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Friday, April 22, 2011

Between wakefulness and sleep
I enter a world of shadows,
a kaleidoscope of colours
fall from my ceiling

"Only when I am on the brink of sleep,
with the consciousness that I am so..."
Edgar Allan Poe


When I was really young, like maybe four or five, I can remember being afraid to sleep alone because I believed there were magical gnomes living under my bed.  At night they would create their magic and make my  bed float up to the ceiling, 'till my nose seemed like it would touch it if I stretched my neck just a little.  I never told anyone this that I can remember. Not my siblings, or my mom or dad, not a single soul until now.

In my late 20's, early 30's I would sometimes experience sleep paralysis.  These things are pretty darn creepy.  It's sort of like dreaming while you are awake.  I would wake up and see something in the corner of the room, it looked like the plaster was peeling on the walls and someone was peeping in at me.  I would get a feeling of urgency that I had to get up and turn on the light, but I couldn't move.  I felt totally paralyzed.  I finally got up the courage to ask my family doctor about it and she explained it something like this: On the edge of your REM  sleep your brain activity is greatly increased and you eye movement and breathing becomes erratic. It is in your rem sleep that you dream, so in order to keep you from flailing around while you dream your muscles become paralyzed.  And if you wake up going into a REM sleep, you can be paralyzed and have dreams while you are in a semi-awake state.  This is called a  hypnagogic hallucinations.
"So I'm not going insane after all!"  - sigh of relief!
I was certain my doc. would be ready to call the men in the white coats to come and take me away for sure. 

Lately, the past six weeks or so, I have been having hypnagogic hallucinations again, only I have been seeing shadows of people, lights that fade across my walls, and a kaleidoscope of tiny coloured lights that bounce around my room like a multi coloured light hitting a disco ball.  Although I know there is nothing to fear, I always come out of it with my heart beating like a jack hammer.  Needless to say I am sleep deprived, on edge and quite cranky in the mornings.  I am about to ask my doctor for something to make this go away. 

There!  I really needed to vent tonight.
Thanks for listening,
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4 comments:

glynis said...

I completely understand this and have experienced it my entire life. I hope it all stops for you soon. *hugs*

formerlyonlyamovie said...

I have had this sleep paralysis my whole life (also mostly in my 20s and 30s)... usually it occurs when I'm under extreme stress.
Funny, I've been VERY stressed out this year - but knock on wood - no sleep paralysis. Maybe I have a handle on it somehow. Ack.

Good luck and sweeeeet dreams. xo

Amy said...

I don't know, there's just something plain ol' wrong with this April in my opinion and I'll be happy to see the end of it...Good Luck, hope things change for you soon...and thanks for a new word to google!

Gal Friday said...

I am impresssed by your doctor--imagine if you had a different type that wasn't as knowledgeable or caring about what you were describing. I am glad you you have such a good doc and I feel she/he could safely prescribe something for you so you could get some good rest at night.
And I learned something too--I think we can all relate to these "hypnapgogic" hallucinations, having had something like that at least a few times in my life, too. Did not know there was a name for it, or that other people went through it, too.