This Is What Narcolepsy Looks Like [Video]

Narcolepsy is often a misunderstood condition. Thanks to movies like Rat Race that depict narcoleptic characters comically sleeping during the most inconvenient times, narcolepsy is often trivialized as a “humorous” illness. However, narcolepsy is more debilitating than what we see in the movies. A woman by the name of Sarah Elizabeth, who suffers from narcolepsy, decided to take a video of her attacks, aiming to educate the public on how hindering narcolepsy actually is.

On the video description, Elizabeth wrote how “frustrating” it is to explain her condition to other people, who often see her condition as a silly comic relief.

“I have narcolepsy with cataplexy, and it can be very frustrating to try to explain what it’s like to people who have never seen narcolepsy in real life, and how much of a struggle it can be. Most people think that it’s funny until they see what actually happens, or they are completely unprepared and get really scared and panic.I filmed this by accident, and it was really weird to go back and watch later from an outside perspective. I am posting this video as a way to help educate people, so please no trolling. Just like people with epilepsy, I can’t control having a sleep attack or cataplexy any more than they can control having a seizure.”

The video, currently on its 60,000+ views on YouTube, attracted a significant amount of attention from Reddit. Redditor moby323, who submitted the video to /r/video, wrote,

“I think most times I have ever seen narcolepsy mentioned in movies or on TV it is usually in a funny way, like wouldn’t it be humorous to see someone just fall asleep right in the middle of eating their soup or whatever. There is nothing funny about this video though. The sheer amount of effort and frustration she deals with to complete the simplest of tasks makes my heart go out to this poor girl. Makes a person realize how much they take for granted.”

Others found the video as an opportunity to share their own experiences with narcolepsy.

If you want more information about narcolepsy, you can visit the Narcolepsy Network, an organization that aims to bring awareness to the difficulties of living with narcolepsy.

[Image from Marco Sanchez/Flickr]