Maybe the most important lesson I have learned about feeling better, is just to love myself. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy. But I do think this is especially important for people with narcolepsy. I have ups and downs and I’m constantly working to try to do it more consistently. Its easy to get into negative patterns and tear ourselves down. It takes a lot of practice to reverse that so that we are consistently giving ourselves positive messages.
As a narcoleptic, I have had years where I let the diagnosis consume my life. Maybe you can relate. Some of those years I hardly remember what I did or how I even managed to get by. I have struggled with depression, self harm, and suicide attempts. I think these are fairly common among narcoleptics. The process of getting diagnosed was not an easy one. After the diagnosis, years of trying out different medications and trying to find something that worked followed. For me those years were my teens, where there were so many other things going on, and I was not equipped to deal with what I was going through.
I can’t change the past but I am learning to go back and forgive that teenager for making such poor decisions. After all, I was doing the best I knew how. And by forgiving myself I am breaking the cycle where I return to beating myself up and thinking of all the things I can’t do. I keep reassuring myself that I really can do anything! Including starting this blog.
This weekend as I walked through the countryside north of Yangon, I was admiring every plant and landform that I saw in front of me. I was hesistant to take my phone out and snap pictures, because I wanted to just enjoy the moment and relish it. I captured so many images just in my mind that I wasn’t willing to photograph. Some of them would have been impossible to capture anyway. As we passed by a monastary, we could hear the voices of young girls singing in the local language. We couldn’t see them but the song carried across the plains and I let myself get lost in their melody as we walked.
We passed by tiny villages that reminded me how simple life can be. Many of them had simple bamboo houses and a few animals wandering around. They had bicycles or motorbikes to get around. Every single person I encountered smiled at me and many laughed at my attempt to say hello in the local language. We waved to each other, and smiled broadly with genuine joy at having encountered each other. It was an amazing experience that I don’t think could ever be repeated in my home country. I am so grateful for everything that I encountered along the way. At the end of the day I reminded myself to be thankful for my body, and move a little bit closer toward loving and accepting it.