Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tired of Being Tired

My last few blogs have been riddled with emotion, mostly negative. The last two entries look tame, but that’s after serious editing. For over a week now, I’ve been struggling with mild depression and excessive fatigue. This is nothing new to me; I was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) two years ago, after struggling with it for at least two years. After being diagnosed, my frustrations only increased. Being diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia is not like being diagnosed with many other conditions. The “idiopathic” means “we don’t know what causes it and we have only a very vague idea of how to treat it.” It’s a neurological condition, and it affects your brain’s ability to function properly. Knowing that you have it basically means resigning yourself to a decreased ability to function, for the rest of your life, with little hope of treatment. I was put on Ritalin, which made me more drowsy, then dextroamphetamine (basically, prescription Speed). The dextroamphetamine sort of worked, but exacerbated my very mild OCD and paranoia, and made me less hungry, so that I lost 20 pounds in a month. And then I was dropped from my father’s health insurance in March, 2005, and haven’t been treated for IH since. Not being treated isn’t really a big deal to me, because it feels exactly the same as being treated, except that I gained back those 20 pounds.

Since I graduated university last June and moved to France in September, my responsibilities and stress level have been greatly diminished. In the past eight months, I haven’t noticed much excessive sleepiness, but that may be because I don’t do anything all day. I mostly stay in my room sitting at my computer. Since February especially, I’ve felt particularly good. I still have no energy and get bored easily, but I haven’t felt sleepy during the day. But last week, my IH came back with a vengeance. I’ve been going to bed late, sleeping late, getting 10 or 12 hours of sleep a night, feeling great for the first part of the day, then crashing in the afternoon, then feeling better again by evening.

I was doing my best to deal with all this as if nothing was wrong, when I stumbled upon a weblog where someone was describing hormonal troubles. She mentioned something called “adrenal fatigue” that has to do with your kidneys having trouble producing the right kinds of hormones in the right amounts, causing fatigue and lack of energy. She gave a list of symptoms from some doctor’s book, and these symptoms were all very familiar. Now I’m curious if what I have is really IH, or something related to my kidneys. Instead of being on stimulants, should I be on hormone additives? I’ve been scouring the internet for hours now, and have found no helpful information whatsoever. I can’t even tell if adrenal fatigue is a recognized caused of hypersomnia, or if it’s just some crackpot’s theory.

Sigh. Every time I’ve ever done a sleep disorder search on the internet, I’ve become seriously frustrated. I can’t remember ever searching for information on the topic without crying at some point during the search. There is very little info to be found, and you have to search carefully and tirelessly in order to find it, but you suffer from freaking fatigue, making careful, tireless searches impossible. Plus you have to sift through medical jargon, infinitely harder when your brain is perpetually fuzzy.

I know I have an awesome life, and God has given me so much to be grateful for. I feel kind of ungrateful complaining about this, but I HATE HYPERSOMNIA!!! I just want to be me again…

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