FWIW I also have narcolepsy, which took until adulthood to diagnose and had far more devastating effects on my life: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10984478
Didn't want to make this about me, but the coincidence between sleep problems and cancer is interesting enough that it seemed worth chiming in.
If you're not already on sodium oxybate (Xyrem), I can't recommend it enough; it's the only thing that puts me in a sound, restorative sleep for more than a few hours.
I'm in the UK where prescriptions for Xyrem are almost impossible to obtain. Fortunately, the precursors for its active ingredient, GHB, are inexpensive and easy to acquire, so I just synthesize it myself. Technically it's illegal, but it would take an especially brave magistrate to convict me for having to overcome deficiencies in the NHS.
You can always decide to call it quits the day after, so don't let this stop you. Even if you have it, it may totally disappear. The money issue, I understand.
To be sure, you need a $10+mil net-worth in USA, then whatever happens, you can go to Mayo Clinic and pay cash.
Did you follow up on the advise in the other thread, i.e. going to ER to at least get a diagnosis? Or speak to a social worker?
Did they reject you?
I'm in the same boat as you mentally, I have extreme anxiety and I'm on 4 meds just for that.
Btw, ACA has subsidies, they'll pay a lot of your monthly premium.
"I know I need to see a psychiatrist or a therapist to help me get over these irrational fears, but you guessed it: I can't afford to."
I happen to have fear for needles just like you. It makes me light headed that I almost faint, I literally cringe, I can't see such scenes in movies, etc.
A good year ago I was due for a dentist treatment (my last wisdom tooth (I'm in mid 30s), and removing an abscess which was there for about 7 years). So I went for an intake, and the dental surgeon suggested oxazepam (4x 10 mg, 1 before sleep, 1 when waking up, then 2 right before the medical procedure which has to occur in the morning), and was quite reassuring that we would succeed. I had to go twice, once for each issue however it went great both times. I slept like a rose! I was jolly. No fear whatsoever. While on the drug I was actually excited to get the treatment! I could also barely walk, so if you follow this route I recommend a driver or taxi. I don't know how expensive it is in the USA but my insurance didn't cover it here in NL. I think the drug cost like 30 EUR, but I forgot the exact amount. That's quite doable compared to a psychologist, right? And these positive experiences also give me more hope that I can do it without the drug. Just to put it in perspective: the treatment before that cost 600 EUR for full sedation (via a mask) which was partly covered by insurance because of a letter from my psychiatrist. I did get two complications from the oxazepam treatment treatment: due to Iboprofen usage I got ulcers (took 2 months till I got rid of it, took meds after 2 weeks), and the other problem is that the scars from the operation seem to cause a little white pus every other day but its stable and nothing near the level it used to be. I was disappointed that the post treatment _only_ looked at the place the abscess was and not its surroundings even though I did report the problem. All in all, I'm happy I went this route though.
My mother also had narcolepsy. Turned out she had sleep apnea. Her basic insurance covered a mask she has to wear during the night. I forgot the name.
Everyone has problems. They don't define me. The main issue is that staying anonymous wouldn't go over well, and I don't want to be known as that guy with ass cancer.
A strange thing happened in the dota2 community. Dota 2 is a competitive game, and as such, it has casters (sports commenters). One very good caster is Sheever, but she was usually looked down upon as less talented than the other casters. Sheever had her moments, and she was pretty solid, but it's important to have an accurate perspective of your own work.
Then she publicly stated she had breast cancer, and everything changed. Overnight, everyone was super nice, to a ridiculous degree.
I saw similar things happen here, in two instances: 1. Randy Pausch, noted CMU professor who spoke at length about time management: http://www.post-gazette.com/breaking/2008/07/25/Randy-Pausch...
2. The person from HN who ultimately took his own life near the end. I cannot even remember his name... I feel like I owe him more than that.
Death is our shared destination.
The only thing I regret is not ever having enough money to scrape together to father a child... It's kind of the only thing my wife and I want out of life at the moment, but it's totally out of reach. And it's partly my fault. If I traded away all of my time and made my life all about work, I could do that. But then is what little time I have left still worth living?
It's complicated. I enjoy having the option of getting people to listen. People tend to pay more attention when someone is at the end of their life, out of respect. So I'm putting together some writings that I hope will provide at least mild amusement / interest for a week or so, for whoever stumbles on them.
There are worse fates. I get to live in a time when I can connect with you fine people. I really believe in this community, as cheesy as that sounds.
To put it one other way: if my work is not good enough to attract money, for one reason or another, then that says a lot about society. I'm a relatively smart and capable Lisp hacker. I would rather serve as an example of the kinds of problems people with narcolepsy have, which are not fully appreciated or understood. E.g. most people in my life berated me for being lazy, growing up, and most of my memories from that time period were not good. If people understood there was a medical basis for this, they probably would have been more understanding, and I could have carved out a little niche for myself somewhere more easily. I, too, didn't understand what was going on, and thought that most people were just much more motivated than I was, so I started to look down on myself.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMPzDiraNnA is worth internalizing. How you deal with problems determines the kind of person you are.
FWIW, i had been concealing cancer symptoms for 6 months (denial, was obviously a tumour) when i decided to see a doctor. All tests (physical, bloods, ultrasound) came back negative until I saw a specialist, who confirmed that it was a tumour. Fortunately I was able to visit this extremely expensive expert, because the doctors were not convinced that it was cancerous. Turns out it was an extremely aggressive, and rare in male youths, form of cancer called Embryonal Rhabdomysarcoma.
If I was in your shoes I would be dead by now. Fortunately I had (still have, actually) an employer who backed me during this time including providing generous financial support.
> 2. The person from HN who ultimately took his own life near the end. I cannot even remember his name... I feel like I owe him more than that.
Am really interested in finding out more about this, if you have more information.
Alcohol isn't my coping mechanism of choice. I'm also not in other people's shoes based on what they might be able to access to get through a few hours or just a day.
Sparked from "..and/or will just spend the money on booze and that's it."
Why is that "most probably"?
Btw, you can give other things than money to beggars as well. Bread or a cup of coffee, for example.
Here you can see how beggar gives money to his criminal supervisor:
There's a lot of info about it on youtube, but it's mostly in Russian. Beggars in good places can get 2-3 average salaries per month and most of those money goes to criminals. It's really ugly criminal business. As an example - there's such thing as "renting" small babies - because women with babies can gather more money. They drug babies so they would lie still in the hand of beggar women. So giving money to beggars is often same as giving funds to criminals here.
Good luck :)