Bloke spends every night in McDonalds over fears of dying in his sleep

A man with epilepsy goes to McDonald's every evening to help him relax because he is anxious about dying in his sleep.

David Neale spends up to four hours in the fast-food restaurant in Gillingham, Kent, drinking coffee and chatting with staff to calm his nerves because the idea of him nodding off to sleep and never waking up again is a "horror of a thought".

The 46-year-old has suffered from sleep-related epilepsy since he was seven which can cause violent seizures in the middle of the night which has given him a fear of falling asleep altogether.

But Mr Neale, who also has autism and OCD, has come up with McDonald's solution to help himself.

He said: "I have a structure that keeps me sane. Coming to the McDonald's store in the evenings, having a coffee and a sit-down, there seems to be some sort of comfort zone for me there.

"Even when I'm working away from home, it is the same. I will go to a McDonald's before I get myself ready to go to bed. I don't really know why I've developed that.

"Sometimes I can be here for an hour and a half, up to two hours, or some nights it might even float up to three or four hours."

Staff at the outlet on Courteney Road have become accustomed to chatting with Mr Neale in the evenings.

Mr Neale said: "They look after me very well at this store. A lot of them here know my anxiety levels, they've got an understanding.

"Going to McDonald's kind of ticks a box for me. I then feel like I'm in a much better frame of mind to go to bed at night."

At its worst, Mr Neale was suffering three or four violent seizures in the middle of the night every week and with every seizure, there is a risk of sudden death which terrifies him greatly.

He explained: "There is another section within epilepsy that is known as SUDEP which is sudden unexpected death by epilepsy.

"This is the case, especially with the type of seizures I have – they are pretty violent and you do go unconscious.

"So what can happen during that stage is you are unconscious, your brain can switch off certain parts of your body so you can stop breathing, your heart can stop.

"Imagine this happening when you go to sleep. You go to bed, you shut your eyes and you never see the next day. That is a horror of a thought.

"You also have a high risk of injuring yourself in the night, as you can fall out of bed or you can even suffocate in the covers."

He is planning on teaming with drive-thru staff to raise money for Epilepsy Action on March 26, which is 'Purple Day', the international day for epilepsy awareness.

Staff will be wearing purple on Saturday to mark the occasion and Mr Neale will be there to help raise awareness about his condition.

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