I can still remember the first time I suffered sleep paralysis. I was probably about seven or eight. I can still remember trying to convince my mum that I had suffered some sort of episode. But mums being mums and me being a child that kept a vast army of imaginary monsters concealed in various locations about my bedroom, she was a little reluctant to believe me.
I am now 32 and suffered my last bout of SP the night before last (3/2/03). It's something I have learned to live with now I have had it so long. It's hard to imagine life with out it. In the twenty five or so years I have had it, I still have hardly any control over it despite having up to three attacks a week every week. I have read numerous articles on the net about it and according to most, you grow out of it by the age of 18. I must be special I suppose.
It's so frequent now that my wife (god bless her patience) and I have devised a signal to indicate I need some assistance. When I suffer an attack although suffering almost complete paralysis, apart from the odd loll of the head or frantic finger wiggles I can just about generate a sound from my throat that sounds something like her name Lin. It actually comes out sounding more like Hin, but it works and she calmly leans over and shakes me awake, I thank her and we go back to sleep.
The only problem I have with this is I work nights and after falling asleep in the van with one of my colleges, I then scared the life out of him by twitching and whimpering the word Hin to him repeatedly. I think it spooked him a bit to be honest, and god did I get ribbed in work when that little gem of a story did the rounds.
Sleep has always been a bit of a thing for me. One thing I can say is I never sleepwalk but boy do I have some strong experiences in sleep and the seconds that follow. I have always been a dreamer (people that say you don't dream in colour are wrong I have seen my own blood enough times). My dreams are so vivid that I can describe the details to the letter. I often have dreams of chasing or being chased, normally resulting in my death or the death of the person I am pursuing.
I also have a lot of supernatural dreams, these are nothing unusual really, I just put it down to an over active imagination. I wake up screaming some nights at the top of my voice, an unearthly sound which I have tried many times in consciousness to recreate but can not come close to, a sound that is so loud and resonate that as I wake, it is effortlessly being produced by my body but can be heard several doors away. This is normally followed by some sort of confused episode. One night I screamed at my wife on waking, how I had seen the light and was now like the others.
I have conversations with people in my sleep. I have been known to pick up the phone and have a one-sided conversation with people. I often laugh and make nonsensical remarks and comments as well. All in all, my subconscious could not be more different from my conscious. Although I'm extravert and a little eccentric, over all I am a well balanced down to earth and secure person. I don't have any major problems or stresses in my life. I just put it down to a childish immature side that is still very prevalent in my every day personality. Although considered quit a hard character, I can still terrify myself in the dark with just a thought.
I don't think this insight into my life will help many people, but I hope you find it slightly entertaining.
Ian Brown, Age 32, London
Thanks Ian for this enlightening article
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