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wyntermoon
05-20-2007, 07:02 PM
Having been the victim of this odd phenomenon Friday night, I'd love to hear of others experiences with it.


Do you remember the dream - if there was one?
Were you under any undo stress at the time?
Are you prone to anxiety attacks regularly?
How often have you had sleep paralysis?
Thanks in advance!

Plot Device
05-20-2007, 08:09 PM
A few times a year I experience a dream (nightmare I guess) where I'm in danger and try to run away in the dream but can't. And then I panic and wake up. And for a half-second of being awake I am paralyzed.

My understanding is we are ALL paralyzed during our sleep as a safety precaution in order to prevent us from acting out our dreams. Otherwise we'd ALL be sleep-walking. And so those unfortunate people (thankfully few in number) who have a faulty sleep-paralysis mechanism are the ones who DO sleep-walk.


Do you remember the dream - if there was one?

Not usually.


Were you under any undo stress at the time?

Maybe. Don't recall.


Are you prone to anxiety attacks regularly?

No. Never.



How often have you had sleep paralysis?

A few times a year would be how often I wake up from a nightmare and experience a fleeting and momentary conflict with the sleep paralysis--I have to fight it off to wake up.

aliajohnson
05-21-2007, 12:32 AM
Huh--I'm embarressed to admit I had to google this term. I had no idea there was a term for waking up like that. Learn something new every day.

Happens at least five or six times a year to me. Used to be much more common when I was a child.

I remember the dreams vividly. I can picture some I had years and years ago. In all of these dreams, I realize that I'm asleep, and at some point try to wake myself up. That's the problem for me I guess. My mind is ready to leave and my body isn't.

Because I've never thought much about it, I have no idea if I'm under more stress than usual when it happens.

I do have panic attacks, but they don't--in any way--resemble sleep paralysis. Which is a shame, because I'd much, much prefer the sleep paralysis. When it happens to me, it's often frustrating, sometimes a little scary (though that really has more to do with the dream I'm coming out of), but never terrifying.

Hope that helps!

Julie Worth
05-21-2007, 01:06 AM
Here's a link (http://www.metafilter.com/37264/Sleep-paralysis) to a number of such experiences.

aliajohnson
05-21-2007, 01:36 AM
Thanks Julie. That link was an eye opener for me. Apparently, I'm in the minority in not finding the experience overwhelmingly horrifying. (Maybe because I can't remember a time I didn't have them?)

Was your experience more like those on the other site, Wyntermoon? If so, I'm so sorry. :Hug2:

I recognized some of the things people were talking about--the sensation of floating to the ceiling, the asleep-awake-asleep-awake process, and the feeling that someone else is either in the room or coming down the hall (kinda forgotten about that until someone mentioned it). But the outright hallucinations, the panic, etc--I've never had. Apparently, I'm very fortunate in that regard.

Saanen
05-21-2007, 03:14 AM
Wow, me either. It's a creepy feeling, but not overwhelming. It happens to me pretty often when I sleep later than usual. It's linked with dreams, but I don't recall any particular dream.

wyntermoon
05-21-2007, 04:27 AM
Thanks so much, guys! My experience was awful and the first time it had happened to me. I had trouble falling asleep until very early in the morning, then awoke about an hour later to a crushing weight on my chest. I was mid-scream and couldn't lift my eyelids when I finally woke up.

I had heard of the phenomenon years ago but now have something to go on to stick in a short story - I'm sorry y'all went through it too!

Histry Nerd
05-21-2007, 07:51 AM
I've experienced this a couple of times, but it's been fifteen years or so since the last. I think it happened once or twice when I couldn't even open my eyes--as I recall, I was aware of being awake, but completely unable to move. I have no idea what any of the dreams were, but I rarely recall my dreams.

The one time I remember specifically, I managed to get my eyes about halfway open, and saw somebody cross the room. It was a gray shape, somewhat ragged, and it glided across my field of view pretty quickly, like someone walking fast. I remember being terrified that someone was in the room and I couldn't move. My eyes closed again, then opened, and I could move. And there was no one in the room. I thought I had seen a ghost--still not convinced I didn't. I had no idea until just now that was a common phenomenon.

As far as stress, all of them happened during a fairly stressful period in my life--I was an undergrad at a pretty tough school. But not the most stressful--it never happened while I was at war, or fighting with my wife, or worried about finances, or when one of my kids was sick.

And I have never had an anxiety attack.

Hope it helps.
HN

TsukiRyoko
05-21-2007, 07:55 AM
I only have this problem whenever I'm really stressed out or having a nightmare (which means a good bit recently).

I usually don't remember the dream for more than a few minutes after I wake up.

I don't have anxiety attacks regularly, but I do have them. They come in intervals, depending on my stress level, and at times they can come pretty regularly.

I don't have sleep paralysis very often, but like the anxiety attacks, when it happens it can happen pretty regularly for me.

Writer2011
05-21-2007, 08:38 AM
What happens to me is i'll be dreaming about a ghost/spirit and I'll tell the ghost/spirit what to do and it does it...but i'm frozen with fear and then wake up... guess that's the same? But not sure :)

aliajohnson
05-21-2007, 05:22 PM
The one time I remember specifically, I managed to get my eyes about halfway open, and saw somebody cross the room. It was a gray shape, somewhat ragged, and it glided across my field of view pretty quickly, like someone walking fast. I remember being terrified that someone was in the room and I couldn't move. My eyes closed again, then opened, and I could move. And there was no one in the room. I thought I had seen a ghost--still not convinced I didn't. I had no idea until just now that was a common phenomenon.

HN

Did you check out the link Julie gave? Sounds like the Old Hag people talk about on there. That is unbelievably freaky.

Histry Nerd
05-22-2007, 03:14 AM
Did you check out the link Julie gave? Sounds like the Old Hag people talk about on there. That is unbelievably freaky.

I looked at it. It was that page that made me realize my experience was not unique. What I saw was a bit like the Old Hag, but the way it moved--gliding fast, not tottering along like I would expect an old hag to do--made me think of a ghost. Not a benevolent ghost, either.

And "freaky" is a bit of an understatement--it scared the stuffing out of me. In some ways, even being shot at was not as frightening. At least then I had some idea what the hell was going on.

Of course, that's probably why I prefer action over horror....

HN

zahra
05-22-2007, 03:25 AM
I used to have it a lot, but never do now, thank goodness, because DAMN!

I didn't see things, but I did hear something like a great buzz of voices, getting louder and sounding really evil. I would try and try to move, and in the end would manage to shake my head and that would stop it.

The worst thing is, I'd sometimes feel it coming on, but be powerless to stop it.

Knowing that any minute now you're going to be plunged into a terrifying experience...not fun.

Robin Bayne
05-22-2007, 03:26 AM
I understand many people suffer this, and that it's a chemical inbalance--your body has too much of the substance that keeps you safely still during dreams.

I believe my stepson has the opposite problem--he used to thrash about and talk in his dreams. Not enough of the chemical.

The only thing that sounds worse than sleep paraylsis after waking is waking during surgery and not being able to move or communicate.

Tiger
05-22-2007, 03:43 AM
A couple days ago I was certain that a giant spider was hovering over my bed. I was trying to move my arms and warn my girlfriend, but nothing doing. I was finally able to open my eyes and swim to the surface.

Happens once in awhile. My information is the same as Plot Device's: this phenomenon keeps us from running out of the burning house when the house isn't really burning, and there's really a cliff where you think the door is...

...I've also heard it theorized that SP can explain everything from an alien abduction to a Medieval succubus.

eliflauta
05-22-2007, 03:51 AM
Having been the victim of this odd phenomenon Friday night, I'd love to hear of others experiences with it.

Do you remember the dream - if there was one?
Were you under any undo stress at the time?
Are you prone to anxiety attacks regularly?
How often have you had sleep paralysis?Thanks in advance!

1. Almost always. Often I am aware that I dreamed, but everything is fuzzy. Sometimes I remember a single scene; well, not even a whole scene, more like a single frame. Like a photograph. Other times I can review the entire dream, which can be a few hours long.
2. I'm often under undo stress...
3. Yes.
4. Usually after a nightmare, so at least once a week? But I can't say...usually after a dream, I don't make any attempt to move for a few minutes. However, I can honestly say that after a nightmare, I'm frozen like a board for several minutes.

wyntermoon
05-22-2007, 05:53 AM
Thank you all, this has been incredibly helpful!

MonaLeigh
05-22-2007, 06:00 AM
I usually have these if I sleep too long, or wake up around 9am or so then fall back to sleep. I end up going into a very deep sleep and I can't wake myself up. I almost always know it's coming b/c I'll hear a loud whooshing sound and I can feel myself being pulled into sleep. Sometimes I fight it and make myself stay awake. Other times I do fall asleep and I'll be in that half in, half out of it stage where I'm trying so hard to open my eyes, but can't. I'll hear noises and see things that aren't there. It also usually happens if I sleep on my back.

The worst experience I ever had was about 20 years ago and I dreamt I followed my brother into our attic and watched him hang himself. (he's alive) I kept trying to wake up, but couldn't fully open my eyes. I was freaking out b/c I thought he was in the attic.

wyntermoon
05-22-2007, 06:38 AM
The worst experience I ever had was about 20 years ago and I dreamt I followed my brother into our attic and watched him hang himself. (he's alive) I kept trying to wake up, but couldn't fully open my eyes. I was freaking out b/c I thought he was in the attic.

It's strange that you mentioned that, I had a similar dream about my brother about 20 years ago doing the same thing. Since then I've had more than a healthy fear of hanging.

MonaLeigh
05-22-2007, 06:53 AM
It's strange that you mentioned that, I had a similar dream about my brother about 20 years ago doing the same thing. Since then I've had more than a healthy fear of hanging.

Wow, that is weird!

Monkey
05-26-2007, 11:40 AM
I've woken up and not been able to move a couple of times...maybe 3, 4 times in my life, and then I've had one experience that I find really hard to quantify. Perhaps it was hallucination.

I was dreaming a fairly normal dream, when suddenly, I felt as though there was a weight on my chest and I couldn't breathe. I opened my eyes, and there was this thing...this shadow kneeling on me...I couldn't see it's hands, if it had them, but it sure felt like the thing was strangling me. I tried to reach up and defend myself, but couldn't. I tried to scream for my husband, who was in bed beside me, but had no air. I tried kicking my legs. Nothing. Then, after several seconds of this, something shifted. I could move one leg, and I brought it up as if to knee the thing in the back...only to realize that there was nothing there.

I woke my husband and turned on every light in the house. I was really spooked. This instance was very different from my other sleep paralysis instances, but it still could have been entirely mental...sort of like when you dream that you woke up, only to wake up for real a little later. Now [I]that[I]has happened to me quite a few times.

skelly
05-26-2007, 02:46 PM
sort of like when you dream that you woke up, only to wake up for real a little later. Now [i]that[i]has happened to me quite a few times.
False waking. I've had that a lot, and it can turn into a real freak show. I have sleep paralysis fairly regularly, and on a few rare occasions I have had an "Old Hag" experience. It doesn't have to be an actual "old hag," btw, sometimes it is just the feeling that there is someone(thing?) else in the room and threatening you while you are seemingly paralyzed. I've noticed a real surge in these types of sleep phenomena since I began experimenting with ways to induce lucid dreams. I've even felt the "vibration: precursor that some people believe is the beginning of an out-of-body experience, although I don't really believe much in the OBE phenomenon. Whatever it is, it is a terrifying sensation.

Monkey
05-26-2007, 04:49 PM
Most of my dreams are atleast semi-lucid. I wonder if there is some connection between lucid dreaming and false waking?

skelly
05-26-2007, 05:08 PM
I think there is. I never had the experience of false waking before I started having more frequent lucid dreams, especially the ones in which I have a greater amount of control, or a high degree of lucidity. I have actually lain in bed "awake" for several minutes, mentally recounted the lucid dream that I just had, sat up to check the time and describe the dream into the little digital recorder that I keep on the nightstand...and THEN realized that I was still asleep and dreaming because something weird happend, like the closet door starting to open, or, one particularly scary time, somebody in the bathroom calling my name and saying "come here" over and over. Once I realize that I am not actually awake, it always seems difficult to really wake up, but once I do I am quite certain that I am awake. I've never had two false wakings in a row (thank God).

I think it is interesting that you say most of your dreams are semi-lucid dreams. I find it very difficult to induce the phenomenon.


(edit: "induce the phenomenon," not "manifest" it. Good grief)

wyntermoon
05-26-2007, 06:25 PM
Ack! How frightening!

Monkey
05-26-2007, 08:53 PM
When I was little I had horrid nightmares, and learning to have lucid dreams was the only way I ever got any sleep.

The way I learned to do it was 2-fold: first, out of desperation, my dad gave me a red crayon and told me to "take it into my dream with me". He said that I could use it to "X out" the monsters and they'd disapear. I went to sleep holding the crayon. The second part was that I actually stayed up sort of daydreaming until I slipped into unconciousness...and the "daydreams" simply turned into "nightdreams" but remained under my control. It didn't work all the time, but it worked enough, and eventually, I learned to get the same effect on most nights without the crayon or staying up until I passed out.