This has happened to me about half a dozen times. Today/last night was the most recent, and it is the first time I have really become conciously aware of it (at least the first time I’ve given it much thought). I will try to describe the experience as best I can.
As I was sleeping, I woke up to see my familiar surroundings but with an image of what I perceived as a person’s body from the neck down in front of me.
My body was completely paralyzed. I felt a feeling of sheer terror and panic. I felt an overwhelming desire to move, thrash about, scream, but could do nothing. In my head, I was screaming “No! No! Leave me alone!” (or something similar), and could feel my vocal chords vibrate, but nothing but a muffled hum was coming out. I suspect my lips and mouth simply weren’t moving so I couldn’t produce the sounds.
I definitley felt “awake”, and my surroundings appeared completely real. After a few seconds, I fell back into sleep, and then woke up “normally”. I realized when I woke up that what I had perceived as a person’s body was actually the arm of the couch next to my bed.
The first time this happened the image that appeared was a young girl. There couldn’t have actually been a girl, since I have never lived in a house with a young girl. But it was dark enough my mind could have constructed the image from the various shadows etc. The other times, the image was a little more abstract and I have trouble recalling them all. But the key points that consistently occur are:
- I wake up and see my familiar surroundings, with some sort of foreign image added in.
- A completely enveloping feeling of terror.
- A total physical paralysis.
- An incredibly strong urge to move, get away, or scream, that cannot be expressed due to aforementioned paralysis.
- The episodes seem to last anywhere from about 2-10 seconds, then I fall back asleep. When I wake up again, I feel “normal”.
Also, 2 other tidbits that may or may not have relevance:
- I had a job interview today and I was feeling a fair amount of anxiety last night.
- After I woke up normally, it was still earlier than I needed to wake up so I fell back asleep, and had one of the most intense sexual fantasy dreams I’ve ever had.
Any idea what the hell this is?