I had two sleep paralysis attacks last night. I've had them before but never two in one night. And it's been a while since I've had any. These two were actually pretty frightening, and given that I'm alone in the house at the moment with Lana gone for a few days, it didn't help me get a good night's sleep.
Sleep paralysis comes in two varieties. The most common type is when you wake up completely from a dream and find yourself still paralyzed from the neck down. You probably know that your body becomes paralyzed when you dream to keep you from acting out your dreams. In this type of sleep paralysis, your eyes are open and you are aware of the world around you as it normally exists. This type usually lasts only a few seconds to a few minutes, but it can go on longer. I've had it, but never for more than a few seconds. I don't know of any case where it has ever become permanent, but I'm sure it is frightening for those who experience it. It was for me, although I understood exactly what was happening and that helped.
I don't typically have that kind of sleep paralysis, though. In the kind that I have, you 'think' you are completely awake but there are still dreaming events taking place. However, you are aware that you are paralyzed, and you can't break the paralysis simply by willing it. You are unaware of exactly which experiences that are happening to you are real, and which ones are dreaming. And often the experiences are quite frightening. Being rational about the events can help but it doesn't completely eliminate the fear. At least for me.
I've had some doozies when it comes to sleep paralysis experiences. Last night's were neither the most frightening, nor the least. In the first experience, I "woke up" to find myself paralyzed and in complete blackness. An entity was present and it kept brushing against me. The feeling was kind of like being brushed by wings. I couldn't see it but had a sense of it being malevolent. My first terrifying thought was that something was trying to possess me. Then my mind cleared and I realized I was experiencing sleep paralysis. I tried to will myself to sit up and could not move more than a twitch. I then did what I've learned to do to break the experience. That is, instead of struggling, I will myself to completely relax. The paralysis broke almost immediately and I sat up. It took me a while to get back to sleep.
In the second experience, I again "woke up" in blackness and found that the "entity" had returned. It seemed to be all around me. The nearest I can come to describing it is that it felt like a strong breeze blowing against me. There was nothing rational about my initial response. I snarled at it, then shouted that it wouldn't get me. The paralysis immediately disappeared and I woke up for real. I knew the shouting had only been in my head. I think this is about the closest I've come to the experience that people have called "A Witch Riding Your Back."
Sleep paralysis occurs most frequently when people sleep on their backs, and this has been the case in just about every such experience I've had. The first attack last night I wasn't completely on my back. But I was the second time because I was still afraid from the first attack, even though my rational mind understood what had happened. Even though I didn't really want to turn on my side after these experiences, I made myself do so to minimize any further chance of attacks, and I managed to avoid any.
I did, however, have one other interesting dream experience last night. I actually had a deja vu experience within a dream. I dreamed I was talking to Lana and she was telling me about a bunch of ants in a big garbage bin, and I was thinking, 'we've had this conversation before,' and then I woke up. That one was good for a laugh, which was a welcome change from the other two experiences of the evening.