A photo of podcast guest Sunny, who discusses living with hypersomnia

Sunny did not consider her diagnosis as a major pain, but rather a “major inconvenience,” until she realized how affected her daily life was. Since childhood, Sunny battled to stay awake during the day. She experienced sudden waves of drowsiness and her eyelids feeling heavy, which often would not resolve until she went to sleep. Sunny did her best to stay as busy as possible in order to keep alert. Further, other people normalized her symptoms, stating that teenagers are often tired, require extra sleep, and are “checked out.” At one time, Sunny even believed that this was a part of her personality rather than a symptom. However, this condition was affecting Sunny’s participation in social activities, daily life tasks, occasionally her ability to drive safely, and even job interviews. After years of drowsiness, Sunny was diagnosed with hypersomnia: a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness during the day.

Sunny faced a long and cyclical diagnosis journey. As a child, she verbalized her sleepiness to others, but didn’t feel believed. Then as a first-year student in college, people observed her excessive sleepiness, and Sunny felt validated. Sunny was growing increasingly frustrated with having tasks to do but needing to sleep more than others. Therefore, she decided to undergo multiple sleep studies, which came back with insignificant findings. When Sunny was 28 years old, she went to a doctor regarding digestive issues. This doctor not only diagnosed her with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), but sent her to a neurologist due to sleep concerns. She underwent another sleep study, and the doctor determined that she required more sleep than an average adult (hypersomnia). Now, Sunny’s symptoms have improved since her diagnosis and initiating a lifestyle plan that improves her quality and quantity of sleep.

In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Sunny shares the struggle of living in a world where rest is met with resistance. Despite society’s perception of rest and through her personal healing, Sunny has learned the significance of balancing rest and keeping busy. She affirms how having a diagnosis has helped her and others make sense of what she is experiencing, as well as making lifestyle changes to manage her condition and improving sleep hygiene. Sunny shares insights of the importance of advocating for yourself, showing compassion towards yourself, and resting when you need it. Now, Sunny no longer views hypersomnia as a major disruption nor is she constantly fighting to keep her eyes open. Rather, she is succeeding in navigating her daily activities and making space for all life has to offer. 

Check out Sunny’s new astrology Substack: https://sunnyroberts.substack.com/

Podcast description by Kait Williams @alignedk8

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