Friday, April 11, 2008

Sleep Paralysis ~ A Nightly Fight with Terror

A lot of you have told me that you were excited to see what I have to say about my crazy life, well here’s a bit about me to start off with. After reading this, you’ll probably wonder what the in world you’re doing knowing someone like me. Well here is it…

I’ve debated for awhile to let people know that I suffer from this, because of how extreme this phenomenon is. I’ve only told a handful of people about this and most of them are not close family or friends.

Most of you know that I do not sleep well, waking up several times in the night. This is due to a couple of reasons, first it’s because I’m afraid of not waking up to my alarms (I set two). The next reason is because of this strange thing called sleep paralysis. When I have the chance to sleep in and I’m not worrying about being somewhere in the morning is usually when this happens. This first time I remember this happening, I was around 9 or 10 years old. When someone is in a deep sleep and the R.E.M. cycle is occurring, most people have dreams, about wonderful places, flying and great adventures. Well, most of the time, if I ever get to the dreaming stage of sleep, I have violent nightmares. Waking up during these nightmares brings on sleep paralysis. What happens is the body is in its ultimate form of relaxation, so to wake up suddenly, you body cannot move…basically, you’re paralyzed for a minute or two while your body catches up with your brain. If it was just that, I could handle it, but the worst part comes next. I’m somewhat awake and somewhat still in the dream mode, so the mind is still processing the dream while I lay paralyzed looking around the room. This phenomenon causes the dream (or nightmare in my case) to come to life for the few moments, which seems like hours when you see dark images or creatures hovering around you. Most of the time the image I see is a large dark figure, kind of like a grim reaper appearance or similar to the dark shadows from the movie Ghost.

I know this sounds crazy, but it does affect my sleep. I have trained myself to wake up several times in the night before I can get to the dream stage, so I don’t have to deal with this. I’ve been informed that a lot of my health problems are due to the fact I don’t sleep, so last night I took ½ of a sleeping pill allowing me to get through the night. Because I was relaxed and not controlling my timely wake ups, this madness happened. The only reason why I know I’m not crazy is that I had a therapist tell me about this bizarre sleep experience, but if any of you reading this know of a way to control dreams and/or sleep patterns (without the use of drugs), any advice is welcomed.

Now y’all know one side of where my craziness comes from and hopefully it didn’t scare you off.

4 comments:

Weekes Family said...

Nicole! I'll keep you in my prayers at night! That sounds just terrible! i love you!

The Whitney's said...

Aw :( Man, that sucks!

When I was in High School, I had a few reoccurring nightmares that woke me in the middle of the night. I spoke to a friend who had had the same problems for a while in middle school. She went to see a therapist, and he told her that she has 100% control of her dreams/nightmares. And all she had to do was put her whole self in the dream/nightmare, and change the situation...

The best way to describe this is through the Harry Potter book/movie, where Lupin makes all his students face a Bogart... or, in your case, your worst nightmare, and they had to think of something funny, in order to change the situation/shape of the nightmare to something good... if that makes any sense at all.

So, I tried hard for a few nights, and eventually mastered the ability to change my dreams on my own.

You can try it, see if it helps, but I guess it really depends on if you trust yourself enough to let yourself fall deep enough into the nightmare to be able to change it.

I hope it all gets better for you dear. I'd hate to know you're not getting any sleep when you eventually have children, because they'll keep you up with worry alone without this disabling you to begin with...

orangemily said...

That is just scary! Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

You are so amazing. I'm glad that you shared this with us. I wish that I had something that would help you. I'm just glad that you are my friend.

Rach