What the fudge just happened to me?
November 8, 2005 12:43 PM   Subscribe

This is quite possibly the strangest thing that I've ever done in my short adult life. I'm really quite stunned as to what just occurred because it seems so out of character for me. I know I'm not still dreaming. Yeah, I'm fairly sure of that. But anyway, what the heck happened only a few moments ago? And where to begin? Please, read on. Nothing too freaky inside. Promise!

Well, friends, this is one of those stories that you might find difficult to believe. All I can do though is best backtrack the situation from when I went to bed last night (early this morning). Yeah, I think it was about 3:00 AM. First, I popped one Murelax tablet to take the edge off the dozing off process. That kicked in by 3:15 AM and I was out like a light. Happy days. Obviously all was okay up until sometime between then and now. I'll take a guess and say it was about 5:30 AM when things started getting weird. And the weirdness? Well, without warning I found myself outside of my apartment walking around the complex completely naked. Yes, I was aware of my nakedness and had covered my genitals with my hand (didn't want to shock anyone unexpectedly). It still felt surreal though. It was like I was still dreaming and that I had control over the dream. You know that feeling you get when you think you can wake up and it'll all be over? Um, well that ultimately didn't happen for me. For example, soon I realised that I was locked out of my apartment, half pilled up and very groggy, and had no way back in to my unit (keys were locked inside). This is when I quietly started to panic. It was real. I'd actually done what I thought could never happen (e.g. lose complete control over my conscious self and essentially sleepwalk into an unsavoury situation.) You can't begin to imagine this feeling (maybe some of you can unfortunately). Anyway, I figured I must get back in to my apartment at all costs. It was lucky too that at 6 AM in the morning not many people were around. I think the garbage man saw me though. Perhaps I made his day. Oh well. Whatever.

And the upshot? Yes, obviously things worked out because I'm back inside typing this post to MetaFilter. I ended up forcing the flywire from my bedroom window and splitting the mesh just enough for my waistline to get through (about a 15" gap give or take an inch or two). Sure, I fudged up the window and it'll need to be repaired. That's the least of my worries though. I am just more concerned about something like this happening again. I mean given that I live by myself and nobody is sharing my bed with me at the moment, well, should I expect more naked expeditions into the night? This has seriously screwed with my head though. Feel free to mock but also recognise something mega weird just happened to me. Again, this is a first (never sleepwalked before). But hell yeah I'm hoping it will be a last.

Lastly, I am not mental either. And I mean that in a good, medical way related to this post. I have also taken these pills previously and gone to sleep without the sleepwalking issue being a problem. This thing seriously has me scratching my head (and other parts given the hour right now) though. Um, what's the online version of pinch me?
posted by sjvilla79 to Health & Fitness (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, according to this, rare Murelax side effects include sleep disturbances and hallucinations.
posted by footnote at 12:50 PM on November 8, 2005

Could this have been caused by an interaction between the pill and another substance? An allergy pill earlier in the day, perhaps, or alcohol in the evening?
posted by Morrigan at 12:51 PM on November 8, 2005

Side effects of Murelax can include: hallucinations, sleep disturbances, confusion, memory loss. (Australian Prescription Products Guide) Have you been taking this drug long?
posted by BackwardsCity at 12:55 PM on November 8, 2005

On lack-of-preview, footnote got there first.
posted by BackwardsCity at 12:55 PM on November 8, 2005

I have no idea what happened, but you could consider wearing pyjamas and keeping a spare set of house keys on a necklace or something, so that if it happens again you'll be able to get back inside without getting arrested.

And maybe you want to have a chat with a doctor of some kind, although I would also suggest not taking those particular pills again. I personally had a bit of an episode on a medication that I'd previously been fine with (anti-malarial pill), so a history of being OK with a drug doesn't necessarily mean it won't bite you in the ass some day.

...and my personal feeling, without ANY science to back me up, is that once you've been bitten you're more likely to be bitten again. Which is why I've never taken that particular pill again.
posted by aramaic at 12:55 PM on November 8, 2005

If it happens again, get to a doctor. Otherwise. I think you can be reasonably sure it was the sleeping pill.
posted by macinchik at 1:03 PM on November 8, 2005

I have no idea what happened, but you could consider wearing pyjamas and keeping a spare set of house keys on a necklace or something, so that if it happens again you'll be able to get back inside without getting arrested.

Yeah, and definetly stop taking those pills.
posted by delmoi at 1:04 PM on November 8, 2005

You may have sleepwalked before and not realized it. This is just the first time you have woken you in the middle of your night time activates. This is more of a question where the answer is Go See A Doctor.

A legal drug that may cause hallucinations? sheesh
posted by edgeways at 1:04 PM on November 8, 2005

You might want to change your lock so that it can't lock from the outside without the key in your hand.
posted by delmoi at 1:05 PM on November 8, 2005

Every pill is tested but it can never be tested to the limit. Human differences mean that most medications can have a very different (even paradoxical) effect on ANYONE.

now that you know it has this effect, take the precautions advised above, or better, don't take it!

Ask your Internist (GP, HausArtz, etc..,) to prescribe you something else
posted by Wilder at 1:05 PM on November 8, 2005

Is there someplace you can hide a key outside and then memorize its location?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:07 PM on November 8, 2005

Murelax (a brand-name for Oxazepam) is a shorter-acting benzodiazepine. A bit bit of searching turns up indications that memory loss, sleepwalking, and odd mood states have been reported after taking short-acting benzodiazepines, but I can't find any specific reports with respect to Oxazepam. These effects appear to be rare and are probably enhanced by alcohol.
posted by RichardP at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2005

Happened to me once, a few hours after having gone to bed after a night of heavy drinking. I found myself naked, running a couple of blocks away from my house, semiconscious. Luckily, I hadn't locked myself out.

It's abnormal, but nothing to worry about too much. Unless it happens again anytime soon.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:13 PM on November 8, 2005

I don't have any idea how you can keep yourself from sleepwalking again. However, if you get one of those child-proofing door knob covers - they make it almost impossible for anyone, even adults, to turn the knob - for the front door knob, you might wake up in the process of trying to get outside.
posted by necessitas at 1:23 PM on November 8, 2005

If you have been taking Murelax (Oxazepam) on a regular basis, do not stop cold turkey. Stopping any benzo suddenly is asking for trouble.

Quitting Oxazepam

FAQ about Bezodiazepines

Stopping benzos suddenly results in withdrawal from Hell. I've been there and it was the worst time of my life.

posted by Independent Scholarship at 1:23 PM on November 8, 2005

Lock your door, place keys in bowl of water in freezer on fast freeze, go to bed.

Especially your car keys.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2005

Tell your doctor about this right now. Seriously. Ask him what kind of schedule you should stop taking this on, and what the alternatives are. Sometimes side effects take a long time to develop, but once they do they're not to be ignored.
posted by unreason at 1:33 PM on November 8, 2005

Lock your door, place keys in bowl of water in freezer on fast freeze, go to bed.

That is assuming he/she needs keys to get OUT of their apartment or get locked out. I, for one, do not. I can walk out without any keys and still lock myself.
posted by spicynuts at 1:36 PM on November 8, 2005

I sleepwalk. Some drugs make it worse - codeine cough syrup exacerbated mine and gave me weird nightmares. Speedy decongestants make me sleep-argumentative and paranoid (I'm told). I started taking Ambien as a sleeping pill - it hasn't stopped the walking but I wake up less and no air-raid-type dream scenarios or anything like you describe. If you are prone to sleep-walking, I would not take anything that will impair your faculties once you've woken up. It can be terrifying and disorienting.
posted by Marnie at 1:40 PM on November 8, 2005

I'm terribly sorry to hear of your experience - it's actually a nightmare of mine. Good luck figuring it out.
posted by odinsdream at 1:46 PM on November 8, 2005

Well... perhaps it's time to wear underwear in bed? I've always done it because, well, you never know when the place is gonna set on fire and you don't want to spend precious seconds searcing for underwear while the place burns down.
posted by shepd at 1:51 PM on November 8, 2005

If this becomes a recurring pattern for you (and I sure hope it doesn't!) I suggest sleeping in some kind of clothing - boxers or something. This way, even if you find yourself outside, at least you aren't naked.

Lock your door, place keys in bowl of water in freezer on fast freeze, go to bed. - DrtyBlvd

Being locked into your home without an accessible key to let you out seems like an especially terrible idea. What if your aparment building was on fire? What if an attacker came in a window? How would you escape? This is dangerous.
posted by raedyn at 1:54 PM on November 8, 2005

I popped one Murelax tablet to take the edge off the dozing off process.

Why not just doze off naturally? Or is this an ironic way of indicating you can't get to sleep without drugs? In which case, it's probably time to wean yourself off.
posted by languagehat at 2:09 PM on November 8, 2005

I would bet anything it HAS happened before, you just don't remember.

Go to your doctor, tell him what happened, get off the drug, find another sleep aid.
posted by Cosine at 2:25 PM on November 8, 2005

Unless the places I've lived have been totally unrepresentative of most housing, aren't front doors generally unlockable [or lockable] from the inside, without using keys? If I had sjvilla79's problem, freezing my keys would do nothing to keep me inside [for good or ill] since I could easily turn the little widget on the door knob and unlock it.
posted by ubersturm at 2:25 PM on November 8, 2005

what struck me is how casually you refer to taking sleeping pills. and how casually everyone else accepts it. obviously, i don't know everything, and you may have issues you don't want to discuss, but your post reads to me like it's normal to take these things for no important reason.

if so: wtf?
posted by andrew cooke at 2:56 PM on November 8, 2005

Disinhibition with later amnesia for the events is a typical side effect of these short acting benzodiazepines. If this is the first time this had ever happened, I'd probably write it off to the benzo and never, ever take one again.

But I'm not you. This kind of question is certainly better referred to the physician who prescribed you that medication.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:05 PM on November 8, 2005

Don't sleep naked. Whatever you wear to sleep, sew a key into it somewhere. Stop taking the pills.
posted by armoured-ant at 4:17 PM on November 8, 2005

Definitely see a doctor and discuss this. As everyone has stated before, it could be just the medication. However, a friend of mine had something similar happen. He was awake when he started, and not naked, but he kind of blacked out and came to several hours later driving downtown with no idea where he'd been, what he'd been doing, etc. He made it home, still confused. Eventually he was diagnosed with a variety of epilepsy, and he had a couple more seizures before they got it under control. The obligatory disclaimers about "IANAD" apply, but the one about "not to scare you" doesn't - this should scare you into going to a doctor.
posted by dilettante at 4:59 PM on November 8, 2005

Well, dilettante, since you mention it, I should say that seizure was on my mind too. I didn't mention it because I didn't want to scare the poster.

Also, because I am an epilepsy specialist, I see seizures everywhere I look and I am afraid it biases my viewpoint. I do believe this was much more likely to be a medication reaction.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:23 PM on November 8, 2005 [1 favorite]

what struck me is how casually you refer to taking sleeping pills. and how casually everyone else accepts it. obviously, i don't know everything, and you may have issues you don't want to discuss, but your post reads to me like it's normal to take these things for no important reason.

It may be hard for some people to imagine, but there are a lot of folks who can't sleep "normal" hours without chemical intervention. My normal sleep/wake cycle is longer than 24 hours, but my job doesn't allow me to adjust my time every day to accomodate that. Thus far, sleeping pills have been my only alternative.
posted by kamikazegopher at 7:02 PM on November 8, 2005

I wonder if you couldn't put one of these sorts of alarms on your bedroom/front door at night? On the theory that it might wake you up before you get out of the house, if this should ever happen again.

Obviously, as the unqualified medical consensus of this board advises, stop taking the pills, first off.
posted by Hildago at 7:45 PM on November 8, 2005

Based solely on personal experience I would guess you experienced an effect of the short-acting benzodiazepine that I have also experienced in the past, though admittedly not to this extent. Independent Scholarship gave you a treasure in that benzo.org.uk link. I'm not even exaggerating. I would advise that you see the doctor who prescribed the oxazepam and discuss the possibility that it was the cause, or if that doctor is not available, that you find another who is knowledgeable, can help diagnose what happened and treat it. Good luck.
posted by rebirtha at 10:24 PM on November 8, 2005

I don't take pills to sleep, but I sleepwalk occasionally (a couple weeks ago, actually). It happens when I'm really stressed out about something. What happened to you, sjvilla79, is a (waking) nightmare of mine. Good luck!
posted by deborah at 10:37 PM on November 8, 2005

Consider something like Ambien instead of what you are taking to sleep. Benzos's are addictive and can cause some weird situations.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:09 AM on November 9, 2005

i don't know what your particular problem is falling asleep, but quitting caffeine made it sooo much easier for me to fall asleep.
posted by radioamy at 1:22 AM on November 9, 2005

Be careful with Ambien, too. One night I took an Ambien to help me fall asleep, but didn't go right to bed but instead stayed up and on the computer waiting till I got drowsy. Later, it didn't seem like I was getting drowsy, so I took another and continued to screw around on the computer or on the net. A day later, I realize that I have no memory of anything after that. I did get an aknowledgment of my order of 3 empeg car music MP3 players with 60gb hard drives for a total of $6,000. I told them I was on drugs when I ordered those and could they please cancel the order? And I wrote at least two emails I wish I hadn't. My SO at the time, believe it or not, had a similar experience, except hers was more dangerous. She had a glass of wine to help the process along of falling asleep. Then she remembers nothing until the next day when she was in police custody and had wrecked and rolled her car. She was lucky to be alive. She has no idea why she was driving, or where. So...if you take a sleeping pill, actually try to go to sleep.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:25 PM on November 9, 2005

Yeah, I don't know if Ambien would be a first choice if you've experienced that craziness. Ambien is a hypnotic and is, IIRC, given to autistic children before dental work so they don't remember it and don't get nervous the next time they go to the dentist. And it's quick-acting, so don't think you have a while to wait for it to kick in.
I've taken Ambien and have had conversations with a monkey on my couch (it was really a blanket) and I swear that inanimate objects "breathe" with it. I've even touched pillows that were breathing and felt them move. I've known people who have shaved their eyebrows taking Ambien and jumped backwards to make a snow angel in pavement when one time it kicked in too early. My mother called me at 3 am one time, while I was in Key West, saying that I shouldn't get onto a boat and does the song "Come Go With Me" mean anything. Yes, it did, as it was a song my DJ played each time I got on shift as a waitress. 8 years later I still am not "allowed" on a boat. And she's not one to get premonitions, but damn she was pretty on with everything she said.
Don't get me wrong, it works great for sleep, but the side effects might be a bit much for one who has an incident such as yours.
(Note for the recreational users - while the happenings are weird, they aren't exactly fun. They monkey was pretty antisocial and didn't say a word.)
posted by TTNoelle at 12:29 AM on November 10, 2005

I've had a bit of time to think about what happened and I have come to a conclusion. First, though, I should say that I didn't take Murelax (or anything else) last night. I've actually scared myself right off the stuff. Yeah, I still barricaded the front door however and slept in my underwear. Ha! But jeepers I'm still pinching myself about the events of the other morning. It still feels like a dream. Totally weird. Anyway, the past week has probably been the biggest fluctuation of emotion that I've ever experienced in my 26 years. Amongst other things, for example, I just finished a highly stressful four-year degree (was taking pills to relieve stress and anxiety), the beloved family pet died last Monday night, my nonno is also not well, and basically I just haven't been settled since stopping all work on a major multimedia piece I've been working on all year (incomplete screenshots via link). Anyway, my thanks to everyone on here for their feedback on my post. I have since been to see my doctor and things should only be better from here on. Yeah, luckily for me I'm not addicted to benzos or any other drug. I'm positive therefore that this was a one-off event and is unlikely to ever happen again. Might be a good party trick though.
posted by sjvilla79 at 4:08 AM on November 10, 2005

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