A 34-year-old model and writer describes her experience with both narcolepsy and cataplexy to New York Magazine.

Can you describe what happens to you during a cataplexic episode?
First, I get a heavy pins-and-needles feeling in my legs. Next, I get tunnel hearing. Then, my body temperature changes dramatically: I’ll either get very hot or very cold. Then I have to give in. I just have to let my body go. I can hear what’s going on around me but I can’t communicate and I can’t move. My eyes roll back. This is very unattractive and unpleasant to say, but when it happens I lose all my muscle power.

What does that mean?
I often throw up. I can’t control my bowels or my bladder. Everything isreleased.

How often do you have these attacks?
It really varies. When I was first diagnosed I had two episodes of cataplexy within two weeks. I wasn’t even doing anything unusual.