Every so often, I convince myself that I don’t need my narcolepsy meds. This is a stupid thing to convince myself of, but I do it all the same.
The argument goes something like this: As I was developing narcolepsy, I went for years without taking any medication, and I did pretty alright then, and now I’m pumped full of schedule II meds more or less 24/7. How necessary can all those drugs really be? It’s probably Big Pharma, trying to make a quick buck off me. But no more!
This is the part where I decide to free myself from the shackles of medication by taking a ‘drug holiday’. This means not taking my meds, or taking less of them, for a day or so, to get it all out of my system. Maybe, I tell myself, once I’ve peed out the last of the stimulants, I’ll realize that I truly don’t need drugs to function! All I need is a little willpower and the courage to reject Big Pharma!
As I mentioned above, this is a catastrophically stupid idea.
The day before my ‘drug holiday’, I plan appropriately by timing my meds so that I don’t take any medication past noon. That way, when I wake up the next day, I will have gone nearly 24 hours drug-free already! Success is in the air!
This is when the plan starts to fall apart.
If I stop taking my meds at noon, by the time three o’clock rolls around, I’m getting tired. By four o’clock, it’s not safe for me to drive. If I still insist on going med-free, by six o’clock I will be either dead asleep or hallucinating animals everywhere and hearing the door of my house slam open and shut, footsteps running up and down the stairs, despite the fact that I am home alone.
After counting down the minutes until I can finally go to bed, I will give myself a pep talk and then set several alarms for varying times — an incredibly optimistic 8:35am, a more realistic 9:15am, a 9:20am just in case my morning self is feeling lazy, a resigned 10:30am alarm — because it might be a bad morning, you never know — and a desperate 11:15am, for the worst case scenario.
One of two things always happens:
1. While sleeping, I will either turn off all of these alarms or turn off all but one, which I will change to a stupidly late time, such as 4:28pm.
2. I will keep all of my alarms on but sleep through every single one of them.
This is where my drug holiday inevitably ends — when I can’t get out of bed. It’s not a withdrawal thing, either — this routine was par for the course before my diagnosis. Eventually, I wake up, late for my first engagement of the day, exhausted as if I didn’t sleep at all, and depressed at my failure to launch, again. Cursing my lack of willpower, shaking my fist at Big Pharma, promising God that next time things will be different, I pull my meds out of my sock drawer and pop a few pills.
Fifteen minutes later, I’m good as new.