Narcolepsy and relationships
I get the question a lot.
At least an iteration of it.
It goes something like this:
How do I explain to them what N feels like?
How do I properly convey to my husband what I feel on a daily basis?
He should automatically know shouldn’t’ he?
Why is she so misunderstanding?
I have one simple answer for all of these questions.
It’s our job to be empathetic, not theirs. You can only control your reaction. Not their lack of understanding.
They will comprehend the disease of Narcolepsy just as well as you can comprehend diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, or Cerebral Palsy.
There are experiences and afflictions that can not, and will not be conveyed via just words. Maybe a book can help. Maybe it’s a podcast you can show them. Or maybe it’s a documentary.
But whatever device you may choose to turn their sympathy into empathy. It will always fall short.
And that’s okay my friend.
You don’t need them to.
All you need to do is develop your empathy.
You, a person without type one diabetes, will never truly know that struggle.
Just like them, a person without narcolepsy, can never truly know yours.
I’m not in anyway advocating others to walk all over us, please don’t misunderstand. I’m simply encouraging a change in perspective while keeping respect for yourself high.
So decide today. That you’re the one who will be empathetic. Empathic to their ignorance. Their ignorance is not because they don’t love you, or because they’re mean-spirited. It’s because there is no substitution for first handed experience, and there never will be.
Once you embrace that. The pain of “why don’t they get what N is like?” will wash away.
Please do me a favor. Make the decision today that you will give up on forcing them to understand. When you do, things get a little bit brighter.