Observant readers might have noticed the URL of this blog: somnambulism. This name isn’t accidental, or something I thought sounded cool. I suffer from it. I walk in my sleep. A lot. Most nights I still wake up in bed, but with this kind of mental ache, like when you wake up and just know the alarm will sound, any minute now, without having to look at the watch. I know when I’ve been walking. I feel it.
And then, there’s also those nights where I wake up in front of the window, looking out, or standing fully dressed by the wardrobe, or laying on the floor, staring at the cracks in the ceiling. I once awoke underneath my bed, still shaking from a nightmare involving crawling shadows in all the room’s corners.
My parents used to buy me medicine. I’ve been on Klonopin and Prosom and other mind-numbing shit. It made me stop sleepwalking for a while, but whichever medicine we tried, it made me anxious and paranoid and convinced me my brain was in the process of dissolving. I couldn’t stand it. And sometimes, I still walked.
Soon the pills went down the toilet. I locked my room’s door with a screwdriver, to keep me from roaming the house, and kept taking my nocturnal trips in secret, now only within my room’s four walls. And when my parents decided I was old enough to pay for school and clothes and everything like that myself, I didn’t even buy a single batch of medication. I just kept the door locked, the windows firmly shut, and the screwdriver well hidden.
Before this, nightly incidents often occurred. When one of my parents got up for a nightly toilet visit, they sometimes found me right outside their bedroom door; or about to pee on a household plant; or standing in the middle of the living room, with the TV turned to static, dead-eye watching.
At one point, my sister woke up as my walk began, and she decided to make use of the situation. She made me fetch her the bowl of cookies hidden on a top shelf, way out of her reach. She ate them all, almost, and then led me back to bed, leaving the empty bowl outside my door, where my parents could find it. The next morning, crumbs clearly covered the kitchen table, and I didn’t remember shit, while my sister claimed innocence. Then mom found the bowl outside my door…
I only know the truth because Felicia told me, smiling, playing with a headless doll. She was only five then, but already she knew my parents would never believe me, the teenage sleepwalker, over the innocent child.
So I keep my door locked. These days, my parents have either forgot about my sleepwalking, denied it ever was a thing, or think I’m still on medication. I do not care which, as long as they do not bother me about it. But, the problem is, if one of the twins is to sleep in my room, I can’t just lock the door at night, with a screwdriver, without explaining everything to them. And more importantly: I can impossibly keep a locked door between them and myself…
This is a problem.
To me, sleepwalking is like walking around nude, literally and mentally. When walking, you are suggestive, and fragile, and only in your underwear, walking around, doing shit you can’t control or even remember. And it doesn’t help that I can’t remember it, because I know I’ve been walking the minute I wake up. I can see my future eyes wander towards the person sleeping in my room, either still asleep or already up—only a mattress on the floor. Did I wake them? What did I do, or say? What did they think? What will they do?
My parents would be zero help. I know them. Mom would take charge, and hold a speech about “responsibility” and “hospitality” and “not being selfish and take the fucking medication, like real people do”, and then my brain would once again turn into oatmeal, and I hate oatmeal, and all I could do would be to worry about my brain turning to oatmeal.
And I do not want my brain to turn into oatmeal.
So yes, it’s a fucked-up situation, yes it is.