She can’t stop falling asleep!

28-YEAR-OLD Justice lives with narcolepsy type 1, a rare neurological condition that causes her to fall asleep “without warning” several times per day. The condition means Justice is unable to regulate her sleep-wake cycles, so she experiences fragmented sleep during the night and “sleep episodes” can happen at any time during her waking day. Whilst Justice does her best to schedule naps in an attempt to prevent episodes, she regularly falls asleep in public – something that she admits comes with “some level of embarrassment.” She has been mistaken for being “passed out drunk” after falling asleep in nightclubs and even experienced an episode during her grandmother’s funeral. Justice is not oblivious to how that might look to people who don’t know she has narcolepsy – something that does make her feel “extremely vulnerable.” Fortunately, Justice is surrounded by supportive friends and family, including her sister Ava. Having grown up with Justice, Ava is used to protecting her sister when she does have an episode in public: “I just make sure to keep her safe, making sure people respect her and that her episode is not a spectacle.” With this support to fall back on Justice is adamant that whilst her condition can be frustrating “life is all about perspective” – and now, by advocating online, she is determined to show other young people living with narcolepsy that “you aren’t chained in by your disorder. You still can live a functional life, you still can achieve the things that you want to achieve.”

Uploaded on March 27th, 2024
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