A 17-year-old woman from Sheffeild, Billie Hodgson reportedly battles a rare brain condition that causes her to faint when she laughs. Her condition entails her to dodge the pals with a brilliant sense of humour in order to avoid any laugh that might cause her to instantly lose consciousness.
A student at the sixth form and an 'effervescent' person, Billie steers clear of her funny friends due to the brain disease Cataplexy. This rare brain condition triggers attacks caused by emotions such as excitement, intense despair, exasperation or a mere surprise.
Her friends try best not be funny around her and have to apologize in case they make her laugh, Billie explained to international media. She tends to refrain from funny situations to avoid cataplexy attacks. This is especially tough around people she meets for the first time and those that aren't aware of this 'strange' condition.
Talking about her rare disease, she said that it is triggered by general excitement and added that one cannot speak or move and loses control of their bodies and start shaking intensely. Further describing the problems faced by her, she said that the most annoying part is when she is conscious but can't respond to anything.
Billy, who currently resides at home with her mother and sister, was diagnosed with Cataplexy in March, last year. She had her first cataplexy attack at the age of 14 when she collapsed in the dinner hall at secondary school. She remembers walking through school with a friend and they were having a laugh when Billie suddenly fell on her knees.
At first, she hadn't thought it was anything serious and the doctor told everyone shakes when they laugh, Billie said. But when she was diagnosed with the disease, she felt mixed emotions. She told the sources that she was, in fact, relieved that she finally knew what it was and could then start treatment, but at the same time, she was scared.
Billie told international media that it is a lifelong illness, which meant that it was quite a big deal for her to accept and live with. She added that this disease stops her from doing what she wants. Talking about the duration of attacks, Billie said they can last from a few seconds to several minutes. She added that she is not allowed to drive as she loses control of her hands and has to cut down on her outdoor activities.
According to reports, Billie wants to spread the word about this rare illness in order to raise awareness as it's not something many people know about. She wants to dismiss the stereotypical thought about Cataplexy and show people how an illness so uncommon can have a major impact on someone's life. There is no cure for Cataplexy and the only available treatment involves taking daily medication to try and control it.