illness would be - but it doesn't have to be the demise of a marriage if both partners are willing to work together. It helps to think of it as your marriage. Be protective of it, be willing to defend it, and be determined to let nothing destroy it. Then failure won't be an option - for you or your spouse.


  1. Your candid posts here on this blog over the months have shown some of the many challenges Narcolepsy throws at a couple or family.
    I am just struck over and over with the idea that the symptoms of the disease elicit a negative value based judgement about the patient as a person. Tired, sleepy, uncoordinated, cataplectic, frustrated, ect, turns into lazy, careless, self centered, flaky, angry or other such things in some people's minds. Then you add in the side effects of some of the meds.

    And I think a lot of the negative thinking comes from judgments made before anyone, patient or family, knew what was going on. I recently viewed a news clip from England about a PWN, and he mentioned that his own mother just thought he was a loser (can't remember the exact words, but something like that).

  2. This is just exactly what i have been looking for and i am so glad you're out there, writing. my partner has recently been diagnosed with narcolepsy and is still struggling to find a way to effectively treat it.

    in the meantime, it SUCKS. there's just no two ways about it. and i miss her. because when she is so exhausted all the time, she is just...not here.

    we have a 2-year-old and it's very hard because she feels like she can't really care for him very much on her own. like right now, for example, i am next door babysitting and she is wondering when i am going to be home because she is exhausted and wants to take her meds and go to sleep, but is afraid that if our son wakes (which he might -- fever and a cold tonight) she won't hear him/be able to care for him in her druggy haze.

    i'd be lying if i said i haven't been thinking about getting out -- away from it all lately. but you're right. it's a marriage. we took vows. we love one another. thick or thin. just because she has been diagnosed with a chronic illness is not my excuse to slip out the back door.

    still, i need a place to vent and someone to talk to who really understands. i'm so glad this blog exists and i hope you keep posting regularly.

    (ps: i also blog -- though not about this -- but i would be happy to write a guest post sometime if you were ever interested. my blog is