To Sleep, Perchance: The Autobiography of a Narcoleptic
'To Sleep... Perchance ...' is the story of one's man's battle against an incurable and life-wrecking complaint - Narcolepsy.
This is a retrospective journey through the better part of half a century, tracing the many career changes, sackings, resignations, heartaches and disappointments that have been the hallmark of this debilitating disorder.
From falling asleep whilst in command of armoured fighting vehicles in the sixties, 'nodding off' on horseback, 'snoozing' on parade before royalty; to 'snoring' at management meetings, walking 'zombie-like' into oncoming stacker-trucks, falling face-down into steaming dishes in restaurants, and 'turning to jelly' on experiencing emotions such as joy or sorrow have been just some of the embarrassing incidents that have punctuated the author's life.
At times comic, at times tragically sad, 'To Sleep Perchance' follows the author's struggle to survive, and maintain his very sanity in the face of ignorance and indifference, not merely amongst one's colleagues, family, and friends - but even amongst the medical profession itself.
As the reader is taken through the many role changes in his life, from soldier to salesman, clerical assistance to assistant cleric; controller of production to prisoner of corruption, director's table to prisoner's fable, and finally from strange buddies to academic studies, we gain an insight of what it is like to be a captive of this twilight world.
For the greater part of his life Jonathan Strong has suffered from Narcolepsy, a debilitating sleep disorder until recently little understood and often mis-diagnosed by G.P.s, despite being a neurological brain disorder that afflicts an estimated 20,000 adults in Britain alone, with around a further 250,000 in America.
At times comic, at times tragically sad, the author traces the half-awake-half-asleep existence from his early days as a young Guardsman, through the many career changes, sackings, resignations, heart-aches and disappointments that have been the hallmark of this life-wrecking illness.
Whilst containing a valuable insight into the pathological nature of the disorder, his book is essentially an autobiography, the story of one man's struggle with this incurable brain disorder over nearly half a century, and his indomitable spirit in the face of ignorance, superstition and intolerance.
Jonathan Strong is a now semi-retired writer and part-time lecturer