The Most Difficult Part of OSA for Me
I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in my early 20s during my undergraduate degree. For those who have read my previous articles, you may know this already. And thank you for taking the time to read them. For those who have not, that is okay, too!!
While I was going through this diagnosis, I felt very alone. None of my friends had ever experienced something like this. My friends always said that their grandfather, father, or uncle experienced sleep apnea.
People my age do not know what OSA is
Most people my age who I spoke with about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) did not know what it was. Except for those in my neuroscience class because we had just discussed sleep disorders, and each of us could take a lower-tech sleep monitor home with us to test our sleep cycles.
However, most of my friends and family knew nothing about my new diagnosis. Most of my friends and family were annoyed with my loud, "firework" snoring (as my sister described it).
Getting through a day with extreme fatigue
In the beginning, I found myself hiding my diagnosis and not telling people, not explaining it to people, and just trying to get through each day despite my extreme fatigue as I was getting used to sleeping with my mask and machine.
This is still probably one of the hardest things for me. Most of the people I speak to about my OSA are people who do not fully understand. I am often told, “I don’t understand why you are so tired.”
It's hard to explain what this feels like
It is difficult for me to navigate this conversation. It is difficult for me to explain to someone that despite being in bed for the normal 7 to 8 hours each night, I am not actually getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep. I am waking up multiple times each hour, knocking me out of my sleep cycle and starting over again each time.
It is very difficult for others to understand what this feels like if they have never experienced it. I do not blame them at all, but it is sometimes hard for me.
Discovering I am not alone
Little did I know that so many individuals, both older and younger, experience the symptoms that I was experiencing. This is one of the reasons I feel strongly, and I am thankful to be a part of this community. I know that I have said this in many of my other articles, but through all the conversations that we have together, we are able to share our stories and with each other.
This Health Union Sleep Disorders community helped me gain more confidence to not be embarrassed or bashful about my CPAP and OSA diagnosis. I feel more confident talking about it and bringing my CPAP machine where I may have been too shy before.
Please join our community. We would love to hear from you and hear about your experiences!
Do you miss out on certain experiences in life because of your sleep apnea?