Beth Goodier, 22, has been diagnosed with an incredibly rare medical condition know as Kleine-Levin syndrome (KLS) or Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. It all started before her 17th birthday when exhausted Beth slept on the couch and didn’t wake up properly for next six months. She kept sleeping for 22 hours day, only to wake up for two hours in a dream-like trance, only to take a little food and drink and to go to the toilet.
According to her mother Janine, Beth has been asleep 75 percent of the time over the last five years. Janine is helpless, all she can do is just wait desperately for the ‘on’ switch to be activated in her daughter’s brain.
‘It is like night and day,’ says Janine, 48. ‘She might wake up tomorrow and then it’s a race against time to live the life she should have had. She rushes off to catch up with her friends and get her hair done. But no one knows when she might fall asleep again.’
The syndrome has been diagnosed, but what triggers her horrifying sleep is still unknown. At the current moment, Beth is two-and-a-half months into another deep sleep episode, and nothing, no drugs, loud music, pleading or cajoling can wake her up. Most of her life today is spent on her bed in her pyjamas. She leaves her home on rare occasion to see a doctor, but even then she is too exhausted to walk and is pushed in a wheelchair.
However, one person who didn’t leave Beth’s side is her 25-year-old boyfriend Dan, who is a primary school teacher, whom Beth met three years ago, during her ‘awake’ period.
‘He will come round and sit with her nearly every day, talk to her and wait for the girl he fell in love with to come back. When she is awake, they resume their normal adult relationship. He is a good man,’ her mother told in an interview.