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Sleep paralysis
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Sleep paralysis

So the past few nights I haven't told anyone because I didn't wana be considered mentally unstable but once I finally fall asleep its the crAziest thing. I lay there and my body goes numb and I am awake seemingly. And I have been seeing shadow figures that creep way too close to me. I cannot see their faces or make out what they are but I have looked it up and it is a sleep disorder called sleep paralysis. It is when your body falls asleep before your
Mind and you are physically unable to move your in rem part of sleep and your able to dream and also half awake. It is scaring me terribly. I will lay there unable to move or
Wake myself and all I can think is god please help me someone come wake me up. Last night was the worst a shadow sat down on my bed and had the had over my face. I prayed to god to make it stop and next thing I knew I was awake. I'm deathly afraid to sleep tonight. Here is An article on the disorder.


Physiologically, sleep paralysis is closely related to REM atonia, the paralysis that occurs as a natural part of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Sleep paralysis occurs either when falling asleep, or when awakening. When it occurs upon falling asleep, the person remains aware while the body shuts down for REM sleep, and it is called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. When it occurs upon awakening, the person becomes aware before the REM cycle is complete, and it is called hypnopompic or postdormital.[5] The paralysis can last from several seconds to several minutes, with some rare cases being hours, "by which the individual may experience panic symptoms"[6] (described below). As the correlation with REM sleep suggests, the paralysis is not entirely complete; use of EOG traces shows that eye movement is still possible during such episodes.[7] When there is an absence of narcolepsy, sleep paralysis is referred to as isolated sleep paralysis (ISP).[8]
accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (hypnopompic or hypnagogic), perceived deafening loud noise and an acute sense of danger.[9] Sleep paralysis is particularly frightening to the individual because of the vividness of such hallucinations.[8] The hallucinatory element to sleep paralysis makes it even more likely that someone will interpret the experience as a dream, since completely fanciful or dream-like objects may appear in the room alongside one's normal vision. Some scientists have proposed this condition as an explanation for reports of alien abductions and ghostly encounters


You wake up, but you can’t move a muscle. Lying in bed, you’re totally conscious, and you realize that strange things are happening. There’s a crushing weight on your chest that’s humanoid. And it’s evil.


You’ve awakened into the dream world.

This is not the conceit for a new horror movie starring a ragged middle-aged Freddie Prinze Jr., it’s a standard description of the experience of a real medical condition: sleep paralysis. It’s a strange phenomenon that seems to happen to about half the population at least once.

People who experience it find themselves awake in the dream world for anywhere from a few seconds to 10 minutes, often experiencing hallucinations with dark undertones. Cultures from everywhere from Newfoundland to the Caribbean to Japan have come up with spiritual explanations for the phenomenon. Now, a new article in The Psychologist suggests sleep researchers are finally figuring out the neurological basis of the condition.



It's the scariest thing ever. I don't know what to do. Should I talk to my counselor and has anyone experienced this. Please I need help.

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495284_tn?1333897642
You need to talk with your counselor about this.  You are not mentally unstable at all.  Let them help you with this okay?
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Lynn, I have had experiences similar to this especially when I was younger..I feel for you honey.  Yes, talk to your counselor about this.  Let me know if you would like me to share more....
Sharon
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Avatar_m_tn
HI I often say our battle is not in the flesh but ageist the powers of darkness lynn read a bible b/4 you go to sleep and ask Jesus to protect you  in my early Christianity we studied about demons and you are experiencing classic symptoms of them attacking you.....pray the blood of Jesus over you when this is happening they cannot stand up to his name I will pray for you also this is nothing to mess with and dont try and fight it in the flesh this is a spiritual problem and it satins las attempt to hold you in bondage good luck and God bless.......Gnarly    
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had this happen a lot of times,,esp when I was using still. I never could fall into a deep sleep. Now that I have been sober a while,,I have not noticed having an episode. I know exactly how scary this is,,,I dont see the hallucinations but I feel the weight and pressure and am trying sooo hard to move and wake up. Once I wake up though and get myself together I can go back to sleep with no issues. I agree too,,you need to talk to your counselor about this,,its a common disorder Ive heard. ~Bkitty

You are NOT mentally unstable!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Lynn, I have had similar experiences. You are awake yet asleep. It is so real. I have even thought my husband came in and had a conversation with me. It happens to me about twice a month and has actually been going on since I was a child. It happens when I take a nap during the day for some reason, like my body just won't completely allow itself to truly go to sleep. I guess I never thought of it as any kind of disorder. I certainly don't relate it to using. I just thought that's how my body is and sort of just accepted it. I'm glad you posted about it. Thank you for sharing the article. It helps to know that I'm not the only one who has experienced this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm literally stuk awake because I am too scared to sleep. It's no joke and I dont think it's right what's happening to me. I don't believe in demons but when this happens it's so real I just can't help but think that it is just that. I think I need to have god more involved in my daily routine in life. Because when this happens I see shadowy figures and I can tell they aren't there to just look. I feel them wanting to hurt me. I may sound totally insane bt the first night it happened on Wednesday the figure stood by my bed. I could see him but couldn't turn my head to look it even yell for help. So I prayed to god to help me wake up and with in a few seconds of praying I woke. Call me crazy but u think it's a sign that I need more of him in my life period. I've never ever been religious until I had my daughter and still not very much so. But he helped me thru that night and in Thursday night the hand that was over my face wanted to hurt me I could tell I felt massive annoys of pressure on my chest as if I was being restrained. And once again I said a prayed asking god to be with me and it was over. I know it's a medical thing happening and has explanations but I think it is happening to me to make me realize that I am not right with god at this very moment. And I do not know how to be. I want him in my life more and how do I go about this? I need it to help me thru this. I am going to talk to my counselor in the morning. Scariest thing to ever happen to me. I am going to sleep as soon as the sun rises. I just feel safer then. Sharlola can you please talk tome about your experience maybe it can help me a bit.
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Avatar_f_tn
Did you experience this before? You may be right that it is a spiritual type of growing experience. I never had the fear part, just the paralysis and the merging of awake and sleep. Talk to your counselor about it. This may be an important part of your healing. Thinking of you,

Minn
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes when I first used methadone it happened but I thought it was from the drug making me nodd off. And it was never this scary.
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This used to happen to me.  Since I no longer take xanax for sleep it seems to have largely stopped.  This sounds strange but I found that it tended to happen if I fell asleep on my back, rather than my side.  It is the scariest thing ever.
Don't know if it will help, but you might try varying your position.  I completely understand being afraid to sleep.  I used to have frequent panic attacks that occurred about an hour after I fell asleep.  And then the sleep paralysis...
Hang in there, you are doing great. I read all your threads but rarely post.  You are really brave and you will make it!
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1827057_tn?1397523877
Hi Lynn I had this exact same thing before.I was right in the middle of heavy using when this would happen.I saw an above post saying it was satan trying to take me down.  I have news for satan....I was doing a pretty good job of that all by myself at that time..lol   I hope this passes for you and you get better soon.   Hope you get a good nights sleep free of all of that creepy stuff tonight.
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495284_tn?1333897642
When do you see your counselor again?  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Lynn

I've had these types of dreams at various times in my life, the most frequent when I was having anxiety/panic issues.  They scared the hell out of me.  I'm not going to write the details here - it would be a really long post!  But suffice it to say, alot of what you dreamt is similar to my own dreams.  PM me if you want.  Talk to a counselor there - I talked to my doctor about it - the psych - who understood them very well, so it eased my mind a bit.  

Well wishes,

Sandy :)
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Avatar_f_tn
OMG  That has happened to me alot!  and i seen the same shadow person it looked like the grim reeper or death whatever that man in black is and your muscles are stuck you can hear and feel u just cant move!  i thought it was a warning that i wasnt living right.   i thought i was crazy but i do know how u feel its been years since its happened to me and i didnt do anything to stop it!   are you sleeping on ur stomach when this happens?  
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1767882_tn?1331412769
Lynn I agree with you about getting some help from God. Pray before bed,
and read and sleep with a bible. I would strongly recommend saying the Lord's prayer as often as necessary. I believe that we are spiritually sick as
well as physically and emotionally. I've had what you're experiencing happen to me. I thought it was DT's as I had been drinking for several years every day and abruptly stopped.  It was sheer terror and even though it happened 15 years ago, i remember everything about the room, the furniture, etc.
I Prayed, and I was also terrified to go to sleep. I laid down on the couch
(I didn't want to go back to that room!) and slept with a bible in my arms.
God can and will help us if we ask.

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271792_tn?1334983257
This happens to me more often than I would like and since it has been going on so long I am not as scared as I was in the beginning. I learned it is a form of sleep paralysis and since I accepted that I am not as frightened. Don't get me wrong, it still scares me but putting a name to it has helped.

I do not feel, or ever will feel it necessary to bath in holy water and cast the demons out before bed. I do not believe it is the devil at work. Really!

For your own peace of mind hun, please speak with your counselor. I know it is easy for me to say but try not to be scared. Your counselor may be able to help you with some techniques before bed that may help you. I am sure you now have anxiety about sleeping. Let us know what the counselor says and please hang in there. It will be okay.

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1827057_tn?1397523877
I also do not believe that there is anything supernatural at work here.I was studying something about alien abduction theory and this guy took all of these electrodes and attatched them to a motorcycle helmet and he called it an  "abduction helmet" because when you put it on it would throw your brain into that half sleep state and then the figures would enter the room and you feel the fear and are paralyzed.It was really crazy watching these people wear that thing and describe their experience.It depends upon your psyche what you see during this half sleep state.Some people see demonic figures,some see aliens,others just see shadows and so forth.
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Avatar_f_tn
Lynn, I was 16 when it first happened.  I awoke in the middle of the night and saw a shadowy fugure watching me from the corner of my room..scared me to death.  I quickly turned around to turn the light on, spun back around and it was gone.  A few weeks later I was sleeping, opened my eyes and there it was again about one inch in front of my face staring at me.  Again I spun around to turn the light on, turned back around and it was gone.  Similar instances occured throughout high school.  There were a few at college as well.  I have not seen the figure for over 15 years now, but there are still nights where I am afraid to go to sleep.  I know what you are going through.  We can talk more about this, I can message you or vice versa.  Sharon :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow, this happens to a lot more people than I thought!  Lynn, this happened to me too but as a child so I never associated it with using either.  Once I actually started walking to the bathroom and ended up on the floor.  I don't know how I even got on the floor but it felt like something was holding my chest down so I couldn't get up and i could barely move.  Yes, it is terrifying and I totally get how scared you are.  Nothing has happened to me in a very long time, but I am still very anxious about going to sleep when no one else is in the house and I've stayed awake until the sun comes up as well because I feel safer.  I feel like an idiot and never told anyone that because I was afraid being called crazy too.  I truly don't think there's anything supernatural about it but I'm still terrified that something will happen that I can't handle.  Fear of the unknown I think.  Yes, talk to your counselor, I'm sure they will be able to ease your fears some by helping you understand it more.  You are strong enough to handle anything that comes your way.  Good luck and I hope you get to sleep peacefully soon.
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1990784_tn?1331875378
That's wild! I have never even heard of that until now. And to think so many of you have experienced it. I can't even imagine it. Is this like being awake with your eyes open as normal but you can't move or react  but you are cognizant of everything happening around you? But what's happening around you is not even real? So you are living in your dream,  in a sense. Or if someone did walk into the room for real would you see them? Sorry i am just trying to understand this. I will try to look it up online.  And Lynn....I think you are doing a fantastic job! Keep it up! And I'd definately speak to your counsellor about this.
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Avatar_f_tn
For me, it's like living in the dream. It is also like, I think that it is time to wake up, but I can't move.
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Avatar_f_tn
It never felt like a dream to me.  I'm not sure what it was.  It felt real enough to scare me to death and carry it with me all these years later.  I might mention this all happened long before I started using.
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Avatar_f_tn
What I meant about living in the dream is that events that didn't happen seemed very real. It is like I am awake yet asleep. On more than one occasion I thought my husband came in and talked to me or that I heard people downstairs but we didn't have any company. I would see the bedroom exactly as it is except there would be someone there. For me, it usually happens if I take a nap during the day. I haven't had it happen at night in years. It started years ago when I was a kid.
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1827057_tn?1397523877
yes this happened to me even before I became a big drughead and alky.
The body is normally paralyzed during sleep but something gets off kilter and the brain paralyzes the body and you are halfway between asleep and not so to you it feels as though you are lying in bed and looking around but you are really ni a dream state.Usually auditory disturbances accompany this and a really deep profound sense of another presence in the room.I really believe this is a remnant left over from our cave man days where we had to be on our toes and semi alert at all times. It is really surprising how much of those cave man instincts affect our modern lives.
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No matter the reason it is very scary when it happens.I used to think I was awake the whole time but I came to believe after really examining it after a few times of it happening I realized that my eyes were only open at the very end and by then I was in such a panic that the state jumbled the timeline of events when it was actually an awake dream that was taking place in my bedroom.It is reall a scary thing though and bizarre trick of the mind.
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2005633_tn?1333876566
It happens to a friend of mine. Feels he is pinned to the bed with a heavy
weigh on his chest.
It passed.
He had stopped using for a while before it started.
I believe your body wants to sleep but mind can't shut down.
Try simple breathing techniques before u sleep. It seemed to work fir him.
Sorry.
Love Zoe
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't post much but I wanted you to know I had this experience 2 or 3 times many years ago.  Maybe like 15 years ago, but it was so scary and intense I have never forgotten it.
I was like awake and my body could not move but I sensed VERY STRONGLY that I was leaving my body thru my legs down thru my feet.  I was moving around my room, almost snake like.  I could see all over the place and had no real control over where I moved too.  I also became dizzy with all the lack of perspective in my vision.
I physically hurt as I felt myself rushing back into my body and was eventually able to move.  I was scared to death and don't remember telling people as it was so crazy.  It did happen more than once but not in years.
I remember hearing about sleep paralysis and just assumed that must be what I experienced.
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1531526_tn?1330739676
Hi there!
Im so sorry you are dealing with this. I get this frequently and have had it since I was a child. Its worse than a nightmare, I know. It's so very scary that you think it will happen to you every time you sleep. I know it seems impossible, but try your hardest to know that what you're seeing is your mind playing tricks on you. I'd say do research but that can be a scary thing, as people recall their experiences. I never noticed it being worse during drug use or getting off drugs, after all I wasn't on drugs at 7!

But it took me the better part of 15 years to master these scary wakeful sleeps. You can prepare yourself to remain calm. If you gain enough control you can calm yourself down during an episode. It may take some practice, but as aware as you may feel you are during one, turn that thought into a positive mantra. The panic/anxiety can scare you to the point where it takes longer to awaken. Be aware of your surroundings. Try some lavender spray on your bedding, definitely leave a nightlight on, and try to meditate or try a relaxation CD or something of the like before you sleep. If you can stretch before bed it may help relax you. All these things are ways for you to relax. I gained control of mine when I did things like this and stayed aware of things around me, like the smell of the lavender or the nightlight. Nothing can hurt you while you sleep, and the calmer you are (again it may take a couple times) then the faster you'll awaken. Also, when you do wake up from an episode, even if you're very tired, either turn the tv on to something happy, get a drink of water, or take some deep calming breaths, as I know how anxious it can make you feel.
One last thing  is try and notice a pattern when this happens: are you watching something unpleasant before bed? Are you more stressed or anxious about something inparticular? Are you sleeping on your back when this happens? (that was a big trigger for me) Are you exhausted? (that too can contribute) Try and notice a pattern so you can do everything in your power to change it.

Hope this helps. You are not alone in this. Take care and I hope you can get rest!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Good morning, Lynn. Just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you and hope you got some rest :)
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495284_tn?1333897642
Did you get some sleep Lynn?
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1801781_tn?1373244154
Lynn,  just adding my post to the check in for you.  I hope you finally got some rest and feeling better today.  If not, let us know how we can help!  You have been such a positive in my life here and with others.
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2021194_tn?1330611198
during my first week off methadone i woke up in a state of sleep paralyses,i felt like i couldn't breathe like there was a huge brick  on my chest and i couldn't move any of my limbs or open my eyes. even though i couldn't open my eyes i could see for some reason "i know sounds strange". it happened to me twice that night. i found laying on my side helped, i believe it did anyway cause it didn't happen for a third time that night. I've also had other experiences with this while on methadone, and it's very scary cause it seems so real. crazy when i think about it and i'm so glad you posted this thread and so many of you responded. i thought i was alone but apparently not. i hope you got yourself some sleep last night.
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Avatar_f_tn
The first time it happened when I was high on methadone in our old house my husband was home and in te shower and I was asleep but awake. I knew he was in te shower and I could see the shadow in the room watching me but I couldn't move or yell I was praying for him to get out of the shower soon. And I eventually woke up when he was done. I was terrified. I looked it up and this has occurred with many others. It's no fun  but I'm glad I'm not alone.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey! You are NOT crazy! This is an actual condition and it doesn't mean you have anything psychologically wrong with you. I suffer from it too and when I first experienced, I was terrified b/c I felt certain that I had an encounter with some demonic presence. It is the most terrifying feeling in the world. I felt like it was on my chest, then took off running (I actually heard "footsteps") and I saw the dark shadow too. I was staying at my parents that night and once I could move, I ran into their room, woke them up like a little kid and told them I was sleeping with them. I was 25 years old at the time, haha! I told them there was an evil spirit in their house and it had just tried to kill me. They thought I was crazy. Heck, I even thought I might be going crazy...but I kept telling myself that what I saw, heard, and felt was REAL. So I held onto the fact that I had a demonic encounter and tried to ignore it. I was afraid to sleep for 3 days after that, and eventually I just passed out. Then like 2 weeks later, it happens again at MY house. I wake up and I'm completely frozen. I can see everything, but can't even move! Eventually my body is "freed" and I can move again and then I'm too scared to go back to sleep. I was afraid to tell anyone about it b/c I assumed everyone would call me crazy. Well, I use to work at a bar and I got a little tipsy one night and decided to talk to the bartender dude working next to me about it. And he said, "Oh, haha, I have that. Its nothing. Its called sleep paralysis. But I know what you mean about it being scary...if I didn't know what it was, I would be scared too." His mom is a psychologist. So I go home and research sleep paralysis and it explains my symptoms EXACTLY! It says people even have visual and audio hallucinations. What happens is when we fall asleep, our body naturally goes into REM sleep cycle. Our body naturally paralyzes itself so we don't act out our dreams and hurt ourself or someone else. A person that suffers from sleep paralysis...their mind wakes up before their body does. They are completely mentally aware, but their body is frozen. It usually "unfreezes" in 30 seconds or less. BUT if you have ever experienced this, you know it feels SO MUCH LONGER than that! I get it from time to time, but now that I know what it is, I'm not scared. When I wake up and can't move, I just tell myself "Just breathe, you will be able to move in a couple seconds." and sure enough, I'm unfrozen in about 10 seconds. It's triggered by sleep depreviation (which i suffer from all the time) and stress. If you have an episode one night, you're likey to have several in the same night. The way you can avoid having multiple episodes in a night is by getting up and walking around for a few minutes after it happens. I read that if you do this, you are less likely to have another episode, whereas if you just stay in bed, you will most likely have another episode shortly. I hope this info helps! I know exactly how crazy and terrified you feel...I was there! I just wanted to clarify things for you so you can understand it and not be afraid!
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...WantToBeNormalAgain said everything I said (I just realized that AFTER I posted my novel, haha). But I wanted to add that sleeping on my back is definitely a trigger for me, too.
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1531526_tn?1330739676
Hey, don't steal my post, haha! lol, Ive done that so many times. Great info though..Ive had them since I was little, which explains a lot. I had a very stressful childhood, which explains the paralysis AND maybe why Im on this forum, ha! I didn't know that stress causes it too, crazy. So Im glad you posted, even if you are copying me first.. lol just kidding! :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Yeah, I think people need to be aware this is an actual thing and that they're not crazy. Cuz I had no idea what was happening when it first started with me. I was afraid to tell anyone cuz they'd think I was crazy. For those who experience it, if they understand what is happening then they control their fear when it happens. Now that I know what is happening, I'm not afraid when I become paralyzed. You just gotta get ahold of your mind. Our brains are more powerful than u could ever imagine.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, this happens to me all the time. Exactly what your explaining. Last night I was laying in my bed watching a show when I suddenly realized that I was in sleep paralysis. I am completely frozen and I can't move but I can slightly rock my body or legs back and forth. This seems to help wake me up. Anyway all I think in those moments is please someone for the love of God shake me and wake me up! Then a shadow figure walked into my room and put his hand out to touch me. I was like who are you! But I couldn't speak. Then I blinked and bam I was awake again! Before I knew anything about it I would always think it was something spiritual and I would cry out to Jesus and it would wake me up. I do believe in God and I have a good relationship with Him. Here is my advice, I totally agree that you should seek God and become closer to Him. He loves you a lot and wants you to be a part of His wonderful Kingdom that Jesus mentioned so much while here on earth. However, you can beat this sleep paralysis thing! It's all about knowledge. Once I researched and understood what was happening I took back my authority during these spells. Now when it happens I have a calming mechanism that kicks in. I instantly recognize it and I say, Trevor your in sleep paralysis. It's ok, the things you are seeing are not real, I command my mind to stop and I start to laugh at this "darkness" and I know and feel that I have authority. I simply tell myself "I am not scared. This is a medical condition and you are not real, your pathetic. Why don't you come when I'm awake and see how I handle you! I will get rid of you so fast your head will spin!" After I started taking this authority my episodes became far less scary. I remain calm now and slowly rock myself back and forth until I wake. Sometimes my wife even wakes me up because she's learned to recognize when it's happening because the rocking is real not in my dream. Honey it's all gonna be ok, what really happens is every night when we sleep our brain releases a chemical that paralyzes us so that when we dream we don't act them out. This is why ppl sleep walk because their brain either does not release enough chemical to paralyze the muscles or none at all. So when your in sleep paralysis your brain simply wakes up and there is a delay as to when it stops producing the chemical. It usually last a few seconds or no longer than a minute or so. During this state your mind will be sort of half awake but think that it's still in REM therefore trying to make sense of the situation it sends you into a dream. That's why you start seeing stuff because your brain is mixing reality with dreams. Just remind yourself when it happens that it's not real and that you will wake up very shortly. You will learn to control it and you won't be afraid anymore :)
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