Heather, The Sleepwalker: An Introduction

My friend Heather is a pretty amazing gal.  She is one of those people you can always count on, always trust.  She gets excited about the accomplishments of her friends, and  cheers them on, and is never jealous or judgmental.  She raised her young daughter by herself, while managing a restaurant and putting herself through college (even the unpaid, year-long, teaching internship).  She is hilarious and witty and has an infectious laugh, and a toothpaste-commercial-worthy smile (ding!). She is incredibly crafty – she creates scrapbooks, homemade cards and wall art to decorate her country home. She sandwiches glass pieces around droll cards and print-outs, soldering the edges to create one of a kind ornaments and magnets.  She enjoys sarcasm.  And Miller Lite.  She runs a freezer meal exchange group.  She is an avid couponer, and could open up a general store from her stocked up wares in the basement.  She organizes party buses for dozens of friends and designs costumes and props to keep her high school students entertained (she once dressed up like the Grim Reaper and created a “wheel of death” that the students had to spin, as an introduction to a bacterial and viral diseases research project).  She is a member of a roller derby team.  She loves margaritas and used books.  She’s an all-around beautiful human being.

Grim Reaper, Wheel of Death and horribly-fake scared school visitor.

BUT, the characteristic that makes her especially relevant to this blog is that she is a sleepwalker.  I don’t mean that she slept-walked a couple of times in middle school.  No.  This is much more serious.  She sleepwalks at least a couple of nights each week.   And, she might not like me giving hints about her age, but she has been sleepwalking like this for over 25 years.

After a month of me harassing her, to let me use her as blog material, she finally relented. My hypothesis is that she knows she is supposed to log her sleepwalking and sleep-related antics, in the hope of actually receiving some HELP one day, and maybe being fodder for my blog will make her do it.

She did participate in a sleep study once, but since she was attached to numerous wires she said that she knew before going to sleep that there wouldn’t be a way for her to get up and walk around.  Her sleepwalking self can spy on her awake self, and understands these things, so Sleepwalking Heather didn’t even try to roam the facility, and the doctors weren’t able to witness it.  Since they didn’t witness her sleepwalking, the doctors said they couldn’t do anything.  It sure seems like they were just setting her up for failure, doesn’t it?  Maybe they just had no idea what to do to help, since they deal with mostly young children, and said they’d never had an adult report such extensive sleepwalking.

Her sleepwalking adventures are always interesting. One time, she put on an old dress from the back of her closet, stood in front of her bedroom window, holding the curtain back and staring blankly outside for hours and hours.  I’d imagine that may have been a smidge creepy to her neighbor across the street.  Another time, when she was on a diet, she kept waking up to find that she’d eaten bowls of cereal in her sleep.  She was really mad about this one. Heather The Sleepwalker will often hide things from Awake Heather, like her car keys (which go missing for weeks at a time) or her purse.  The other day she awoke to find herself standing, alone, in her dark basement, holding in her arms all of the light bulbs she had unscrewed.  Weird.  I can’t wait to report further about Heather The Sleepwalker’s antics.

Heather wrote down her most recent dream.  See, she is starting to keep better track of her night time occurrences – I can now say that my blog is helping people who have sleeping disorders.

HTS’s Zombie Dream:

S (boyfriend), T (friend) and I were at my parents house. We were very aware that the Zombie Apocalypse had begun.  I remember telling S that if he came back to the house to be careful when he knocked, because my Dad may have “turned” by then. I was very anxious about not being able to find my purse. Finally, I gave up and told the guys that since I didn’t have my I.D. we would have to go to a local bar instead of out of town like we still planned (?). There were two cars waiting outside and T chuckled and told me to take the jeep. I quickly found out he might have been laughing because it had no brakes. I was speeding down Jefferson street and kept going from drive to reverse because I couldn’t get it to slow down and didn’t have much room on the road. Finally, I have a genius idea. I will get on the highway and slow to a stop there. But  when I merge off the entrance ramp I realize that the highway  is covered with zombies in varying states of decay. They are everywhere and they are fast! I speed up to 80 mph+ and still they are keeping up with me. This is also when I realize that on top of being alone in the apocalypse and having no breaks, my Jeep also has no top on it. I’m trying to sideswipe the zombies on either side of me but this only ends in them somehow getting suction cupped to my vehicle, which then promptly turns into a cruise ship (this made sense in the dream). So, now I am on a large cruise ship with a bunch of zombies. However, the zombies somehow realize that this is MY cruise ship so they are doing their best not to eat me. The big difference between the cruise ship zombies and the highway zombies is that these new ones are very well mannered an all seemed to be dressed for formal night on the cruise. They can’t seem to stop smelling me though and telling me how delicious I would be. I am shaking and calling S repeatedly to see if he is still among the living. Meanwhile, I see that the cruise ship zombies have lined up for dinner and a chef is taking their orders. One says, “One male please”, another says, “2 females please”, and I realize that they are ordering humans for dinner.

My Thoughts On The Zombie Dream:

a)  What I initially find humorous about this is that when I imagine Heather sleepwalking, I sort of picture a zombie-like stumble.  Don’t you?

b) You should know that Heather is slightly obsessed with zombies.  She read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  She uses the zombie virus as a way to grab the interest of her students when teaching about infectious disease (she does have to point out to some students that it isn’t actually a real virus).  She was excited about a locally hosted zombie walk – a curiously morbid fundraiser to raise food for the needy.  She makes homemade cards valentines cards about loving someone like a zombie loves brains.  I’ll bet she has a zombie disaster action plan. I suggest she “like” the Facebook group “Stop Zombietis“, which is a group that marries the topics of zombies and sleep issues.  She’s. A. Zombie. Freak. Just one of the many reasons why I love her.

c) Heather’s coworker provided a solid interpretation of her dream. The zombies chasing Heather on the highway represents her 2nd hour class of freshmen, that she has indicated is one of the most difficult hours she has ever had, as a teacher, and the cruise ship zombies represent her 6th hour class of juniors and seniors, who are wonderful. Sounds pretty good to me. Heather told her 6th hour about the dream and now lovingly refers to the students in that class as her Cruise Ship Zombies.  High school students love stuff like this, in case you didn’t know.

Image credit: puppyapocalypse.com

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21 thoughts on “Heather, The Sleepwalker: An Introduction

  1. Fascinating stuff! Heather is a very good sport or letting you talk about her here on the blog. Thanks, Heather! But the sleepwalking IS disturbing. There must be SOMEONE who can help her?

  2. only a true friend would include such a wonderful introduction so that MAYBE people don’t think I’m as crazy as this all sounds-love you for that! I had another hilarious zombie nightmare last night that thanks to your prodding about my dreams I actually got out of bed and walked downstairs to find something to write it down on at 3am. I will send you details later! Great writing as usual!

  3. First of all, Heather sounds like an AMAZING person. I don’t know anyone who can juggle all that while continuing to give to her community. I like Heather. A lot. With that said, I have to mention that Heather’s sleepwalking is not only dangerous, but inconvenient. Don’t you just want to slap Sleepwalking Heather for hiding the keys or the purse? And the light bulbs? C’mon Sleepwalking Heather, have some class. I do have to say, the likeability factor among her students certainly must have soared, for, as you say, kids love that kind of stuff! To summarize: Heather is an awesome person, her Sleepwalking Self is trying to destroy Awake Self for sure, and I hope she gets some help.

  4. I’ve been hearing about, “Amazing Heather,” for years and years and am looking forward to finding out that logging her dreams and, “being fodder for my blog,” is actually helping her to achieve a more restful/safe existence.

  5. I haven’t slept walked in a really long time. However in times of great stress I do still sometimes do it. (Apparently I do talk in my sleep from time to time.) I do have one very vivid recollection of a sleepwalking incident during which I apparently showered and dressed myself. I woke up when I realized I was standing in an open doorway in the pitch black and they freezing winter wind hit me in the face.

  6. This is so interesting- I’ve never sleepwalked in my life, but I love stories of other people sleepwalking. Sorry, Heather- but you actually are good blog fodder. Tell us more Heather stuff! Makes me want to be a cruise ship zombie.

  7. Please make available two permanent markers in the immediate viscinity of Sleeping Heather and report back to your readers, post haste.

    Thank you.

  8. Pingback: Heather, The Sleepwalker: A Brief History | A Morning Grouch

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  10. How did Heather find where she put her car keys and purse? I think either myself or my husband sleepwalks as we keep finding money missing, even when I keep changing the place where I have it. We don’t spend it but we would really like to know where we have stashed it.

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