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.  

CN

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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HBM068: The Wake Up Stick [EXPLICIT]

When Dylan Wright placed his first Craigslist ad back in 2006, he called himself a “nice and genuine person with waking up problems.”  He was looking for someone to help him in the mornings.  First it was phone calls, but those didn’t work, so he moved on to something more personal.

Dylan’s problem is that, left to his own devices, he sleeps and doesn’t stop sleeping: “Seventeen hours was the longest I ever slept...that’s like four times as much as some people get daily.” And he’s tried to fix it in a lot of ways—bright lights suspended over his bed hooked to a timer, multiple alarms—nothing worked.  He lost jobs, missed flights, messed up personal relationships, all because he couldn’t wake up.

So for most of the last decade, Dylan’s hired someone to come to his house, and physically wake him up.  “Nothing weird or inappropriate about this, it’s just a job.” he says.  Dylan estimates he’s had ten people fill this job.  Most of them quit abruptly, or just stopped showing up.  But he likes his current guy, who doesn’t even come into the house.   Instead, he’s taken to knocking on Dylan’s bedroom window with a long stick (that way he doesn’t have to stand in the flowerbeds).  He knocks until Dylan gets out of bed puts on clothes and makes himself some coffee.

It’s $10 per day, five days per week, sometimes six.

Lisa Cantrell produced this piece.  She’s the host of An Inexact Science, which is a podcast about human psychology.  

Music: The Black Spot

 

In other news:  there’s a chance that you subscribed to our podcast while you were looking for the work of another podcaster named Derek Hayes.  He has a show that’s also about monsters (though his are more the bigfoot, chupacabra and hellhound variety).  Until recently, his show had a very similar name to ours.  So, to clear up any confusion, Derek’s changed his podcast’s name to Monsters Among Us.