A Narco’s Tale: A Poem by Maureen Caden

I was diagnosed in 2003 
and like many of us went through many years 
with unanswered fears.

I knew I was not lazy 
as some days became rather hazy. 

I would will myself to stay awake 
I didn’t even have time to bake a cake. 
For sleep time would come 
This thing had me under the thumb! 

I love to travel by train, plane or car
But, only get so far.
Heavy eyes overtake
Will it ever give me a break?

At night I go to my bed and now I
Really think I’m going off my head.
I close my eyes and to my surprise
I’m on the ceiling with a strange feeling
From there I’m pulled around my bed
Thankfully, not by my head.
And then I’m on the floor and who the hell
Is that at the door?

I try to hit the bedside lamp, to shine some light
to ease my fright.
But, I am overcome by this overwhelming might.
I feel its touch all over me
who the hell could this be?

I awake from this nightmare and check the clock
surely it must nearly be 7 o’clock, it’s not!
The night is still young, in fact it’s only just begun.
How can this be?  Can anyone help me?
I close my eyes and pray to God
Just let me sleep without a peep.

Not before long my ears are ringing
with a painful piercing feeling.
I’m all aglow from head to toe.
Then someone says Hello, they talk away
I cannot understand what they say.
I will myself to wake for my ears just can’t take.
I can even hear a conversation held by a relation
In a faraway destination.
It’s like tuning into a radio station.

On top of all that I start having some sort of attack
Cataplexy is its name; it can come and go as quick as it came.
Emotions running high and low
Will I ever get through a funny TV show?
Saggy face, floppy body, total awareness during this awful state.
What is going to be my fate?
This is the part I really hate.
My personality suppressed, confidence shattered
My life all torn and tattered.

And then as if by God send a friend
Tells me of a TV program shown in the UK
Which totally made my day?
I went on the internet and looked up this word “Narcolepsy”
And there a list of all the symptoms I had,
I thought, Thank God I’m not going Mad!
In front of my eyes, I felt like I’d won first prize.
I just cried.
I read story after story at last Glory.
After going down many roads with no direction for so many years.
At last I was not alone, all that worry and fear became clear.
I took a sleep test to get everything off my Chest
All wired up and ready to go
It only took ten minutes for Narco to Show.
250 arousals in one night’s sleep the recordings going off the sheet
I took this as a new beginning accepted the cards and chose to play hard.
I’d survived alone for so long, not knowing what was wrong
And finding out made me strong.

But, I will not lie there are days when I look up to the sky
And question and curse WHY?
And all I want to do is Cry
But, I know I’ll get by.

About the poet:

Maureen Caden is 43 years old, originally from North London and now living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She was diagnosed with Narcolepsy and cataplexy in 2003. Her symptoms started in late 1999 and over 3 years before diagnosis, she lived in turmoil. She is the Managing partner of Diamo Group and married to Tony. She enjoys socializing, music, gym and swimming. She loves to relax and have a good laugh with family and friends. This year she is challenging herself to run this season’s Dubai Marathon(s) to create awareness for Narcolepsy and Cataplexy.

Maureen’s favorite inspirational quote:

“Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date,
take a deep breath and try again.”

-KT Witten

More inspiring narcolepsy poetry:
My Twisted Fairytale by Shelby Stein
Tears on My Face by Elizabeth Olsen


  1. My Twisted Fairytale: A Poem by Shelby Stein on June 27, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    […] Narcolepsy Poetry:Tears on My Face by Elizabeth OlsenA Narco’s Tale by Maureen Caden […]

  2. Things I love: Powerful Poetry on June 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    […] Narcolepsy Poetry:My Twisted Fairytale by Shelby SteinA Narco’s Tale by Maureen Caden […]

  3. Gail Pean on June 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Great poem and post! Thanks for sharing.
    I love the quote that dreams have no expiration date.

    • julie on June 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you so much for this kind comment, Gail! I love this quote too. Here’s to chasing our dreams!

  4. Alex Withrow on June 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I like this a lot. I was curious how it was going to conclude, but it did so perfectly.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • julie on June 28, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Alex! That means a lot from a great writer!

  5. Angie on July 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you for writing this poem and sharing it! Great job! Good luck with everything 🙂 Angie (I have narcolepsy also). We will get through this!

    • julie on July 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks for your encouraging comment, Angie!

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