How Did a Narcolepsy Video Absolutely Shock a Cynic?

Fine, I’ll be the first one to say it—I’m a cynic. Straight up. It’s a family trait so proudly established that when questioned by a very young Kiki about our downer ways, my mother responded with this:

“It’s better to be a cynic. That way, when something bad happens, you’re not disappointed. And when something good happens, it’s an amazing surprise.”

Well, readers, my cynical heart has 100% just been faced with an amazing surprise.

YouTuber “Sleepy Sarah Elizabeth” was filming instructions for a traditional Japanese Fisherman’s Dance when narcolepsy crashed her solo. What followed was a four-minute struggle against cataplexy, micro sleep, and confusion.

But this wasn’t the surprising part.

What’s surprising is that instead of trashing the interrupted footage, Sleepy Sarah Elizabeth posted the video on YouTube.

scared real housewives of orange county rhoc embarrassed hiding

Now, I’m sorry, but I don’t even think it’s cynical to say that YouTube is usually the worst. That’s just fact. YouTube comments pretty much only come in three horrible categories:

  • Gibberish
  • Spam
  • Specific and disturbing threats

What’s more, “Sleepy Sarah Elizabeth” clearly realizes this—at the start of her video, she makes a point of discouraging trolls:

“It’s very hard to explain exactly what happens (and that it’s not funny) to someone who has never been around someone with narcolepsy before…. [I put this up in] good faith that no one will react negatively.”

Yet, despite her valid concerns, on July 7, 2014, Sleepy Sarah Elizabeth posted this extremely personal video anyway. And she did it with the slim hope that people wouldn’t troll her; that they’d take the opportunity to become more educated and more sensitive to people dealing with narcolepsy.

Over 4,000,000 views later…. She succeeded.

Strolling through the YouTube comments, spam, gibberish, and threats aren’t just rare—the majority of the 3,597 are positive. Encouraging. Even complimentary.

And perhaps, most importantly to Sleepy Sarah Elizabeth, the comments are hungry for information.


Honestly, that level of grace is not something I ever expected, but I’m happy Sleepy Sarah Elizabeth was so brave, and I’m happy people met her kindness in kind.

I guess my mom was right… Life really can be an amazing surprise.

If you, or someone you love, suspects they have narcolepsy with cataplexy, visit:

The Internet is polarizing. It can connect people as easily as it pushes them apart. I’m glad this is a story about the former. Discuss your own acts of cynic-defying bravery here on PatientWorthy!

Kiki Jones

Kiki Jones

Kiki’s family loves to say, “People are like a baking project. At some point, they’re just done and they’re who they’re going to be.” Well, Kiki still has some baking to do, and she learns a lot from her loved ones living with chronic conditions, including mental illness and Behcet’s disease. With a BA in English, she’s using her skills to tell the stories of people like them.

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