In a 2005 paper, Yeung, Xu and Chang looked at rates of sleep paralysis in Chinese and American psychiatric out-patients. They found that panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) led to a higher incidence of sleep paralysis, suggesting that these two disorders are risk factors for sleep paralysis. The authors suggest the higher physiological arousal that occurs during PTSD and panic disorder causes disruption to sleep patterns, this increasing the risk of sleep paralysis.
A 2005 study by Hinton, Pich, Chhean, Pollack and McNally looked at rates of sleep paralysis in Cambodian refugees, and found further supporting evidence that suffering traumatic life events can increase the likelihood of experiencing sleep paralysis. Out of 100 refugees, 49 had suffered at least one sleep paralysis attack in the 12 months prior to the study. Those who had been given a clinical diagnosis of PTSD showed higher sleep paralysis prevalences than those who had not been given a diagnosis (65% of the PTSD group suffered at least one sleep paralysis attack per month, compared with just 15% of the non-PTSD group). They also found a positive correlation between severity of PTSD and number of sleep paralysis attacks. This could indicate that while traumatic events may increase risk of sleep paralysis, a sleep paralysis attack can be a traumatic event in itself.
Vivid hallucinations may be part of this experience. In other words, you perceive an experience of something that is not there. In a broad sense, the hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis can be divided into visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile experiences.
The visual experience can be quite profound. Many people report seeing the presence of a human figure, often described as being a dark figure, shadow or ghost. This figure may be standing at the bedside, just at the periphery of your vision. Some people report seeing multiple people in the room. Others report that they see flashes, bright colors or lights. Sometimes the visual hallucination can be quite elaborate. For example, some have reported seeing a disembodied hand, a gargoyle, bugs or even a cat. In other cases, the visions are vague, described as being blurry or shimmering or simply having a sense that things are floating.
Similarly, the experience of auditory hallucinations in sleep paralysis can range from the routine to the bizarre. Many people hear various noises. It is most common for people to hear voices. The language used might seem foreign. There may the perception of whispering, screaming and laughing. Nearly as often, a loud buzzing or static noise is reported, much like the sound of a radio that is on but not tuned to a station. Some people hear breathing, footsteps, knocking or a ringing sound. Even unusual sounds like a horse carriage or growling may be perceived. Sometimes the sounds heard during sleep paralysis are nonspecific, difficult to characterize or not well remembered.
One of the most often reported phenomena of sleep paralysis is a tactile hallucination, the experience of being touched when you are not. Many people describe feeling a pressure or contact, often sensed as if something or someone is holding them down. Some people with sleep paralysis describe tingling, numbness or a vibrating sensation. Others describe a sense of floating, flying or falling. A few people report feeling chilled or freezing. Less frequently, there may even be a sense that you are being physically moved or dragged from your bed. Some people report sexual contact, including physical sensations involving the genitalia or even rape. Other physical experiences have been reported as well, including a sense of being bitten, bugs crawling on the skin, breathing in the ear or an uncontrolled feeling of smiling.
Aside from the experiences described above, one of the most important and lasting elements of sleep paralysis is the emotional component. For many, the experience of a sleep paralysis is a waking nightmare. The perceived dark figure in the room seems to be an evil presence, intent on real harm. The stranger standing over you or sitting on top of you is up to no good.
The vast majority of people who experience sleep paralysis describe it as a fearful experience (scary, terrifying, horrifying, frightening, etc.). This is often associated with the hallucination of a stranger’s presence. Some people have a sense of impending doom, meaning they have a feeling that real harm or death is about to occur to them. Many describe how real everything seems when it is occurring.
Claude Monet, The Sun in a Fog, 1903, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, oil on canvas, 73,7 x 100,3 cm
Every single word of this.
The Spectating part really hits home :(
habitual body monitoring is so real, my eating disorder was at its worst when i was in high school and i couldnt focus in class bc all i was thinking about was how my body looked sitting in the desk and the next meal and exercising, etc
the dedication recovery
You cannot avoid it,
nor can you speed through it.
take your time.
Your path may alter,
your rest stops may change,
but you will be
First light in the Canyon was extremely cold, but such a beautiful site to see.