Sleep Paralysis

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?


24 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis”

  1. I suffer from sleep paralysis on occasion, mostly when I’m sick, but sometimes when I’m on the edge of a panic attack.

    My fever dreams can sometimes be pretty out there. There was this one time I was awake and dreaming at the same time – I thought there were little people under the covers building a spherical structure, and I kept getting in the way. Another time, I woke up and couldn’t stop thinking about polynomials. It’s always entertaining afterward.

    Lots of people suffer from sleep paralysis – it’s becoming more well-known.

  2. It’s most likely psychological, but who knows?

    The creepiest hallucination i had was when there was this black ball-like thing covered with fur was just sitting on my chest. I couldn’t breath, couldn’t move, but my eyes were open and I was aware that I was awake.
    The thing, which felt heavy, just sat on my chest – making it hard for me to breath.

    Scary shit.

  3. I had this once as well, I was at shift on work, at night, around four. At four the girl releasing me would arrive.
    I was sitting on the stairs, and slowly I drifted into sleep coma, so to speak. My head fell backwards. I could see the room I was in through a haze, as if I was there, but behind a dirty window. I could look around, but not speak, only make noises. I saw the girl taking over arriving, she looked at me and laughed, then widened her eyes in fear and started desperately shaking me. I still don’t know why she was so scared, since I’m pretty sure I was just sleeping with my eyes open.
    We laughed about it a little, but never talked of it again.

  4. When I was between 2 and 5 I had severe night terrors and my mum couldn’t wake me up until morning. It was really bad and when I turned 6 I began having what you described (I never knew it had a name) except my body would contort backwards and I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I did scream, though it was involuntary and I would cry for the rest of the night. I’m 17 now and I have anxiety attacks at least twice a week. When they’really bad, I go into a catatomic state and wont be able to control my body. My mum made me see a psychiatrist who thought I had bipolar disorder (my uncle is bipolar and my nana was schizophrenic) but she said she isn’t supposed to diagnose that sort of thing until my brain is fully developed. So yeah, you aren’t alone, and it’s good to know that I’m not ’cause I thought I was the only one.

  5. I’ve actually had this happen to me a lot. It still happens every now and then. No one has caught me when I’m at that state, but I told my parents and friends about it. I remember once I dozed off in a long bus ride, and upon waking up, I was still dreaming somewhat. I felt dozy. I knew my eyes were open, but the problem was, was that no one could see what was going on, my head was turned towards the window. I remember feeling shocked and scared, desperately trying to move or wake up, I could utter no wimpers or cries. Finally I willed myself to jump, and then the rest of my body came to life. I remember there was some sort of force trying to pull me in back to the dream world.

    A year or two ago, in sleeping in my own bed, I remember waking up again, with the radio on since I never turn it off. I prefer having it on. But anyhow, I remember I had a nightmare, I can’t remember what, but I knew I didn’t want to go back to sleep. I was frozen there, and again I could utter to cry or wimper, just stare off to the other side of the room, wide eyed, trying to muster up the strength to move again; to not succumb to that weird force pulling me into the dream world. But on that time, when I won, it was definitely scary for me. I remember my vision becoming distorted for a second. I heard no radio or cars, it was like my mind went into some void between the dream world and consciousness. Then when I heard the radio again and the cars passing by, I remember hearing this rushing noise in my head, like water from a water park moving. And then my body shook uncontrollably. It was like all my muscles decided to spasm on the spot, with no pain. When it settled, I had this eerie feeling inside me, chilling and making my neck hair stand on edge.

    The only thing I wish for in my head every time I go to sleep, is that if that ever happens again soon, that someone else will be there to hopefully wake me up.

  6. Have you ever researched narcolepsy or talked to a doctor about it? It sounds like you have a few of the symptoms…

    Two of my sisters have narcolepsy, and my twin sister and I express some of the symptoms. I feel lucky to have that level of close understanding, because dealing with night terrors, exhaustion, and sleep paralysis would feel much worse otherwise. Because of my sleeping problems (I feel like I’ve had since I was in a crib) I also had doctors diagnose me with depression, bipolar, schizoaffective disorder, borderline, and schizophrenia – I was medicated for all of those from the age of 12-18. I always felt like being diagnosed and treated for these things only made me feel worse, it wasn’t medically accurate, and when people knew they often stigmatized me. Once I was 18 and couldn’t be coerced to take medications and could make that more private, I stopped all of it and didn’t tell anyone for 3 months. Once I did everyone realized that I was actually totally normal without the meds, but with the added fun of resentment and depression. My family felt really guilty, I’m glad they do…but I’m going on 4 years now and I’ve never been happier with my life.

    Anyways…so with sleep I often have problems with insomnia, it’s normal for me to not sleep for 2-3 days and then pass out. Sometimes I have exhaustion and can’t get out of bed…I get crap for that sometimes because it conflicts, but if I could get “normal” sleep I would be glad to take it. I also have very vivid dreams, sometimes they are very disturbing…but for a while I had problems telling the difference between being awake and asleep – it was that vivid in my dreams. I also get sleep paralysis on a somewhat regular basis…it usually just stays in my arms & legs when I wake up, and I know it’s happening so I’ll try to move them or wait until they wake up. It usually only lasts from 30 seconds to a couple minutes. The worst sleep paralysis I had was similar to what you explained…I was dreaming but everything was black, and I heard this horrible mechanical screaming noise. I tried as hard as I could to wake up, but I couldn’t move or make a sound. The best I could do was open my eyes a tiny bit, and it was very difficult to do. If my eyes started to close the scream would come back, so I kept trying to hold my eyes open until the screaming stopped – eventually it did.

    My eldest sister has the worst narcolepsy out of all of my siblings, and she has told me about experiences she has had…nightmares and hallucinations while laying in bed, being unable to move, screaming but nothing coming out. My other sister had the worst exhaustion, she was always tired and slept for most of the day when she was in her late teens. My twin sister and I both get the exhaustion, sleep paralysis, night and terrors, while I also get really bad insomnia.

    You’re definitely not alone. It isn’t paranormal, it’s a medical phenomenon. There isn’t a cure or a drug that will take care of it all, but it couldn’t hurt to go to a doctor who specializes in sleep and see what they say.

  7. Ave: the weight is a common hypnogougic hallucination ( not sure of the spelling of the first word) the ball is your mind explaining the heavyness.

    I used to try using sleep paralysis to induce lucid dreans, but i kept coming out of it. Next time anyone has sleep paralysis invoulantarily, change your breathing pattern, that tell your body that your awake, and usually releases you from slerp paralysis. What u was doing was staying as still as possible until my body thought j was asleep, then use sleep paralysis to enter a dream consiously

  8. That is amazing iv never met soMeone else with this… i woke up to my eyes open and no controll over my hand i was cutting mysellf with a razor blade i passed out and awoke in a hosbial with no arm….

  9. I suffer from this aswell, but with some specific conditions required to trigger it. Firstly it ONLY occurs for me when i sleep on my back with my head in the open (normally i sleep on my side with a pillow over my head to block out white noise from the city) and unlike the OP i can open my eyes when i’m suffering from it, for me the typical experience goes like this, my eyes will open suddenly and without reason, and i will hear movement (even feeling vibrations) behind me (my bed faces away from the door) and i am immediately gripped by a feeling of not being alone and impending dread, I feel myself trying to move, like all my organs are pushing up against my rib-cage but i’m incabable of moving my arms of body, just my eyes. normally this happens for around 10-30 seconds then i start moving but suffering a cold-sweat, i check around for the source of the noise but can never find anything, then i go back to sleep. but being honest its the most terrifying experience of my life. A few times i tried to understand what was happening by specifically telling myself to stay with it and not try to escape, this often led to me seeing a large swirling vortex of darkness on the roof above me, then screaming, then suddenly having full control of my body. my advice find a position that doesnt trigger it and stick with it.

  10. This has happened to me several times in my mid twenties as went through the on again off again antidepressants (effexor) Its so horrible to withdraw from! Sleep paralysis is so horrible and terrifying because you are so helpless, just lying there, frozen unable to move away from whatever frightening thing is happening. Im so sorry you have had to deal with this for so long. I dont take effexor anymore, mainly because there is no generic of the extented release and its uh $120 a month, as I cannot afford health insurance at the moment..

    I too, sleep with a fan. Its a must. It began in college and its tourture trying to sleep without one, like at a hotel or some place. We all have our quirks. Some are manageable and some, well leave us asking for help or feeling a little helpless. Thanks for sharing your story!

  11. I too suffer from sleep paralysis.
    It was much harsher when I was a kid, but it still comes from time to time.
    It seems strange that they diagnosed you with schizophrenia since it’s such a common thing.
    It was only recently I found out that it was common.
    Music helps me, but I still can’t shake the feeling there’s more to it.
    When I was a kid I had gone to my dad’s work in an office building in Anaheim. I remember that I fell asleep in a room full of computers wrapped in a blue blanket and I “woke up” staring at the back of an open tower. I panicked that I couldn’t move and then finally I could “see” the computers transform into terrifying robots, beeping so loud I thought my ears would burst, and I “escaped” by “seeing” myself jump through the window, trying to fly towards Disneyland since it was viewable through the window, but only falling and hitting the ground. It scared me further that I could almost feel the pain, it felt like splinters and glass had been stuck in every pore in my body. My dad told me it was natural, but sometimes I still don’t know.

  12. I have stuff like this happen to me. When i was little, the nightmares would make no sense. I would awaken, and be forced to just lay there. I just imagined someone with an elongated face typing on a keyboard. Now they make more sense, but they’re still illogical. I’ll imagine plague doctors are in my closet, and then I’ll hallucinate and see one in front of me. This is creepy shit.

  13. I had a sleep paralysis once. It wasn’t scary, but more interesting than anything else. I was little, and I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to move. Then the walls started changing colors and I had the feeling the house was going up. It was pretty cool, actually.

  14. I have this happening all the time. When I’m just laying down or sitting and want to move I suddenly can’t. I try to move my arm with all the power I got. It just won’t work. This also counts for other bodyparts. I also have difficulties with breahing when that happens.

    I also had my fair share of gruesome nightmares and they have gone to a certain point I just can’t sleep in the dark anymore. I am now seriously afraid of the dark because of it.

    Now I read I’m not the only one I feel so relieved and will see my doctor for not being able to move my body sometimes. Seriously thought I was the only one.

  15. I have them regularily, not necessarily paralyzed, but I do wake up stiff and having difficulty moving at all. Almost always sweating. Generally, over the course of years, I learned how to manipulate these dreams, mostly to try and aid my dreamself to fight whatever it was in the dream that was trying to harm me or someone I cared about in the dream.

  16. I usually don’t go into sleep paralysis or have terrible nightmares unless I am sick (unfortunately, I am now, so tonight may not be fun).
    However, I must sleep with a fan on. I have for over 10 years. I will NOT fall asleep unless a fan is going (or I’ve been awake for like 4 days.. I’ve tested it, which was proceeded by a terrible state of sleep paralysis)

  17. This condition is actually pretty common, it happens when your sleep cycle gets interupted when your paralysed. See, everyone has a point of paralysis during the night, its just a part of your body doing what it needs to do to rejuvenate and replentish the body. When something wakes you up doing this part of your sleep cycle, thats what causes the sleep paralysis.

  18. Meh, sleep paralysis is not a problem for me. I always get sleep paralysis everyday. The key is, don’t ever panic. Because sleep paralysis is normal and it’s the condition where your brain still wakes up and your body is still asleep. So, its natural. Just don’t panic and keep being positive. Move your toe to get up/awake from sleep paralysis.

  19. When you sleep your body releases a chemical that paralyses you so that you dont act out your dreams. When you wake up, or go to sleep and your just on that cusp, your paralysed, which terrifies you, and asleep enough to have dreams while still awake.

    Ive had it in a variety of different ways, such as all youve described, exploding head, and chest syndrome, alien and ghost hallucinations, and more, so it does suck. Sorry dude.

  20. I actually had this frequently a few years ago. Sometimes it happens again but maybe twice a year. A few years ago it happened on a regular basis and it was very uncomfortable to say the least. I had buzzing in my head the moment i drifted to sleep or at the middle of the night. Something woke me up and i could feel it looking down on my bed. Almost as if it wanted to take control. It was feeding off my fear and it induced the fear itself. I always felt this. When i woke up with an uneasy feeling i couldn’t open my eyes or make noises, cry for help. And everytime the buzzing began i knew “shit, it’s happening again. Stay calm and wait for it to pass”. I’m actually a very calm and patient person, but no mattet how lobg i waited it never disappeared until i fought against it by trying to wake up and so every night i would have to give an effort even though i became used to it and was lazy. Otherwise the evil wouldn’t go away. I now know why i had it and how i’ve grown to make it stop. I know it’s going to sound weird but i became a believer. I started reading the Qur’an what started out as a curiosity towards the djinn, mystical unseen beings, grew out into my trust and belief in that book’s prayers. Whenever i said “in the name of god” wether it be in arabic, english or my native language the being weakened and eventually disappeared. It decreased its visitations and eventually left. That one never came again. There were others that tried and failed. I remember the first time calling the name of God when it came. Everything stopped for a moment. It was very surprised and after that became more aggressive and angry. It was all very scary. Especially that i couldn’t speak so I had to pray in my mind. The more i prayed the more it weakened and left. Thank God for everything and i continue to be His loyal servant. This may seem weird but it’s absolutely true. The one time after that when it happened again was when i was in disneyland for the day and that night it happened. It made me suspicious of disney since it had so called ghost places. Anyway i think these things happen because of spiritual depravity. Like practicing black magic, watching porn, defying a personal God etc… I did all of that. Oh yeah i was interested in spiritism and channelings. Thank God it’s over, i don’t trust that anymore.

    1. Its physical, and psychological. Not spiritual or paranormal. I had shadow figures around my bed a few times and as soon as i snap out of it theyre gone. Dont put too much stock into it and scare yourself anymore than you need to.

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