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FROM THIS EPISODE

Chrissy was having trouble remembering who she was when she woke up.  First she thought it was early-onset dementia, then she thought it was schizophrenia.  She had recurring hallucinations about being stalked by a beast that would talk to her while she slept.

bed
Chrissy's bed

A doctor eventually told her she was waking up frequently throughout the night, some 30+ times per hour.  It was this inability to maintain a regular sleep cycle that helped her get a diagnosis of narcolepsy, explaining Chrissy’s excessive sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and episodes of cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control after an emotional response).



Chrissy’s diagnoses frightened her. She tried to pretend it wasn’t true. But this attitude was forced to change one day when she woke up in traffic, driving 100kph with her kids in the back seat.  She finally accepted her illness, recognized it as a beast, and looked for ways to feed it that wouldn’t affect her children.  She says that’s the only way it’s won—if it gets her kids.

pills
Some of Chrissy's Medications

This episode was produced by Bec Fary. Bec is a freelance audio producer and creator of the podcast Sleep Talker. Bec’s show is about sleep, dreams, and nightmares, and she’s covered narcolepsy before.

This episode was edited by Bethany Denton and Jeff Emtman. Our editor at KCRW is Nick White.

Music: Phantom Fauna | | |  The Black Spot

 

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CREDITS

Host:
Jeff Emtman

Producers:
Jeff Emtman
Bethany Denton

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