I Think I Have Fatal Familial Insomnia

In which you never sleep again

-insomnia                 -agitation
-dementia                   -hallucinations
-numbness              -skin discoloration
-lack of tears              -phobias
-panic attacks       -incontinence
-loss of speech          -loss of motor skills

Fatal Familial insomnia is a prion disease, related to Cruetzfeldt-Jakob disease, in which rogue proteins turn your brain into a sponge. However, in this case, the part of your brain that is affected is the thalamus, which controls your ability to sleep. You actually lose the ability to sleep, and since your body cannot function without sleep, it starts to fall apart.

You will definitely die, most likely within a year of the onset of symptoms. On the bright side, since you won’t be sleeping through most of that year, it will feel like eternity.

During the first few months, you will experience some insomnia along with panic attacks and strange phobias, such as being afraid of not being able to fall asleep (actually, that’s not so strange, I guess). Then come the hallucinations: Perhaps you’ll see anthropomorphic mice climbing out of the walls to mock you in their nightcaps and dressing gowns. After that comes total insomnia. One day, you wake up, and that’s the last time you ever do that. Your body begins to wither; your brain becomes so exhausted that you slip into total dementia, wandering around your house in a half-dream state, swatting at buzzing bottle-fly alarm clocks that don’t exist. Then you slip into a coma. And then you die. Luckily, by this point, death is probably welcomed.

There is no cure for this. Even sleeping pills don’t work. Doctors think gene-therepy might work, but until that is available for the public to take advantage of, you are up a creek without a paddle.

Since it’s a disease that is inherited, the only way to prevent getting Fatal Familial insomnia is to try not to be related to any relatives who might have it. Good luck with that.


I have Fatal Familial Insomnia

Or maybe it’s the fact that I got up at 1pm today and I’m trying to force myself to sleep only 11 hours later in order for me to get some decent sleep before having to get up at 7am tomorrow morning for work…

Nope. Definitely Fatal Familial Insomnia


**Disease break-down and general humor care of Dennis Diclaudio’s The Hypochondriac\’s Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have


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