Somnambulism.

Do you know what that is without Googling it?  Well, my life likely holds few distinctions but I actually HAVE somnambulism.  I’m a sleepwalker. 

Actually, I sleep strangely in general.  I have nightmares at least several times per week, night terrors, night paralysis, I talk in my sleep – don’t ever call me on the phone when I might be sleeping as I will certainly have a conversation with you, only it will be about odd things that make no sense like blue cows and the number 486. 

My Mother caught me trying to get out the front door when I was three years old.  I was sound asleep.  Since then she has had to gently lead me back to bed all through my childhood and even into my teen years.  Doctor after doctor told us that I would outgrow it but… that hasn’t happened yet.  I’m 35 now and I still sleepwalk.

How do I know?

Oddly, I have a strange “aura” the morning after I’ve been up and about in my sleep.  So, I go and look around to find the tell-tale signs and I normally do:  all my lotion bottles taken from the bathroom and lined up on the mantle in the living room, four dining room chairs lined in front of the door, food on the kitchen counter, etc.  And sometimes I know I’ve been up and about because I’m somewhere besides where I went to sleep.  I’ve awakened in front of the refrigerator, in the shower (with it on), and – scariest of all, I think – in a downstairs closet with the door closed and locked, curled up in the corner behind some boxes (this happened many years ago when I lived in TN.)  I also once pulled a sink off the wall and had no idea until I was awakened and told what I had done (normally, I would NOT have the strength to rip a sink off a wall and wouldn’t anyway!)

This is all bad enough, yes, but the absolute scariest bits for me are the terrors at night: those times when I have a nightmare and try to wake myself up and can’t move my voice or my body.  Unlike sleepwalking when I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, I’m keenly aware of things when I have night terrors. 

And that’s what brought this issue to my mind at this particular time.  Yesterday I fell asleep when I got home from work.  I got too hot and began to have a terrible dream and finally woke up sobbing uncontrollably.  This happens more than sometimes.  When this happens, I’m not only scared from waking up in such a manner, but I’m upset to a point I can’t even explain.  It is like the worst part of everything that has ever collected in my subconscious coming to the forefront of my mind and it is such a feeling that I can’t explain it or get away from it. 

So, I do sleep very oddly, to say the least.  I keep hoping to outgrow it but… is there still hope for that?

And for those who will say that it is dangerous… well, yes, I mean… I know that.  But, I also know nothing to do about it.

So, there’s your word for the day:  somnambulism. 

I just hope it won’t be my word for the night.

Incidentally, not all of it is negative.  I have amazing ideas while I’m sleeping and am very good at making mental lists of things I need to do the next day while I sleep and… get this… remembering them!  And, when the big earthquake hit Illinois in 2008, I had a dream of an earthquake, woke up, looked at the clock and it was 4:38 a.m.  I told my Mom the next morning that there had been a bad earthquake and, sure enough, the IL one had happened at 4:37 a.m.  So, some of it is pretty neat but a lot of it is definitely not.

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12 thoughts on “Somnambulism.

  1. Oh my goodness gracious, Miss Karen Beth! This is amazing in every sense of word. And yes, you did teach me a new word today!

    Wow. I think you could write and publish a book on your night time adventures and think you should, this would make a tremendous read. Think of what Sybil did for those suffering with multiple personalities who never knew what they were experiencing…You could do same and probably help so many others in process with your beautiful talent for words and experience with such a “disorder” (is it a disorder, I don’t know another word to use here, apologies)

    How I do love reading your thoughts here (thank you truly for being so open and sharing so wholly) and for your great skill at writing. Is always such a treat to read you!

    • Write a book on sleepwalking!??! Ah, I don’t think anyone would buy that. Besides, I don’t really know enough of the times I’ve done it (not details anyway) to write much more than what I’ve written here.

      And yes, it is totally a disorder. Eeek!

  2. I feel that ‘aura’ when I have seizures, though it’s been a while.

    I always used to wonder what it would be like to sleepwalk.

    Also, if you can remember sleep lists and such, have you tried lucid dreaming? I think it sounds awesome and you sound like you have the sleep presence of mind to do it.

    • The aura freaks me out. And it is SO distinct. I know you know what I mean…

      I’ve not tried lucid dreaming because I kind of feel like I do it a bit already, just not on purpose.

  3. Wow….and we think we sleep and take a break from our thoughts, but I guess not always. Your sleep gives your strength too(the sink). Do you sleep the whole night through? Does the sleep walking/nightmares happen more often when your stressed?

    I’ve learned lots of new things from you!

  4. I knew the term, but I didn’t realize one could do so many things during sleep. I figured that when Alison on “The Medium” ended up on a busy road, that it was just to bring more drama to the show. Guess not. Is there anyone doing research for sleepwalking? I would hope so since the disorder can lead to such dangerous situtaions. Is lucid dreaming kinda planning what your dreams will be?

    • I’m not sure if anyone is doing sleepwalking research or not. I think it would be a very frustrating research to do as it doesn’t happen every night. Inasmuch as I can tell, I had an okay sleep last night. But, it is subject to change any night.

      Lucid dreaming is being able to change the direction of your dreams.

  5. Oh my goodness, wow. I’m stuck at this sink thing . . . wow. I hope you stay safe in any future sleepwalking adventures!
    I’m not a somnambulist, but, I’ve had those nightmares like you describe. I really dislike those. I had a really strange one a few months ago; it was scary (I actually started saying a prayer during it)…. I can’t imagine having to deal with sleepwalking, though.
    Wishing you sweet dreams and restful slumber!
    x

    P.S. If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to write in a journal when this does happen, and include info as to what you had consumed the day before, anything you did that day, how you were feeling (mentally and physically), etc. Hope you stay safe, KB; this worries me!

  6. oh my I totally sleep walk! I have phoned my friends ( i no longer sleep with a phone in my room)
    I woke up and i thought I was talking to somebody outside my window….I came down stairs when my kids where having a sleep over and was just muttering and the boys lead me back to bed! :)
    karen

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