Katie Gleason does an excellent job sharing how idiopathic hypersomnia feels to her in a featured essay on stereoembersmagazine.com.
I was diagnosed with ADHD before idiopathic hypersomnia, but I suspect the hypersomnia only increases the attention-deficit and general cognitive dysfunction issues associated with ADHD, and my hyperactivity works to counteract the symptoms of constant and extreme daytime sleepiness and lethargy characteristic of idiopathic hypersomnia. To avoid falling asleep or to ward off the stress of too much stimulation, I typically have to keep myself physically active in some sort of mindless, repetitive way like pacing if I’m standing or jiggling my leg if I’m sitting. It’s like the soothing effect of being rocked when you’re young, but without the lulling physical passivity.
I hardly even notice my physical “hyperactivity” – it’s more or less become a function of my autonomic nervous system, which also controls such unconscious activities of bodily homeostasis as breathing, digestion, heart rate, etc. Where most everybody else’s ability to stay awake, pay attention, process information, multitask, and problem-solve is sufficiently controlled by an efficiently and accurately firing neural network in the brain, I get a little extra aid from external sources like wakefulness-promoting medications, stimulants, and reduction of environmental factors that cause distraction or sleepiness.
Complex, sustained tasks are a challenge nonetheless, and with too much stimulation, I can mentally and physically shut down. You would think that with my reduced ability to process and retain information, especially if it is layered, highly detailed, and challenging intellectually, I wouldn’t be a fan of art forms that demand a high level of concentration.
– Katie Gleason | Learning to Love Prog from My ADHD/Hypersomniac Wife | stereoembersmagazine.com