Sleep Paralysis

It’s almost 4 am.  This weird sleep pattern has stayed no matter what I do about it.  I try waking up early, but then I’m sleepy all day, and when the night approaches I’m magically wide awake and I can’t sleep.  The next day I am incredibly tired and I fall unconscious on my bed despite my mom’s attempts to keep me awake in the mornings.   Of course then in the nights I won’t be sleepy either, and it keeps going on.

In my whole life, I never had any difficulty about falling asleep.  I am hypersommniac by definition okay? Insomnia is a whole new world and I really don’t like it.

Last night I also had a really bad episode of sleep paralysis.  Have you ever had anything like this?

Here’s how it went last night:

First I was dreaming, that I was talking on the phone to someone I know, while sitting in a version of my computer room with red walls instead of the cream color they have in real life.  I was distressed because I had my phone tightly held on my ear and couldn’t understand what he was saying.  There was too much noise near me like kids with flashy toys and clowns talking, and electronic stuff on, video games, different tunes of music, everything going on at the same time and it was driving me nuts.  So, I told the person in the phone “I need to get out of here”.   I then walked into my room, that was very dark despite me turning the lights on (this happens very often in my dreams), and I sat on my bed (the night before in real life I had changed the position of my bed but in my dream it was the way it used to be, not the updated one).  I lied on my back, and then out of a sudden, a sense of pure terror got a hold on me and I started screaming on the phone like I have never imagined someone could scream.

Next thing I know, the bed turned 45º(to match the updated position, the real one), and I didn’t have a phone anymore.  I felt the dog sleeping on my feet, and… that’s when I realised I was awake!   Well, partially awake as my mind was up, but my body was still paralyzed.   This is an incredibly horrifying experience -I’ve had it twice in the past.  My mom has episodes like these all the time and it seems to run in her family too -except my uncles tend to blame it on supernatural causes like demons revealing themselves and not on medical, rational reasons.

You know how when you are asleep, you can dream that you’re running a marathon but your body normally will not actually get up and run?  Well this happens because during sleep, the brain shuts off the skeletal muscles.  When this fails you get somnambulism.  But it usually should work fine.  Lets go back to wikipedia:

Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain awakes from a REM state, but the bodily paralysis persists. This leaves the person fully conscious, but unable to move. In addition, the state may be accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (hypnopompic or hypnagogic) and an acute sense of danger, Sleep paralysis is particularly frightening to the individual due to the vividness of such hallucinations.   The paralysis can last from several seconds to several minutes “after which the individual may experience panic symptoms and the realization that the distorted perceptions were false”

To be honest, I have no idea if my eyes were actually open at this point, but I could see faint objects in my room.  I could sense that it was raining.  I knew the dog was on my feet.  Then, I saw the door was half open.  And there it was, a figure there, standing outside.  I couldn’t tell what it was, but in my head it was there and I don’t think anything has terrified me more as I knew I was completely paralysed.  Unable to escape, I started screaming again but I couldn’t move at all and my throat muscles wouldn’t move either.  I was screaming on top of my lungs somewhere inside, but it was impossible for me to make my body actually do it.

Then I started to take brief journeys back into the dream (the only place where I could move) and then out again.  In the dream I could sit on my bed and scream on top of my lungs at the sight of the dark creature that luckily, didn’t seem to be moving towards me or anything.  However, I couldn’t scream all the time, it was like my screams were a gun that needed reloading.  So while I was “reloading” I woke up again, and I still couldn’t move.  My heart was racing and I hated the fact that I couldn’t produce the slightest sound or movement that I’m sure would wake my dog up and he would touch me and with his touch I would regain my muscle control (I was very aware that I was experiencing sleep paralysis because of my mom and my past experiences, however that didn’t make it any less horrible).

This took a while of going back in and out of the dream, I kept going in because I really needed to scream.  Then finally, for some reason, I was able to take control of my muscles in reality.  It lasted much longer than it should.  I started sobbing and I couldn’t really move well yet.

Worse, the dark creature was still standing there.  My dog heard my sobbing and came with me.

I went completely into the covers whenever I managed to do it, and I really would have wanted to turn the light switch on but it is located near the door and it would mean closer contact with the dark thing.  I couldn’t stop sobbing and I was starting to get angry because I was already awake and I couldn’t shake it off.  It didn’t seem to end.  Nobody heard me because the only person anywhere close to my room is my brother and he doesn’t respond to anything when he sleeps.  But eventually it happened; slowly I came to my senses, and when I finally calmed down I realised the figure thing was caused by a shadow outside the door that happens because of the way the window filters the moonlight.  It was actually raining but the shadow was there anyway.  A very natural thing and not scary at all.  (So I guess I did have my eyes opened because there was a source for the hallucinations.  It freaks me out to imagine myself lying there paralysed in the dark with my eyes opened and probably a horrible frightened face.)

I was very sleepy, but very scared of falling asleep again.  See, now full consciousness was the only thing keeping me in the real world.  By falling asleep, consciousness would slip away and terror would set in.  I knew it would come back, It was like a monster waiting me in the entry.  I wanted to sleep but whenever I approached the “sleep” door, the monster stopped me and sent me back to consciousness, which I appreciated very much because I would have hated to get caught again.

Somehow I fell asleep about 1 hour later.  I woke up at 1 pm.  I can remember everything about it.  It is still very vivid and terrifying in my head.  Just writing the words brought a chill down my spine.

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10 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis

  1. How horrid! I’ve had sleep paralysis, but never with anything seeming to threaten me, just scary to not be able to move. I hope it passes quickly and you can find a way for this to not happen AND get sleep.

  2. my dreams are usually nonsensical. i’ve never had a nightmare as such – the kind you wake up with your heart thudding or you crying out loud in fear. i have dreams that make me cry though, and i don’t like that. but i can’t imagine what sleep paralysis feels like… gives the term ‘waking nightmare’ a new meaning!

  3. this has happened to me 3 times in the last year. it is extremely terrifying! I know just how you feel. it is more than just a bad dream or the feeling of not being able to move. it is an overwhelming sense of terror and disorientation. I have read that it is more likely to happen while you are lying on your back, so I have been very careful about sleeping on my side or stomach. also, I wear a mask over my eyes because it is known to be triggered by sound or light. I think the mask is especially helpful because then if you do happen to experience it, you aren’t looking at your room or shadows or anything that may be misinterpreted as demons/creatures/robbers/aliens/what-have-you. another thing to remember is do not nap more than an hour unless you plan on sleeping through the night! it happens during your REM cycle which is usually once every hour.

    I have done my research because I do NOT want to have to experience this EVER AGAIN!!!

  4. I know about the lying on my back. I was lying on my back which is something I almost never do… the pillows were arranged in a different way and the dogs were asleep on my bed and lying on my back just happened. I usually sleep sideways hugging a pillow.

    I usually sleep with my door closed and this time it was half opened allowing moonlight to come in. So that’s 2 factors.

    The napping thing is usual in me, my sleeping cycles have been extremelly irregular of late.

    After I figured some of the possible triggerers… I… um… tried them out to see if it happens again. I know I’m going to regret it when it does.

  5. I found you via La’s blog.

    Yes, I have had this happen to me several times throughout my life. It seems to occur more when I am the most exhausted. It’s a terrifying thing and at times I’ve felt electric shocks on my body right when I am able to move or sometimes it feels like a hand touching me right when I am able to move.

    I really don’t know what it is, but it’s terrifying. I hope you don’t have that experience again.

  6. WELL IT ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME LIKE MAYBE 3 TIMES A MONTH ITS CRAZY BECAUSE I START FALLIN ASLEEP AND THEN BEFORE I KNO IT I CANT MOVE BUT MY MIND IS AWARE OF EVERYTHIN. IS THERE ANY MEDICINE FOR THIS

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