C. Hodes

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During winter quarter freshman year, I got a really bad cold and was extremely weak and tired all the time. Once I got better, I noticed that I still was constantly tired. Despite getting a full night’s sleep every night, I still needed a long nap during the day in order to function. At any point in time, I felt like I could fall asleep. In addition to my sleepiness, I began to pull away from my friends and family. My depression and overall sense of loneliness worsened. To make matters worse, the health center was unhelpful and I had difficulty doing well in my classes. I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea last year. While I sleep, my sleep quality is very poor because I did not get enough oxygen to my brain. This experience made it hard for me to find motivation to do anything. It was hard for me to want to study and it was even harder once I started trying. I am already an introverted person, and the disorder made it even harder for me to socialize because I was tired all of the time. The hardest part of this experience was how long it took for doctors to figure out what was going on. They initially believed that it was mono, despite my not having a fever. The disorder went undiagnosed for almost two years.

Once I was diagnosed, my medical provider gave me different ways of treatment. The main one has been to improve my unhealthy habits. I have even done CPAP treatment to help open my airways while I sleep, and now I feel better enough not to need it. I now have come to terms with the disorder and can understand why I acted the way I did. Working on myself and my health has absolutely been the most helpful throughout this entire experience.

I felt I couldn’t share this on social media because I did not want to be under public scrutiny by my peers. Although I have an official diagnosis, and I have gone through a sleep study, it is hard to explain to some that always being tired is not just a phase. I also did not want anyone to make immediate assumptions for why I have the disorder. In general it is hard to post about personal struggles because many people believe doing so is a cry for attention. Personal struggles on social media creates sometimes a negative stigma. I have had friends who posted about their difficulties and they had social media friends unfriend or unfollow them. I think a lot of people who are not familiar with a specific struggle are not always comfortable with them, as they are often hard to hear about. If I were to share this on social media, I think that people will be very supportive and encouraging about my struggles. I have a very accepting group of friends (even on social media) who would welcome me talking about my experiences. I, personally, would not want to post about it because I keep my personal life extremely private on social media.

For someone going through the same thing I am, I hope that they can learn from my experiences and get the help they need. Being excessively sleepy when you get enough sleep is not normal, and it is treatable.

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Asia Croson