The Return of Sleep Paralysis

A while ago, I had written a poem about a sleep condition that I have on and off, sleep paralysis – a sensation where you feel like you are awake, and there is something or someone in the room with you that you fear, but your body and voice is paralyzed, so you are unable to escape or defend yourself. It has to do with the how the brain paralyzes your body while you are dreaming to prevent you from physically acting out your dreams, but sometimes doesn’t release the paralysis when you are awaking, or starts it too early when you are falling asleep. You then find yourself in a familiar place, like your bedroom or another area in your house, awake but not safe.

It has been awhile since I experienced it, but it has now resurfaced with a vengeance. One night in particular I had three episodes of it. Over the past few nights, there were two memorable episodes. The first felt like I woke up to the flash of a camera. Someone that I couldn’t see but I knew was there standing at the foot of our bed had just taken a picture of us, and I was certain that their next move was to kill us. I truly believed we were about to be murdered. In the second one, I awoke and was looking at the bedroom window. Through the blinds, I saw a figure in a baseball hat trying to pry the window open. Fortunately, my fiancé has been my knight in shining armor every time it happened, waking me up when I started twitching or making weird sounds, and then calming me down so I can go back to sleep, which is a difficult task considering I wake up in a mild panic attack.

So for those of you who have experienced this, here are a few things I have noticed that have coincided with the return of this for me, along with the ways out of it.

  • Watching creepy movies is a definite trigger. I like scary, horror, thriller movies, and the return of my sleep paralysis came after the nights when I watched House of Wax, Taken, and Seven.
  • One of the things I want to do most is try to move, hoping to get my mate’s attention, but the most movement that is noticeable no matter what I’m doing in my mind is twitching. What does work is trying to make a sound. It may not come out as loud as I want it, but it is more likely to get my rescuer’s attention. And in the past, when I was sleeping alone, the noise I made would sometimes snap me out of it.
  • Contrary to the things I have read, sleeping on my back is not always the culprit. My last several episodes happened when I was sleeping on my side.
  • There have been occasions when I realize I am going into a sleep paralysis hallucination as I’m falling asleep. It feels somewhat like I’m slipping into a black hole, almost like I’m forcibly being put to sleep. When I realize this, I focus on seeing a particular person, like my fiancé, someone I know wouldn’t hurt me so I wouldn’t have to fear him in my dreamlike state. It’s hard to do after I’ve had a recent episode the same night, as I’m already scared of falling asleep again in the first place. But sometimes, it works, and I pass that phase and fall into regular dreams again.

The following are some videos about sleep paralysis – what it is, and even how to learn to take control of the experience (including use of lucid dreaming techniques), something I will definitely work on if I continue having these experiences. If you experience sleep paralysis, or just find this interesting, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Dreaming of Birds

Recently, I have had two very memorable dreams about birds. The first dream, a few weeks ago, I had this bird in my hand that I thought was dead. But then, it came to life again. Just as I was feeling the joy that my little bird was alive, it fell out of my hand into a storm drain in a parking lot. I was left feeling sad because I did not know if the bird would have survived the fall, and if it did, could it get out. If not, I knew it would starve to death and die in the drain.

The next dream, a few days ago, was about this bird that flew into my vehicle while I was driving. I left the window open, hoping it would fly out again, and it did a few times, but then flew back in. When I held my hand out to it, it would hop onto the back of my hand and just sit there. So I took it inside my house, and fed it. It ate seeds right off of my skin. I left it for a little while, I think to get something out of my car, and came running back home because I felt it was in danger. I found it sitting on the ironing board, and held my hand out. It jumped onto the back of my hand again, and I took it outside, cupping my other hand around it to protect it from bees that I thought were nearby.

The second dream affected me the most. I woke up and spent the entire day really missing this little bird.

Warm and Fuzzy Feeling Dreams

Last night, I dreamt that my fiancé and I were going to start up our own hospital. We only had four beds available, and we wanted to take four patients out of a nearby facility. The lady we were dealing with wanted us to take all six of her patients, two of which we did not want. One of the patients, who was being neglected, was this Japanese man with a mangled face and no legs. Everyone was ignoring him, but I looked at him and smiled. He looked back at me and smiled as well, which left me all happy inside when I woke up.

My fiancé had a much better and more normal dream than I did – he dreamt that we had a three year old daughter, and he was tickling her. He asked if she liked it, and she said yes. When he told me about that dream over lunch, I was just filled with the warm and fuzzy feelings all over. Especially when he added it made him want a child now. :)

FBI Flamethrowers

A few nights ago, I dreamt that the FBI came to my apartment complex to question the residents about something – I am not sure what anymore. Once they finished questioning everyone, two of them, wearing Joker-like masks, pulled out flamethrowers and started burning the apartment buildings. My first thought was to check on my mom who lived in the back of the complex. When my fiancé and I ran back to her building, she was standing by her car, drugged out of her mind. I asked her where her cats where, and she had no idea, so we had to run into her apartment and round up her cats. Then we had to run back to our apartment to round up ours.

The Perfect Wedding Dress

Last night, I dreamt about my upcoming nuptials. Typically, my dreams are about being at a wedding, but I do not think I have ever been the bride before now.

I was wearing the perfect dress: a strapless ballgown with soft, silky embroidery. The bottom was poofy, but not obnoxiously so. The wedding itself was outdoors, in a beautiful but maze-like garden. It was a bit strange in the sense that everyone was having to walk in a line towards the area where the minister was. I was somewhere in the middle of the line, and my groom to be was already up front. Maybe it was my dream’s compensation for the nervousness that I might feel when walking down the aisle.

Probably the oddest, but funniest part, was that I saw someone ahead of me in line that I have not seen in years, and I told them to google “kikolani” to find my blog. I guess that is a sign that I have been a big blog crazy recently, as someone told me on Twitter the other day.

All and all, I woke up in a nice, romantic mood, which is a great way to start the day. Especially when waking up next to the wonderful man who will be the groom in my real-life, dream come true wedding next year.