After reading Cat’s excellent blog last week, it brought to mind what I felt was a sinister aspect to my symptoms, and that it had been happening on and off for quite sometime.
When I was a secondary school(high school) I was bullied, it started on the very first day and was sustained until I was about sixteen, quite a prolonged attack, it did stop sometimes but for this bully I think she hit the jackpot as it were, it was then that I had my experience of Sleep Paralysis.
At that age what did I know about stress and it’s effects, and during my teenage years I’d experience this sleep disruption several times, I didn’t even tell anyone about thinking is was a symptom of puberty,also how could I tell anybody that I was having out-of-body experiences, people didn’t even thing of long-term consequences back then and being a teenager my thoughts wouldn’t have mattered at all.
They did ago away for a long time and reappeared back in the early 90’s when I was first diagnosed with severe stress, not only was I chasing my career and was on the winning side of “having it all” I was also very social, I finished work usually around 11.30pm then I was out most night until 3-4am, sleep deprived anyone! living on a diet of coffee and cigarettes, I told the occupational Health Therapist “I didn’t have time to be stressed” and happily ignored all warnings about longtime effects.
During this period not only was I losing time seemingly hours would go by which I couldn’t account for, simple things like walking home from town(usually 15 mins) would take 2 hours, or I’d sit down thinking it was only 30 mins but find 4-5 hrs had gone by, I thought I was just over tired and had nodded off, when I look back now I realise that I wasn’t waking up nor had I been asleep, just sitting there staring into space thinking of nothing
When I did eventually go to bed, it used to happen as soon as I closed my eyes, some of you may know the drunk feeling of the room spinning around, well that’s how it always started, then there was this pressure pressing down on me as the spinning in the room slowed, then being lifted high really high into the air, that was it, but I would wake up, and couldn’t move, nothing not even my eyes, and if I tried to move the pressure around my body would tighten, really weird feeling, floating but being held down at the same time.
This would happen several times a week and as you can imagine I was scared to go to sleep, scared to stay awake in case something else manifested itself, of course I didn’t tell anybody about this, I wouldn’t even have known how to broach the topic, so another thing kept to myself.
As things improved a little in my life the symptoms eased off considerably, however I still keep the TV on all night to give a distraction of not falling into to deep a sleep, when I was seeing a therapist I just said I wasn’t sleeping to well and she prescribed sleeping tablets which I took intermittently.
During that bout of depression my mother had died and I was being bullied at work, so dealing with grief and issue at work meant my sleep suffered again, this was a dark period for me, because I wasn’t sleeping sometimes for days at a time I’d have hallucinations coupled with the paralysis and for the first time suicidal thoughts, I really did think I’d lost my mind.
The last bout the sleep paralysis came back but not so severe, but now looking back and having done more research I know that during times of severe stress my body doesn’t cope well and that’s my main trigger stressful situations, seem to crowd in on me to devastating effect. This is also one of the conditions of depression and more severe mental health problems,
I posted a few weeks ago about tiredness, and although I’ve not had adverse symptoms, I understand it’s a reaction to my situation, though this time I’ve adopted a more positive attitude to it all, every so often the cracks appear, and I have to be vigilant about that, and change the direction of my thoughts, I try to sleep when I can even when it’s only 20 mins or find quiet time to get myself centered.