Real-Life Narcolepsy Superhero Reveals Powers to Captain America’s Jeremy Renner

Screen shot 2016-05-12 at 10.47.07 PMRecently, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ star Jeremy Renner said that he wanted to be “Captain Narcolepsy… so he could nap whenever he wanted” on Live! with Kelly and Michael. Afterward, many people with narcolepsy and their supporters took to social media to respond.

One particular response caught my attention – written by Wendy Ellsworth, a 34-year-old registered nurse living with narcolepsy in Texas. I asked Wendy’s permission to share it here.

Wendy’s Superpowers:

wendy narcolepsy superhero jeremy renner captain narcolepsy 6Though you have likely received numerous comments regarding Jeremy Renner’s narcolepsy remark, my response may differ from others received. I do not wish to rip Kelly or Michael apart, for I do understand their positions in hosting the show, entertaining an audience and being able to keep conversation with their guest going.

However, Mr. Renner’s comment about narcolepsy really ‘struck a nerve’ with me (as well as a few thousand of my FB friends). You see, I am one of those awesome people that possess this “superpower” that he so desires!!! Can you believe it?? Jeremy Renner is jealous of ME!?!? It’s like a dream come true!

So, with all of the interest that his now-public yearning is sure to bring to me, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.  I am a 34 year old Registered Nurse from Texas. I first noticed my ‘abilities’ around 2003 at the age of 21, yet was not diagnosed until 2013.

wendy ellsworth narcolepsy superhero captain narcolepsy jeremy renner NARCOLEPSY NOT ALONE 3

I have many “superpowers” that arrived under my “N” cape, so I’ve made you a short list:

»    I have the ability to keep living everyday under the brain fog of extreme daytime sleepiness which is shown to be the equivalent of a non-superhero being sleep-deprived for 48-72 hours!

»    I have the wisdom to know that I will have to take medication for the rest of my life to increase my chances that it will consist of any type of quality.

»    I have the willpower to remove my body from bed every morning, though my brain is still asleep, in order to work a full-time job and provide for my 3 children.

»    I am able to force my eyelids open, long enough to stand up and begin some type of physical activity to fight the EDS when I doze off during meetings at work.

»    I have the strength to continue to push myself to the limits outside of work as well, in order to maintain an “as normal as possible” life for my kids.

… the length of my list of powers is longer than I care to write, but the most important of them all is my determination to be a ‘voice’ for people like myself.

wendy narcolepsy superhero jeremy renner captain narcolepsy 3 wendy narcolepsy superhero jeremy renner captain narcolepsy 2 wendy narcolepsy superhero jeremy renner captain narcolepsy

Prior to my own personal diagnosis, I too knew very little about this neurological disorder. The ‘humor’ associated with it through the movie industry had been my only exposure, as is likely the case with your millions of viewers.

wendy ellsworth narcolepsy superhero captain narcolepsy jeremy renner NARCOLEPSY NOT ALONE 2To struggle with this invisible disorder is exhausting… mentally, physically, emotionally – but the lack of education and/or misinformation provided through those with influence, such as Mr. Renner, is excruciating.

On behalf of all people with narcolepsy, I kindly ask that you use your position and your stage as a platform on which to educate the public, as opposed to allowing your silence to further condone laughing in the face of ‘superheroes’ like myself.

Sincerely…& Sleepy~

wendy signature superhero at large



woman with narcolepsy wendy reveals reallife superpowers of narcolepsy to captain america civl war jeremy rennerwendy narcolepsy superhero jeremy renner captain narcolepsy 4About Wendy: I am a 34-year-old registered nurse living in Texas with three children. My oldest son, Luke is 16; my daughter, Nixon is almost 7; and my baby boy, Hudson turns 2 today! My partner, Jon and I have been together for 5 years and I would be lost without his support.


REM Runner’s Note: Thank you, Wendy, for sharing your inspiring and heartfelt response. I couldn’t have written anything better myself, so I am so thrilled to share your voice of narcolepsy here!

Please share this post in support of Wendy and the 3 million other real-life narcolepsy superheroes around the world.

narcolepsy not alone about campaign 2For more information:


  1. amy spence on May 13, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    this is my baby sister who IS a superhero! nobody understands what it takes for her to go about everyday life that most take for granted. she may be my little sister but she is my hero!!!

    • Beth Parker on June 8, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      She is so blessed to have you! It makes all the difference in the world to have a strong support system. Her life will be richer and her confidence stronger because of your love and understanding. You’re a superhero, too!!

  2. Charles Raley on May 13, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    My friend, my coworker, my hero.

  3. Tanisha Conley on May 14, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Wow Wendy, that is very inspirational, I am a nurse also, 38 and a mother of 6. I am a dance coach, and a football mom. I have to wear many titles….Super Mom, Super Nurse. Super Coach, Super Wife, and stay awake and function as much as possible with very little sleep each night. I have suffered from Narcolepsy since I was 14, however, I was not diagnosed until I was 21 years old. I have faced a lot of rejection, seclusion, mockery, and insulting remarks. I have been referred to as lazy, and incapable of getting things done. I think, working a full time job, raising six beautiful active kids, participating in extra curricular events, and running a busy household is far from lazy, especially for a person that suffers from narcolepsy and mild sleep apnea. Although Hollywood, likes to present the disease as comical. It is far from funny; for many years I was afraid of starting a family, telling employers, requesting accommodations to maintain employment, and DRIVING. I struggle everyday to do my very best for myself and my family. I am a real-life Super Hero that lives with Narcolepsy, and I would not wish this difficult reality, on my worst enemy, or Super Villan. I hope to raise more awareness for young adults, and educate others on how to accept narcolepsy as a real issue that needs much more Awareness and research. For many people with narcolepsy, still need a voice to advocate for them, and let others know what this unfortunate disorder is really like. I plan to join in a be one of those voices. Thank you, Wendy, Happy Nurse’s Week, and thank you Julie. From a Nurse with Narcolepsy!

Leave a Comment