During the fall of 2004, Patrick O’Neill began having episodes where he would get weak and dizzy, and his vision would blur.
At the time, he was a college student, getting straight A’s in classes like honors organic chemistry.
At first, doctors thought his problems were stress related, but the incidents became more frequent and his episodes became cataplexy, where his muscles would weaken and he would collapse.
It wasn’t until the sixth or seventh doctor he saw that he got his diagnosis: narcolepsy.
He has been living with narcolepsy ever since. Now 29 and an AP Chemistry and Integrated Chemistry-Physics teacher at Munster High School, narcolepsy dominates O’Neill’s daily life.
He can’t drive, and even walking around town can be dangerous, which makes him highly dependent on others.