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Today, I took a nap and experienced sleep paralysis. This is not the first time this has happened to me. My eyes are open and I cannot move. It feels like being in a strange dimension between being asleep and being awake.

This time, I was not quite so frightened. I tried to wiggle my fingers and my toes, a suggestion given to me some time ago to help me fully awaken. It didn't work. I knew I was dreaming. It's very confusing because the lines blur between reality and a dream. I'm not sure what's really happening in real life and what is just a dream. I began sliding down and off my bed, so I thought. I also thought my mom had come home and was lying beside me, though she was not.

There is a spiritual connection during sleep paralysis. The very first time I experienced it several years ago, my eyes were wide open. I saw a woman dressed in a long white gown pass in front of the mirror and disappear into the corner of the room. When I awoke, my point of view was exactly the same in the way I was looking at the room. I told my boyfriend at the time, and he immediately told me that there has been a woman who sits in the corner of the room, where he left a chair for her. I had never heard him speak of her before, and it was confirmation that this was the first and only time I've ever seen a ghost.

It didn't happen again for years.

In the past year, it's happened four times. At first, I was terrified. But as it continued to happen, I began to just accept that I was just dreaming and ask for the protection of God to shield me from any bad spirits around me.

Today, my dreams were nightmarish. It was as if something dark was entering my mind. It has been said that sleep paralysis can be a form of possession. Before this thread gets moved to hallucinations, please note that I do not ever hallucinate. I truly believe that being in that state makes me vulnerable to spirits, good or bad.

I felt pulled deeply into a very graphic sexual encounter with a faceless man. I suddenly felt as if I was being lifted off the bed, and was surrounded and protected by a blessed golden white light.

I keep angels in the four corners o my room to help protect me. I am a spiritual being, and I do believe that good, evil, and neutral spirits exist in this world. Considering my past, if anyone even knows it, I have always been haunted by darkness. I do feel that I was vulnerable to manipulation for a long time.

I've become very in touch with my higher power since then. And during sleep paralysis, I ask for protection. But it is still freaky in that I felt mentally pulled into the darkness, and then was saved by the light of God.

Maybe this all my mind playing tricks on me, but many people also believe as I do that sleep paralysis may be a form of possession and that it also enables one to see the spirit world.

I believe in angels, and in turn I must believe in demons. I don't think I am crazy in this way, just very spiritual.

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I can't speak to angels or demons, but sleep paralysis itself isn't that uncommon and what you may be experiencing are hypnogogic hallucinations. Also not terribly uncommon.

Sleep paralysis tends to occur more often when a person is stressed; the best way to deal with it is not to fight it but to relax and realize what it is. The more you fight it the longer the episode is likely to persist. So next time it happens if you are able to recognize it, remind yourself what it is and concentrate on relaxing, which I know can be very difficult if you are experiencing something very scary.

But, that's the general advice for that type of thing. If it is persisting nightly over weeks or months you may want to speak to your doctor, however.

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Thanks, Luna!

The last time it happened was the first time I didn't fight it. I did try to wiggle my fingers and toes, but when that didn't work, I just went with it. I experienced lucid dreams at that point, where I knew I was dreaming and was able to control my dreams to a certain extent.

As far as all the spiritual stuff goes, it is more than likely that my subconscious was playing tricks on me. Just because I believe in angels and demons doesn't mean what I experience during sleep paralysis has to be real.

Just a note: I'm not religious. Just spiritual. I'm no bible thumper!

So in short, that's great advice, Luna. Not fighting it made it much less terrifying.

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It also sounds like hypnogogic hallucinations to me. I've had those before.

I've had sleep paralysis. I think that, as uncomfortable as sleep paralysis is, the hallucinations that accompany it can be much worse. I used to see demons, hear doors slamming and people laughing, and feel hands pressing down on my chest. I thought I was screaming but I wasn't making a sound. It was just terrible. I sleep with a small night light now to keep them away, because I was having so much. I still get sleep paralysis, but I don't have the hallucinations when there's a light on in the room, for some reason. Or maybe it's just a coincidence.

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It also sounds like hypnogogic hallucinations to me. I've had those before.

I've had sleep paralysis. I think that, as uncomfortable as sleep paralysis is, the hallucinations that accompany it can be much worse. I used to see demons, hear doors slamming and people laughing, and feel hands pressing down on my chest. I thought I was screaming but I wasn't making a sound. It was just terrible. I sleep with a small night light now to keep them away, because I was having so much. I still get sleep paralysis, but I don't have the hallucinations when there's a light on in the room, for some reason. Or maybe it's just a coincidence.

Hypnagogic?

I do always feel like there's at least one person in the room with me, or several. I've also tried to scream before, but probably wasn't because my mom would've heard me.

Conversely, I have only experienced sleep paralysis in the morning or the daytime. So light actually seems to make it happen, or this could just be a coincidence as well.

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Luna said it well. Sleep paralysis and hypnopompic/hypnogogic hallucinations are very common among the normal population. They are not caused by MI. In essence, it is the result of the brain not making a clean switch between sleep and wakening. Anything you experience is purely a figment of you brains' dreaming imagination.

No reason to be frightened, now that you know the cause. I've had them over the years. Much rarer after being Dx''d and treated.

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From your article: Sleep paralysis usually occurs at one of two times. If it occurs while you are falling asleep, it's called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. If it happens as you are waking up, it's called hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis.

What I experience is hypnopompic/postdormital.

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I'm on here because I had a freaky hypnogogia experience- of sleep paralysis, I'm a big lucid dreamer in the early morning- I love the deep sleep, I find that I'm used to entering that phase of the REM now- have been doing it for years- it helps my creativity and drive that I seek. My family and boyfriend are so used to me raving on about vivid dreams- poor them! But they are very understanding. After doing research, if you enter in such a deep phase of REM for lucid dreaming- memory and reactions are very slow when you wake up and sometimes u wake up in the middle of paralysis- like mentioned in these posts. I have had some freaky sleep paralysis- I've noticed that the longer I sleep in the morning the more susceptible I am to it- so I wake up earlier now because it can be horrible. Although it caught me out 2 nights ago which is why I'm on here- I experienced what you experienced in your first post- feeling of something dark pulling me. SO I start looking it all up and that started to calm me down as it is common- thank god! It was then I started learning that sleep paralysis is what sends you to dream (so you don't act out the movements in your dream) ..pretty smart. Anyway I was so freaked out by my scary experience that night that I did what you did in your first post the next night - I asked for protection in the form of prayers- more specifically I asked to not go into sleep paralysis. The funny thing about it was- it worked!! I didn't go into sleep paralysis and I largely felt A LOT safer!! Although I wasn't able to dream and get into that deeper sleep :( . By the morning I missed it!!! - so I asked to still dream but with protection- I got my dream and deep sleep and woke up so much safer!! Whether it is your imagination or some force- I think what you did in your first post is so smart- ask for protection. The more I'm researching the more I am finding out that you become vulnerable to your mind and imagination's dark side when you hit paralysis. Having a spirituality like you mentioned at least brings your mind to an awareness. It's like when you're a kid and your mum reminds you 'it's just a movie' … you then are guided by the protection of your mum reminding you to not fall into the experience unsafely :) I think this is similar.

Thanks for posting.

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I used to have sleep paralysis in my early 20's. I had hypnagogic hallucinations with them - flashing strobe lights, aliens, etc... and it always felt like 'evil' was trying to get me and I would get really scared. And it felt like I was falling or floating. One time I just went with it, and I slipped into a lucid dream where I thought I was awake and the room was just exactly like it was when awake, but there were subtle differences.

After I started taking SSRI's for depression, the sleep paralysis went away. I haven't had one since.

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