Isolated Sleep Paralysis
Read some crazy stuff around the blogosphere today. Stuff that turned out to be entirely fabricated, though. I’m glad that I’m a hermit so that I basically stayed inside all day (well, and because I had an 8pm exam to study for), and therefore wasn’t the target of any of this April Fool’s nonsense.
The other week I learned that my friend Ben has isolated sleep paralysis. That was really exciting; I’d never met anyone else besides me who has this... condition, or whatever it is. When people go to sleep, certain stages of sleep (REM stages, iirc) tend to be violent, so the brain paralyzes the body to prevent you from hurting yourself. You’d never know this, because you’re asleep while it happens. But people who have this ISP condition are conscious while this happens. Not all the time, though; for me, sometimes it happens 5 times in a week, and other times I’ll go 6 months without a single occurence of it.
It is impossible to convey this experience in words, but it is simultaneously mysterious, intriguing and terrifying. It always happens right around the time when I’m falling asleep or waking up. I try to move, and I realize that I can’t, so I know it’s happening again. There is almost always an echoing sound that starts quiet and gets very loud, and it’s repetitive, almost like a record skipping but faster. As I struggle to move I feel my heart start to beat really fast.
At the time, I believe that my eyes are open. I believe I am seeing the room around me. But from some things I’ve read, I’ve come to doubt whether they actually are open. It may be that I only think they are open, and my brain is actually seeing an image of the room from before I closed my eyes and fell asleep.
There is always the distinct feeling of something evil around me. But that’s something which by its very nature is impossible to quantify. And it could be that simply being paralyzed causes me to be very afraid; that’s certainly logical. The article I linked above talks about this, and how it could be the body/brain’s survival mechanisms reacting to what it perceives as the presence of a threat.
The thing is, it’s terrifying, but as soon as I break free from it, I want it to happen again. I want to understand it. I want to somehow experience it but without being terrified by the dark presence and that thrashing sound growing louder. I never even knew that other people experienced this until I found that article one day, and that was after about 2 years of it.
So anyway, it was exciting to actually talk to another person who’s gone through it.