36-year-old owner of a plus-size clothing business and mum of three, Yvette Kidd, who is suffering from a narcolepsy, a long-term brain disorder for which there is no cure, which causes excessive fatigue, can’t play and laugh with her kids or anyone because she will collapse when she laughs or experiences extreme emotions.
Doctors struggled to tell the 36-year-old lady, who is married to landscape gardener Andrew, 38, why she was so sleepy and would often resort to napping in toilet cubicles at work, as they first thought she was a bit anaemic.
This made her gain weight, and led people into believing she was lazy.
Yvette ailment, cataplexy and narcolepsy , was diagnosed in June 2015 after
doctors at Wythenshawe Hospital near Manchester carried out sleep tests, which examined how sleep cycles worked in her brain.
Here’s what she told Manchester Evening News :
“A teacher pulled me to one side and asked me if I had been up late. I had been sleeping through class, but hadn’t even noticed.
“Soon, I was sleeping on my way to school, coming home and through classes. The minute I sat down, I would be asleep.
“It became the norm and my teachers didn’t even really question it. If I felt myself falling asleep in class, I would go to the toilet and put the seat down and have a sleep there. I just couldn’t stay awake.
“My weight gain was because of my sleep. I suspected it was narcolepsy but it was very difficult to explain it to doctors. As it got worse, I put more weight on.”
Yvette who managed to leave school with five GCSEs and completed a course in fashion and design at Wigan and Leigh college, before setting up her own plus-size clothing business also added: “I am self-employed, because I don’t think anyone would employ me. Sometimes I’ve had to shut the shop just to have a little nap.”
She has since gained a newfound confidence, and has set up a group, Positively Perfect , and aspires to become a beauty queen.
So far, she has made it to the finals of two pageants – Miss Voluptuous UK and Miss British Beauty Curve, both of which are set to take place later this year. But she is nervous she will have an attack on stage.
Yvette is honest about the realities of living with cataplexy and narcolepsy, the causes of which are not confirmed, but are likely to be linked to a lack of the sleep chemical hypocretin.
She said: I still have no independence whatsoever. I can’t drive and I’m not allowed to cook because I’ve nearly burned the house down so many times. I’ve burnt things quite badly and have set the smoke alarm so many times – there have been a few close calls.