We know fairy tales like The Sleeping Beauty aren’t real–or are they? A 22-year-old British woman was asleep for six months due to what’s known as Sleeping Beauty syndrome — and trust us, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.
Beth Goodier reportedly fell asleep on the couch one day in November and did not wake up for freaking six months, save for small food and bathroom breaks. Over the past five years, Beth’s mom estimates she’s been asleep 75% of the time, something that obviously derailed her education and career plans.
Beth has Kleine-Levin syndrome, also called Sleeping Beauty syndrome, after the Disney Princess who sleeps and sleeps until the kiss of a prince brings her back to life. According to the KLS Foundation, the condition is a rare neurological disorder that causes its sufferers to sleep excessively, altered behavior and a different understanding of the world. Episodes may last days, weeks or months, but in between episodes, people with KLS appear to be in perfect health. The disorder typically strikes teens, but can also affect children or adults. People might have episodes for 10 years or more before the condition abates.
And Janine, a single mother, had to give up her job to look after her daughter round the clock.
‘The most horrible symptom is her confusion,’ says Janine. ‘When she wakes for a few hours a day, she does not know where she is and becomes very agitated.
‘The toughest year was when her friends finished their A-levels and went off to university because Beth knew when she woke up that it should have been her, and that hurt her badly. And when she hurts, I hurt.’ says Janine.
When Beth does wake up, her mother told it’s like nothing was ever wrong.
“It is like night and day,” her mom Janine said. “She might wake up tomorrow and then it’s a race against time to live the life she should have had. She rushes off to catch up with her friends and get her hair done. But no one knows when she might fall asleep again.”
Many sufferers, like Beth, have their goals and ambitions squashed by the disorder. Beth had hoped to go to university and become a child psychologist, but now she spends most of her life in bed. If she has to go to the doctor, she must be taken in a wheelchair because she’s too tired to even walk.
One person who has stood by Beth, however, is her boyfriend Dan (pictured), a 25-year-old primary school teacher she met during an ‘awake’ phase three years ago.