There is always a turning point.

For me it was when I woke up in the middle of the night beating my husband, Kevin with a pillow. For some people it’s the realization that they should quit smoking, or not drink so much – for me it was slowly waking up as I watched myself repeatedly beat Kevin.

I call this my turning point because it was when my sleepwalking and talking and terror became violent. It had clearly become violent. I remember waking up, not quite propped up on my elbows but close to it which is weird because I have the ab muscles of a newborn baby. For a few seconds I was sort of watching myself lift the pillow over my head again and again. When I tell this story to people they always laugh, which is natural and sometimes I laugh too. But I wasn’t that night. At some point I realized what I was doing and crumpled back down into bed saying, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry” over and over again. Kevin hadn’t even woken up.

In all the sleepwalking/sleep terror websites I visit it says that people will seek help when they eventually hurt a loved one, or someone they share a bed with. That sounds about right. I’ve never felt so bad about anything in my entire life. The next morning I asked him if he remembered what I did to him (which is a common occurence here) and after a little prodding he slowly pieced together the beat down. It wasn’t like a fun pillowy fight, it was like when you tell people you love all animals but see a spider in the bathroom and proceed to murder it over and over because it’s a god damn spider and it doesn’t belong in your shower.

Up until this point my own sleepy delusions were enacted on myself – I had never hurt someone else before. I have visions of someone attacking me in the night, or someone breaking in the house but for some (probably selfish?) reason, I’m the one they’re planning on attacking. When, in my dreams, I had a man point a gun in my face he was there for me, not for Kevin. Now I had overstepped my boundaries, as a sleeping partner and probably as a human.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, my turning point actually had a part 2. In the aftermath of the pillow beating (which would eventually happen again, but that’s a story for another day), we had discussed seeing a sleep specialist and even a psychologist, but the wait list for a neurologoy apointment was 199 years long, and required at least 45 referrals and a blood sample. (Well, not a blood sample, but the list was long and I had no referral). I took my time mulling over some options, depending solely on melatonin to get me through the night and just kept my fingers crossed.

One night we ended up seeing a movie called, “Sleep Walk with Me” written, directed and starring Mike Birbiglia. It was amazing. Birbiglia had succesfully, and hilariously, recreated some of his best sleepwalking/talking moments. I know people say this when they watch movies like “Rocky” or “Transformers”, but this felt like I was watching my own life. Right down to the very detail of him dreaming that someone was pointing a gun to his head. That is scary. I mean the event was scary, but someone else was experiencing this too, the same weird sleep terror.

In one part of the movie Birbiglia dreams that he is in some kind of official government office, and someone or something is coming to destroy him. His whole family is in the room and he knows that if he’s there they will die too, so he jumps out of the room. In his waking life he jumped out of a second floor hotel window.

That’s when I knew it was time to schedule a sleep study.

I’ll save the sleep study story for another day, but wanted you to know how I came to make it all official.


If you’re interested in seeing “Sleep Walk with Me” watch the trailer and check it out here:

I would highly suggest it.