Woman Who Faints When She Laughs Has To Avoid Her Funny Friends
If you're blessed with loads of friends that leave you laughing until you can't breathe then thank your lucky stars that you're not this woman - Billie Hodgson suffers from a rare brain disorder that makes her faint when she laughs or experiences a strong emotion.
The 17-year-old has been diagnosed with cataplexy, which is a condition described as 'a sudden and uncontrollable muscle weakness or paralysis that comes on during the day'.
As a result of her condition, she has to avoid her more banterous mates so that she can get through her school day without dropping to the floor.
She explained: "I'm a bubbly person, so to go from that to feeling like I can't laugh is really strange. I feel like I can't be me.
"My friends try not to be funny and if they make me laugh they feel like they have to apologise. When I'm with them, I tend not to be as involved in funny situations to avoid cataplexy and especially in front of those who are not as familiar with it.
"We joke about it like friends do because it's a funny thing in itself, and I have to make light of it.
"If we're eating and everyone is laughing around the table, everyone tries to stop but then the silence makes you laugh."
She first experienced the full brunt of cataplexy in her school dinner hall, at the age of 14. As time has worn on, Billie has explained, the triggers have become more sensitive so she has to be really careful who she is around.
Billie admitted that when she faints, it's a pretty scary experience.
"You have no control over your body. I can't speak or respond to anything - but the most frustrating thing is that I'm conscious. I shake, and I can't hold things," she said.
Sadly there's no cure for the condition, however there is medication which can reduce the sensitiveness of the triggers.
Billie explained: "At first we didn't think it was that serious and the doctor told me everyone shakes when they laugh. But when I was diagnosed, I felt mixed emotions.
"I was relieved that I finally knew what it was and could then start treatment, but at the same time scared because I didn't know how much it would affect my life.
"It's also a lifelong illness which meant it was quite a big thing to accept."
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