Creative. Energetic. Talkative. Narcoleptic?

"My nurse has been with me ever since the first day," says 11-year old Annie. "Along with my family, she's always been by my side which makes it much easier." (Regis Watson/Courtesy)

By Priyam Vora

“It was what everybody jokes about when somebody falls asleep somewhere in a chair at a holiday party like you know ‘Oh you must be narcoleptic,” said Regis Watson, Annie’s mother. “I mean it was always a joke.”

Annie was diagnosed with narcolepsy when she was 6 years old, a long painful year after Annie started showing symptoms when she was 5.

“It took us some time before we knew Annie had narcolepsy because she was just so bright,” said Regis Watson, Annie’s mother. “She is fabulously smart.”

Video reporting by Priyam Vora/Medill; videography by Ronak Vora

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that impacts 1 in 2,000 people in the U.S., according to Narcolepsy Network. The disorder is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and an overwhelming sense of tiredness and fatigue throughout the day.

Today, Annie is 11 years old and medicines help her control her desire to sleep at random hours. The unconditional love and support of her family is healing as well.

Photo at top: “I remember having to do homework – even when I was simply writing on my knee, I would always fall asleep,”  says 11-year old Annie Watson. (Regis Watson/Courtesy)