Sleep Paralysis and Being Afraid to Sleep - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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Sleep Paralysis and Being Afraid to Sleep

Sleep paralysis and being afraid to sleep.

Sleep paralysis (for those of you who aren't yet familiar) is the phenomenon in which your body is still held motionless in REM sleep, while your mind becomes alert... resulting in feelings of suffocating pressure on one's chest, extreme terror, the feeling of an "evil presence" in the room, and disturbing and in some cases horrifying hallucinations induced by the continued dream state and the person's own fear...

I first heard about sleep paralysis in relation to lucid dreaming, which is one of the reasons i stopped pursuing it despite my interest.

A few days ago, I either had a brush with sleep paralysis, or a very intense dream in which i experienced it just before waking. It was short but frightening, and since then i have had more and more difficulty falling asleep. Ironically, sleeplessness actually increases my chances of paralysis.

Tonight i started to drift, felt myself tense up, and panicked. I have given up on getting any rest in the remainder of the night. Every time i try to calm myself into sleep i go into high alert and cannot shake the thought that my own paranoia will bring this down on me...

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by She and Her Darkness View Post
Sleep paralysis and being afraid to sleep.

Sleep paralysis (for those of you who aren't yet familiar) is the phenomenon in which your body is still held motionless in REM sleep, while your mind becomes alert... resulting in feelings of suffocating pressure on one's chest, extreme terror, the feeling of an "evil presence" in the room, and disturbing and in some cases horrifying hallucinations induced by the continued dream state and the person's own fear...

I first heard about sleep paralysis in relation to lucid dreaming, which is one of the reasons i stopped pursuing it despite my interest.

A few days ago, I either had a brush with sleep paralysis, or a very intense dream in which i experienced it just before waking. It was short but frightening, and since then i have had more and more difficulty falling asleep. Ironically, sleeplessness actually increases my chances of paralysis.

Tonight i started to drift, felt myself tense up, and panicked. I have given up on getting any rest in the remainder of the night. Every time i try to calm myself into sleep i go into high alert and cannot shake the thought that my own paranoia will bring this down on me.

LOL same. I've experience what I think was "sleep paralysis", not sure if it was though. It happened when I went to sleep with my hands behind my head. I had a dream that I was being possessed by a demon and I couldn't do anything. I was helpless, I felt as if my hands were tied down. I could feel the demon passing through my chest. I woke up and realized my arms were numb from having them behind my head.

I paint the sky black,
You said if you could have your way,
You'd make a night time what a day,
So it suits the mood of your soul
Ohhh, what can I do?
Nothing, my sparrow blue
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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LOL same. I've experience what I think was "sleep paralysis", not sure if it was though. It happened when I went to sleep with my hands behind my head. I had a dream that I was being possessed by a demon and I couldn't do anything. I was helpless, I felt as if my hands were tied down. I could feel the demon passing through my chest. I woke up and realized my arms were numb from having them behind my head.
Haha you too? I wonder how many people have given up on lucid dreaming because of this. xD

I actually had another possible occurrence of sleep paralysis, back when i knew about the paralysis but not the hallucinations (go figure) and it was pleasant. I felt that i was unable to move, i thought it was an interesting sensation, and then i fell back to sleep. I wonder if more people were told what sleep paralysis is, without mention of the hallucinations, they would have positive experiences like i did the first time. Unfortunately it's too late for me now lol

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
~jack kerouac
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:46 AM
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Try not to be afraid of it. The less you think about it, the less it will happen. Besides, sleep paralysis is all in your mind and cant harm you.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:49 AM
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I have this, I find that when it happens do not do anything just let it be it will go away it works for me
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 04:08 AM
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Does it happen to you a lot?
I will get it almost certainly if I lie on my back. I should lie on my sides to avoid it. And it's very unpleasant. I'm always cautious not to fall asleep while lying on my back.

If it happens to you a lot maybe you can find a position where it doesn't occur. Or occurs less frequently.
If it doesn't happen a lot just don't think about it. No point in being afraid of something that is very unlikely to happen to you.

I have never been in anything that even remotely resembles a relationship and I am was very bothered by this fact.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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@I Beethoven , @geraltofrivia , and @sad1231234

Thank you everyone for your input. To answer your questions, I have only experienced it twice. I appreciate everyone's pointing out how rare it is, i agree my fear seems a bit pointless. However, I still seem unable to stop excessively worrying about it when i try to sleep-- i've had some restless nights lately and tbh the anxiety is getting frustrating. I've had obsessive GAD from early childhood up until a few years ago and i think this is stirring up old fear patterns.

I've done some more research, and it brought up a few hopeful articles about transforming "evil" SP into a lucid dream or OBE. I'm trying to keep that in my mind. If it happens again, the fear will only be a transient experience on the path to a more enjoyable one. Like the terrifying thrill of a roller coaster before the drop.

At some point i think i will try to induce SP. I am sick of being afraid of senseless things.

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
~jack kerouac
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Here i'll be posting some more humorous SP experiences people have posted in other forums. I'm doing this for myself, but everyone feel free to comment lol

Quote:
Mine usually are pretty creepy! I haven't seen him in about four years, but I used to have a gargoyle who would visit me in my SP episodes. Sometimes he would just perch on my wall and watch over me as I slept, other times he'd go through my drawers like he was looking for something. Eventually I got to where I imagined him as a friend, but as soon as I started viewing him that way he stopped visiting me. ): Lol. Figures!

Quote:
My SP shadow man would perch on my wall by the window and tell me there was a flood coming.
Quote:
He wouldn't warn you if he didn't care. Feel the shadow man love. Feel it.
that reply


Quote:
I heard a raspy whisper say something like “hello, how are you?”
I couldn’t talk but I thought inside my head “I’m paralyzed” as my reply. I then heard the same raspy whisper mimic my words, except it added some high pitch...to its voice, as if making fun of me. I decided to see if this voice would continue to mimic me, so I thought something along the lines of “I am so smart.”
I waited for a while and heard a reply from the raspy whisper voice. It said “no, you’re not, but I am.”
I then broke free from the sleep paralysis while laughing out loud.


Quote:
I was completely paralyzed, so I couldn't shift to look. Now the footsteps walked around the back of my futon, which is impossible because the back of the futon is against the wall. I felt like someone was standing just over my head now, like it was taking steps to make sure I wouldn't see it. You know that tingle of anticipation you get when you feel someone just over your shoulder? I was waiting for it to grab me or attack. I heard another noise, of a snack bag being popped open... and then all I could hear was someone crunching chips over my head.

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
~jack kerouac
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 12:33 AM
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I used to have some bouts of sleep paralysis but they only happen sporadically and when I least expect it. Used to get many last year tho, none so far although I do engage in sleep deprivation almost every day - guess I used to get it more in my early stages of ruining my sleeping schedule. I've read about it and even though we feel like dying - nothing of the sort will happen to us - it's like an illusion only. Just tell yourself you'll be okay and your body/mind will protect you from harm. Yes, it was very 100% terrifying for me too when it happens but not to the point of not wanting to sleep anymore. There must be something strange going on in our body and mind to make us get this sleep paralysis thing, like an imbalance or a message from the other side.

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 12:36 AM
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Sleep paralysis is rare, it usually only happens a few times in each person's life. Just stay away from lucid dreaming and hypnosis stuff and sleep paralysis will be very rare in your life.
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 03:05 AM
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So I'm not the only one who's terrified of sleep paralysis . When I first heard of it I thought it was a really interesting phenomenon, but I also started getting obsessed with the fear of having sleep paralysis. I used to panic when falling asleep and I wouldn't get enough sleep anymore. One time I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn't move. I immediately knew it was sleep paralysis, but for some reason I wasn't as scared I thought I would be. I just close my eyes and tried falling asleep again. I heard terrifying voices, but I tried to ignore them and relax. Then it slowly went away and I could move again. It's weird, cause after that experience I'm not afraid of falling asleep anymore.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 05:47 AM
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I came across a defense mechanism called Conversion and it says,
"Conversion is a defence mechanism whereby the anxiety caused by repressed impulses and feelings are ‘converted’ into a physical complaint such as a cough or feelings of paralysis. Freud observed this physical manifestation of anxieties in clients such as Dora, who complained of a cough, losing her voice and feelings resembling appendicitis. Upon investigation, Freud attributed her cough to fixation during the oral stage of psychosexual development, and linked her appendicitis to a “childbirth fantasy”.

So what I am getting from this term is that our repressed feelings and impulses caused by anxiety are converted into a physical attribute which could be anything from paralysis to coughing. This is interesting ****, never even thought about it this way! Could be a possibility for you, and me, I too have several repressed feelings and impulses caused by anxiety/social anxiety which get converted into physical ailments like maybe my sleep deprivation, sleep paralysis, and maybe even the asthma and also maybe even my BFRDs! Now OCD makes alot of sense.

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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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I have decided to experiment with sleep paralysis to get over my fear. I've done some fairly extensive research on the causes, and have attempted to induce it three times in the past two days.

In the first attempt, i saw "hypnagogic shapes," indistinct shapes in the dark of my eyelids, but nothing more.

In the second, i fell asleep. This was refreshing as i have had difficulty sleeping the past few weeks, but yielded no lucid dreams. The funny part is that just before waking, i dreamt of SAS and was actually looking at text, which is one the triggers i have used in the past to know i was dreaming. I even thought to myself how odd it seemed. Fail. :P

I completed the third try a few minutes ago, as i have been very tired and drifty all day, even with the nap. I used a new method which i learned from a lucid dreaming tutorial, involving finger-tapping.

My body began to freeze up, in a surge, and my fingers were no longer able to tap. I felt uneasy, and tried to focus on my own strength and power to avoid the fear. Then, unexpectedly, i felt my upper body begin to lift. I had been anticipating a crushing power on my chest/lungs.

It was so unprepared for, i squinted my face and came back to full consciousness right away. :/

In hindsight, it's reassuring that at least that part works.

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
~jack kerouac
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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One thing this is revealing to me, is just how weak my subconscious feels. I've been trying to visualize myself feeling power. i wish i could internalize it. i'm not going to be as physically strong as i would like to be, i know that, but who wouldn't want to be emotionally strong?

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
~jack kerouac
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:32 AM
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It's really not that bad if you're expecting it, and I've only had SP after waking up from lucid dreams, and only on a couple of occasions.
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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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It's really not that bad if you're expecting it, and I've only had SP after waking up from lucid dreams, and only on a couple of occasions.
If you don't mind taking the time to explain, what was that experience like? Also how did you go about achieving your lucid dreams?

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
~jack kerouac
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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 11:45 PM
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If you don't mind taking the time to explain, what was that experience like? Also how did you go about achieving your lucid dreams?
I don't remember the exact technique, but it was WILD (Wake-Induced Lucid Dream) with concentration exercises, most likely after WBTB (Wake Back to Bed, i.e. waking up after a few hours of sleep before doing the techniques). I experienced strong vibrations coming from inside my body and an auditory hallucination that was like rushing wind (there are all standard, frequently reported sensations for this method). After it reached its crescendo, I found myself in the dream. That's the advantage of this method, it's more direct than waiting to randomly recognize the signs in a normal dream.

After the dream got blurry and then dark, I woke up immediately, or at least that's what it felt like. It's always like that with my LDs, even the random ones. But in these two cases, I found myself in SP. I couldn't move, or only extremely slowly. I had visual hallucinations. One was the classic monster peering at you from the edge of your vision, and the other was what looked like a tiny camera on a cable coming out from behind a box at the other end of a room - enough that I couldn't really make it out. Oh yeah, I should note that in lucid dreams I always have vivid 20/20 vision instead of my mole-like eyesight. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case in SP. Sadly, I can't remember if I woke up directly from that or if it was a false awakening. My money's on the former though, since dream versions of my house are generally screwed up but the SP one was pretty spot-on, even the lighting when I woke up (or regained control) was about the same.

Anyway, at all times I knew what was going on and it was just a matter of waiting it out.
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ScorchedEarth View Post

Anyway, at all times I knew what was going on and it was just a matter of waiting it out.
Hey, thanks for elaborating.

what i don't understand is how anyone can coolheadedly wait through their sleep demons. Even knowing the fear is irrational i have a feeling i would freak out

Any suggestions for staying calm?

My mother tells me I am a bird, but when she says I am a bird she means the whole world is my cage.

So therefore, I dedicate myself to my art, my sleep, my dreams, my labors, my unique madness, my endless absorption and hunger because I cannot dedicate myself to any fellow being.

~sabrina benaim
~jack kerouac
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 01:02 AM
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Well for me it was no worse than watching a creepy film. At least you know there won't be a jumpscare, they just like to watch.
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-21-2017, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by She and Her Darkness View Post
I have decided to experiment with sleep paralysis to get over my fear. I've done some fairly extensive research on the causes, and have attempted to induce it three times in the past two days.

In the first attempt, i saw "hypnagogic shapes," indistinct shapes in the dark of my eyelids, but nothing more.

In the second, i fell asleep. This was refreshing as i have had difficulty sleeping the past few weeks, but yielded no lucid dreams. The funny part is that just before waking, i dreamt of SAS and was actually looking at text, which is one the triggers i have used in the past to know i was dreaming. I even thought to myself how odd it seemed. Fail. :P

I completed the third try a few minutes ago, as i have been very tired and drifty all day, even with the nap. I used a new method which i learned from a lucid dreaming tutorial, involving finger-tapping.

My body began to freeze up, in a surge, and my fingers were no longer able to tap. I felt uneasy, and tried to focus on my own strength and power to avoid the fear. Then, unexpectedly, i felt my upper body begin to lift. I had been anticipating a crushing power on my chest/lungs.

It was so unprepared for, i squinted my face and came back to full consciousness right away. :/

In hindsight, it's reassuring that at least that part works.
That's cool - to experiment with stuff that causes you fear so you can get over it or so that it won't bother you that much anymore. The finger tapping sounds cool too, might give it a try. I've seen it in movies where a big scary dog turns into a puppy and a scary man turned into a little boy when confronted.

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