*check out the links at the end of this post to read an updates in my health : )

Picture by: http://shagia.deviantart.com/
So what is hypersomnia? Below is a definition that I found fit best with my degree of hypersomnia.

"Hypersomnia is a condition which causes excessive sleeping, not generally due to insufficient sleep at night. This condition may persist for more than two weeks and may be due to numerous causes. Difference in cause means that treatment varies for individuals with hypersomnia.

Prolonged hypersomnia can cause confusion, memory loss, a decrease in energy, and anxiety that extra naps are not providing relief. Social, family and work life can all be affected by the condition, and people with a lengthy case of hypersomnia may lose jobs and have strained relationships with family and friends. This is challenging because hypersomnia is not the fault of the person and is in fact an illness. People with hypersomnia cannot simply “snap out of it” by drinking additional cups of coffee or getting more sleep." 

Initially, I was diagnosed with Situational Depression when suddenly my body began demanding around 13-14 hours of sleep. I had many intense situations happen all at once and the doctor felt this was the cause of my hypersomia. (examples: death of a coworker and of a sister in another fellowship, bought a new home which also meant I moved and switched groups at church, threats of layoffs at work, loss of a close friendship, & a family member extremely ill) It was very frustrating and scary that sometimes I'd wake up and not be able to even move (doctors call this sleep paralysis). The doctor tried two different medications for depression but they came with severe side effects (migraines, brain-zaps, feelings of blah..etc) so I got a second opinion and got off those meds.

After about a year and a half of testing (CT scan of brain & sleep testing) with my second doctor, I was finally diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH) which is fancy language for chemicals in her body are making her sleep a lot but we can't figure out the medical reason why. The sleep doc wanted to put me on stimulants and said, "You've hit the end of the line for what traditional medicine can treat." Not wanting to be placed on more medicine when they didn't even know the cause of my hypersomnia, I tried acupuncture & some homeopathic medicines. 
Otherwise, I manage it by going to sleep about 8:30pm, then I can wake up about 9-10hrs later to sometimes work out, spend time with God, and go to work. Having this sleep schedule, even though most people don't understand it has been key to surviving right now. On the weekends I let my body 'make up' the extra sleep it wants. It's not ideal but it's working for now until I can figure out what else is going on.

I've shared with people in my life about what I've been going through...and even a few people understand...but I find that many just don't get it especially in our 'rush, rush' society. In fact, I've had to work through my own internal attitudes because I'm very hard on myself. These factors have contributed to me trying many, many times to push myself to do more than I can...only to find that when I push my body, I have only made myself sicker. Lesson learned.

So what do hypersomniacs need? Not comments like, "do you have a good enough alarm clock?" or "are you exercising?" or even, "You know what helps me when I'm sleepy and exhausted?" We need support through listening. Understanding that we are trying our best. Trust. I'm fortunate to have some women in my life who are extremely encouraging. Especially, one specifically has been very inspiring, even though she's now moved across the country! *(you know who you are - hug) Before she moved, I was crying on her couch one Sunday because of sleep paralysis, she hugged me and said, "Feeling bad for feeling bad is too much feeling bad." HA, that kind of wisdom and clinging to God has helped me have a better perspective about this new season of my life. Also, thanks to the blogging world, I've found bloggers who also have IH. Reading their stories made me more confident and grateful. For that, all I can say is God is so very good!    

Also, check out this website I found for encouragement - it's especially for people who are dealing with chronic illness: Rest Ministries

Update #1 - I'm getting closer to answers! Here's an update
The Next Mile: in my health

Update #2 - Solution to my hypersomnia. Check out this post: Bye hypersomnia!