HBM084: Are You Sure You're Awake?

Chrissy was having trouble remembering who she was when she woke up.  First she thought it was early-onset dementia, then she thought it was schizophrenia.  She had recurring hallucinations about being stalked by a beast that would talk to her while she slept.  

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Content Note:

- Language

A doctor eventually told her she was waking up frequently throughout the night, some 30+ times per hour.  It was this inability to maintain a regular sleep cycle that helped her get a diagnosis of narcolepsy, explaining Chrissy’s excessive sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and sometimes episodes of cataplexy (sudden loss of muscle control after having a strong emotional response).

Chrissy’s diagnoses frightened her. She tried to pretend it wasn’t true. This attitude drastically changed one day when she woke up in traffic, driving 100kph with her kids in the back seat.  She finally accepted her illness, recognized it as a beast, and looked for ways to feed it that wouldn’t affect her children.  She says that’s the only way it’s won—if it gets her kids.  

This episode was produced by Bec Fary. Bec is a freelance audio producer and creator of the podcast Sleep Talker. Bec’s show is about sleep, dreams, and nightmares, and she’s covered narcolepsy before. That’s how Chrissy got in touch with Bec to share her story. If you have a story you want to share with us, get in touch.

This episode was edited by Bethany Denton and Jeff Emtman. Our editor at KCRW is Nick White.

Music: Phantom Fauna | | |  The Black Spot


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HBM056: It Works Better in Movies

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When Lina Misitzis was a teenager, she told people she was dying.  She wasn't.  But, an entire genre of "dying girl gets the guy" movies taught her that landing a boyfriend required a certain brevity on this planet.  She only lied to men, men she wanted to be with. 

Content Note: Explicit Content

That was more than ten years ago, but the guilt of exploiting imaginary illness for (failed) romantic gain stays with her to the present.  Julia Wallace, her therapist, thinks that Lina can overcome this guilt by re-writing the story of her teenage years, by calling three people she wronged and telling the truth.   So, Lina does.   

Music: The Black Spot ||| Serocell

Lina Misitzis produced this piece.  Jeff Emtman edited it with help from Bethany Denton and Nick White.

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HBM039: A Goddamn Missionary

Terry Crowley understands that he is an imperfect hero. But his efforts to help people in crisis are made possible by his ability to speak their language. That's because Terry himself has Bipolar Disorder and has been treated five times for thinking he was Jesus.

But Terry, who splits his time between the small town of Hoquiam, Washington and Seattle, knows that keeping his delusions in check will mean the success of his mission to help his friends and family and the "crazies" on the street that he checks in with.

The simple fact is that people who live on the street are more likely to have mental illnesses. PBS has a good factsheet about the knowns and unknowns of homelessness

In this episode of Here Be Monsters, Terry often refers to Manic Depression, a condition that, per the DSM-5, has been reclassified as Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar Disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy levels, memory, concentration, sleep, sex drive, appetite and self esteem.

The causes of Bipolar Disorder are unknown, but it's thought to be hereditary.

Bipolar Disorder can disrupt personal and professional relationships, but it is treatable. Therapy, medication, support networks can help mitigate its negative impacts.

Bipolar Disorder often goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or untreated. If you experience symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, or know someone who does, help is available.

More information about Bipolar Disorder from the National Institute of Mental Health

If you're feeling suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US, at 1-800-273-TALK

For help outside of the US, here is a list of suicide prevention hotlines for almost every country


This episode was produced by Jeff Emtman with help from our Producer in Training, Grant Shprintz, and our story editor, Bethany Denton.

Music on the show from: Phantom Fauna ||| The Black Spot ||| Lucky Dragons

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