Laughter is indeed the best medicine, unless you suffer from a rare laughing condition. This is probably the reason why a teenager from Sheffield, England, is compelled to stay away from funny people. Billie Hodgson, a 17-year-old, suffers from a rare condition known as cataplexy. Due to this, she faints every time she laughs.
Cataplexy, a medical condition, leads to sudden muscle weakness and paralysis following a strong emotion like laughing. It can also be triggered due to happiness, excitement, annoyance, surprise, fear, or a stressful event. While there is no cure for cataplexy, it is possible to manage the condition with medications and modification of potential trigger.
As quoted by Metro UK, Billie 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 apologize.”
Due to her condition, she has to avoid laughter most of the times. Her friends also try to help her by avoiding funny conversations in front of her. “If we’re eating and everyone is laughing around the table, everyone tries to stop but then the silence makes you laugh,” Billie said.
Occasionally, cataplexy can be seen in other medical conditions including stroke, multiple sclerosis, head injury and encephalitis. It is a lifelong condition, which means one lives with it throughout his/her life.