Friday, 23 October 2015

Sleep Paralysis


You would think that after sixty decades of living in close proximity to my psyche most of it's foibles, be they physical/biological/psychological/neurological, would be good friends by now.   apparently not, and it took a movie for this latest manifestation of jeni weirdness to make itself known.

From childhood sleep has been a land i've struggled to enter, and once passed customs have found myself an illegal alien, always on the cusp of exile.   the slightest unusual sound or scent wakes me, i was even disturbed by a spider walking across the ceiling's polystyrene tiles !!! it was akin to an ogre trampling a giant packet of crisps !!  i kid thee not......it WAS a large spider.


Twice when young i launched myself down the stairs with the intention of flying to the bottom......it worked so well in the dream. the reality was deeply disappointing......and painful.   i lost the argument with mother over the massive pocket money increase i'd been promised......though i still don't believe i dreamt that, she was covering for her ministerial u-turn.....honestly.    and the sweet shop owner was wise enough not to disturb my somnambulation, he just gently walked me home where i'd climb back into bed totally unaware of any nocturnal adventures.   

House moving was a nightmare......pun intended......i would wake in the morning to find items packed the previous day decanted and put into their usual place, the newspaper used around breakables neatly folded back into a reasonable facsimile of it's original self.

somnambulate



[som-nam-byuh-leyt, suh m-] 
verb (used without object),
somnambulated, somnambulating.
to walk during sleep; sleepwalk

Sleep walking is funny, an entertaining tale to tell the children about their dotty mum.  but the terror of waking unable to move or speak or breathe.....now that's not funny.   not knowing if you are alive or dead or in a coma is very frightening.   the mind saying you are up and walking and talking, only to find.......nooo, i'm not......i'm still lying here.  let's try it again.....yes, this time i AM moving, i'm getting out of bed now.....NOOO, i'm not.....MOVE !! legs MOVE.....arms MOVE......WHY CAN'T I MOVE.......Nightmare...... the movie is accurately named.

Yep, you've got it.......sleep paralysis.   i am blessed to be one of the 10% who regularly half wake totally unable to twitch a muscle. the brain doesn't synch with the body, so for a short while we enter a limbo akin to the living dead.   it only lasts for a few minutes but it feels like hours and  it's absolutely terrifying.

But here's the thing......i thought it happened to EVERYBODY.   i didn't even know it had a NAME, was a recognised s y n d r o m e.   ooooh i do love a good syndrome.

So....this started me mulling.....ooooh i also love a good mull sprinkled with a syndrome or two....what other pathologies are there in our lives that we assume to be universal?   and.....more pertinently.....isn't it possible that a lot of the fears/weaknesses/abnormalities/eccentricities that we believe are ours alone are actually common traits of humanity?   that phobia you have been too embarrassed to mention, the anxiety that holds you back from living life to the full,   grief or depression that sit on your shoulder like an evil twin,  a physical problem that has shamed you into a mafiosi style omerta, paralysing self doubt hindering your dreams.......wouldn't they be easier to live with if you knew those confident, arrogant, extroverts around you also shared some of your terrors, because i'm sure they do.......they just don't talk about it.   why not ask them?   
   





2 comments:

  1. All my life I have associated words, especially nouns, and most importantly names with colours. For a long time I thought that it was either just me having normal Dan weird thoughts, or that everybody did it really but it was so commonplace it was not worthy of comment. Then I saw a program about synesthesia and somebody described this thing perfectly. It's not common, but it's not that unusual either, it's more common in women and creative people, and I don't have it as strongly as some. I recognise that moment of realising that something about you is not the same as others, but is common enough to have a name. I found it helpful. I hope you find your new understanding of sleep paralysis helps you to live with it. I have heard of it but didn't know it was that common.

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  2. Thank you for understanding. Somehow giving something a name gives power over it, that's why in obedience training you give the animal a command AFTER speaking it's name. "Spot...sit! " i'm going to try it next time I wake in panic......"sleep paralysis BOG OFF"

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