Confessions of an Inadvertent Sleepwalker

ONE OF THE LAST STRAWS for Ann was when I tried to feed bananas to our cat at 3 in the morning.

“You’re going to talk to your doctor about this,” she said emphatically.

So I did. I told Dr. E. about the bananas, about my incoherent wee-hours monologues, about waking up in the kitchen wondering what I was doing there.

“You’re sleepwalking,” Dr. E. said, also emphatically.

Now, I had always imagined sleepwalking as something comedic, like one sees in Bugs Bunny cartoons. But there’s nothing funny about the disorientation, or the manic need to make oneself understood despite talking nonsense, or the misplaced sense of random purpose.

Sleepwalking feels like watching your actions through the bottom of a Coke bottle; your vision is distorted, but whatever you’re doing or saying utterly feels like the right thing to do or say at the time. You can hear yourself and others perfectly, but you wonder why the person you’re talking to can’t understand what you’re saying despite an heroic effort. It would actually be a pleasant (or at least diverting) experience if it weren’t so fraught with incapacity.

Fortunately, we live in a small apartment, so there’s not much room to wander or get into any serious mischief. And Ann is good about asking me if I know what I’m doing, making sure I’m awake and lucid. “Count to ten,” she’ll say, or something like. It usually works, and I’m grateful for her efforts.

Best we can tell, the sleepwalking may be a side effect of some of the medications I take. They keep me sane and stable, however, and I would be loath to give them up. Besides, the mobile semiconsciousness only happens a half-dozen times a month, and I can sometimes awaken myself with little external help. I like to believe I’m getting better at it.

Still, she should probably hide the bananas.

1 comment for “Confessions of an Inadvertent Sleepwalker

  1. Alana
    2018.10.18 at 2315

    I’ve lived with sleeptalkers and sleepwalkers. I just wake up screaming sometimes. I’ll take the talking. xo

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