Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Can't wake, the hag will get me.

Ok, so this post is going into a different direction than my others because the subject's been somewhat of a plague on me and what better way to talk about it then on my very own blog?
Several times in my life, starting when I was about 13 or 14, I have had episodes of a sleeping disorder known as Sleep Paralysis. Details to come. If you know me well, you know I grind my teeth in my sleep, but that's a different story. That's a different sleeping disorder. It's been known that many people with one sleeping disorder will have the misfortune of having several. In my case, it's only two... so far.
Several years ago I closed my eyes in mid day and accidentally fell asleep... kind of. My body fell asleep, but my mind did not. I couldn't move. I could hardly breathe. I could open my eyes but the rest of me was paralyzed. Needless the say it was one of the most terrifying things to ever happen to me.
It didn't happen for years after that until about a month ago when I decided to take a nap on my couch. Only this time, I could hear someone in the room with me. At first, i thought it was Mr Eckstein home from work for lunch. I couldln't move, couldn't speak, all I could do was breathe. So I tried to quicken my breath to get him to notice I was conscious. That didn't work. Why wouldn't he wake me up? I could feel him standing above me, right next to the couch, I could hear noises coming from the bookcase. What felt like hours later, I could move again and realized I had only been paralyzed for a couple minutes.
Just the other day, the same thing happened again in the bedroom. I fell asleep reading my book and uh oh, I couldn't move. I could hear everything around me. I even heard a cat coming down the hall (I don't own a cat) I knew someone was in the room with me! I could hear them. I could feel them. It felt like they were sitting right there on the bed with me. Dugan? Negative. When I woke up, I was alone.

This phenomenon used to be known as "the old Hag Syndrome" and is now known as a medical sleeping disorder called Sleep Paralyses. It's where my mind doesn't finish with it's REM cycle before I decided to wake up, leaving my mind in an "awake" state and my body in a "sleeping" state.
The "Old Hag" syndrome come from tales told about people waking up and feeling a dark presence in the room with them, hallucinating figures and sounds almost as you would in a dream. People used to think that they had a demon or an "old hag" sitting on their chest, holding them down and making their breathing heavy. Click here to read more about it.
What it really is, is your mind halfway between being asleep and being awake, causing you to hallucinate and become paralyzed. Wikipedia can tell you more about it than I can.
This thing, is scary. I'm terrified to fall asleep throughout the day, and it only happens when I am alone. When it's happening, I am more than positive that there is someone there, watching me sleep, keeping me from waking up. I don't know what I can do to keep it from happening again. I guess it's just something I have to take one day at a time, or one nap at a time I guess. 


Brooke said...

See a Doctor- stat- that's freaky!

Kristina said...

I've never been tested for anything, but I tend to have problems when I am asleep. As you remember me mentioning, I just found out that I grind my teeth in my sleep.

For years, I knew that I whimpered in my sleep, and made sounds as if I'm crying. I tend to have night terrors too, where I scream and start kicking around like crazy. It's very rare that those happen, but I have made my family terrified with "tortured" screams in the night as they would say.

I've even had cases where I couldn't breath, and I have felt paralyzed. Feeling a dark presence in the room with me. It's only happened twice, but I just tossed it in with night terrors. Sleep is my favorite thing to do, because I always feel tired...but there has been times when I was just too terrified to sleep, scared of what would come in my dreams.

Keep taking it one day at a time, hopefully it will just stop randomly and not happen again. :)