my experiences with sleep paralysis

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind?

– Pixies, ‘Where Is My Mind?’

i felt it necessary to write this post after i kept seeing this appear on my tumblr dashboard, giving people (false) instructions on how to achieve a lucid dream, i.e. a dream where you are aware you are dreaming and are able to control the things happening in your dream (this thereby unleashes countless possibilities to tap into parts of your brain which are previously closed off from you while you are conscious):
lucid-dreaming

while i did do some research and noted that lucid dreaming is a very possible and safe and even worthwhile experience to attempt, the above instructions have a lot of falsity to the means of performing it. especially on the part of having to go through sleep paralysis so as to achieve these lucid dreams.

this is the part that scares me the most. ’cause i have experienced sleep paralysis, three times to be exact, and it has to be one of the most terrifying personal experiences i’ve ever had. one thing i need to be thankful of, however, is that i did not hallucinate voices or dark figures while i was under it. but the circumstances in which i had them were terrifying enough for me to take precautions so as to not have them again. which includes never sleeping in the supine position, i.e. lying on my back, as two of my experiences had occurred when i was sleeping on my back. by the third experience a better knowledge of it (via the discovery channel) allowed me to control and relax from it better.

i know many must be intrigued and almost willing to attempt something like this just to see how it feels like, but i really wouldn’t advise it. while it is physically safe to the body (it is literally a mechanism for the body to remain safe and not move about while you dream), it is also known to cause psychological trauma. below i’ll recount my first experience of sleep paralysis:

i had fallen asleep for a nap in the back seat of my family’s car after school. i don’t remember dreaming. but i woke up with a start suddenly. to my horror, even though i was awake, my eyelids did not open. so all i saw was darkness. i could hear the normal everyday things around me, like the sound of the car. i could feel the presence of everything normal around me, my seat, feel my mum’s presence beside me. but i could not move. i could not move my hands or my feet, not even the vocal chords of my throat. in my head i immediately panicked and began to scream. but i could only scream in my head. and the voice was not clear either. it’s the kind of muffled mental scream you make in your dreams that you know is completely hopeless. i was willing my tongue to move, but it did not obey.

i remember vividly screaming to my mum in my head something along the lines of “help! help!” i think after the first few seconds of it i even panicked to the point at which i was crying and sweating. but my mouth did not move and my body refused to move and my chest felt constrained, like my lungs refused to take in air.

i didn’t know then that the panic could make the paralysis last longer. so i do believe that my first experience of sleep paralysis was the longest i had experienced out of the three. i can’t quite say how long it lasted. a good estimate would be a full minute to maybe two.

when my body did start to gain consciousness i think the first thing i did was take a huge breath of air. i remember facing to the left, out the window. unfortunately, due to some terrible coincidence, the first thing i saw when i opened my eyes was that we were passing by a cemetery. i saw the barrier and rows of headstones peeking above it. i think that’s what scared me the most. that my first experience such as that one could be connected to an image as morbid as that.

furthermore, my second experience was not as well-placed either. i was having a terrible nightmare of the ‘bloody countess’ and when i woke up, i was greeted once more to immobility and darkness. i remember after that second experience that i spent the entire day vowing that i would never fall back to sleep. but i did (thankfully).

i guess, what i’m trying to say is that there is some price to pay if one wants to tamper with the unknown, including dreams. experts can easily discount the negative side effects by stating that it does not physically damage a person, but these kind of experiences can affect a person psychologically, inducing fear and panic. if you want to have lucid dreams right, don’t take the advice of the above popular post. use this link instead, which give more logical ways to practice and not force oneself to have lucid dreams. and always be aware and prepared to face the kind of images that may face you.

till next time,

cumuloq ❤

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