Tara O’Connor is a firefighter and EMT for Atkins Volunteer Fire Department. She’s learned to overcome narcolepsy, and is using World Narcolepsy Day, held every year on September 22, to tell her story.
O’Connor joined the department two years ago at age 22. She wanted to do it right after high school but had to figure out what was wrong first.
“I just knew I couldn’t right away, cause I was always tired,” O’Connor said. “I got misdiagnosed with a lot of different things. I was misdiagnosed with ADHD, ODD, anxiety, depression.” O’Connor was diagnosed with Narcolepsy in 2019. She takes medicine to sleep at night and to keep her up during the day and takes naps daily. She doesn’t go on night calls with the fire department.
“Just because people like me have narcolepsy doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want to do,” O’Connor said.