In February of this year my son (aged 20) was involved in a serious accident and as a consequence fractured his skull and two small bleeds, behind the fracture, were identified. For the first 48 hours it was touch and go as to whether he would have to undergo surgery. Fortunately he didn't, however after discharge he was assessed by the community neuro team and they did say problems may develop later on.
Anyway, for about the last 8 weeks he's been complaining of having the same dream. He's lay in his bed and he can't move or speak even when he tries, he says that he doesn't feel like he's asleep but doesn't feel like he's awake either. He says that he also thinks that there's someone in the room with him and they are either pinning him down or that they start shaking the bed, but he just can't move. Initially I just put it down to a recurring nightmare. But the episodes are becoming more frequent, sometimes two or three times per night. Last night, when I was in bed I could here him making sounds as if he was trying to shout but couldn't. I went into his bedroom and he was lay just lay there making these sounds. When I talked to him he woke and he was really shaken, he said it had happened again and he was trying to shout me. I've researched sleep paralysis on the internet and it 'sounds' like this is what my son is experiencing, I've also discovered that feeling that someone may be present in the room with them is known as incubus hallucinations. I've also discovered that a trauma to the brain can bring on sleep paralysis and incubus hallucinations. I've contacted the community neuro team and am waiting to hear from them, but I was just wondering if any hubbers had first hand experience of/ or any knowledge regarding sleep paralysis.
There may be something wrong with his dopamine and/or receptors. Ask your doctor about it. I'll explain the connection.
When we sleep, our brain releases Dopamine. Dopamine causes our bodies to become "paralyzed" as we sleep, specifically in the REM stage. Essentially, the reason that most people aren't sleep walkers is because their brain is releasing dopamine properly. Sleep walkers actually have a dopamine defficiency, which is dangerous, because you subconsciously believe yourself invincible in this state (I've heard stories of a man turned comedian who realized he needed help with sleep walking when he jumped out of his apartment window and kept running, half-naked, bruised and bleeding, and woke up in a grassy area.)
How does this have to do with sleep paralysis? Well, if sleep paralysis is a state of being unable to move, and Dopamine causes the body to become "paralyzed," the problem might lay in with the area of the brian dealing with dopamine. My guess is that the brain is still sending the body dopamine even though the sleep cycle has been disrupted, during the REM stage, where there is no physical body movement. One may panic because the body is still paralyzed, and because of the lack of control, one may feel the need to fight the inability to move. I used to experience this a lot when I was in a more spiritual state of mind, but I don't anymore. What I did learn is that when you feel (or when he feels) it happening, just relax. It'll pass.
Even before his brain injury he sleep walked as a child, used to grind his teeth and shout a lot whilst sleeping. But that stopped. I'm thinking also that his accident, he fell more than 20 ft and was conscious when he landed, has probably traumatized him too. Psychologically that is. Other than the head injury and multiple operations he has had on his hand, this must have had some other effects.
But, yea, it is likely there's some "damage" or chemical imbalance going on. That or his brain chemistry is actually changing. Not sure. Good luck. I hope you guys figure it out. Tell him to think of positive, relaxing things whenever it happens.
Side note, a friend of mine who's into "astral projection" believes that when you experience sleep paralysis, you are a step closer, and that if you focus and pratice you can actually "astrally project." He is a VERY spiritual person. Straight out the 60's into drugs/hippie/into buddhism&hinduism type "spiritual."
He is very spiritual and just like me he has, not precognitions, but feelings about certain events and people. But he's my son and I'm worrying about what's happening to him. These episodes are frightening him, he wont say that, but I can tell that they are. And thanks a thousand words, Knol and Nell for coming by-feel better already.
Not me. But just a thought and it may seem crazy, but perhaps he has some brain injury, and he is getting a little medical help in the dream state, wherein when the treatment is done it will go away. I have had that experience although on a much smaller scale.
I don't know what to make of it, Knol. The information regarding brain injury is vague, the neuro's, and I'm not knocking them for this, have said there's no real prognosis or recovery period. They don't know, they've been honest and for that I'm thankful. But I'm seriously starting to worry now. I don't think what you've said is crazy, I've remembered where I've placed things I thought I'd lost whilst dreaming-I've had odd experiences in the dream state too.
But he's also described the presence of someone in the room as a demon or devil?? But I've been reading today that those who experience incubus hallucinations describe them as evil. He's young and thinks he's invincible, I don't think he really comprehends how serious this head injury was/is. But seeing him last night was like watching him when he was learning to form words, he couldn't actually say mum, just mm. Sounds daft I know, but when he woke and said I've been trying to shout you but I couldn't speak, it made sense.
I did write about my experiences with sleep paralysis, but it does seem to me that this is connected to his accident. Whether its a physical problem or maybe delayed shock causing stress I don't know. Its best to find out from his surgeon or gp. But don't forget to ask about stress as well, this is one of the major causes of sleep paralysis, okay?
I can't find your writings about sleep paralysis.
Sorry hollie, I forgot to come back as I had visitors. if you want to read it, just go to my profile page its on the 'headline' bit, but there are several on this subject on here too, after mine maybe give them a read? you may find you answer, good luck.
Hollie, keep us updated on this please.
Sorry I couldn't help because it's not something I have any experience of, but I will be worried for your lad until it is sorted, or diagnosed.
There was a TV program tonight on BBC1 about sleep problems. I watched about half before I had to go do something else, but you could catch it on the iplayer.
It didn't mention your son's problem but they had sleep experts on the show, so there might have been some help there?
Thanks Izzy, I'll catch it. When I contacted the sprint team (the neuros) I didn't tell my son because I knew he'd be resistant to any more interventions. He'd spent some time in hospital and then as an outpatient and then all the operations on his hands. But I showed him Nell's hub about sleep paralysis today and he thought it was really spooky that her experiences were so similar to his. Then I showed him some other stuff, then I told him. And he just agreed, just like that, that he needed some help with this. It was actually a massive relief because apart from everything else I was worrying that he'd be saying it's just dreams I don't need the sprint team, and he's 20, I can't force him.
But there's been other stuff too. He's always been a bit moody- but usually there's a reason for his mood, he's fed up about something or whatever. But lately, he goes from good mood to bad mood within seconds, snaps, he's even become really ratty with my daughter for no reason that I can see. I mean, they're sister and brother and normally had their arguments but they're also pretty close. The other day he just blurted out " You Fing bitch" he's never said things like to her before. His behaviour recently is really out of character.
He's probably tired.
Keep that in mind when he seems moody and snappy.
These episodes are disturbing his sleep, and that was something they referred to a lot in that program. One guy was a lorry driver, but he had sleep apnoea, which the team only discovered when they put a night camera in his bedroom.
He'd agreed to the cameras there because he snored and it was driving his wife demented.
Then they noticed that he actually stopped breathing for up to 2 minutes at a time. Each time he breathed again he was wakening up, even though he didn't realise it.
I wish I had watched the whole program now.
But the point was, disturbed sleep does change your personality because you are not getting enough sleep.
If the experts can sort your son's sleep problem, he will be fine
Update: The neuro nurses believe that he is having little seizures: Petite mal. He's waiting for an appointment with the consultant neuro.
I do hope you find a solution to this!
It's very common for epileptics to have seizures only at night, and often they happen in that twilight period when you're just about to wake up. So that may be one explanation.
However, as "A Thousand Words" explained so well, we're all paralysed while we're asleep (or should be). That's what stops us acting out our dreams. I think what's happening to your son is that he's becoming conscious while still in that paralysed/dreaming state. The opposite of sleepwalking in fact. Perhaps if he regards it in that light, he'll feel less stressed by it. The stress and sleep disruption may be causing all the other problems. Let's hope so. Good luck!
Apparently, feeling that someone is shaking the bed whilst he's in it is often described by people who've suffered brain injuries when they start to have seizures. As is the feeling of being unable to call for help, or move. Hopefully, the consultant will be able to shed light on this one way or another.
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