Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sleep Paralysis

The first time it happened I was about eighteen. I was lying on my back in bed and I couldn't move my neck. My eyes were open and I could look to my posters of batman and Jim Harbaugh. When my eyes shut I had a zoomed in image of a fat brown rat running in a metal wheel. I kept opening and closing my eyes. Unable to move. Suddenly, I was aware that I wasn't breathing. I tried to shout but I couldn't. I was frantically sending the message for my body to breathe, scream, move but nothing happened. Eventually I woke up.

This is what it feels like. Stop breathing. See how your body feels unnaturally quiet without the rhythm of breath? Then stare at your hand. Pretend you're telling yourself to make a fist but simply watch it ignore your command. That is the exact feeling.

Every six months I get one of these dreams. A few days ago I felt it coming on. I was trying to fall asleep when I found myself looking around the room -not breathing. When I try to will myself out of these situations ("scream!", "breathe!", "get up!") nothing happens. The solution is to relax. Ignore the illusion that I'm not breathing and go to sleep in the dreamworld. The rat has never come back.

*side note. I wanted a picture of a face screaming as it pressed into a sheet. What do I google image to find that?