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A Few Of My Sleep Paralysis Experiences

by Justin H
(Tampa, FL, US)

I'm 25, and I've had more cases of sleep paralysis than I can count. I haven't had an episode in about a year (that I can remember). It used to happen to me as a child, but I always thought I was dreaming. It happened to me as a teenager, and I realized I wasn't dreaming, so I looked for explanations online. That's when I learned about SP. After that it was a light bulb going on over my head. It was like "Oh, all those 'dreams' I had as a child of some unseen presence coming after me and me trying to move or scream for my parents but not being able to weren't really dreams at all."

Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep, and I have found that the periods of time when my sleep becomes irregular are usually when it happens to me. Also, it happens quite frequently if I take naps. As most people know, it almost always happens to me when I am lying on my back, and especially when I am semi upright (like sleeping on a Lay-z-boy or in the seat of my car), however, it has happened to me a couple times while I am sleeping on my side. I don't know if there is a connection, but I haven't had SP in about a year, and I have been taking the anti-anxiety drug citalopram for about a year. The drug also helps me sleep more regularly so that could be helping too.

Finally, I would like to talk about some of the specific experiences I've had. Most of the time, I don't hallucinate, but I wake up panicked, and terrified that something is coming to get me but I don't know what. A couple times, I have been completely aware I was having an SP episode, and wasn't scared. Usually I can move my eyes a little, and make a little noise when I'm trying
to scream. Sometimes I can move a whole arm, but it's like when you wake up and your arm is completely asleep. Here are some of the hallucinations I've had. All were really scary at the time, but a couple are funny when I think about them now. When I was a child when it was happening to me, I thought I saw an alien in my room (I used to watch a lot of shows about aliens and was afraid of them). Also as a child, I didn't see them, but I thought my legos were coming to life and coming to kill me. Once I was sleeping in my car waiting for someone, and I was parked under a tree, and I woke up in SP and was looking out the window, i thought there was a bushman, tribal type guy covered in leaves and stuff (when I woke up, I realized it was just the tree branch). That same incident, I fell back asleep, and woke up in SP again, and I thought there was a woman outside my car and she needed my help so I tried to move my arm to unlock the door but I couldn't. The scariest and most vivid hallucination I had was when I was in Afghanistan (I was a Marine) and I woke up in SP, and I could see an old woman in dark robes walking towards me and she was laughing and saying "You'll see! HAHAHA! You'll see!" I tried to scream "get away!" but I could only make little noises. I actually woke up the guy next to me in the tent, haha. The last hallucination, I woke up in SP, and thought a shadowy figure was looming over me, and when I completely woke up, I realized it was my own finger blocking the sunlight I was seeing.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to share some of my experiences. Thanks!

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