A woman was filming a dance instruction video when she fell to the ground and, after a moment sitting there, face-planted forward into a deep sleep. A few seconds later, she was awake but struggled to remain alert.
This is just one example of the condition — narcolepsy — with which the woman named Sarah Elizabeth struggles. She ended up catching episode on camera.
"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," the woman wrote in the video she posted to YouTube. "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."
Watch the video that she titled "What Narcolepsy Really Looks Like. Spoiler Alert — It Sucks":
After her first sleep attack, Sarah Elizabeth tried to get back into the swing of the dance but was forced to fight cataplexy, or temporary loss of muscle function, and sleep from overcoming her again. Though she managed to avoid another full narcoleptic episode, her instruction was interrupted several times by her having to flight sleep and confusion.
At the end, she explained that her symptoms are not usually so pronounced, but they were heightened in this case because she had been dancing for several hours prior to filming and was tired.
Sarah Elizabeth posted the video online in July, but it recently made it onto the social news site Reddit where it has been going viral since.
According to the National Institutes of Health, narcolepsy is a disorder that originates in the brain. While one might think that people who suffer from narcolepsy sleep more than those who don't, NIH said that this isn't the case and, in fact, narcoleptics often have poor sleep quality.
Narcolepsy with cataplexy, like that which Sarah Elizabeth exhibited, affects one in every 3,000 Americans, according to NIH.