I've been having these episodes since I was 7, 3-4 times a wk. Mom said it was bad spirits. I am now 32, and I can honestly say I had only had maybe 6 episodes from 17 yrs old up until a few months ago. Now I have 1-3 a week, and worse than ever before. My son started having them at 7 also. We moved to MS last year, my son was 9. My kids complained of noises in our new home, but only 1 son has the episodes, during 1 he saw a shadow and now refuses to sleep w/o a light. I had never seen anything during mine before until we moved here and it is getting worse. 2 episodes ago I woke up paralized and panicked because I felt like there was a ghost in the room with me, then I saw it. The black shadow floated toward me and it entered my body through my chest(I saw it!)I felt an electrical buzz surging throughout my body & head,there was a very loud semi- hi pitch rythmic beat,I felt violent throbbing in the back of my head,(not painful though),my body trembled all over, heart racing,and I felt the most uncontrollable fear imagineable. The shadow then went away,came right back and it happened all over again. I thought this time I would surely die of fear if not a heart attack first. I really thought there was something evil attacking me,I did not know about sleep paralysis until yesterday. I saw a nuerologist and he said I might have a sleep disorder and then I found this website. I am so glad I am not going crazy and that my house is not haunted. I was beginning to think so, and so was my husband. (that I was crazy)I was trying to convince him we needed to sell the house and move.
Sleep paralysis is a feature of narcolepsy, a relatively common condition characterized by excessive sleepiness in situations where you would not normally sleep.
Sleep paralysis occurs in about 25% of these patients and is an inability to move shortly after waking, despite being awake, and can last up to 30 minutes. It is due to persistence of an inhibition of movement that is normally present in a stage of normal sleep called REM sleep. It may be associated in this disorer with hyponogogic hallucinations - halluncination as you are wkaing or going to sleep.
Another more common feature of this disorder is called cataplexy - a person will fall down or lose tone in an arm/leg/body etc for a brief few seconds but remaining awake, in response to an emotional stimulus, usually laughter
The diagnosis of narcolepsy can be made clinically by these 4 symptoms, but also with a test in a neurology sleep lab called a multiple sleep latency test. It may be use ful to see a sleep medicine doctor.
I have sleep paralysis and while I may have only had two episodes where I saw darkness. (to me it was a blob that would go away if I kept blinking.)I have had many episodes where I couldn't move, breath, and heard a high pitched hum in myears much like tinnitus. It most often occurs when I am lying on my back and am stressed out, or when I wake up and try to fall back asleep.
You may also find during these episodes you can move your eyes fully and may be able to wiggle your toes and fingertips. Then you may suddenly be able to move and be alert or you will fall right back to sleep.
I have also had dreams which seemed like sleep paralysis and I don't know to this day what they really were.
All I can tell you is that over time they will become less frightning and eventually they will only be an annoyance. (if this is what you have and although I am not a doctor it sounds like sleep paralysis to me)
Sleep paralysis is often a sign of low serotonin (a neurotransmitter in the brain). Most people stop having symptoms after being prescribed a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), such as Lexapro, Zoloft, etc.
I have experienced sleep paralysis since i was in my early teens, and now am 43. Like the others, during these times i am awake but unable to move, and always accompanied by an extremely high pitched noise in my ears, almost to the point of pain. I also feel as if i am being pulled down into the bed, and see some fascinating images. Before I was aware of what sleep paralysis was, i was terrified by these occurrences! I want to tell you though, that now i almost look forward to them! I have done lots of reading on this phenomenon and realized that once you become aware that these episodes are just dreams, it is the first step to lucid dreaming. This is where you become aware in your dreams and then can control them! It may sound strange to you since you are so terrified of them now. Just wanted to give you some hope that you may eventually be able to turn these experiences into something to look forward to rather than dread. Go to www.ld4all.com for some great info! Good luck!
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