“Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon during which an individual is unable to move during falling asleep or awakening, but is aware of their surroundings. It is often accompanied by frightening hallucinations.”
I had never heard of sleep paralysis before I had experienced it, so when it happened, boy was I terrified. I went to sleep as I normally would, in a fetal position up against the wall of my room on my bed. A couple of hours into my sleep, I woke up and realized I absolutely could not move and I panicked. I also couldn’t see anything, because it was pitch black and I am absolutely blind without my glasses on. This was an important factor in my terror, because I was genuinely convinced that an intruder was in my house and coming to murder and rape myself and my family, a hallucination, and I couldn’t move or see anything.
The next logical solution I could come to in my hysterics was to scream for my mother, who was sleeping in the next room, but upon trying to scream, I realized I couldn’t do that either. I started crying as I continued to believe that someone was coming to do harm to me, and I continued to try to move my legs and scream. I have no idea how much time had passed since I woke up, but eventually I was able to slowly slam my leg against the wall and make faint moaning sounds as I tried to scream for my mother; feeling was starting to come back to my body.
Another unknown amount of time had passed and I realized that there was no reason to be in the state of panic I was in; the hallucinations were over and I could move again. I got up, heart racing and dried tears on my face, to check the house. It was, in fact, not invaded by a murderer.
Looking back on this experience, it seems absolutely ridiculous the amount of sheer panic I was in, but at the time I was genuinely terrified about the lack of control I was experiencing over my body as I was hallucinating, something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Hopefully next time I have a sleep paralysis experience, I will be able to realize what is actually happening and not drive myself into a panic induced heart failure.