Sleep Paralysis and Me!

  • May. 24th, 2010 at 8:50 AM
my_daroga: Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera (phantom)
I believe I've mentioned before that I'm often plagued by sleep paralysis, a common condition wherein, essentially, the brain is "awake" while the body is not. For me, it usually happens if I take a nap during the day, though it's infrequent enough (usually) that I still take naps hoping today, it won't happen. It goes in waves--sometimes I can't take a nap without it happening, and then I'll go for months without an episode.

For me, what happens is I get the sense of being awake and aware of my surroundings, down to what room I'm in, the quality of light, my position, etc. But I cannot move. I can't open my eyes or speak or wake up. And that's where the hallucinations come in, also frequently associated with sleep paralysis. They're especially terrifying because of the element of being partially awake: they're dreams that you cannot easily separate from reality, because everything else feels so real. It's been suggested that these hallucinations might account for stories of alien abduction, ghosts, and other unexplained assaults/terrors, which I can well understand, having experienced one such "dream" many years ago. The terror of paralysis is accompanied by some malevolent force in these hallucinations, inescapable and horrifying.

But what's really curious to me, and the reason I'm mentioning it now, is that I typically don't have those. I have the paralysis, and the hallucinations, but do you know what I hallucinate?

The people who belong there, going about their everyday lives and not able to hear me. Seriously, my "terror" is that I am asleep, cannot wake up, and Mr. Daroga/whoever can't hear me. Yesterday, which was movie night, I dreamed there were people over talking and cooking and I kept trying to call out to get them to wake me up. What's funny to me about this is that my particular brand of terror isn't aliens or ghosts or strange men--it's me. It's me being out of control, being guilty about sleeping, being unable to command my body. Even when I'm having the normal sort of dream, the most common element is narcolepsy. I am not narcoleptic. But in my dreams, I am often unable to keep my eyes open or I fall asleep driving.

So why is it that this is how my nightmares manifest? I think it's interesting that even asleep, I blame myself--that is to say, I do not create an external demonic force but instead fear my own loss of control.

I just can't help but think that's significant, in an almost embarrassingly obvious way.

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my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (comic)
From a dream last night:

I'm buying a dishwasher at a department store. A salesman asks me what I'm looking for.

"I want one that washes clothes, too. I know they all do, now, but I just want to make sure."

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meta dreaming

  • Sep. 27th, 2007 at 7:15 PM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (evil)
Oh god, that was awful. Let me tell you about it!

Sometimes, when I fall asleep during the day, I have terrible dreams that usually consist of not being able to wake up. Yes, I dream about being asleep. It sounds very boring, until you realize that the entire time I'm asleep/dreaming I'm trying desperately to wake up. The whole dream is based around this.

So today, I was reading on the couch and had a bit of a headache--this is the real part, not the dream yet--and thought that since Mr. Daroga would be home soon, it'd be okay to just take a little nap. I dreamed that I'd fallen asleep on the couch while watching Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera. This is logical since I'm in a roleplay where my Erik has had sex with the Persian and given birth to Julian Sands--that's also real, not dream, by the way. Anyway, I was watching the movie (in the dream) but I realized at one point that I was actually asleep, or at least had my eyes closed, so everything that had happened I'd made up. And then I was thinking, "hey, I should remember this, because it's actually quite cool and frankly better than the actual movie."

I really wish I *did* remember, because it was incredibly screwed up. It involved an actual copy of the Leroux novel and the haunting of a girl by the shady-hot Julian Sands character. And lots of gory death.

So next in the dream, Mr. Daroga comes home and I saw hi and get up to take the movie out of the player, remembering once again that my cool version of the movie didn't exist, and I turned to him and said, "Wait. I'm still asleep. You have to help me wake up."

He didn't know what I was talking about, but he came over and held me and started talking to me, I dunno if it was meant to break me out of the dream-state or not. I'm not sure if I thought he was real and I was dreaming, or if I knew he wasn't but couldn't address the real world to wake me up. Because of course he wasn't actually there.

See, my bad dreams commonly take this form, which I've discovered is called sleep paralysis. Lots of people report negative sensations; I always get Mr. Daroga coming home and talking to me and me not being able to respond. It's very very real. Because in my dream/paralyzed state, I'm in exactly the same place I am in real life. So it's very difficult to tell whether I'm dreaming or not. And someone will come in and talk to me and I just can't open my eyes or respond.

Anyway this time it devolved (or maybe evolved) into a dream about the Young Ones, who were all together to do some show and I was in an audience and nearly everyone had come in fours dressed as the characters. Yay.

Then Mr. Daroga really came home and I woke up. But I was very disoriented and upset. And I still am, which is why if you read this and it doesn't make sense, that's why.

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