Hi.  My name is Lindsey.  I’m 30 years old at the time of this post and I have narcolepsy, but not in the way that you think. I won’t randomly fall asleep while we’re talking* but I might talk to people who don’t exist**.   Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

It takes a normal person about 10 minutes to fall asleep and then another 90 minutes to fall into R.E.M. sleep. 

It takes me about 4 minutes to do these things. 

You might be thinking ‘but Lindsey, it sounds like you’re a SUPER SLEEPER! 4 minutes?! That’s gotta be a record!!’

It’s not. I don’t think. 

What it is is something that makes me one of the Worst Sleepers You Will Ever Meet.  And if you’ve ever slept in the same bed/room/house as me, you know that this is a title which I hold near and dear to my heart. 

In the four or so minutes it takes me to fall asleep, my brain convinces me that there is someone/something in my bedroom/falling on me. I’ve seen a tour group walking past my dresser and I’ve seen a shirtless humanoid robot with no legs but wheels where the waist would be wearing a beanie cap. I’ve seen the walls of my apartment start to collapse which required me to stand up on the bed and put my hands on the wall in an effort to hold them in place.  On the scarier nights I’ve seen a person swinging an axe or a knife at me which usually results in my screaming so loudly that I wake the other 6 people in my apartment building.  (Not my apartment, but the whole building.)  And on other nights, I sit up, point at the window and yell “yonder!”

It was the “swinging axe” vision that forced me to see a doctor.  That and my husband threatening to sleep on the couch for the rest of our marriage. 

So see a doctor I did.  And another doctor. And another. And yet another until finally a neurologist recommended that I take aMultiple Sleep Latency Test or a “sleep for 20 minutes every two hours while you have electrodes glued to your head” test.  This test, I was informed, was to test for narcolepsy.

“Narcolepsy? Really? Me? That’s unpossible!  I don’t sleep!  That’s the problem!”  Or so I thought.  Turns out, I suffer from something called hypnagogic hallucinations which is basically a fun term for “sees things as you’re falling asleep or waking up.” (Partner this with GastritisHashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and a little Plantarsaurus and you have a basic look at my medical history.) 

From what I’ve seen and read, they aren’t exactly sure what causes hypnagogic hallucinations but they are generally seen in patients with narcolepsy so that was my diagnosis.  And narcolepsy is caused by a faulty little gene from your parents.  And my parentwith narcolepsy is my father who fell asleep as my mother was reading the definition of my condition to him.  Awww! Thanks, Dad!  But this is where Dad and I differ.  He can fall asleep anywhere but I just get to see imaginary objects and people as I’m trying to fall asleep.  Lucky me.  And lucky the Husband too because not only do I see these imaginary things, I talk to them.  Or yell at them.  Or occasionally jump out of bed and run screaming down the hall to get away from them.  You’re jealous, admit it. 

So now I’m on medication to suppress my R.E.M. sleep which causes my dreams to be a little…odd. And occasionally, I still have the fun hallucinations, like last night when I saw a large man standing over my bed with a book.  In my head, I kicked out at him.  In real life, I also kicked out at him.  Over top of Husband.  Which woke him up.  Naturally.  The man is a saint, I tell you.  You should ask him. He’ll tell you all about it. Usually adding this high pitched scream noise that apparently I make in my sleep.  Or he’ll make this noise that sounds kind of like “bauh bauh bauh” that apparently I make all the time when I’m speaking. 

Or you can read this blog.  It’s quieter. 

*Unless you’re really boring
**Which might be embarrassing or terrifying for you, depending on the situation.

 

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