Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
Is it sad that I can’t answer this prompt? I’ve had lots of heart pounding moments but I cannot single out one memory. Maybe it is because I avoid high adrenaline moments because my brain shuts my body down and I black out.
The scariest moment I can remember is when I was in ROTC my freshman year of college. I was at a training weekend and we were supposed to repel down a wall with a rucksack on. I was getting nervous and by the time I was at the top I was very nervous. I have a fear of heights. I didn’t let my fear get the best of me and so I leaned backwards down the wall and the pack pulled me down faster than I thought. I blacked out and found myself halfway down the wall. Luckily I had a spotter. He was a skinny kid and probably weighed 30 pounds less than I did. I felt like a fool and an idiot. I was so embarrassed.
My narcolepsy makes me blackout when I get overwhelmed by adrenaline. It stinks because I feel so limited by what I can do. Stuck almost. “Let’s go do something crazy!” I have to make an excuse like sorry, not interested. Or I have to do something else. Except that the truth is that I am afraid of blacking out.
I live in constant worry that I will do something to trigger a blackout moment. I live in fear that I’ll do something I’ll really regret. I’ve blacked out when a horse I’m leading spooked. I’m worried that one day I will get hurt. I also worry about my automatic behavior which follows the blackout events. My first reaction is anger.
The problem is that I am afraid to follow my dreams wholeheartedly. Every time I try to make something of my life I find that I am standing in a pile of rubble and I don’t know how I got there. My past attempts at building a career have ended in my being overwhelmed and on the verge of checking into a mental hospital. Madness threatens my every step.
When I read these types of prompts I always end up finding myself digging a little too deep into my psyche. I try to embrace my narcolepsy and I try to accept that I have limits but deep down I am beyond frustrated with the fact that I am stuck in the mud.
I have a college degree that I worked hard to obtain and for what? To be a burnt out somewhat unemployed exhausted woman with no hopes of moving forward?
When someone asks me what I want to be I say “I don’t know” but I do know. I just don’t know if I am competent enough to be what I want.
I want to be a novelist; to be an author of best-selling books. I want to be a house owner and a farm owner. I want to donate my time and money to charities and I want to help others chase their dreams. I want to pay my bills on time and I want to be more than my narcolepsy.
I would love to do crazy things; to explore the jungles and jump out of planes and learn how to fly planes but I’m afraid of what might happen if I get too nervous. This is true in social situations as well. I’m afraid of blacking out while talking to people and sometimes I wonder if I have a Dissociative Identity Disorder. That is what chronic exhaustion does to you. You being to worry about everything and you begin to wonder if you are sane or not. You being to see the world in chaotic colors and you begin to hear things that aren’t there and you being to forget how to function.
So, when you ask me what scares me the most? My narcolepsy scares me the most.