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Narcolepsy in Media

Recently my friend sent me a video on TikTok of a guy who was claiming to be a gymnast with narcolepsy. Every time he would do a stunt, he would end it with falling asleep.

Initially, I laughed because that’s the type of humor my friends and I share towards my narcolepsy. After thinking about it, I responded, “This is why people expect me to fall asleep immediately whenever I tell them I have narcolepsy."

The first time I saw narcolepsy in media

My first experience with narcolepsy in media was in the movie Deuce Bigalow. In the film, the main character, played by Rob Schneider, goes on a date with a woman named Rachel who has narcolepsy. When he arrives at her door to pick her up, she falls back dramatically and begins snoring mid-conversation.

They then go to the bowling alley, and she falls asleep while bowling, landing in the middle of the bowling lane. She still has the bowling ball in her hand, and she is snoring.

A disastrous date

The next scene is at a restaurant. Rachel claims that she always wanted to try soup but couldn’t because of the fear she would fall asleep and drown in it. She orders soup and tied her hair to the wall to prevent her face from going into the bowl.

Eventually, she falls asleep, and her head falls short of the bowl of soup. She begins to snore while Deuce casually continues to eat his dinner. The last scene is the end of their date when he is walking to his car. He hears her fall down the stairs and begin to snore.

Why I want more people to know about narcolepsy

I am not going to lie, I thought the scenes were hilarious. It was not because of the wrong depiction of narcolepsy but because of the overall theme of unusual dating. Movies are supposed to be entertaining and dramatic. Deuce Bigalow is just one of those examples.

Narcolepsy awareness is vital in these instances because if people knew more about narcolepsy, they would take it as a joke and not reality.

Raising awareness and sharing my journey

This year Narcolepsy Awareness Day is on March 13, and Sleep Awareness Week is March 14–20. To do my part and raise awareness, I plan to post content on my social media showing others the facts of narcolepsy.

Talking about my journey, I hope to break down the false perceptions and possibly reach someone undiagnosed. I encourage others to raise awareness in their communities and remember that awareness is helpful no matter how big or small of a reach you have.

Have you seen narcolepsy depicted in media? Did it feel accurate or not? How do you feel about raising awareness? If you participate in Narcolepsy Awareness Day or Sleep Awareness Week, tell us what you did! Share in the comments below!

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