The first time I can recall this happening to me was when I was very young and I had a terrifying nightmare. I “woke up” but I noticed I couldn’t open my eyes. I knew I was awake and aware of my body lying in my bed but I was also aware of a dream happening simultaneously in my mind where I was being chased by this enormous demon. I knew that if I could just open my eyes the dream would end and this creature would go away, but it was like something was holding my eyelids shut and I couldn’t move any other part of my body. Just like the Stanford article says, I could make only little whimpering noises and only if I really *really* struggled to get one out. This goes on until my mom who is one room over finally hears me and enters the room.
She says that she tried to wake me for quite a while without me responding and that I was acknowledging her questions and such with little whimpers but I couldn’t do much else. Eventually she successfully woke me. This is making more and more sense as I write this actually because I recall always asking her to sleep on the floor of my room at night because I was terrified of having a nightmare. (Never monsters or robbers or anything, just nightmares.) Anyway, this happened to me in different ways later on in life the most common one I recall was whenever I was sick with a high fever. I would have my eyes open unable to do anything but stare at the wall in front of me and groan and listen to these voices arguing. I never knew what they were arguing about since it was always muffled, but I always knew they were yelling about me. I know it didn’t take place in reality because I’ve always lived with just my mom and she never had visitors over. It was also several voices I heard and they sounded very close by almost just out of my field of vision. This was usually broken by having my mom enter the room or just simply falling back to sleep.
As long as I can remember I was always *very* reluctant to go to sleep like any kid, but I usually had difficulty sleeping and it took me a long while to be able to fall asleep without anybody in the room with me. I always had very intense dreams and very intense nightmares and later in life I developed a bit of insomnia.
My teenage years involved me trying to stay awake as long as possible until finally passing out after a night without sleep after school at home from exhaustion. I was diagnosed with depression a couple of times and was on and off antidepressants as I struggled with my sleep.
Eventually I discovered that having some type of noise as I slept (when I was younger it came in the form of lullaby tapes played by my mom) kept me from having the nightmares and what I now know as sleep paralysis. This worked for quite awhile until I got older and began to wonder about what had happened to me when I was younger.
I talked to a psychiatrist about it and was actually diagnosed with schizophrenia and eventually a severe Panic Disorder. I didn’t believe I had schizophrenia and never really have believed it. I resent that diagnosis since it made my life difficult as hell and actually ruined several relationships in my life.
Eventually I said screw the medication and screw the shrinks and just threw it all out and I have been in perfect health since then.
But… I still sleep with a fan running every night, and I can’t CAN’T sleep without it. I tried it once recently and I awoke with a nightmare rather quickly after falling asleep…
Tonight I’ll probably still sleep with a fan on, but now that I’ve shared my story… Has this ever happened to anybody else? The Wikipedia page on this condition shows that it’s prevalent all over the world and almost every culture has some type of folklore attached to it.
I find it strange that noises generally prevent me from dreaming at all and probably prevent the sleep paralysis right along with it. Also, many scientists use this condition to explain things such as alien abductions and reports of demonic possession and the like. Is it science explaining the paranormal or the paranormal explaining science?
From what I’ve read there isn’t a general consensus on why this happens other than stress and disrupted sleep patterns. But in my case it felt as though it was the sleep paralysis that caused the stress and disrupted sleep patterns. It also seems linked with panic disorders. (That I’m convinced was a correct diagnosis amidst the butchery.)
The constant hallucinations associated with this for me still concern me however, despite that they were likely dream induced. Their consistency worries me and the paranormal folklore that surrounds them disturbs me.
Am I crazy? Is this paranormal? Or just a plain and simple another psychological phenomenon that is unexplainable?