Things That Scare Me Part II - Sleep Paralysis

Friday, January 13, 2017

Given that today is Friday the 13th it only felt right to sit down and write a post about things that scare me. But then I remembered I already wrote that post in May of last year.

But alas I'm still craving "scary talk" so let's discuss something else. Like perhaps sleep paralysis. Are you familiar?

The other night I was deep in Reddit, as I tend to be before bed, reading threads about dreams when I came across a thread about sleep paralysis. It's defined as, "A temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking." It's happened to me a handful of times and I had no idea it had a name. I always just called it a nightmare.

If it's happened to you, I imagine you might call it the same. Because it's not simply the inability to move or speak, at least not for me. When it happens to me, it usually goes down like this: I think I wake up because everything looks completely normal in my surroundings, until the moment when I see, or even worse, simply feel something in the room with me. Sometimes I hear it whisper my name. And whispers in dreams are extremely unsettling. I can never never quite tell what it is for sure, but I know it's there. I feel it coming in the door, or simply hovering at the end of my bed, and as it moves closer I can't move or yell. I'm stuck in my body. And it's dark and terrifying and the fear feels so real. It's there right up until the moment I wake up.

And then I'm covered in sweat and usually can't get back to sleep because I'm certain death is near.

From what I've read, some people go through this almost every night. I'm lucky it's only happened to me about ten times, but I distinctly remember every time. It tends to happen when I'm sick and running a fever, staying in a hotel room, or when I'm sleeping alone in my room.

A friend in college once told me that this has happened to her as well and that it's the work of the devil... She was catholic. I believed her at the time. I do not anymore. I am certain it's sleep paralysis. According to google and reddit, there's a lot of people who think it's demonic. Again, I do not.

Kind of a random Friday post, I know. But once I learned this was actually a thing I got really interested in it and am curious if anyone else has experienced it.

Dreams intrigue me. I love that I almost always remember mine and they're incredibly vivid. Although sometimes my subconscious gets lazy and I have the same four on repeat depending on my mood.

My top 4 include:

1. finding wads of money everywhere I look (this is a fun one.)

2. not making it to my last high school basketball game (this one hurts my heart.)

3. going to the bathroom in a stall that suddenly has no walls and is somewhere a toilet shouldn't be- like in the middle of a restaurant or school and everyone is staring at me (this one is humiliating.)

4. the euphoric dream. I won't go into detail about this one because it's kind of embarrassing to admit (it has to do with a TV show and writing for it) but I almost always wake up from it with tears streaming down my face and they're tears of pure joy. WEIRD!!!! I know. This dream doesn't come around often, but I love when it does because the euphoria I feel is so crazy and unlike anything else.

Dreams are nuts. What ones do you have frequently have?

Happy Fridaying.


  1. I had sleep paralysis a handful of times a few years ago when I was on a new medicine. Needless to say I googled it to find out what the heck was going on, and then I stopped that medicine right away and haven't had it happen again, but they were some of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!

  2. Omg, I had sleep paralysis a LOT of times in 2016. It was soooo scary!! I find it happens because my body is so tired, but my mind is still racing. I hate it so much. :(

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  3. I have your dream #3 a lot when I'm feeling insufficient and guilty about procrastinating. It's terrible. I haven't had a good euphoria dream in a while, but when I do, it's the most heavenly feeling. I just came from the animal shelter a few hours ago, and was sitting on the floor surrounded by kittens and one wouldn't stop kissing my cheek. So I imagine that's kinda close!

    Happy weekend :) and hug a black cat today!

  4. I have never had this, but I too had a religious friend who first told me about it and that it was the devil. It scared the crap out of me. It wasn't until another friend of mine told me what it really was that I didn't worry about it happening to me anymore. My worst dream that keeps repeating is one of my dog and boyfriend dying. It's terrible. I was up with a pillow drenched in tears and I immediately search around the bed for both of them! Thankfully it's just a dream.


  5. I used to get sleep paralysis regularly when I was younger. It's horrible!
    Eilidh ||

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  7. OMG so funny you just talked about this because last week I was getting real creeped out about this too. This isn't necessarily about sleep paralysis but still equally scary – I was reading this story about (sorry in advance) a guy who always had sleepwalking issues. But one random night when he was older he killed his wife while she was sleeping because he was asleep too but acting out! NOOOOOO. Then I started researching like you and I basically don't want to sleep anymore. Or be around anyone else who is sleeping. It's terrifying. Oh, and I found out about sleep paralysis once thanks to Reddit as well. FREAKING REDDIT. Don't even get me started on the alien and ghost subreddits I have read before going to bed too... NOPE.

  8. Wow, that does sound creepy! From a religious standpoint (it should be noted that I'm not religious, but...) I can see why homegirl might think that about those kind of dreams. But still, such a strange thing for someone to address to another person! My most frequent dream is my boyfriend cheating on me. It happens so often that he just rolls his eyes when I tell him about it now. Ha!

  9. i have a recurring dream since i was pretty young.. i am being chased in super mario bros by mario and luigi and they are closing in on me, and then i swing on a rope into a gold topless safari van. usually that's when i wake up, but a few times, they have also swung in on the rope. and then i wake up so i don't know what happens after that. so strange...

  10. I have often had dreams where I am going to the toilet and there are no walls or doors on the stall and people can see me I do not like these dreams

  11. That's creepy AF, and I know it well (but it doesn't happen very often to me, thank goodness). I have one specific sleep paralysis memory from when I was SIX years old and I'll never forget it. I always used to think it was because it was the one night I slept on the bottom bunk of my bunk bed - when I always sleep on the top. So I associated the bottom bunk with nightmares. I had this bizarre Halloween mask i used to wear for Halloween that always reminded me of Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when he turns from human to a toon. So the dream - it was super dark and i could just see torches. I realized I was standing in a group of people about to witness a witch getting hanged, but I couldn't see anyone up on the platform. Then all of a sudden I thought I woke up, because I was suddenly back in the bottom bunk. Or so I thought. When I opened my eyes, the creepy mask I had was an actual person who leaned very creepily over my top bunk and then just laughed in the high pitched Judge Doom laugh. I couldn't move, I was so terrified. And the final creepy cherry on top? A bang sounded as if a shotgun went off right next to my ear and the creepy guy disappeared and then I finally woke up. For reals, but still couldn't move because I was so scared from what just happened. 26 years later I still remember that dream so vividly.
    Meanwhile - I have recurring dreams where I can never seem to find a door or room that will fully shut and lock, or dreams where I need to go to the bathroom but can never seem to find a clean or private toilet. Dreams are cray cray. Stay safe.

  12. I've never had sleep paralysis, but I did once wake up completely blinded. It freaked me out so bad. I really believe I was fully awake and went back to sleep, but it's possible I was having a very realistic nightmare. The point is, when I woke up again, I could see just fine and everything was normal. It only happened once, years ago, but it still freaks me out that it could happen again.

    I've had similar bathroom dreams, but mine are usually where they should be, just astonishingly disgusting, or completely lacking privacy.

  13. I've had sleep paralysis a couple times. Once I was dreaming about driving, which ended with a severe crash. I "heard" the tires screeching and woke up, but I couldn't move my body. I was terrified that I actually had been in a crash and was paralyzed. Another time that I had sleep paralysis, I hallucinated and it pretty creepy so I'll leave it at that. I actually had sleep paralysis for just a few seconds the other day after I had a dream that the world was ending, complete with a bright, blinding white light and a huge booming noise.