“When life throws oranges to you, make crush, but when it throws lemons, as sour as they are, despair not, turn the aggression into an opportunity, and make lemonade,” so goes a saying.
Such has been a true life scenario for 24 year old woman Belle Hutt, who was ten years ago diagnosed with a rare condition, narcolepsy, which causes a sleep disorder, she recently revealed how she has managed to control the ordeal – by becoming a personal trainer.
Hutt would fall asleep suddenly, up to more than 15 times a day, this weird condition threatened to render her useless, as she could not keep a job, drive or go on a date with friends, relegating her into a pariah state of being an outcast.
However, Belle, from the United Kingdom, refused to be rendered useless by the situation; and says she has finally managed to tame her condition with exercise – and has started a career as a personal trainer.
She had struggled to contain herself sleeping at public places earning a name not so good for her, being labelled a drunkard who easily falls asleep.
“A woman once asked me if I had been drinking. Even my doctor asked me how much alcohol I was drinking when I went to see him,” she said recently, adding that she has happened to notice that exercise was the best way to control the condition.
“I needed a job that meant I was never still. I can schedule in 10-minute naps between my classes and then I feel fine. The more and more I worked out the more I felt awake. It eliminated my hallucinations and my sleep paralysis,” quoted one publication, Move!
Belle was diagnosed with the condition when she was 17, after a swine flu attack left her feeling dizzy, exhausted and falling asleep in class.
Narcolepsy is a rare brain condition caused by the lack of a brain chemical orexin and causes sleep paralysis, tiredness and hallucinations. According to medical experts, it can be triggered by an infection, psychological stress or hormonal changes.
Although her narcolepsy has been the reason why, her previous partners ending their relationships, Belle is now happy living in Amsterdam with her new boyfriend, Maikel.
“Previous boyfriends have had a real problem with my narcolepsy. When we used to go to dinner, I’d fall asleep.” She explains.
Adding that she has now found someone who stands by her despite the disorder, understands and love like that. “When I met him I told him about it and he was so chilled about it. He said, ‘I just want to get to know you’,” she says.
LIVING WITH HER CONDITION
The first two years of hallucinations were very difficult for her as she tried to resist going to sleep, in the attempt to remain awake. Going to bed which most of us cherish so much, as a perfect way to get some rest, became a time not to remember for her as she was so scared to hallucinate again, the moment she tries to sleep.
“I was trying to keep myself awake all the time. I was also drinking a lot of coffee, which is really not the way to go about it. Eating lots of protein and vegetables has really helped me a lot,” recounts.
Now that she has found a cure, her advice to fellow sufferers is to accept the condition and try to manage, other than letting it manage you; “Stay active as much as possible. You have narcolepsy – it doesn’t have you.”