I was pacing up and down my room, trying to recall all the formulas I'd just learnt. Sigh, I was gonna screw the test this time too. Mom was in my room for the third time, asking me to get to sleep. I looked up at the clock - ten past twelve. Maybe it was time to get some sleep.
So I lay down in bed, lights off...and sleep chose to elude me. I lay still, watching the curtains sway slowly in the wind. I shut my eyes in the hope of driftng off to sleep. But I felt something stiff near my ears. Did I forget to remove my spectacles? I lifted my arm to check...only to notice that no arm came up. I tried again, and felt my arm glued to the bed. What was with my arm?
I tried opening my eyes to have a look, but my eyelids wouldn't budge. And then I did what any sane human would do at the time. I panicked. I tried to lift my whole body and felt myself get exhausted with the effort. And yet my body hadn't moved an inch. The wind from the ceiling fan grew louder and louder still, and I knew all too well at that moment that my nightmare had returned. Again.
It wasn't the first time, yet I couldn't stay calm. I knew I was dreaming but it did not make it any better. I tried opening my mouth to scream, despite knowing that it would be futile. Every ounce of strength I had was wasted away in my efforts. My body wasn't under my control; all that existed was my consciousness. I screamed from within, flung my arms and legs wildly in my mind, but my body stay as still as a rock.
I lay there, silently wishing for my mom to come and wake me up. I was afraid that if I didn't wake up soon, I would remain as such, paralysed....forever? With all the voice and strength from within I slowly whispered for mom...only to hear nothing.
All of a sudden, my eyes popped open with a jerk. I was breathing heavily, in shock of what just happened. I found the curtains swishing just as it had been. I sat up in my bed. I was fine. What was this recurring nightmare? And how was it that I was conscious at the time? How could I think rationally? Fear is born with the unknown. I was afraid of what was happening.
With the fear and wanting to stay awake for the rest of the night, I do not know when I drifted off again.
A few days later, I was browsing through FB when I found this...
I googled it up, and heaved a sigh of relief. It had a name! And it was common, and harmless! Sleep paralysis, they called it. And I discovered that my version was way better than the monsters and demons that other people had seen (Just look at that scary picture!). At least now I knew, and it did not scare me anymore.
It so happens that when the exhausted mind does not synchronize with the body. the body tend to fall asleep sooner than the brain, and it has a good time scaring the hell out of you until it too relaxes down. Now I knew what to do the next time, all I needed to do was to calm myself down, not fight back, and wait for it to get over.
But it seems like my brain has accepted defeat, for I ain't scared of it anymore. And the nightmare hasn't paid a visit since.
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? I know it is terrible, and it is the scariest shit one can dream of...but believe me, there are ways to deal with it and it's simple too. And maybe who knows, you might actually enjoy it the next time (not kidding - there are people who love it!)