19/04/2012 14:32 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mum Of Two Can't Cuddle Her Children Without Fear Of Collapse And Paralysis

Mum of two can't cuddle her babies without fear of collapse and paralysis HotSpot Media

A devoted mum is terrified that she may have passed a rare condition which sees her COLLAPSE if she LAUGHS or is made to feel emotional by her little boys.

Kelly Timson, 25, has cataplexy, an extremely rare neurological condition which causes her body to go into paralysis if she is amused, angry, surprised or even feeling strong emotions like love.


Even looking fondly at her two little boys, Charlie, five, and Ronnie, two, can leave her unable to move or speak.


The young mum can have up to 20 attacks a day, and is unable to be left alone in case of a collapse. Her mum or brother stay with her at all times to ensure she is safe, after once having almost suffocated after collapsing and landing face down on her sofa.

As well as cataplexy, Kelly also suffers from narcolepsy, which means she falls asleep without warning, no matter where she is or what she is doing - she can't even go out to dinner with her boyfriend in case she falls asleep at the table!

Kelly says: "I've lost count of the number of times I've fallen asleep face down in my dinner. It's so embarrassing. Once I had an attack of cataplexy in the supermarket and then another and another. I must have had about 20 in a row and I think people must have thought I was drugged or drunk. Every time I stood up, I collapsed again."

Kelly says that she can see and hear when she has an attack, but cannot move or communicate. The episodes can last just a few seconds, or go on for an hour, leaving her unable to tend to her children - something that leaves Kelly terrified of being alone.

"The worst times are when there is no one around," she says, "I might be lying on the floor, completely paralysed and the boys will be pulling all the food out of the cupboards and there's nothing I can do. That's why I don't like to be left alone with the boys in case anything happens to me or them."

Kelly's first episodes of narcolepsy happened when she was 16. She found herself falling asleep during the day even after a good night's sleep. It worsened over time and she was given medication. When she fell pregnant with Charlie at 19, she began to get symptoms of cataplexy, finding herself going limp when holding her baby, and fearful she would drop him.

"I would have to call to my mum to come quickly and grab Charlie off me in case I dropped him," she explains, "I would just be looking at him and thinking how much I loved him and then all of a sudden my arms would go floppy. I was really worried because I was terrified of hurting him."

Kelly was diagnosed with cataplexy in 2007. She is now terrified her son Ronnie might also have the condition, after he suffered a fit in a supermarket a fortnight ago. They are waiting for the results of tests.

Kelly says she would 'hate' for Ronnie to have it, as it 'affects every aspect' of her life', stopping her from doing things most people take for granted, or enjoying a social life:

"I'd love to be able to go for a drink and have a laugh with my friends," she says, "but I can't. As soon as someone cracked a joke I would be paralysed on my bar stool and it would be mortifying.

"I'm trying some new medication at the moment and I'm waiting to see how that goes.

"With any luck it will help my condition and I might even be able to go to a comedy club someday!"

Poor woman! Imagine not being able to enjoy a giggle and cuddle with your babies!