The disorder, which is characterized by excessive sleepiness, sleep paralysis and hallucinations, is often portrayed with slapstick comedy in Hollywood movies for laughs. But for Kristine Beck it’s a daily nightmare which left her with devastating injuries when she fell down the stairs after falling asleep.
“I went from being an independent, working mother to bed bound and unemployed,” says the 28-year-old from Dublin.
“Cataplexy causes my body to go into total paralysis and I just drop to the ground. While I am fully aware of what’s happening, I cannot control it. At the beginning it started off very slowly, it felt like vertigo where the room was spinning and then my knees started buckling. I would slur my words – I couldn’t hold a knife or fork – and then I was on the ground frozen, fully aware but unable to move.”