The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

Living With Narcolepsy - School, Demons, Getting Diagnosed

by K
(Quantico, Va)

I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy at the age of 18. When I was 14 I started getting sleepy. I would drag myself out of bed in the morning totally exhausted. I would fall asleep on the bus to school, wake up when I got to school. Zombie walk to 1st period. I would pull out my books or paper and pens. I usually was able to catch the first 10-15 minutes of class before my vision started getting blurry. It felt like my eyes were crossing but I am not actually sure. I would fight to keep them open. Then my head would start bobbing. Sometimes it woke me up when my head bobbed backwards, but not for long. I would eventually fall asleep. If I was taking notes or working on a paper or worksheet my hand would continue to write. I scribbled all over my papers and sometimes on my desk. I would talk in my sleep and often wake up mid sentence with everyone looking a me. I would catch a few more minutes of class and then fall asleep again. This would continue for each class except Gym of course. I loved Gym class because I was able to escape the cycle for 1 1/2 hours every day. I was a gymnast and a runner. I also attended gymnastics practice 2 hours after school each day which was great. Once I got home, I would sleep on the couch until dinner. After dinner I would go out and play frisbee, tennis, swim, etc... Then come home and go to bed.

This was the part of the day that I dreaded the most. Almost every night after my 14th birthday, I was visited by a black demon who would sit on my chest, hold down my hands and try to smother me. Sometimes it felt like I was being sexually assaulted or repeatedly slapped in the face. I would try to move my head to avoid the slap or cross my legs but I couldn't move. I would try to scream or beg it to stop but nothing would come out. It was terrifying. I didn't tell anyone about it until I was 19. I thought people would think I was crazy or lying or possessed. I'm not sure how long the assault would last, it seemed like hours but may not have been. I would eventually fall asleep. I would wake up a few more times at night but only visited once a night.

For 4 years I went to many doctors with no diagnosis. A few of them said it was in my head. I eventually went to a Neurologist who realized what I had when I mentioned a strange thing that happened a few times at a funeral. I collapsed to the floor and couldn't move a muscle for a few minutes. I also mentioned that my knees gave out when I said something that I thought was funny. He knew immediately that I had Narcolepsy with Cataplexy. I had some sleep tests to confirm it. I started medicine to stay awake.

The visits from the demon continued until I was 19. I did a college research paper on Narcolepsy and found out that some Narcoleptics also experience Hypnogogic Hallucinations. The text book description of it was exactly what I was experiencing. After reading about it, it went away. Hopefully never to return.

I am now 50. I take adderall to stay awake and naps in the afternoon. I always feel exhausted but it is not as bad as my teen years because of the medicine.

Comments for Living With Narcolepsy - School, Demons, Getting Diagnosed

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 23, 2015
Sleep Paralysis
by: Kevin

Thank you for sharing your story K. I hope others can benefit from it here. The hypnogogic hallucinations you refer to with the demon where you were not able to move are episodes of sleep paralysis, a common symptom of narcolepsy that is also experienced by people without narcolepsy, just usually with less frequency.

Aug 24, 2015
Cedric NEW
by: Anonymous

Narcolepsy Can't be cured, but treatment may help.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Narcolepsy Stories and Thoughts.

Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.