The Intima - Journal of Narrative Medicine's Interview with Kathleen Frazier

by Priscilla Mainardi

Click here to read


A Journal of Narrative Medicine (The Intima)

 Book Review of Sleepwalker

by Priscilla Mainardi 

A picture of a very young Kathleen Frazier stayed with me throughout Sleepwalker, her fascinating memoir of the effect of her sleep disorder on her life.  Ms. Frazier’s sleep problems begin in earnest at age twelve and range from insomnia to sleepwalking and night terrors, from which she awakens screaming in fright and occasionally in perilous situations.  She blames herself for these problems and hides them, afraid that if anyone learns about them they will lock her up.  Though living in a constant state of exhaustion and fear, she attends college, moves to Manhattan, marries and divorces, and pursues an acting career while holding down numerous waitressing jobs.  Her sleep problems continue through her twenties as she self-medicates with alcohol and, unable to sustain intimacy, becomes promiscuous. 

Ms. Frazier is the youngest of five children whose parents are not without their own problems:  her father is a recovering alcoholic and insomniac and her mother experiences night terrors.  The stories they tell about her grandparents also hint at sleep problems, and the book raises the question of whether sleep disorders have a genetic component.            

Sleep science is in its infancy, and Sleepwalker illustrates the lack of understanding of sleep disorders among medical professionals as well as the public.  Ms. Frazier eventually finds help from a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders.  She starts to sleep better, first aided by medication, then through a combination of diet, therapy, lifestyle modification, and the support of friends and her newly established family.  She comes to recognize the role of her own denial and of traumatizing events of her childhood in her sleep disorder.  She begins to write Sleepwalker, and telling her story becomes an essential and integral part of her recovery.


Hippocampus Magazine Interview: A Conversation with Kathleen Frazier, author of Sleepwalker
February 1, 2016 by Rachael Marks  click here to read


Sleepwalking Through Her Young Years: Kathleen Frazier’s Terrifying Journey to Recovery

By Nicole McNey

#Kathleen Frazier was young when she woke from a deep #sleep in a terrifying place. “I was standing at an open window, staring at the dizzying curve of Riverside Drive, five floors below,” Frazier writes in her new #memoir, #Sleepwalker: The Mysterious Makings and Recovery of a Somnambulist. “I’d stopped, somehow, poised, about to jump. My beating heart told me so. Sweat streamed down the sides of my face and between my breasts.”Sleepwalker explores two terrifying decades of sleepwalking and sleep terrors as well as insomnia and resultant PTSD, plus a resulting lifelong fear of intimacy. But it is also a New York love story. Nicole McNey sat down with Kathleen in a café on the Upper West Side, where they talked about how addiction and insomnia paved the way for her exhausting path to recovery – which, eventually, led to good health and a great marriage.  Here is a nearly direct transcript of that conversation with some slight editing. click here to read


NY Post 8/30/15 Excerpt from SLEEPWALKER 

I had become one of several boarders in a rambling flat on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My landlords were middle-aged Bohemians, writers, filmmakers.

I’d played a Wild West saloon whore in a music video they’d made for a jazz saxophonist, which is how we became roommates. Their labyrinth halls led to disheveled rooms, some of which overlooked the Hudson with breathtaking views through windows left wide open in the unbearable summer heat.  Click here to read


American Library Association's Booklist Review

Sleepwalker: The Mysterious Makings and Recovery of a Somnambulist.

Frazier, Kathleen (Author)

Sep 2015. 240 p. Skyhorse, hardcover, $24.99. (9781634502351). 616.849.

Some children are afraid of the dark or of monsters under their beds. But once Frazier started having sleepwalking episodes and night terrors, she had a very palpable reason to fear falling asleep. Over the next 20 years, as she recounts in this harrowing memoir, her anxiety over sleepwalking stole into every corner of her life, affecting her relationships and leading her to drink heavily in a futile attempt to keep the dangers of the night at bay. At times her sleepwalking put her in real danger, and even led to serious injuries, but the physical toll paled in comparison to the mental anguish she endured. While she rhapsodically relates her thrill at discovering her place on the stage as a career, she also acknowledges that during her young adulthood she was stalked by sleeplessness. As much an exploration of the harmful legacy from an unacknowledged family history of addiction and mental illness as an account of dealing with an unexplained sleep disorder, Frazier’s memoir records her search for the roots of her episodes as she memorably captures the tedium and terror of nights spent dreading sleep


SLEEPWALKER-Interview with writer Jim Breslin.

Click here



By SARAH HERRINGTON   Published 09/10/15

In her brave debut memoir, Sleepingwalker: The Mysterious Makings and Recovery of a Somnambulist (Skyhorse), actress and writer Kathleen Frazier recounts a life of dangerous sleep-stumbling and night terrors. As a child growing up in Albany, New York, the monster in the bedroom was her. As an adult, sleep disorders interfered with the waking world and true intimacy. Turning toward her fears meant plowing through a family history of addiction and mental illness with the idea of sweet dreams seeming high fantasy. Click here


How I Finally Healed My Awful Sleep Issues (Including Sleepwalking) 

Mind Body Green

By Kathleen Frazier

Every evening each of us, alone and in the light of our own circumstances, surrenders to sleep… or tries to.  Click here


WBAI Talk Back Radio interview with Malachy McCourt and Corey Kilgannon, 12/2/15, regarding SLEEPWALKER, sleep health, and trauma. click here for the interview. (26:27-1:01:36)


SLEEPWALKER-Recommended Reading from click here


Psychology Today's Two Minute Memoir: "Creature of the Night", March 2012

I wasn't afraid of going to bed with him, I was afraid of going to sleep with him.

Mark and I had enjoyed a few rendezvous, and each encounter had ended with an excuse and a quick departure. Here we were in the middle of another languid make-out session on the couch in his Manhattan apartment. I kissed him with tender lips still swollen from my recent fall. He gently traced the outline of my bruised mouth and whispered, "What really happened?" Click here