I was just diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy. I have had it for years. I have so many questions!!! First, is it 'normal' to feel tired for a bit and then magically alert followed by exhausted and so on all day long? It seems to be a cycle whose pattern I cannot figure out because there is no pattern.
Also, I'm depressed as all get out. I've been busting my butt for years with the idea that I will find something to help me feel better. With this diagnosis, it seems I won't ever find that magic bullet. Any coping strategies for the newly diagnosed?
Daytime sleepiness follows the REM cycle of about every two hours, just like at night. That is why the MSLT consists of naps 2 hours apart.
When we are active or stimulated, it is easier to overcome the sleepiness. Passive situations make that harder. Heavy meals during the day, sugar/ caffeine crashes, poor sleep prior night, emotional stress- many of these things make sleep harder to stave off during the day. These things make daytime sleepiness seem less predictable than it actually is.
Sleepiness is always there. There are things that make it easier or harder to manage. The trick is finding what does and does not work for you.
Regarding depression, its symptoms overlap a lot with N symptoms. People with N have a high incidence of depression. Cataplexy is often treated with antidepressants- so you could consider if it is a problem.