Sunday, April 2, 2017

Brains are scary sometimes...

So I had an incredibly horrifying yet weirdly educational and interesting experience happen to me today. To set the scene a bit, I've been busy this weekend so haven't gotten much sleep over the past few days, and have been slightly more stressed than usual over life/work/all the normal things. When I woke up this morning it was raining outside - a deafening thunderstorm with constant downpour of rain. I honestly love thunderstorms because they sound so calming, but they're not easy to sleep through. Today's was a doozie of one, hence the early wake up.

All of these things must have melded together in my brain today because upon becoming aware, I experienced something for the first time ever - sleep paralysis.

Anyone else ever had that? It's FUCKING TERRIFYING, fyi.

I woke up, and my first thought was "joy! A thunderstorm! I like them." I then attempted to roll over to get a better view of the rain and realized that I couldn't move. Obviously that immediately sent me into panic mode because I also realized I wanted to breathe deeply and couldn't which made me feel like the thunderstorm was drowning me. I kept trying to move and also felt a strange buzzing throughout my body, almost like I was touching a low voltage wire or something.

This lasted for a good ten or fifteen seconds, which were intensely terrifying. The interesting part comes in when, and I have no idea how, I realized exactly what was happening to me. At some point I realized that I was still waking up and had probably disrupted REM sleep. I tried again to move or breathe but couldn't, yet recognized that this is a thing which happens to people - it was just a neurological phenomenon, albeit a scary one. I realized that I was lucky and wasn't hallucinating any shadow figures or noises, which helped calm me back down. After that mini pep-talk, I figured I'd just wait it out. Sure enough, another few seconds later I was fully awake and able to move again.

Not that I ever want to experience this again, but it was kind of cool after the fact to have recognized exactly what was happening while it was still happening.


Ivan Ilyich said...

That's happened to me a few times and it definitely is scary. I struggle to get out of that in-between state -- it usually takes several seconds. I wonder what causes it.

Shash said...

I've had it. It is effing terrible. The first time it happened my brain said "I'm possessed! Quick, say a prayer!" but prayers were not easily forthcoming. Eventually, I found a "hail mary" and was good. When it happens now, my brain says, "Paralysis! Focus on moving a toe." It does seem to happen with REM dreaming only.