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Sleepwalking (What is Worse, Not Sleeping or Not Knowing?)

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Greetings,

To my dear reader, I am sorry to say I must start with some background information to catch us up to the start of this story. You see I have been plagued with insomnia my entire life. Starting as a child, I was taken to doctors and put on medications… sometimes going a few days before I could fall asleep. Usually sleeping only a handful of hours in a night. Two to four hours of sleep most nights… some more. Many less…

In grade school, this seemed a blessing. I could play with Legos, Transformers, GI Joe and use the computer while my family slept. Watch late-night TV and no one would say anything… Nevertheless, I was always taking meds to try to sleep… The few hours of medicated sleep I achieved each night was nightmarish… I was plagued with night terrors and the side effects of the medication often made me groggy, impulsive, and somewhat paranoid. As a child growing up, I never understood this as paranoia until much later in life… I also found that when I did sleep I would sometimes sleepwalk and not always wake up inside the house. That is another story, and this I only write as background.

I grew to hate the meds, so I would cheek them, pretend to take them and spit them out after my parents left me. It gave me more time to read and explore the world of computers. So, the medication in my childhood became something I despised and doctors who gave me these meds that caused me to become different and have these nightmares, which to me seemed full of monsters… This fear and hatred would continue as I grew up, but again that is another story. Some of these nightmares and night terrors still haunt me to this day. I remember many of them vividly… One of the recurring ones was my family driving home and on a country road. Let me briefly state that we were attacked. I saw my family torn apart by monsters and myself gutted and left to die slowly. The first time I had this nightmare I was about six. I had dreams like this often when on the meds. I suffered thousands of deaths. I watched countless people murdered… But again, this isn’t about the dreams, but it is background. I could write volumes on the dreams and someday I might.

I hit a rough patch where I was not sleeping sometimes for days at a time again while I was in college. The sporadic sleep was taking its toll on me. I started to have health issues. My grades fell. My social life fell apart. I went back to these monsters out of necessity to try their newest poison as the lack of sleep was causing too many issues. They gave me every drug available on the market for sleep. Each one given one at a time and ramping up their doses to the maximum legal limits. I had a girlfriend spending the nights and she couldn’t take me being up all night pacing, reading, not sleeping. The meds would work for a few days to a week, then I would stop sleeping. I was even placed on narcotics and heavy tranquilizers. My doctors even tried to mix and match some drugs to try cocktails and experimental drugs… Some of the experimental drugs were… very bad. The terrors, the night sweats, the hallucinations, and still no sleep. After giving up on the meds again she left me as my lack of sleep disturbed her. My life spiraled again into lack of sleep and onto the brink of insanity.

I then started to recover. The after effects of the drugs wore off and I must have gotten over the hump as my health recovered. This sadly only lasted a few years, and my new girlfriend started to notice my lack of sleep and again my health went bad. She talked me into trying again. I refused to talk about the specifics of the past, but here is where the story really begins. The doctors tried another set of meds. Every couple of weeks, a new prescription and a new failure. One medication would last three days, another two, and occasionally one would reach five days. Every time I got hope of sleep, my body adapted and the pills lost all effect. I was groggy and fatigued all the time and the nights were a blur. My focus was lost. The lingering effects of the meds made nights strange, scary, disjointed, and terrifying again.

I started noticing things around the house had been moved overnight. I even noticed this when I was the only person there at night. My sleepwalking was back. However, it was just walking. More locks, deadbolts, anything to make sure I do not leave the house. The night terrors also returned, but this story is not about those. It is about the sleepwalking. This was the scariest part. I would wake up in a different room. I would wake up and my jacket had been moved.

Then it started getting stranger. My street bike would move positions overnight. My car would be pulled in the spot forward instead of back. There were bags from potato chips in my pocket from gas stations. I even found a receipt from a gas station over 50 miles away. How is this possible? I checked my debit card statements and found I was going to bars, restaurants, gas stations, and more… And not all in my own town. I was traveling while I was sleeping on these meds. I don’t mean a little corner store trip... I was driving two to three hours away from my house and ringing up charges.

One night my girlfriend was spending the night. She woke up to the sounds of power tools. I was building shelves using a circular saw while asleep. She talked to me and thought I was awake, but when I finished I returned to bed and laid down and had no memory of the incident. She thought it was strange, but this dates back to my sleepwalking from the monster’s poison as a kid. The medicines scared me again. Between the traveling and the use of tools I was afraid of what I was doing while asleep. If I could build a shelf and use tools… drive a few hours. What else was I capable of? What else could I do?

A few nights after the shelving incident, I woke up in the front room with blood on my hands. I was not bleeding anywhere. I quickly washed it off and checked on the girlfriend. She was still fast asleep. I quickly washed and changed my clothes to hide the blood. I did not know where I was, what I had done, if the blood was human or animal. I did not know what the poison had made me do. So, I stopped taking the meds again. My hours of sleep fell off as did the charges on my accounts while I was asleep. I told no one about the night of the bloody hands because I did not know what to think of it myself. Did I hurt someone? Kill someone? I do not know… Why was there blood? If I told anyone, would they lock me up? Would my sleepwalking and the meds be an excuse? The paranoia from my childhood reared its head and I hid the night. I told no one and destroyed all evidence of it. But, sometimes I get flashes of a fight and a lot of red…

A few months later, I ran into someone in the grocery store who “knew me”. I had never seen him before. He asked why I stopped coming around a few months ago and listed one of the bars my sleeping-self had been frequenting. He said the rest of the crew missed me. I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “Sorry man, work changed my shift a bit and I can’t pull the late nights right now. Maybe in a few more months I can come back.” He seemed sad, but accepted the answer. When he referred to “crew” I was curious, but had to play it down as asking too many questions that I should know the answers to would make this more awkward than it already was…

I had started to notice that some people would nod their head in recognition of me. I would always nod back. This made me want to go outside less and less. Who were these people? Why were they nodding to me? Was it just simple mistaken identity? Did they know me from the sleeping-me? The hidden me? That which comes out when my eyes close?

It had been about a year now since my last set of meds. My sleep was so abysmal again that I was having trouble at work. I was in a constant fog. Once again, my health started to deteriorate. My girlfriend talked me into seeing the monsters again to try more poison. I never told her about all of this. I did not want to scare her. So, I went to the monsters for her, to make her happy. The fatigue and tiredness were so strong at this point that I really did not have the strength to argue against. More poison was prescribed to me.

The charges started appearing on the cards again. I would find cigarette butts in my car’s ashtray. I do not smoke, but either sleeping-me, or someone sleeping-me was driving around smoked in my car. I started going to that bar again. One day on my way to work, I noticed my passenger seat was full of blood. It looked like someone was shot or stabbed and then rode in my car. This chilled me to the bone and I cleaned the seats. I cleaned the rugs. To make it more plausible and hide my activity I “accidentally” dumped some milk on my seat and claimed the jug opened on my way home. I could not believe how much blood I cleaned out of the carpets. I was scared again. What had I done? What had sleeping-me done? Who bled in my car so much? And why were they bleeding in my car and not an ambulance? I kept this inside. Held this in. I was shaken and scared. But I needed to take the poison causing this for my health. But what was I doing? Who was I when I was asleep?

One day while reading the paper, I saw the guy I ran into in the grocery store. He had been shot and his body found in a shallow grave near a river on the northwest side of town. I knew the place. It was secluded and I had been by it as I have a friend who lives near there. The estimation of his time of death in the news story was the week I cleaned the blood out of my car… This is when I stopped reading the paper. Did I shoot him? Was he the person who bled in my car? What were we doing that he was shot? Did I bury him in a shallow grave? These questions ricocheted through my brain. I told no one and the entire time I silently screamed. Who was I when I slept? What was I doing?

One day when I got in my car an odor of death hit me. In my trunk was blood and a shovel. There were patterns of blood spray inside the trunk. That day I left work early, and told my girlfriend that I was going to work late. I drove out of town, stripped the rug out of my trunk, and burned it. I scrubbed everything down with bleach and solvents. I went to a junkyard out of town, purchased a used trunk liner for my car using cash, and installed it. I even swapped out the jack and spare tire, as I was afraid that I did not clean them enough. What had I done? What had sleeping-me been up to? Was sleeping-me taunting me? Testing me? Leaving me clues to the violence he was involved in or a warning to stay on the meds?

Every day, for weeks after that I was waiting for police to come and get me. For whatever the sleeping-me had done. I covered up his deeds and lived in fear of sleep. Were the doctors the monsters I thought them to be or was I the monster? I caught a news story about a body buried in a farm field and burned. It was near the area I burned the lining from my trunk. Did awake-me burn the evidence near where sleeping me disposed of a body? Was sleeping me guiding me and toying with me subconsciously?

I stopped taking my meds. I lay pretending to be asleep. Every night my mind races with what I have seen… What I have cleaned up… Theories on what I might be doing… My sleeping-self is doing… If he gets caught or killed I also fall. But what is he doing and why?



Written by Hugh Fokker
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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