Type of Spiritual Experience
Provagil is another name for Modafinil
No experience but useful background information I hope
A description of the experience
Diagnosis leads to medication, and after a variety of tests I was prescribed dexamphetamine on the ready admission that "amphetamines keep people awake for some unknown reason, and you fall asleep for some unknown reason". Put the two together: problem solved.
To a great extent this was true, and it was a relief to be able to start functioning much the same as anyone else. However, amphetamine exacts its own price - it is addictive.
The longer you take it, the bigger the dose you require. As soon as you miss that dose, your body descends into withdrawal.
Eventually the swings of highs and lows inherent to the drug became too extreme. I moved on to Mazindol, an amphetamine-based pill originating from the days when this was considered a viable dietary route, then on to Ritalin - the ADHD drug - briefly, and finally Provigil.
In many ways the latter is a wonder drug as you can take it as and when you wish. And unlike the amphetamines that spiked my moods, knotted my stomach and dried out my mouth, I cannot feel Provigil in my body. However, none of these drugs actually treat the causes of narcolepsy, they just try to negate the symptoms.
To confuse matters further, every narcoleptic suffers the various aspects of the condition at different strengths - for some the medication is sufficient to allow them to get a driving licence, while others need to be medicated to the eyeballs just to achieve a normal waking day.
One year, soon after diagnosis, I attended the United Kingdom Association for Narcolepsy (UKAN) annual conference in Hounslow Town Hall.
As a narco with a few years of college under my belt, I knew that the pole position is at the back, behind the tall person, near the door and preferably in front of a pillar to lean a nodding head against.
The stifling, unventilated room and tedious minutiae of the association's AGM gradually started to take their toll, with yawns appearing around the room.
But this was the one place you must not fall asleep. In the meeting of the sleepiest people in the country, to succumb first would be to face the dreadful admission that you are the worst.
The torture was further compounded by the genial speaker, who explained to a room full of narcoleptics what it is like to have narcolepsy, although, as he admitted, he did not have it himself. By the time we broke for tea I was the living dead.
But then came the final sabotage - cakes and biscuits. The narcoleptic's greatest craving and falsest friend is sugar - its rush promising such energy, but soon crashing the system into exhaustion. With heads sagging and eyes floundering, torpor set in all around and the afternoon's discussions were a bit limp.