It occurred to me after seeing this video of what narcolepsy really looks like that, despite feeling like I've always had a pretty solid grasp of what the disorder entails – you just unexpectedly fall asleep at inconvenient moments, right? – I actually know nothing about what the reality of living with narcolepsy is like. Forget about words like "cataplexy", which I had literally never encountered before this video. Lucky for me (lucky for me so many things, I can't stop thinking after watching this), YouTube user Sarah Elizabeth, a sleep narcolepsy sufferer, has bravely decided to document a close-up view of her disorder, along with explanations of what the video shows.
This video is surprisingly emotional for a few reasons: First, it shows a very close and personal view of just the very isolated experience of having a sleep disorder – no context, no "where were you when the attack struck?" drama, no nothing. Just "this is what is happening to my body", which is quite a stark, no bullshit way to look at something. There is nothing to distract from how simply awful it is to have your body do these things. And then there's the fact that this video exists at all, and what its existence says about the woman who made and shared it. Sarah Elizabeth is living with this disorder, which is annoying at best and utterly terrifying and heartbreaking at worst, but generously steps outside of her admittedly huge challenges to share something to benefit us, the people whose very problem in this scenario – not understanding what it really means to live with sleep narcolepsy – is actually a total blessing. She is literally doing us the favor of offering up her painful experience to solve for our privilege of ignorance. I want to use the words "generous" and "brave" a lot more times, but I'll let you see for yourself:
Image: Getty Images