What I Do In My Sleep

Firstly, this is one of my favourite poems.  If you don’t want to read about cake, pish and menstrual blood, read this instead.  It’s called The Lady’s Reward by Dorothy Parker.

So, I’m a sleepwalker.    I’ve sleepwalked since I was a child.  When I was around eight years old, I sleepwalked out of the house, down the street, barefooted but open-eyed, knocked on my neighbour’s door and demanded that he fix my bike.  I was gently guided home.  I don’t remember this.  It was, like so much of my life, recounted to me afterwards by my family.  I should have realised at eight that that was going to be the order of things.

In the past few years, there has been a resurgence of sleepwalking.  This is due, I think, to Seroquel.   With Seroquel I’ve had sleep paralysis too.  It’s like it switches off my body but my mind keeps tottering around.  The ghost rising from the corpse, looking down and saying, “Bloody hell!  Right, I’m off to have a sandwich”.

The combination of Seroquel and alcohol is a particularly potent one.

Without alcohol, my Seroquel sleepwalking is benign enough.  I eat.  I wake up, walk in a drugged haze to the kitchen, locate- with magical accuracy-whatever has the highest percentage of carbohydrates and then I eat them.  Recently I have woken up with white chocolate in my belly button.  Yesterday, I pilfered two bags of crisps.   Hooray for house warming left overs!  I have no recollection of this- I never do.  I leave a trail of crumbs which the ants march upon.   A few weeks ago I took a carrot cake and ate it on the toilet.  I realised that I had done so when it was missing from the fridge and there was a little ring of icing and walnut segments growing around the toilet bowl.

This is making me fat.  I try to compensate during the day by eating less, but fat I still am, and fatter I am becoming.  It is distressing, but I’m used to being fat.  I have always been, to some degree, rather fat.  But it isn’t hurting anybody, except for Robert when I sit on his knee.

Seroquel combined with alcohol- ah.  Recently it has led to two particularly hideous episodes/

So, this was about two years ago. It was a jolly night- two of my friends were staying with me and my boyfriend.

We had dinner and lovely amounts of alcohol. To bed! Lots of yawning. We put the inflatable mattress on the living room floor and bid them goodnight.

The next part of this was recounted to me by my boyfriend, who was watching from the door way, hiding his glorious morning erection with a pillow.

Apparently, stark bollock naked, I woke up from bed and wandered into the living room.  They woke up and watched me as I obliviously got down on all fours in the corner of the room and proceeded to piss myself. Apparently I craned my neck backwards to watch the extremely long, very noisy stream of wee as I did so.

As I got up and walked away from my damp patch, I stepped back over the mattress, onto the bloke friend’s head. He got a fantastic view of my vagina. I was at least in the right mind to say, “Sorry”, to which he quietly responded, “It’s okay”.

Robert guided me back to bed.  I didn’t believe him when he told me. I tried to bury into the pillow, into the mattress, into the centre of the earth with embarrassment.  But it was mostly an act- I felt an odd sort of pride that I had been so far gone, in such an animalistic act.  It was beyond the pale.  And my friends are at least odd enough to appreciate- well, my being odd enough.  And Robert, who is also odd, counts it amongst the sexiest things he’s ever seen.  Someone in such abandonment of conventions is sexy to him.  It’s not to me- I can just imagine my stretchmarked stomach in the dawn light and sagging breasts like some sort of cow.

The next thing is only repulsive if you think eating your own menstrual blood is disgusting.

A few months ago, Robert burst into the bedroom, waking me up from a (somewhat drugged due to insomnia) sleep.

“THERE’S A FUCKING MOUSE ON THE SOFA!” he bellowed. He is very phobic of such things. Great with spiders and cockroaches, but shits it when Mickey comes to visit.

I was in no state to even understand him so made a noise and turned around to sleep.

“Come and get the mouse”, he beseeched. “The cats are batting it around!”, but I slept on. I don’t like mice either anyway, especially not dead ones.

So, he posted on Facebook, like a wuss-“There’s a dead mouse on the sofa. I’m too scared to touch it. I will give you £allmymoney if you come and get rid of it for me”.

My fetching 4ft 10″ female friend happened to be in the area. She valiantly stepped up to the challenge.

About two hours later, somewhat more lucid, I awoke. My boyfriend came into the bedroom.

“What happened to the mouse?” I asked.

He glanced down sheepishly.


And then he explained that my friend had come, approached the chair with caution and then turned to him and said,

“Robert, it’s a used tampon”.

I neglected to tell him the tampon was there because in my sleepwalking state, I had sleepily wandered into the sitting room, pulled it out with the intention of flushing it away, then instead sat on the sofa, chewed on the end until it was frayed, then gone back to bed.

He needs his eyes tested.

Now- those things, tragic and unavoidable as they are, amuse me.  But my sleepeating is starting to fail in its amusement.  I have a lock on my door, but as Robert works night shifts, this means locking him out of the bedroom as I sleep.  It can’t be opened from the outside when it’s locked.  I would rather not do that for many reasons.  One, he needs to sleep, two, I enjoy sharing a bed with him and three, my panic attacks have returned and suddenly waking up, with my body being flung upright and my breath ragged and strangled is not a state to be in with a locked door.  The anxiety is making it worse, I think.  I don’t sleep eat all the time, but have been mad-anxious lately and it’s stepped up.

Fitting locks on the cupboards and fridge seems overkill, and besides, I can’t afford it (or indeed, want to spend money on more important things.  The cupboard doors are horizontal at the top, rather than vertical, so it would also involve drilling into fancy wooden worktops and I’d be out a deposit).  My now “oh-fuck” level of poverty may be the solution.  I can’t really afford food any more so soon there’ll be nothing more to eat.  Huzzah!

Do any of you have this problem?  How do you solve a problem like eating the crap out of anything not nailed down in your sleep?

14 Responses

  1. I don’t know whether to be amused or sympathetic. Will a combination of both work?!

    I remember in the very recent wake of one Seroquel dose increase that I went out on the razz with A and one of his good friends. The combination of booze and the drug had made me a bit hyper and, vaguely aware that I was being a bit OTT and also needing to piss at the same time, I went off to the bog. I remember nothing until the next day.

    The long and the short of it was this: after about a half hour absence, A’s friend was concerned and asked the barmaid if she’d see if I was OK. She went into the main women’s toilets and found it completely deserted. On the offchance, she went into the men’s. I wasn’t there either (fortunately?). Instead, she eventually found me in to the single disabled pisser. I’d passed out on the paved floor with my arm reaching up to the toilet itself…all with my underwear and tights around my fucking ankles.

    Not my proudest moment.

    I’ve had sleep paralysis since I started taking it too – or, at least, I think that’s what it’s normally been. It’s a great drug in terms of being effective for its indications…but the side effects are a bitch.

    Anyway, thanks for making me smile tonight 🙂


  2. How dextrous/determined are you whlst sleepwalking? You can get multi packs of child locks for cupboards quite cheaply. We use them to stop our cat, though I think they fool me more.

  3. 🙂 seaneen!
    And i thought my seroquel induced depression was a bitch!
    Your honesty is beautiful.
    I dont know what you can do.
    Maybe put visiual obsticales
    In front of all the food. But if your prone to rummaging through the cupboards……it wont help.
    Masking tape is a cheap option? As long as your sleepwalking mind is easily fooled……
    Oh dear i wish you good luck with this battle.
    X o x

  4. I gotta admit that this post was entertaining. I thought i was bad when I lost control in my sleep, but it usually involved falling asleep in front of my coworkers and mumbling things that made no sense. Everyone around me could see that there was something wrong with my brain.

  5. Ahh, Seaneen. Humour is a great way to tackle such crappy goings on. I giggled my way through your post; I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this.

    For dissociated night time wandering, with varying degrees of failure, I’ve tried a variety of things. The idea is to provoke some kind of sensory change that is grounding.

    – Mini wind chimes on door handles
    – A washing up bowl of water by my bed
    – Keeping the light off in my bedroom but a light on in the hall
    – Sleeping in silence in my bedroom but putting music on in the hall (the volume was tricky to balance with this one)

  6. Glad to see you back writing again! 🙂

  7. The comment about dexterity got me thinking – I used to sleep walk a lot as a child and simple things like an elastic band around the two cupboard handles easily overcame me – not sure if that was because I was six, or asleep, but might work?

    My other favourite thing was wandering around turning the lights on…

    Sleep-peeing is not unusual – I have a friend who wee’d on a chair while staying at a hotel, (and she sleep-walked naked into the living room while her brother was watching TV – she was mortified) and I slept-walked into my Grandad’s wardrobe and attempted to pee there.
    So, yay for sleep peeing!

  8. Eep. I think I’d find this quite scary, but really glad your friends are great and understanding.

    Hope the panic attacks ease up soon. xx

  9. Panic attacks suck, and it sounds like this does, too.

    Would sleeping with duck-taped-on mittens help?

  10. I had a booze and seroquel induced bit of embarrassment not long ago… it starts with me sitting on someone’s kitchen floor and ends with me passed out in bar bathroom yelling “BODY TORSO GERMAN NOW!” at the top of my lungs to the people that came to claim me.

    i also have a friend who sleep peed in her parents closet….with her parents watching in bed.

    I also get sleep paralysis, watching my body from above type situations… where my mind is going, but my body is not. Also get sleep panics.

    I have no good idea how to stop your sleepwalking/eating besides possibly trying to physical obstacles in the way that if you bump into might wake you up or at least impede you…perhaps putting chimes or something that will make noise on the cupboards or doors? bah.

  11. Did the mouse-remover friend get paid anyway?

    I know someone who nearly ate a sexual courgette from their housemate’s bedroom. They said all vaginal secretions would be removed if it was peeled, but nobody else was having it. Thankfully I was away that weekend.

  12. […] I have written before about my sleepwalking tales. […]

  13. Missed this beauty of a post. I took Seroquel for 1 day and just the effects from that dose scared me off of it forever. I do not sleep walk nor sleep pee but know folks who have and they were not medicated on Rx and/or alcohol.

    I think I’m in love with Robert now. Before it was just a summer infatuation.

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