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No matter what he tried, Aaron just couldn’t stay awake

Narcolepsy destroyed Aaron’s life, his cataplexy almost killed him.

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Aaron Schokman was in his second year of university when his life took a dramatic turn for the worse.

No matter what he tried, he just couldn’t stay awake.

He would zone out during lectures. When he came to, he was still taking notes but they didn’t make any sense.

At first, he thought drifting off in lectures was just a normal symptom of being in his 20s.

But before long it became a constant struggle to stay awake.

Aaron’s world was spiralling out of control.

He constantly felt like he hadn’t slept for days.

And his relationships with his friends and family were crumbling around him.

The simplest of tasks became an immense struggle.

Some like driving even became dangerous.

But Aaron’s condition was about to get much worse.

Emotions such as sadness, happiness, and anger began triggering paralysis.

If Aaron laughed, got angry or felt excitement, his whole body would freeze.

Aaron used to love swimming. But even that became dangerous.

On a trip to the beach, the exhilaration of catching a wave caused Aaron’s body to freeze up.

He was left bobbing, face-down in the water, fully conscious but unable to move or call for help.

Luckily for Aaron, a passer-by spotted him and dragged him back to shore.

It took a while but Aaron finally got a diagnosis from his doctors.

He had narcolepsy and a rare condition known as cataplexy.


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