5 Things People With Sleep Paralysis Have Experienced

Sleep paralysis is the embodiment of my worst fear. Being able to hear, see, and experience the world around you… but not being able to move, speak, or interact. Feeling stuck, but aware.

Sleep paralysis makes going to bed a fucking nightmare.

Until you’ve had this experience yourself, you don’t quite grasp the magnitude of the immobilizing terror, but once you do it’s something you’ll never forget.   

  1. It feels like there is someone in the room with you

Many people who have sleep paralysis have claimed to feel a “presence.” Whether it be an actual person or a shadowy figure lurking in the corner of the room, on the ceiling, or standing beside them, it’s a typical report. For me, it was always someone without a face. A person(ish) being that was standing in my doorway, didn’t talk, didn’t move. He just stood there. Letting me feel his presence. How frightening is that?

  1. Feeling like you aren’t breathing

You are. You don’t stop breathing, but anxiety takes over, and for a minute (or longer) you have the sensation that you have completely stopped breathing and horror takes over. I’ve learned after years of experiencing this phenomenon on and off that the best way to end this is to try to talk myself into a calm state. To remind myself that I CAN still take breaths, even if I can’t move the rest of my body.

  1. You are completely paralyzed

It’s the strangest thing because there are moments where you certainly feel as if you are flailing your arms about in a fury. A desperate attempt to hit someone near you in a frantic call for help. You try to scream, reach, MOVE and you simply can’t. The first time this happened, it was excruciating because I had convinced myself I WAS moving. It wasn’t until I realized that I was, in fact, stuck, that the real terror began.

 

  1. Wondering if this is the end

 

If you haven’t had the pleasure of commonly experiencing sleep paralysis you may consider this to be the way you go. It’s the end; it’s over. This is how I die. But, according to research, sleep paralysis is relatively common and is usually not a sign of any significant physical or psychological disorder but could be a sign that you need to catch up on some zzz’s. There are instances where sleep paralysis can be a symptom of an underlying psychological disorder or a condition such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea, but it’s more likely you’re overtired and not getting enough sleep.

  1. Reoccurrences in the same night

The gift that keeps on giving. Sleep paralysis can happen over and over again in the same night. Unless you break the sleep cycle your body is in, you will fall right back into the same sleep pattern, thus leading you right back into the conscious paralyzed state. My personal best is seven. Seven times I went right back into a sleep state coupled with a frozen body and a floating “thing” on my ceiling before I finally drifted off to dreamland.

 

The first few times I was faced with this chilling state, I was petrified. The good news is, after some time you start to learn tricks on how to handle the situation until it passes. 

I have learned that getting up THE FIRST TIME, and walking around, moving, helps to recharge and restart my sleep cycle so that {hopefully} the next time I drift off I will cycle smoothly into a deep sleep.

I have also learned that starting with small wiggles of the toes, cheeks, or mouth seem to be the best way to wake myself up.

You just have to find your body’s trick, and you’ll be able to focus less on fear, and more on the tactics you know will help get you out of this state. And you can remind yourself that you’re not dying, you’re just one of the “lucky ones.”

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