If you didn’t read HTS’s intro – check it out here. Heather slept-walked quite a bit, when she was young. She says that her family didn’t seem very concerned about it. Her mom would see her walking around, but since Heather always walked back into her room, her mom knew she was safe, so didn’t see any reason to intervene.
As a teenager, Heather doesn’t recall sleepwalking, I imagine she thought she had outgrown this behavior. But, the episodes started again when she was in her mid-twenties. This was a stressful time, as Heather was going through a divorce. The sleepwalking didn’t stop though, after the stress of this event abated, and she has continued to sleepwalk ever since.
Heather explains that there are two types of sleepwalking: the kind you can remember and the kind you never remember. Heather’s sleep walking used to be of the latter variety. In her mid- twenties she would have no memory of getting up and walking around at night, but she would know she slept-walked because of the clues she found in the morning. During this time, the obvious hint was generally the fact that she would go to sleep in her pajamas, but wake up with different clothes on. Interestingly, the garb she arose in was typically a dress she hadn’t worn in years. It was not always the same dress. She never awoke in something convenient or comfortable to put on, but always a dress from the far corners of the closet.
From here, the sleep walking worsened, and it hasn’t gone away. Sometimes, Heather remembers events from her nighttime amblings in the morning, sometimes her memory is sparked by a clue left behind, and sometimes she has no memory of the nocturnal escapades at all. This makes it difficult for her to give a weekly average regarding how often she sleepwalks. Her best guess is at least twice a week, sometimes much more. She hasn’t found a connection between her sleepwalking and her times of either high or low stress. The only trigger that she is sure of is when she sleeps somewhere other than her own house. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she sleepwalks more when she’s sleeping at the new place, but more often than not, she will sleep walk upon returning home.
She’s slept in the same bedroom for 14 years, so Awake Heather knows every nook and cranny, while Sleepwalking Heather is quite often confused about where she is. She’s found that cracking her curtains for a little light sometimes helps her orientation. As mentioned above, this is exacerbated after overnight trips. If she goes on a camping trip, when she returns she may sleep walk, thinking that she is still sleeping in a tent, or that she is fishing for crayfish. If she sleeps at a friend’s cottage, she might sleep walk and picture herself in one of the cottage rooms. This always means that the door is in a different place than the door in her actual bedroom. This stresses her out to no end, and she struggles to find the door (where there is none) in the middle of the night. Did you get a good mental picture of her banging on a dresser to get out of the room? Because that’s what she does. Sounds funny, but she says it is actually pretty scary. She doesn’t remember that her boyfriend is there, and that she could ask him for help, so she just panics, and sometimes cries, to herself.
Sleepwalking Heather is often very confused about not only where she is, but also who she is with. She says it feels like she has temporary amnesia. One of the most disturbing things for her is waking up and not knowing who she is sleeping next to. She has been with her boyfriend for almost 7 years, but she often has to crawl over him and look at his face, because she is completely confused and disoriented. Once she sees his face she feels a huge amount of relief. Often times after returning from a trip with her friends, she wakes up and thinks that he is just a good girlfriend of hers. She says she will be laying there feeling incredibly embarrassed, because she thinks she went to bed with her friend, while naked, or, even worse, she thinks she is spooning with her friend.
She does note, however, that she has never forgotten about her daughter, and says that she will often check up on her during her late night meanderings. She admits that her daughter doesn’t always appreciate this, especially when she wakes up to Heather standing on the ladder of her loft, just staring at her. Poor girl.
A special thank you to Heather, for sharing her intriguing stories (and for writing most of this post, which I just tweaked, a bit).
This post is a part of Love Links – hosted by FreeFringes.com