I raped my fiancée. In her nightmare.

I usually stay up an hour or so later than my fiancée because if I don’t, my thunderous snoring will keep her awake. I put her to bed last night and went into the other room to watch TV. Less than an hour later, to my surprise, she walked in and, with a horrified look on her face, said, “You raped me!”

Her eyes were wide open, but I thought she still had to be sleeping, so I told her, “It’s me, wake up.” But she was awake, and kept repeating, “You raped me!” in a haunted voice. I tried to reassure her that it had just been a dream, but she was convinced it had really happened.

I got her to sit down on the couch with me, although she was obviously still scared, and madly tried to think of how I could snap her out of it. My first thought was to make some coffee, but when I suggested that, she said she’d have some then go home. The last thing I wanted was to have her driving 30 minutes home in that condition.

I quietly reassured her that I would never hurt her, that she was safe, and that it had just been a nightmare. At first she insisted that it had been real, but she slowly began to accept that maybe it hadn’t really happened. At one point she said, “If it wasn’t you, he looked just like you.”

I asked her to tell me exactly what had happened, and she described a situation with several impossible conditions. I didn’t need to be persuaded it had been a dream, of course, but I hoped she would realize that those impossible things made it clear it hadn’t really happened. They didn’t have as strong an effect as I had hoped.

I kept quietly telling her that I loved her and would never hurt her, that nothing had happened, and it had just been a nightmare. Slowly she calmed down, and began to believe that it was just a dream, although she was still nervous and uneasy. I took her back to bed, after she picked out a small stuffed animal to take with her, and told her I’d stay with her until she fell asleep, which I did.

This morning she was okay and apologized profusely. I told her she owed me no apology. We decided that the half an Ambien she had taken to help her sleep was probably responsible, although she has frequently used it before without such serious effects. But she says her dreams are often much more vivid when she takes Ambien.

It was scary. Although while it was still going on I was pretty sure she’d be okay in the morning, I briefly thought about what would have happened if she weren’t. It would have been hard to prove to her, or anyone else, that I hadn’t raped her, unless I had taken her to the hospital for an examination. The wedding would have been off, no one I know would ever talk to me again, and I’d have lost my best friend and the most important person in the world. Really scary.

As I was reading I suspected Ambien would have something to do with it. I have sent a couple of sketchy emails after taking Ambien and not going to bed right away. Once I got up in the middle of the night and made glazed carrots.

That is scary.

Ambien. Side effects may include hyper-realistic hallucinations of rape.

Yep, Ambien is notorious for hallucinations, strange behavior, and sometimes amnesia for what happened the previous night.

I know one woman who, if she doesn’t go to bed right away, gets hungry, staggers around like a drunk, and tries to cut oranges by limp-wristedly dragging a butcher’s knife across the skin of an orange, apparently expecting the weight of the knife to do all the work.

I know another woman who says her mother rolls around on the living room floor after she takes it.

I was telling all this to another woman I know who just started taking it, and her answer, said with a grin, was “Hmm…I guess I better not have any overnight guests then”. :wink:

Ambien is good stuff. I take it myself sometimes (and so far as I know, with no untward behavior afterward). But it causes so many people to do so many odd and potentially dangerous things that I’m surprised the FDA ever approved it for sale.

I tried Lunesta once but got a nasty taste in my mouth that wouldn’t go away not matter what I tried, ate or drank, and it lasted the whole day. I’d rather have insomnia than put up with that again.

Wow. Scary stuff. Glad things worked out in the end.

My wild-ass guess is that if you start having any ‘ambulatory’/hallucinatory events, you’re supposed to stop taking it, which stops any side effects from happening again. Much better than drugs with a potential side effect of a heart attack or something similar. Meanwhile for those it doesn’t produce bad side effects in, they’re much better off getting a good night’s sleep than not getting one. Ambien is just notable in the type of side effects it can produce, and in that many people can improve their chances of not getting them by pretty much literally taking the pill in bed and laying down immediately for sleep.

GLAZED carrots?

I can’t imagine how difficult that was. Stupid Ambien.

Good god, that’s a horrible night. I am so glad that Ambien never worked for me because I stopped wasting my money on it before it had the chance to give me hallucinations.

I’m glad she feels better this morning and good on ya for taking her seriously and treating her gently.

I’m sure plenty of people stop taking it after having one of those experiences or that perhaps their doctors advise them to quit. The label doesn’t say anybody should stop taking it, but it says “discontinuation of Ambien CR should be strongly considered for patients who report a “sleep-driving” episode,” and says other odd side effects should be monitored.

Anyway the OP’s experience sounds horrible and I’m glad there don’t seem to be any lingering effects or bad feelings.

OK. After reading these posts, I’d like someone to tell me what molecule there is in Ambien (which surely goes by a different brand name here) so that I can avoid ever taking this stuff.

I’ve nothing against glazed carrots, but still…

No need to. I searched by myself and found out that I had already taken it. No adverse effects, but it didn’t help me sleeping, either.

I’m really glad that it was okay this morning for you commasense. As you noted, how could you ever convince anyone that it wasn’t true if your fiancee is known as a level-headed, honest individual. The nightmare would have been yours.

I’m not sure it’s required, but would anything help in future if this type of thing happens again? Perhaps she could write herself a note in advance that might calm her down?

The reason I’m suggesting this is that although I don’t take Ambien or any other sleep-aid, if I have a dream that my husband cheated on me or upset me in any way I can stay angry for several hours after I wake up. Somehow those emotions when triggered can last a long, long, time - even in the face of rational evidence to the contrary.

Audio recorder in the bedroom maybe?

Thanks for all the replies. As for what to do, it would be nice to just stop the Ambien, but it’s been the most effective sleep aid she’s found that doesn’t leave her groggy the next morning.

The main reason she needs help sleeping is my snoring, which is truly horrific. Speaking of audio recorders in the bedroom, earlier this week I recorded myself for two nights, once at her place with a mouthpiece I use that is supposed to reduce snoring, the next at my place, alone, without it. There was almost no difference. I’m as loud as a chain saw, if not quite as constant. I snore through most of the night. I feel really bad that I’m so loud.

We’ll talk about what we can do, but I’m afraid she’ll probably want to continue taking the Ambien. I’m going to suggest that she try earplugs again, which we had half-heartedly tried once before. Her ear canals are small and somewhat oddly shaped, which makes getting them to fit correctly a little tricky.

Ironically, she was wearing them the night of the nightmare, and they may have helped trigger it.

Thanks for your comments.

Commasense, have you had a sleep study to check for sleep apnea? That kind of snoring is a clue that you may have a problem.

Please do if you haven’t. My husband snores like nobody’s business and the last time he really went to the doctor (versus just a blood test for his meds check), they just said he didn’t look like an apnea candidate. It’s really been screwing with my sleep lately, though, so his next visit, he is going to be pushing for more help with his snoring.

If there’s something that can be done to improve your sleep (and maybe save your life), it makes little sense to medicate her.

This is what I was going to suggest. This sounds like severe sleep apnea, which is treatable with a CPAP that will allow both of you to get a much better night of sleep.

Thanks for your concern, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have sleep apnea. I don’t have the fatigue that is the most telling symptom – I sleep quite well – and although I’m not a sleep specialist, the recordings show quite regular breathing, not the irregular breathing that is characteristic of apnea.

I could stand to lose some weight, which is the top recommendation to reduce snoring, and I’m working on that. But I know that I snored pretty badly about 20 years ago when I was somewhat thinner.