This, at the time, was the most in-the-moment frightened I have ever been. It was some time in elementary school when my dream paralyzed me. I woke up, my eyes opened and I had absolute zero control over my body. I mustered all my strength, did everything I possibly could to get up… even just lift a finger, to no avail, nothing happened. It felt as if all my muscles were removed, I was naturally telling my body to do certain things and nothing was happening. I even tried to scream for help and I couldn’t do it. My mind was screaming so unbelievably loud yet nothing was being vocalized. If you can imagine what it would be like to experience this as a 10 year old, you would realize how unbelievably terrifying this ordeal could be. For anyone of any age it could be horrendous. After what felt like 10 minutes (probably 30 seconds), I was miraculously able to move again as well as scream.
I can recollect this memory from my childhood as if it happened yesterday. It is in my mind so vividly and still so real that it gives me goosebumps even now just typing this. Between that occurrence and now, it has happened 3 more times. Obviously, something like this never gets old.
When I was little, I thought it was a very dark and powerful ghost holding me down and making it hard for me to breath as well as scream. It felt like a heavy bag of sand covering your entire body. What’s interesting about this initial perception is that in folklore this experience is created by a demon sitting on your chest.
Fortunately, since then, I have learned about this paralyzing instance. It is called sleep paralysis. According some Wikipedia, every person will experience this at least once in their life. I was surprised when reading this because it doesn’t seem like the word about it has really gotten out. It also says that certain studies report that it could be caused by: stress, environment/lifestyle changes, lucid dreaming, lack of sleep or alcohol.
The current perception of sleep paralysis is that the portion of the brain that controls the brain’s ability to go from conscious to unconscious during sleep, wakes up before the part of the brain that controls motion. So affectively you’re locked between the state of dreaming and being awake. Very interesting huh? Still terrifying.
Has anyone else had this experience before? Please share!