My name is Alison Boudreaux or Allie B. for short. I am a local artist in New Orleans, Louisiana. However, I am actually hoping bring attention to a cause that is over looked, Narcolepsy Awareness. I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy by the Air Force at the age of twenty-two, thus being discharged. At twenty-seven, I am currently diagnosed with narcolepsy, with cataplexy and sleep apnea. I use my illness and my artwork to spread awareness about narcolepsy to any one who might happen to be curious about Narcolepsy or my artworks.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of staying awake or alert. People with narcolepsy suffer with excessive daytime sleepiness and irregular intervals of sleep and uncontrollable bouts of falling asleep. These unexpected “sleep attacks” may occur during all types of activity, at any time of day; without proper management. Narcolepsy usually manifests itself between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can become evident at any age. Most of the time narcolepsy is undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and untreated.
Regular Sleep Patterns vs Narcoleptics:
In a normal sleep cycle—-> early stages of sleep—–>deeper sleep stages—–>(after about 90 minutes) rapid eye movement or REM sleep. Narcoleptic experience —–> REM sleep occurs almost automatically in the sleep cycle in some cases. (Most of my sleep studies show me going into REM between 2-5 minutes with disturbed night sleep sometimes). It is in REM sleep that we can experience dreams—–>hypnogogic hallucinations and muscle paralysis—–>cataplexy — which briefly describes some of the symptoms of narcolepsy.