a woman standing on a CPAP machine with a megaphone pointing to a line of people next to her

What Advocacy Means to Me

I have always been an advocate throughout my life. I have grown accustomed to speaking up for those not often heard. It is what I have been dedicating my life to since a very young age.

I work with children with learning differences and developmental delays, children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced trauma. Many times, these individuals are led to believe that their voices do not matter. I want to be that voice for them.

For the most part, I have always advocated for others.

Advocating for people with OSA, myself included

Since I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), I have learned that I need to be an advocate for myself, too. I am also advocating for all those other individuals with OSA, either diagnosed or still unknown to the fact that they are experiencing symptoms of OSA.

Oftentimes, individuals go about their daily lives without knowing that the lack of sleep, dry mouth, fatigue, morning headaches, etc. is actually obstructive sleep apnea.

What advocacy means to me

To me, advocacy means that there will be a time (soon) where no one will be overlooked for OSA. Doctors, nurses, pulmonologists, and other specialists will not rule out individuals who do not fit the main criteria for this diagnosis: older men.

Advocacy means that myself and others will not have to justify why we are so tired and lack energy throughout the day, especially after a poor night’s sleep. I want to be able to do this WITHOUT needing to state and educate others that OSA is real and can have very serious health implications.

Reducing stigma around OSA and CPAP

Advocacy means that there will not be a stigma around those diagnosed and living with OSA and using a CPAP. Through advocacy, the use of a CPAP for those of all genders and ages will be normalized. I know that I should not feel embarrassed when I bring it around new people, but I still feel that little nervousness in my stomach. I do not want people to feel that way.

The CPAP has been such an imperative aspect of my life and has made me feel so much better. I am not ashamed of it, so why do others feel the need to look down upon it? It could be because they lack education and awareness. This is where we advocate. This is one area in which this sleep apnea community is outstanding.

Let's spread awareness together

This community joins together to help share our experiences, questions, comments, and concerns. Through this community, we are able to learn from each other and continue to have these important conversations. This will lead to breaking the stigma surrounding OSA and a sleep machine.

Join the conversation. Help me advocate and spread awareness about OSA. I would love to hear your thoughts through the comment section below!

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