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The Thief of the Night
I’m no stranger to odd events. Since childhood, I’ve experienced Out of Body occurrences, not to mention a keen empathic ability to connect with spirits. It’s no wonder I’d also experience the terrifying condition known as Sleep Paralysis.
Scientists, researchers, and sufferers all have their own explanation on what really causes sleep paralysis, (SP) but it still remains a mystery to most, while victims of this condition are left to resort to medical treatments, sleep centers and some go as far as hypnosis, pagan rituals, and other religious practices. When desperation sets in and one will go to great lengths for relief of this mysterious and frightening condition.
Most scientists claim SP is a basic brain glitch that occurs at the intersection between wakefulness and rapid eye movement, (REM) sleep. When asleep, our bodies alternate between NonRem and Rem Sleep. This transition controlled by chemicals pushes us between sleep and wakefulness.
This is a type of Parasomnia that involves a brief loss of muscle control that happens just after falling asleep or upon waking up. This is where hallucinations can occur. Yes— the creepy stuff.
Doctors will tell you the only relief is to follow a better sleep pattern, better diet, anxiety meds, or meditation. I have done all of these and have not seen any relief from this condition.
Despite what science says many different theories have evolved from various cultural beliefs such as:
Call it what you will, it remains a terrifying experience to the sufferer or shall I say, victim. Each encounter can be quite different.
There are two types of Sleep Paralysis
Most cases claim that the body is in a frozen state and unable to move. Speech can also be affected by the inability to produce any type of sound. Hallucinations are common and may involve:
SP can begin at ages seven to twenty-five. Eight percent of people experience this. There is a higher risk in a family that has had SP.
My first encounter with SP was back in my teens. My mother had it as well as an aunt and uncle. I remember long before I had my first attack my mother retelling her encounter in detail the next morning after an occurrence. My dad would have to push her to release her from this temporary state of paralysis. It was no surprise to her when I had joined the SP Team.
I remember being fully awake but unable to move any muscle and trying to shake myself out of this coma internally. It seemed to pass only leaving me terrified as to when the next one would occur. I had them off and on and then they stopped when I was married and moved to Arizona with my husband. I began to wonder if it really was some sort of demon in that house. I had warned my husband that if he heard moaning coming from me it was a signal to shake me.
Years went by and I began to have the episodes again in my late forties. Each attack was a bit more intense and different. They seemed to last longer and now I was sensing another physical being in the room. My husband was aware of my condition but never had to rescue me from my encounters. Sometimes I’d have at least four of them in a row; the worst part was when I was sleeping alone.
I’m well into my sixties now and currently living in Florida. I’ve had several attacks while in this house. A few weeks ago, I had one that was very different from the others. It began like most, with feeling frozen but what happened next scared the heck out of me. I could actually feel a body climb onto my stomach and lean on me! I could still breathe but felt intense pressure on my chest. It lasted for a short time. I remember waking my husband to tell him and he told me to go back to sleep.
All the details were very clear to me the next morning. I was still me but who or what was this being done in my bed?
Just as I was ready to send off this blog, I had to report another episode last night and it had to be the scariest one of all. I did feel as though I couldn’t breathe and felt as though I was being strangled. I did manage to shake myself out of it but couldn’t get back to sleep for fear it would strike again.
So here I am up at 5 a.m. having my calming Chamomile Tea and researching more information on this subject. The SP night thief managed to steal a few good hours of sleep once again.
© Lorraine Carey
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