Thursday, October 30, 2008

In the Spooky Spirit of Halloween

I'm going to share a personal terror of mine (doesn't that sound like fun??).

I suffer from Sleep Paralysis with Hypnopompic Hallucinations. That is a fancy medical term for saying that occasionally, I will wake up, be unable to move or speak, and I see, hear, and feel things that are not there.

Before medicine and science knew what was going on here, people thought that this was caused by a witch / demon / ghost entering your bedroom and torturing you. It was said that the entity would sit on you (thus preventing movement) and cover your nose and mouth (there is often a smothering feeling associated with the condition) while its counterpart would wreak havoc in your home.

During my last bout (about two weeks ago), I heard someone come in through my garage door, which has a very distinct sound when opened and closed. I heard this person/thing walk up the stairs, open my bedroom door, and felt the person/thing LAY DOWN BESIDE ME ON THE BED. I was facing away from where I felt the presence, so I did not see it. All this time, I can't move; I can't scream; I can't force myself to snap out of it. I am helpless and terrified.

These are not dreams; they are hallucinations, and are VERY, VERY real seeming. It's always familiar sounds and sensations; never something outlandish that I could just blow off as "it couldn't really happen." I've heard someone rummaging through the drawers in my bathroom; turning on and typing on the keyboard of my computer; using my coffee maker; unloading the dishwasher (too bad that one wasn't real); and other things like that. It's really, really awful.

Vanderbilt Center for Sleep Disorder Study wants to do a study on me, but since it is random and I have no way of knowing when it will happen, they really can't. So I can't be treated for it, since no one knows what causes it. It sucks.


Scott in SoCal said...

So, basically you just guaranteed that I'm going to have a nightmare tonight. Thanks.

J said...

Whoa. I've heard about this but didn't realize I know someone that suffers from it. Holy suckage. I don't even know what to say!

Lord Runolfr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lord Runolfr said...

I haven't had an episode like that in years, but when I was a kid sleeping in a strange bed (like at my grandparents), I would sometimes have episodes. One time I was convinced that someone had broken into the house and was sawing off my foot with a chef's knife, so I kinda feel your pain.

Word Verification: "medge" - not a word according to Merriam-Webster online, but it ought to be.

(reposted with correct spelling)