31. When you hallucinate that there is a man climbing in your bedroom window while your sleeping and you run down the stairs of your two story house looking for help while still asleep, that’s when you REALLY need to make the appointment to get your sleeping disorder diagnosed and treated.

I’ve never been a good sleeper.

My mother tells me what it was like living in a third floor walkup with me as a child and how she’d have to use the chained lock across the top of the door at night not keep others out but to keep me in because I was prone to sleep walk. My sister will tell stories of sharing a room with me and how I’d talk at night, in my sleep, sometimes having conversations with her that’d I’d never remember.

My husband, however, he’s gotten the worst of it, having witnessed episodes related to my parasomnia over the past sixteen (!!!) years. Nights when we’d watch one of the Alien movies at night (They come out at night…Mostly) and I’d wake up SCREAMING a bloodcurdling scream that you only ever read about because I’d see one of the aliens standing in the corner of the room. Or he’d roll over in the night and brush my arm and I’d scream and jump from the bed, imagining only god know what. Some nights, I’d see big giant bugs dropping down at us from the ceiling and I’d get my pillow and fend them off, swinging in my sleep at the air.

The worst was definitely the time I saw a man climbing through the bedroom window and I leapt from the bed and, heart pounding, ran from the room, down the stairs and to the back of the house as I looked for my husband. I bypassed the front door, fortunately, and woke to find the family room of course empty, my husband asleep in bed upstairs, and of course, no one actually climbing in the window.

I got help after that – seeing a sleep specialist who is actually an acquaintance of Taylor’s) and went to a sleep lab twice. I blogged about the results way back when (I Asked My Sleep Specialist If I Was Unusual; He Kindly Said I Was Very Special) and agreed to sleeping pills when my doctor expressed concern not just for my safety but also for my husband.

I took the pills for a few years, and slept soundly, without further episodes of parasomnia, and eventually went off them when we decided to try to have a baby. Stayed off them when I did get pregnant and am still off them now, as I breast feed and need to get up during the night.

I’ve started having minor episodes at night in the past few months, since Clara’s been born. Some are unrelated to her – I see the ceiling fan overhead and think it’s a giant spider or I see my husband sleeping next to me but don’t recognize him – but a lot of it’s related to my daughter. I spend a lot of time – in my sleep – looking for her, convinced she’s in the bed with us, or on the floor beside the bed. One night I woke up digging through the basket of clean laundry that was next to the bed, convinced she was under the clothes. And then I wake up and realize after a few panicked moments that she’s in her bed, where she’s supposed to be.

Even if I WANTED to co-sleep, we couldn’t, because of my parasomnia and how active I obviously still am in those twilight hours.

(To be continued).

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