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Hi folks.  I'm Drew, a married 38-year-old man with 3 children from the midwest USA.  I'm joining up because...well, because I'm pretty sure no else I know gives a crap about my problems, so I thought I'd seek the kindness of strangers.  Or maybe I just thought company could alleviate misery.  I guess we'll see.

 

My main problem is sleep.  I have been experiencing daytime sleep attacks since my freshman year of college (18 and 19 yrs old).  It began to interfere with my professional life around 10 or 12 years ago.  In 2008 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but was never tested for narcolepsy.  I guess it was assumed the daytime sleepiness was caused by the apnea.  However I've used a CPAP faithfully since then, and I still have daytime sleep attacks.

 

This has been an issue of varying importance at my last 4 jobs (I'm a teacher by trade).  Most recently I actually lost a job specifically due not only to falling asleep in the classroom in front of students, but also because one student took a picture of me and put it on Pinterest, from whence it was promptly shared with administrators, parents, and school board members.

 

I don't actually know how many people or which people saw it, but I do know I was fired in January and now I can't get a job.  I've applied for over 90 jobs since January, and only two interviews - and they were at insurance companies, in sales positions, where I'm pretty sure I wouldn't last 3 months.

 

Being married?  Well, that isn't helping.  In fact, it's added to my problems.  I'm an honest person who doesn't steal, doesn't cheat on his wife or his taxes, and gives his level best at work, but my wife is not well.  She suffers from tachycardia, type 2 diabetes, and bipolar disorder.  In 2011 our 3rd child was stillborn, full-term and unexpected.  We have since had another child, making 3 at home, but one does not simply get over such an event.  Her depression took over more or less permanently for two years.  At the time I was teaching and so was she.  I was laid off/fired in 2011, and got a new job.  However, in 2012, my pay was cut due to budget cuts.  I took a long-term sub job for more money, but didn't get hired on full-time (again due to sleep issues).  In August 2013 she experienced an ectopic pregnancy and went into deep depression, then into partial commitment therapy.  She emerged feeling much better but convinced she needed to quit her job, as the stress of being a public school teacher was proving too great for her to bear.  I took over as her substitute, hoping I would get hired on as the full-time replacement.  Then I started falling asleep during the day in front of students.  They let me go at the semester and hired a replacement, who they fired after a month because he made drug-related comments on Facebook.  They hired her back as a long-term sub (without benefits), because I was - and still am - unable to find work.

 

So she is back at the job she can't stand, out of necessity for our family, because of me and my falling asleep.  To this day, she blames me for being too weak to stay awake long enough to keep a job and keep her safe.  The way she sees it, she handed me the job on a silver platter but I p***ed it away. She has also made it quite clear that she does not see herself ever forgiving me for putting her in that position.  She points out that I've had sleep issues for years but didn't do enough to see to them, and that it's not a medical problem as far as she's concerned, just a matter of willpower.  I never got further tests for narcolepsy, partly because I always felt like her health problems were more emergent, and I suppose also partly because part of me believed that it was just a matter of laziness or weakness of will.

 

This sleep thing is bad.  The only OTC solutions I haven't tried are things like Red Bull or other supermarket energy drinks, or caffeine pills.  Those would have been my next step.  Two bottles of Mountain Dew, four cups of coffee with a light lunch, 5-hour energy, half a bag of M&M's during the afternoon, extra-strong spiced chai mixed with mate, none of it even touches these sleep episodes, of which I'm only even aware about 10% of the time.  When I do notice, I try standing up and walking around, but even that doesn't always help - I've fallen asleep standing up too.  I told her I'd try caffeine pills, but she said that would be bad for my heart (I'm also overweight - 6'1", around 290 lbs).

 

Issues that are my fault - I smoke about a pack of cigarettes a day; I'm overweight; I sleep from 5 to 7 hours a night, and not because I'm up working. I spend about an hour or two every night doing stuff I like to do - making music on my computer, surfing the web, playing video games, playing guitar, or watching or reading sci fi.  If I had a job, I wouldn't be doing that stuff so much, but that's how I spend a lot of that time.  During the day I hunt and apply for jobs, try and keep the house clean, watch the two-year old, and play music.  I just want to keep my family together, and I can't even get a job.  Tomorrow I'm seeing my doctor to talk about narcolepsy testing options and I'm scared, angry, and feeling very, very alone.

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Hi Drew, welcome to AC :)

 

I'm sorry you are having such a terrible time, I can relate somewhat as I have long standing health conditions as well as anxiety disorders, and my husband suffers from anxiety and depression, it is not easy on either spouse. We understand here so please, anytime you just need to vent or want someone to listen, don't think twice, that is what we are here for. I hope it goes well with the doctor, hopefully you will find answers and hopefully treatment. Let us know how it goes, and again welcome!

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Hey, welcome!!!ur not alone here.. I know how it can be with a bipolar too as well as having ur own issues so feel free to rant, cry, laugh etc just dont be alone!!

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hello everyone i just wanted to say hello and as im new ill search as much posts related to gad that i can.basically i was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder a few years ago.i have so many anxiety attacks all day long and find it impossible to overcome. ive tried  so many things medications and cbt on two occasions that it was offered but in england i find the mental health services to be lacking  and dissapointing.i have a fear of people,public transport fear of being attacked,of passing out when i stand or a fear of walking and the ground giving way.fear of choking on food and swallowing food is also a mission.i dont want sympathy or people too think im woe is me.im only 35 so i decided too get a computer and broadband after a few years off it to find solutions and advice if i can plus this site seems promising.i have to do something because it is a cliche but im not getting any younger.i just have to act and find a calmness for just a few minutes a day or preferrably longer.sorry all for venting im not even sure if im posting in the right place.any suggestions or things i could be looking to do or read up id appreciate it.thanks all

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Gilly, Holz:  Thanks so much to both of you!  It's just so nice to communicate with people who have some empathy!  I'm not saying I want to wallow in it all the time, and I know no one has a perfect life, but it's so fantastic to know I can get a digital hug if I need it!  :)

 

xantos:  I'm awfully sorry to hear about your anxiety problems.  I don't have any anxiety disorders myself, but I am a naturally sympathetic person.  Just know there's a squishy, out-of-work American teacher who cares too, and hopes that you find a path to peace.

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thanks drew i really do appreciate your reply friend.its good i got a reply from you.and i hope that things will improve for you sooner rather than later.plus your from the usa too thats pretty cool.take it easy bro

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