Monday, December 30

How to Keep the Passion Alive In a Relationship With a Narcoleptic

Did you notice that the title of this post begins with How not Should I? This post is for those who want to make sure their marriage stays passionate. If you just ain't feelin' the passion anymore, or just don't care anymore, no worries. I discuss how Narcolepsy drains passion in another post. For now, let's focus on the positive and talk about ways to keep the passion alive!
Take the Lead. The truth of the matter is, quite simply, you're going to have to do most of the work. Let's be realistic. It's hard to feel or act romantic when you're tired. And our Narcoleptic spouses are often tired - extremely tired. That usually means that any initiation of romance is going to be left up to us. Of course, it can get a little old, always being the one to initiate the romance. But remember your focus is on keeping the passion alive - no matter who has to work harder to do so.

Keep It Simple. I used to exhaust myself with elaborate date nights or unique romantic ideas. While the drawn out plans are great, things don't always have to be complicated to be effective. Write a love note rather than a letter, send a text rather than make a long phone call, cuddle before a movie at home rather than hitting the crowded theatre. My hubby and I spend most of our date nights at home, and that's okay. I'm just happy to spend quality time together while he's awake.

Have a Backup Plan. Yes, it will probably happen if it hasn't already. Your Narcoleptic love may fall asleep during a date or other romantic time. It's happened to us repeatedly and although I don't get upset, rarely am I able to just laugh it off. The good news is, when you know that it's a possibility, you can be prepared. If your significant other tends to sleep for a long time, prepare to try again on a different night. If they'll wake after a brief nap, resume where you left off.

Spontaneity Is Okay. You don't always have to plan romance. Can you take advantage of a quiet moment? An unexpectedness tenderness or sharing a sudden laugh can be a great starting point for a quick touch or kiss. Never forget how much power an intense look or warm hug can have, too. Are the kids out of the house suddenly? Did you score a great freebie that you didn't plan on? Take advantage of the unexpected whenever you can. Chores and other duties will always be there, so sometimes, they can wait.

Be Flexible. Can you hang out with your spouse in the morning rather than at night? Reverse that if they're more alert in the evenings. Can you do something outdoors if they have a hard time staying alert during a film? Can you watch a film if they have a hard time being active? Try spending small chunks of time together rather than hours on end. Sometimes my hubby and I will spend an hour playing a board game and listening to music. Nothing exciting, but it works for us.

Do Something Everyday. Look into their eyes when you say, "I love you." Hold hands when you walk together. Kiss them good morning AND good night. Laugh at their jokes and compliment their efforts. When they reach out for you, reach back. Fight for the romance in your marriage every single day. It's simple logic: if you act more romantic, you'll feel more romantic. And then that first suggestion won't be so hard after awhile.

Be Patient With Your Spouse... and Yourself. Narcolepsy is incredibly frustrating. And unpredictable. And inconvenient. And did I mention frustrating? Your spouse chose you. Don't you think  that they want to spend quality time with you? Remind yourself of that - often. You are worthy of love, and romance, and passion, and so is your spouse. Every marriage should be based on mutual love and attraction, so work hard to make sure that Narcolepsy doesn't rob you of yours.

Friday, December 27

We're Still Here

About three and a half years ago, I was desperate. I had been existing with my husband's recently diagnosed illness, but just barely. We certainly weren't surviving, much less thriving. Actually, we were barely making it.

So I hopped online to find... something. And I did. I found lots of information that was quite beneficial and informative. Lots of clinical information, various research analyses, and even personal experiences. But the personal experiences were what appealed to me the most. Specifically, I longed for stories of other people who had spouses with Narcolepsy and Cataplexy. I wanted real life input on coping day to day.

I couldn't seem to find anything, so I decided to vent instead. That was my motivation. I wanted a place to spill my I'm-sick-of-Narcolepsy guts. When I wrote my first post, it was such a relief to say what I was feeling about Narcolepsy! In fact, this blog was private initially. But I wondered if there was anyone - just one - person who would take comfort in knowing that they weren't alone. So I made it a public blog instead. I was amazed - and touched - by the response. People from all over the world told me that they could relate. Emails and blog comments poured in faster than I could reply to them. I was truly grateful for the outpouring of support.

And then I stopped writing.

A little more than a year ago, my husband quit his job. As if that weren't stressful enough, I became very ill and extremely fatigued (turned out it was anemia). This blog was pushed to the back burner until my health improved. By the time I felt better, though, I wondered if anyone was even reading this blog anymore. Again, I was amazed to see all of the messages and comments you've left me! As I was reading some of them aloud to my husband, I choked up. There are so many of us who just don't know what to do. We have to encourage one another, laugh with one another, give virtual hugs and good advice...

My husband and I are still here, plugging away at staying happily married despite the trials of a disease that just doesn't go away. Thank you for motivating me to keep blogging.

From Wikia.