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Finding Sanity in Community: Jess' Story

Updated: May 10, 2021

My hypnic jerking started in 2018 though at the time I didn’t know that's what it was called.

To give a short background of my life-I have never been on any pharmaceutical drugs, haven’t had antibiotics since I was a kid. Delivered all 4 babies naturally, un-medicated, never had any sleeping issues. No health issues. The only thing I have seen doctors for is delivering my babies! I will notate that we moved into a new house in 2014 that I had been having allergies in. We moved out of that house in 2019, no allergies since.

The jerking all started shortly after I weaned our 4th baby-he was 1 year old. We had a lot of things going on during that time that were very stressful and my anxiety was stirred up greatly. I’m not normally an anxious person so I think it was all a perfect storm of events that led up to my jerking. It started one night when I couldn’t sleep at all and it freaked me out. I was so worried and upset about it! Up until that night in my entire life I didn’t once have an issue with sleeping so it was just really scary for me.

A couple nights later I couldn’t sleep again and this time it came with jolting. Just as I would doze off my body felt like an adrenaline rush. A hard jolt that would cause my whole body to react. It would go on and on keeping me awake. It was torture. Once I was asleep I was good…I would be out for the rest of the night.

This went on weeks, months and now I’m 3 years into it. In the beginning it would keep me up the entire night at least once a week. Sometimes a couple nights in a row. Most nights I would get between 1-4 hours of sleep. After 1 year I noticed small improvements then into my 2nd year even more. Now in my 3rd year I have bad nights more then I’d like. Sometimes it will be a bad week-jolting every night anywhere from 1-5hours. Sometimes I’ll go several nights with no jolts. It has changed over the years to now just being a “zap/jolt” in my chest or head.

Whereas in the first couple years it would be a whole body reaction. Adrenaline rush, most limbs jerking up in the air, temperature change(either excessively hot or cold). I also can’t nap during the day because of the jolting. I use to nap (and love to) for a short time in the afternoon. I haven’t been able to since this started.

When the hyping jerks first started I had seen several doctors who all said I needed to take an antidepressant. It didn’t sit right with me so I never took it. Instead I tried every natural sleep aid option (none helped). I started seeing functional doctors to help me figure out what was at the core of this issue. I never took any pharmaceuticals to help with it. I decided early on that doing so just added another variable into the equation….I knew that something was causing it and I preferred getting to the core of it instead of potentially masking it or making things worse.

Luckily I found a facebook group in the 2nd year of this that made me feel sane. I found others who were dealing with exactly what I was!! I was tired of doctors looking at me like I was crazy. Friends having no idea how to respond to what was happening to me. Finally…I had others to talk to about what was happening, to share thoughts, to have that simple comfort of knowing you are not alone.

This condition has greatly disrupted my life. I have 4 children 10 and under and homeschool. My kids know that some days mommy is not functioning. It affected me in countless immeasurable ways. I’m still not sure what triggers it causing these ups and downs. I still don’t know what is at the core causing it. Though I’m determined to never give up and never stop seeking answers.


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