Sleep Paralysis

I get nightmares pretty often and although they’re awful and sometimes they make me cry, they’re nothing compared to sleep paralysis. Sometimes it happens when I am really stressed or when something big is happening in my life. Other times it just shows up out of nowhere as if it wants to remind me that it can still affect me.

What I know about sleep paralysis is that it occurs when the body is in REM sleep. The body naturally paralyses itself so we don’t act out our dreams. Sometimes the body stays paralysed but the mind wakes up and this is when sleep paralysis occurs.

Last night approximately one hour after I fell asleep it happened. When I was finally able to pull myself out of it, I got up and made myself write it down. Getting up and moving around is important because otherwise I tend to fall back into sleep paralysis or nightmares.

Here is what I wrote:

I entered a movie about a woman who had two daughters. The woman, who was close to death with cancer, was afflicted by visions of ghosts/demons. In her healthier moments she had set up various bedrooms for her daughters in a barn. The bedrooms were decorated according to the ages which the daughters would become; ages the mother would never be around to see. I went into the barn to look for some warm clothes for myself and it was like a show room or display centre. Suddenly I came across a ghost named Jean or Gene. It didn’t really have a gender and I am not sure how I knew it’s name. It let out the freakiest scream which was low, deep, constant and bone-rattling.

That’s when my mind woke up. I immediately tried to turn on my lamp but it wouldn’t work. I panicked because I knew I was in the state of sleep paralysis. One thing which seems to occur in this state is that my surroundings appear to be the same but they are slightly different. This usually shows as soon as I try to do something like turn on my lamp. Sometimes it wont work, sometimes it isn’t even there. As for the action of actually turning on a lamp, I think the reason it doesn’t work is because my body isn’t moving and some other part of me is trying the lamp instead. Maybe my soul, I am really not sure.

I couldn’t move but I tried to scream. Nothing came out. I tried yelling out “help me!” over and over but either my voice was silent or it barely made a sound. Occasionally when I experience sleep paralysis, people are able to hear me but most of the time they can’t. I was alone but in my panicked state I wouldn’t have cared if a neighbour knocked down my door and pulled me out of that hell.

Still paralysed, I found some sort of frequency where my voice was slightly audible. I continued to try to switch on my lamp. I don’t really know how I pulled myself out of it but eventually I woke up completely and turned on my lamp. I sat up straight away, whoever Jean/Gene was I didn’t want to see and hear them again.

I think that aside from the whole experience of sleep paralysis being freaking terrifying, sometimes I worry I wont be able to pull myself out of it.

Has anyone else ever experienced this?

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14 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis

  1. I experienced it when I had babies and was *exhausted*. I don’t know that mine were necessarily as scary as yours. I remember more experiencing things that I simultaneously swore were true but also knew they could not be. Something in me remembers there being some frightening stuff, but it’s not the main memory I have. Just mostly kinda freaky!

  2. You can add me to the list. It is terrifying knowing that you are awake but can’t move. I’ve felt like I’m dying because my body wasn’t reacting to my mind’s commands. I could hear myself yell out but nothing would come out. Sometimes the only thing I can produce are tears and a slight murmur. I’m asking myself, why doesn’t someone help me?1? It feels extremely painful, like if my body has been contorted. When I finally do wake up, I’m exhausted and traumatized. I can only imagine that this is what being paralyzed feels like. It’s a horrible experience.

  3. yes, while napping, I was exhausted, I feel asleep watching the TV, when I woke later I couldn’t move. It took a few minutes, it seems like forever, it is very freaky, but perfectly normal. too bad we don’t come with an owners manual explaining why things happen so we don’t freak.

    You will always pull out of it when your body wakes up more. Getting more sleep is the key. Your meds too, could be contributing to it. Is it still a problem?

    • Ah, yes, an owner’s manual would be great! I have always had nightmares but I don’t recall having sleep paralysis as a child, I think it just developed over time. It could be related to medication. The other day I was thinking about that possibility and the only constant medication I have been on since I can recall having sleep paralysis is Seroquel, an antipsychotic. When it happened to you did you try to scream? That’s what I always do because I am so scared. Sleep paralysis is so freaky. I often wonder if my neighbours hear me scream and what they think about it. I also talk in my sleep!

      • I didn’t try to talk, I was confused, likely still dazed from not being fully awake, I wanted to get up, the tv was loud, I wanted to mute it, I couldn’t move, it was very very confusing. I tugged at my arm and it felt so heavy I couldn’t move it.. until it passed.

        So if you know, now that it will pass, it just takes moments, will it be better for you? to know you will ride it out and be ok?

      • I will definitely try to remind myself that it will pass. It’s so hard though, I go into a complete panic. Hopefully it will be a while before I have another sleep paralysis experience. I wish I could have lucid dreams instead!

  4. Holy shitballs! That sounds really scary. I’m glad that you are brave enough to blog about these things and have helpful people to comment/advise you from their experiences.

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