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.

3 comments:

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.

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