Narcolepsy: How I Woke Up in a Morgue

I was watching one of my old favorite TV shows, SCRUBS, recently and came across an episode involving a man with Narcolepsy who “falls asleep” whenever he becomes sexually aroused.

And I get that the premise of SCRUBS was that when you're around so much death, you have to do whatever you can to get through each day, but not only did this comedic moment make me feel sick because people generally feel that Narcolepsy is one of the last chronic illnesses that it’s still ok to make fun of -- old age being another that will hit most of us eventually -- but just how wrong the show portrayed narcolepsy. And SCRUBS certainly isn't alone. I felt like I had to do something in response.

Narcolepsy = Cheap Laugh

I’m all for Narcolepsy being portrayed authentically in Movies and on TV. But a simple google search brings up a list of movies that have incorrectly used Narcolepsy for a cheap laugh:

Sleepwalk With Me (2012) 
The Wedding Date (2005)  
Scary Movie 3 (2003) 
Rat Race (2001) 
Moulin Rouge (2001) 
Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo (1999) 
Look Who’s Talking Now (1993) 
Problem Child 2 (1991)  

Best Portrayals of Narcolepsy in Movies

If you're interested, the following movies are the closest match to my experience with narcolepsy prior to treatment. I constantly second guessed myself in discerning what happened in a dream and what was reality then finding out from those around me that I mistook something for reality when it was actually just a dream. Couple this with being so tired I constantly had to use all my might to will myself awake and even then, against my will, I would lose my battle to sleep regardless of being in a safe place:

Memento (2000)
Shuffle (2011)

Waking Up in a Morgue

It is no laughing matter that people with narcolepsy have been mistakenly declared dead and sent to a morgue. For more on this, see this documentary featured on The Discovery Channel below or share it with this link

Narcolepsy: Not Alone

Narcolepsy Not Alone studio self portrait, Glen Burnie, MD

A friend of mine, Julie Flygare, has become a narcolepsy advocate to help make people aware of this chronic illness as well as promote advances in medical treatment. 

As one of her fundraisers for narcolepsy, she started offering t-shirts promoting one of her campaigns called Narcolepsy: Not alone

Often, people with narcolepsy feel like they are the only ones because the disease is so little known and it often takes 10 years to finally receive diagnosis since so few doctors know about this chronic illness. 

To learn more about narcolepsy, check out the infographic below created by Julie as well as her website, blog and Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy for more information on this fascinating illness. 

To get your hands on your very own Narcolepsy: Not Alone t-shirt, go here within the next 8 days or miss out!