Woman With Sleeping Beauty Syndrome Hits Back At Haters
A university student suffering from Sleeping Beauty Syndrome has hit back at haters who have failed to understand her condition and branded her "lazy".
Rhoda Rodriguez-Diaz, 21, suffers from the rare condition, which means she can sleep for up 22 hours a day, only waking to eat, drink and go to the toilet in a trance-like state.
The one-in-a-million Kleine-Levin Syndrome is so debilitating that she can experience sleeping episodes for up to three weeks. The effects of the syndrome even meant that Rhoda failed her second year of university after she slept through her final exams.
Rhoda, from Leicester, said: "Life goes on whilst I'm sleeping. Reality hits me when I wake up and realise I've missed like a week of my life.
"I feel a huge setback when it does happen. I miss out on so much. That's the hardest part of it.
"It's hard to explain to people where I have been. Because it's so rare a lot of people struggle to understand.
"It's really annoying when people call me lazy. I do struggle to deal with the effects of it.
"But I'm determined to not let it have a big impact on my life. It is one part of me and not who I am.
"It's frustrating because people think I'm just lazy. But I'm not, I can't help it.
Last year, Rhoda's symptoms were particularly bad, meaning she wasn't able to spend enough time on her studies.
She was eventually dismissed from her course after not showing up for exams and missing coursework deadlines due to sleeping. After visiting her GP, Rhoda was referred to specialist doctors and was finally diagnosed with the condition in September.
Rhoda has now re-enrolled to resume her studies, and is now taking her second year again.
She said: "I missed so many exams. 60 per cent of my course is exams and I missed half of them.
"It wasn't my fault. But they said this is an 'exceptional case' so I am allowed to go back.
"It's a big relief but I have to redo a lot of work I did in second year. It was difficult for me."
People with Kleine-Levin Syndrome do grow out of the condition eventually, and Rhoda says she has learnt to manage her condition in adult life.
"I'm more aware of it now. I know when I'm going to have an episode.
"This is just a hiccup in my life and I am just waiting until it fades out. I want to be taken serious in life and this isn't helping."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS