Being Almost Normal Was Nice While It Lasted

Back to being depressed and tired all the time

Nikki Waterson
5 min readNov 11, 2021
Me, October 2021 © Nikki Waterson

I was so inspired by an article I read back in October by James Warwick, exploring 24 hours without his disability, that I followed suit and wrote my own.

As two people with very different disabilities, the things we envisioned doing in those 24 hours were fairly different. But I still felt that we connected over those articles and a shared longing for things that are taken for granted by able people.

And even as I wrote that article, I was pushing the boundaries of my own illness. It felt amazing to write again, something I hadn’t really done for several years. Not for enjoyment.


How do you know someone is on amphetamines?


Screenshot of my article and Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

And there I was, feeling the wings beneath my fingers as they tapped on the keyboard. Every article I published, 77 of them in one month, was another ‘up yours’ at the Big Bad in my story — Narcolepsy and all the nasty things that come with it.

Me, October 2021 © Nikki Waterson

Fuck you, extreme sleep deprivation.

Get nicked, depression and anxiety.

Nightmares and hallucinations? I don’t give a stuff.

Suicidal ideation? Never heard of it.

I’ve always LOVED helping others. © Nikki Waterson

I’ve always said yes to too many things. At different times, I fall into the categories of wanting to be involved, eager to help, and overachiever.

When you group these character traits together you end up with an exponential penchant for saying yes that can only be rivaled by Nicholas Cage’s filmography choices (see: Nicholas Cage’s Agent, a hilarious short by College Humour).

And I don’t mean the kind of saying yes that comes from not being good at saying no. I’m a ten-year cop; saying no is my bread and butter.

I know how to say no both verbally and physically, and especially through a slight tweak to a straight arm lock that says “don’t even think about biting me again” (in the form of a sudden nerve pinch).

But I have a very strong sense of purpose. And my ability to fulfill that sense of purpose was obliterated by a Narcolepsy shaped ray-gun a few years ago. So when it feels like maybe I can almost be 'normal' again thanks to medication, as the pieces of my purpose slowly weave themselves back together, I take things on again.

And unfortunately, when you are unwell, taking on even a few new things can end up being dangerous. And before you know it, life is ready to kick the crap out of you.

If you’re wondering what I’m wearing, google ‘red man suit’. © Nikki Waterson

When saying yes to everything and everyone is all you want to be able to do, but you experience extreme sleep deprivation and severe depression, stimulants are like a dream come true.

But here’s the really shitty thing about stimulants; they help you do stuff, but they also take away all the warning signs and alarm bells. You can fly too close to the sun and not realise that you’re well-done until it’s too late.

And unfortunately, I’ve hit a wall. A new wall, one that came to inhabit the space around me without me noticing it. Others have been telling me I should watch out for it — my family, friends, and coworkers. And yet here I am. Hitting the wall and feeling bewildered.

How the fuck did that wall get there?

I have terrible upper body strength. © Nikki Waterson

Looking at my activity on Medium specifically, I went from 77 articles in a month to 3 pieces so far this month. I nearly didn’t start writing this, but I’ve been so anxious over the drop-off that I pushed myself to write something. No surprises that this is what came out.

I feel awful for giving the wrong impression. Like a liar, even though I know my intentions were never that. I know that’s how my brain works. My brain doesn’t ever want to let anyone down.

Well unfortunately, brain, you went and got Narcolepsy, and now you don’t get to have it both ways. Get your shit together and then let’s talk.

So I’m pulling back for a little bit. Before I end up with shingles again, like in January this year, because that was particularly un-fun. And I know how important it is to catch myself before I fall into the hole that is currently gaping at my bedside every night, waiting for me to roll over so it can swallow me up.

I’ve met so many wonderful people here on Medium, and I’m really happy to be able to say that. So to all of you, I just want to thank you for being so supportive, always.

I’m not going anywhere, I’ll just be here a bit less. Hiding in a secret bunker so I don’t get overwhelmed. Still reading, still writing. Just not at amphetamine level. I hope you understand.

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