I am a 22 year old woman who was was diagnosed with OSA a few months ago. I also began CPAP therapy a few months ago. I understand that the notion that sleep apnea is a disease for overweight older people is a myth.
However, it has been hard for me to find stories of other young people who have (and treat) sleep apnea, which makes me feel more alone in this journey. It is hard for me to talk about this with friends and family because they don’t understand what it is like. I also feel quite un-sexy and delicate/high maintenance with all the stuff I need in my life now to stay healthy.
I have sensitive skin and am also on accutane (which increases sensitivity and dryness), so my face is always flaky, red, and has sores wherever my nasal mask touches my skin. I feel self-conscious speaking to people because I know they can see the dry flaky patches and scabs under my nose. Every time I go to my boyfriend’s house I have to bring my whole CPAP kit, which makes me feel the opposite of youthful, carefree and adventurous. Luckily he has been very supportive about this. I also think about if I’m single again in the future, one-night stands will either not be a thing, or I will have to awkwardly bring the CPAP machine into the picture. These thoughts are slowly going away over time as I’ve learned to adjust to my new life.
Knowing that there are young people out there going through the same experience as me would help me so much because that way I won’t feel like an alien amongst the people I know 🙂