5 August 2013

Sleepwalking to a cure?

Not only am I a perfectionist, I'm also a somnambulist - a sleepwalker. Strangely, it was my OCD that helped me to realise this.

The first clue was when, one morning, I noticed that a magnetic photo frame was in a lower position than usual on the fridge door. It did occur to me that I might have adjusted it in my sleep, but I quickly dismissed the idea, as moving the frame seemed such a pointless thing to do: I'm too logical to accept that sleepwalking activities might not be. I persuaded myself that it had slipped down the door - yet somehow not fallen off.

Next, it was a floppy toy dog relocating itself overnight from its usual perch, on the back of a chair in my bedroom, to the seat. Occasionally, I do find things out of place, if I've been interrupted during my ordering, so there was a chance I'd left it there. The dog was sitting with its head resting on its front paws, though, so had obviously been placed in position, rather than abandoned.
Image courtesy of: Feelart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Then, again overnight, a mug turned up six inches to the left of its usual place in the kitchen cupboard. This time I knew I hadn't (consciously) put it there, as I'd left it to dry on the draining rack the previous evening, along with other items that I hadn't yet put away.

The night I woke to find myself standing in front of my wardrobe, with no idea why, was proof that I was prone to sleepwalking - and that I had, in all likelihood, moved the frame, dog and mug in my sleep.

The latest incident was a few weeks ago, when the heatwave started. Before going to bed, I folded up the cover I use over my duvet and left it on the floor, with a pillow and plastic bag of new clothes standing on top of it. I woke in the night, baking hot, to find the cover spread over my duvet, with no recollection of how it had got there. In the morning, I discovered the pillow and bag toppled over on the floor.

So, what I've also now realised is that my sleepwalking brain doesn't seem to have compulsive tendencies, and defies my usual 'rules' about where, or how, I place things. The pillow and bag may only have been in a temporary position, but I'd have been compelled to restore them to that position if I'd been awake. In fact, I'd probably have put the light on to ensure I left them standing just as neatly. My sleepwalking brain had no such qualms, happily leaving them any-old-how.

Apparently, sleepwalkers wake in a state of low consciousness that allows them to perform activities they're unaware of. If I could only operate in that state all of the time, it would make fighting my compulsions a whole lot easier.

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