IH – The Thief of My Youth
I was 15 years old when my life was turned upside down. In my early years, I was a girl who played sports, participated in school activities, maintained good grades, and was friends with just about everyone. However, during the summer of my sophomore year of high school, I suddenly began to feel extremely sleepy.
The feeling of sleepiness slowly began to take over my life. I was too tired to attend volleyball and softball practice, school, and even social events. There is one particular moment when I realized that something was wrong with me. I was attending volleyball practice, and we had just finished some of our warm-ups. Usually after our warm-ups I would feel energized and ready for practice, but not this time. This time, I felt more exhausted than I did before I got to volleyball practice. After practice, I went home and slept until later the next day.
After that, I began sleeping through all my alarm clocks. I remember my Mom trying to wake me up in the morning for school, but she did not have much luck. I would wake up for a few seconds and then fall quickly back to sleep. I missed more school than I think I actually attended. When I did attend school, I would fall asleep in almost every class. Some of my teachers thought I was just a ‘normal’ bored teenager, but that was not the case. I really wanted to stay awake during class. I wanted to learn, but I was simply too tired to stay awake.
One time, I had a teacher who even made me stand during class in order to keep me awake. Well, that teacher quickly learned that standing would not stop me from falling asleep. I leaned my head back against the wall and quickly began to doze off. Luckily, a friend woke me up before I almost collapsed on the ground.
I tried to attend social events, but even that was too hard. I would go out with friends but would be too tired to really socialize and would just want to go home to go back to bed. Idiopathic hypersomnia stole my high school years. It stole my college experience, and it stole some friendships.
– M.M., South Bend, IN, USA
HELP US help people like “M.M.” and others with IH by making a donation to the Hypersomnia Foundation now. Every donation makes a difference, and your donation could be the key to unlocking the mysteries of IH and related sleep disorders. Don’t let the “thief” that is IH continue to rob people of their youth and their lives!