Frustrated by just how difficult it was to explain her condition to others, a young woman decided to post a video on YouTube to show the world exactly what it’s like to have the chronic neurological disorder known as narcolepsy, which is characterized by uncontrollable daytime sleepiness.
“I have a condition called narcolepsy with cataplexy [sudden muscle weakness],” the woman wrote in the introduction to her video. “Many people have asked me what happens with this condition, or have jokingly said that they want to see me fall down or fall asleep because they think it would be funny to watch. It’s very hard to explain exactly what happens (and that it’s not funny) to someone who has never been around someone with narcolepsy before.”
“I am putting this video out there … in an attempt to explain,” she added.
The young woman says the footage was captured by accident one day while she was filming an instructional video for a traditional Japanese dance. The clip appears to capture her in various stages of a narcoleptic episode, from falling into a state of cataplexy to having moments that she called “mental bobble,” a phrase she uses to describe temporary lapses in memory.
The video was originally posted in July but didn’t get much attention until it was posted on Reddit Sunday. Since then, the clip has racked up more than 340,000 views, and viewers have been praising the young woman for having the courage to share her story.
“You are such a brave and strong person,” wrote one YouTuber Sunday after watching the video. “Thank you for explaining something about the world I didn't know before.”
"Thank you for bringing awareness to this," said another. "You have courage and are inspiring."
The National Institutes of Health says that narcolepsy is an “underrecognized and underdiagnosed condition" which affects approximately 1 out of every 3,000 Americans. Though its symptoms can reportedly be alleviated in some patients with drugs and other treatments, there is no cure for the disorder.