Despite being diagnosed with Narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, Angie refuses to let it stop her from pursuing her dreams!
"Growing up, I was a very imaginative and somewhat naive child. I believed in everything from the Tooth Fairy to Tinkerbell for longer than I'd like to admit. I was obsessed with the Disney movies and fairytales and always wished to be a princess some day. Unfortunately, after a harsh dose of reality, I began doubting my chances at happily ever after.
I was always a good student and was blessed with a natural ability to learn quickly. I strived for excellence and focused on my school work whenever things would get rocky at home. My mom struggled with severe depression (and likely another undiagnosed mental illness), and she rapidly declined into a downward spiral when I was in middle school. She began having an affair and neglected my sister and I while my dad worked overtime to support the family. After a very messy divorce, my mom left, and when I was 17, she ended her life. Despite the pain, I continued on with school and focused on my future. Halfway through college, tragedy struck again when I lost my best friend and only sister, Amanda, who died due to complications with type 1 diabetes at age 18. This was the lowest point in my life, but despite that, I kept on plugging at school and finished college without skipping a beat.
I've always had an insatiable desire for excellence and refused to ever let anything get in the way of achieving my goals. Throughout high school and college, I was constantly tired and often fell asleep at the most inopportune times, but I always assumed it was from being stressed or working myself too hard. After graduating, I hoped things would get better, but my sleepiness became worse and my daily naps became routine. It wasn't until moving up in my career and starting graduate school that I would figure out that this was not normal.
In graduate school, I couldn't read my text book for more than 5 minutes without falling asleep. I got called out for falling asleep in class multiple times. I was so ashamed... I've always prided myself on my academics, and now I couldn't read and was the "lazy student" in class! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stay awake.
I finally pursued medical attention and was diagnosed with Narcolepsy. I was devastated, because I assumed this meant that I'd never be successful. However, as always, I refuse to allow anything to get in the way of achieving my goals. I've learned to accept my disorder, to laugh at my embarrassing symptoms, and to find ways to cope with it. I've finally embraced my title as Sleeping Beauty, and wear my crown with pride!" -Angie