Sleep Paralysis and Night Terrors a Personal Account
My personal experience experience of sleep paralysis
- I first experienced Sleep Paralysis in my late teens. As I first experienced the phenomenon,( and still do),I feel, as I slip from full consciousness into dream sleep the sensation of being completely frozen unfortunately I am aware that I can no longer move. I feel not only completely paralyzed but oppressed and scared. Being unable to move or speak is a fear shared by all of us, and it seems to go on for ages althugh i reality it is perhaps only a few minutes. Eventually of course everyone does come round. For me, these episodes increased in frequency and severity over the next few months, and became very disruptive, I was by now at University and I began to to dread them.
The paralysis was bad enough, but then I began to develop 'Night Terrors'. this took things to a higher level of scariness. Looking back, I can correlate my experience of being physically invaded and oppressed by an evil entity, with other people's explanation of being demonically possessed by an paranormal prescence.
What made the experience more frightening for me was that whilst struggling and waiting to wake up and move again, I now believed that I had regained some degree of consciousness believing that I could hear and see again, and that these thoughts and sounds were really what was happening at that time. Sneakily my hallucinations always begin in a realistically mundane manner, I become aware that I can see and hear. I am always in bed where I should be, everything normal, when suddenly a friend will come in to help me and then at the last moment will transform into a ghastly horror. This frightens me enough to wake me up.
- Eventually I became so scared I sought help from a neurologist.
The medical explanation
- During the EEG I actually had an 'episode' on the examination table, so the neurologist was able to come up with a pretty accurate diagnosis.
- The 'sleep paralysis' part is something that has been experienced by many many people for through history. It is in fact a safety device, when one starts to dream the body is paralyzed for a short time. This is to prevent one from inappropriately acting out violent dreams. It does not last long and one is usually unaware of it.
- However, do have some awareness of it, and though scary you will always wake up and move again. If possible, its good to be woken up. I now sleep right on the edge of the bed in the hope that if I can move just a little bit a bit I will fall out of bed and wake up. (This has happened to me, but its not a great feeling to be physically pinned between the bed and a wardrobe in a small room!)
- The 'Night Terror' explanation is usually the mind explaining the experience in demonic type terms, i.e., something evil pressing down on you The neurologist Mr Whitely explained to me that in my case, at least,I also had a type of epilepsy. Left Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, and that the paralysis and hallucinations were due to a malfunction in the electrical impulses passing through my left temporal lobe which is the part of the brain which deals with hallucinations.
How I deal with it.
- The fact that there was a medical explanation was a great help to me, as it put more esoteric fears out of mind.
- I was prescribed an anti-epileptic drug Tegretol, which worked, but also took the edge of things.
- These days I prefer to put up with the fits, and accept them for what they are, a passing illusion.
- I do find it helpful when I have woken after a fit is to get up, walk around, have a cup of tea etc. This makes sure that I am fully awake, otherwise it is easy to slip straight into another one.
- I have also find the work of Dr David Sachs, a famous neurologist, very helpful to read, particularly 'The Man who thought his wife was a hat,
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