The sensations in my legs stayed with me as I grew, but I kept quiet. I didn't bring it up again until I was 20, when television commercials for Requip began airing. Finally, I had an explanation, and my parents understood that it was a real problem: restless legs syndrome, or RLS.
When I went to see my doctor, I told her my symptoms (I fit the four criteria necessary for diagnosis) and she confirmed my suspicions. I was tested for iron-deficient anemia, a common cause, but I seem to be one of the many patients who has RLS for no known reason.
There was only one medication on the market for RLS at the time, which had just recently been approved. One of the side effects was drowsiness, and I work with kids; I have to be peppy and ready to go! Being sleepy isn't fun for me. So I opted not to go on prescription meds at the time.
What RLS feels like
Whenever I'm sitting still, my legs start to feel tight. You know that feeling after a really tough workout? Well it's like that, only for hours versus a couple of minutes after the gym.
On a really bad day I'll have that kind of tightness and, if I ignore it, my muscles will feel like they'll explode if I don't get up and move. That's the only way I can describe it. My leg muscles feel like they're twisting and expanding and I know if I don't move them I'll go insane. I'll be sitting and jump up all of a sudden in one second flat because I'll have this crazy urge to move.