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I cannot believe I am writing this. And not just for the most pathetic journal entry ever, but for other people to actually read. It’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to me, and that’s coming from a woman who once got excited to meet the early 2000’s bubblegum pop duo Daphne and Celeste in a gas station bathroom. But here it is:
In the past year, I have periodically – about once every two months – wet the bed.
How did this happen? I wasn’t a bed wetter as a kid; in fact, my parents potty-trained me much younger than most and it was never an issue. But now, about to turn 30 and having just experienced the most stressful, difficult year of my life, here I am with this humiliating secret and no means of knowing when it might happen again.
Here’s how it always goes down: I drink a lot of water during the day and I mostly stop by 7pm so that I won’t have to get up in the night, and I always pee twice before bed. Then I sleep DEEP. And during one of my dreams, I’ll decide to use a toilet. And in that dream I always resist, because in Dream World I either feel like I’m being watched or I don’t like the feeling of losing control that comes with peeing. (In Real World, I love peeing as much as the next person.)
But then I give in and let go and it feels like such a relief until I wake up and realize that it’s happened again. Every time I just sit there for a second and think, “Why can’t I stop myself in my dream and just wake up to go?!”
Clearly, I need to learn the art of Lucid Dreaming.
Technically, this happened once many years ago when I was sleeping over at a friend’s house when I was 13. It was about 4am, I was in my sleeping bag, and I spent the next three hours in the bathroom being as quiet as possible cleaning up the bag and my pajamas and praying no one would ever find out. But then it didn’t happen again – not even during many alcohol-induced pass-outs in college – and besides changing my bed time routine to include two pees (to ensure total bladder evacuation), nothing happened and I stopped thinking about it.
Until suddenly, it happened one night about this time last year. I was very depressed, in a job I hated that paid nothing, in a bad relationship, and to top it off I was being tormented by bedbugs. The first time I wet the bed as an adult, I cried for the rest of the night. It was too much. Too much to endure. With this and bedbugs, my bed was no longer my one sanctuary from the giant shit that life was taking on me.
I just blamed my water consumption and tried to cut back. Then it happened again, a few weeks later. And a couple more times over the next few months. Every time it was like life stabbing me in the back again; the only good thing is that it never happened during sleepovers with the (now ex) boyfriend. If that happened I would have entered the Witness Protection Program and moved to Fiji.
Actually, one more good thing is that I’ve never experienced incontinence during the day, like during a sneeze or when laughing. It’s only ever the occasional night-time horror.
By the time I thought I should see a doctor, I’d changed jobs and lost my health insurance. It happened once this summer, but until the other night it hadn’t happened in a few months. I tried to forget about it again. Then the other night happened and it was the moment that I decided to share my story with the xoJane community and actually research causes and try to solve the problem.
According to the internets, there’s no one obvious cause. It could be diabetes, but I have no other symptoms. It could be that I sleep too deeply as a result of sleep apnea (no idea, would have to be tested). It could be my persistent UTIs have weakened my bladder, or it could be stress and anxiety, which I’ve definitely been experiencing. It could be something else. I still have no insurance so I’m going to try two home remedies first and see if they help: a markedly healthier diet with less bladder irritants, and more exercise in case it’s a sleep apnea thing. Oh, and lots of kegels.
Has anyone else in the xojane community ever experienced this? Have you found a cause? This is something that is so embarrassing that I haven’t even told my best friend or my mother. I suppose if I had a therapist I’d tell him/her, since they are sworn to silence. I just hope that I can resolve it soon and have a properly-functioning, adult bladder at night again. If not, folks, I’ll be in Fiji.