Waking Up from Sleep Paralysis

I had a hard time sleeping last night.. And after about 2 hours, I woke up from a nightmare.

I should have known I wasn’t gonna get through my mother’s death anniversary unscathed. I used to have frequent night terrors growing up.

I should be grateful, actually. These dreams don’t come along as often as they used to. I used to have them almost 3-4 times a week. And I’ve had so much worse. Much worse.

I was scared of the dark. I was even scared to close my eyes, even for just a few seconds. I was scared to fall asleep every night. But no one can stay awake forever.

When you have numerous sleep paralysis almost every day, you become paranoid. There used to be a thin line between real and surreal in my world.

I liked the dreams with monsters and fantastical backgrounds. At least I knew they weren’t real. I was in the dream.

What always gets me is waking up in my own room, just the way everything is… but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I feel a great sense of danger, a fear for my life. I’m screaming so loud in my head, but no one can hear me. I feel the thump of my own heart against my chest. I can only move my eyes and look around.

There’s always that silhouette, a spirit? Sometimes, it’s white. Sometimes, it’s a dark shadow. Sometimes, it’s standing somewhere in the room looking at me. Or maybe floating right above me.

Sometimes, it’s right beside me when I open my eyes thinking I woke up.

Each time, it was going to hurt me or kill me.

What messes up my reality is when I wake up in the “real” world and start to do mundane tasks like take a shower, get ready for work… and then out of the blue, something life-threatening would happen. I would open the front door, and there in front of me would be an evil version of somebody I love. At one point, I reached the streets thinking everything was fine.. but then the people were actually evil beings (think zombie apocalypse). I really couldn’t trust anyone, ’cause they might turn into the devil right before my eyes.

When I come to the point of realizing it’s a dream, I usually wake up. When I don’t, I have to find a way to wake up. Sometimes, I jump off a building or fly away. It usually works.

But not during sleep paralysis. In sleep paralysis, I KNOW I’m still dreaming… even if I have a feeling it’s all real… but I can’t wake up.

I read somewhere that I should try moving my smallest toe. It works at times. When I get really desperate, I pray to God to wake me. He does, actually.


I needed my keys. Since these dreams happened so much, I learned to cope. One way is through some grounding. I decided to take a walk to make sure I was in reality.

Dazed, I walked down the stairs of my apartment.

I looked around at familiar things, real things. A lady was sweeping trash off the ground in front of her house. A dog was barking. I looked at the tree by the polluted river. There were kids playing with their slippers. Are these people real? I saw someone wiping a stretcher with cloth as a few other people watched. There was a community ambulance nearby. I wonder if there was an emergency? The colors around me are vivid. Can I really trust them? I felt like I was in a trance. Is this real?

A cold gush of air reached my face as I opened the door of the 7/11 store I walked into. Cold is good. I waited as an elderly couple in front of me in the aisle talked about which chips to buy. These are ordinary things. Ordinary is good.

I took a 1L bottle of water and went to the cashier. He said something. What was it? I didn’t understand. I was too busy looking at the stacks of cigarettes and alcohol behind him, wondering if my mind was capable of creating these images. He probably thought I was odd, and placed the bottle in a plastic as I looked at him carefully. He must be a real person, right? I don’t even know this guy.

I’m almost convinced I wasn’t dreaming anymore. Just to be sure, I sat down for a while. I watched people through the windows come and go. These people… the buildings… street signs, colors, the details… they can’t be a figment of my imagination.

I’m awake. I’m pretty sure this time.

I walked back home.


14 thoughts on “Waking Up from Sleep Paralysis

  1. Hello Missfortitude,

    That sounds terrible, having negative sleep paralysis experiences and bad dreams and maybe negative false awakening dreams that often, I can understand the paranoia and questioning of reality.

    What are some of the reality checks that you usually use?

    Some reality checks do not work for me in dreams and some do, and some reality checks (like jumping in the air to see if gravity behaves normally) can be helpful when you are awake.

    Thank you for sharing this,
    -John Jr

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to go out and see real people, so I take a walk around my neighborhood. That’s when I try to notice things with different senses… the sound of vehicles passing by, looking at people and specific details on things around me.. feeling the air on my skin.

      Sometimes, I just go online and talk to a friend. It grounds me back to reality when we start talking. I could also watch a video (’cause in dreams I tend to skip parts like watching a full-length video), so I know I’m in reality. In my mind, these things can only be done in real life.

      One of the worst experiences I had with this was when I had several layers of waking up from one dream to another. I felt like I was never gonna wake up. In that case though, it wasn’t sleep paralysis. Just a realistic nightmare. What I do there is look at my bedside cabinet right when I “jolt awake” (still in a dream)… I check the order of things. Did I have these books on the cabinet? Was my watch really there? I try to remember what it actually looked like in reality. Usually, there is something different in the dream (like my watch would be on the top shelf but I remember I put it on the bottom shelf before I slept).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello Missfortitude,

        Thank you for answering my question.

        Having several layers of false awakening dreams like that can definitely be crazy and scary.

        It is good to have a variety of reality checks like that, I am lazier with mine though, and so I probably do not have as many.

        Some of mine include: looking at my hands and looking away and looking back at them to see if they look strange and counting my fingers, jumping to see if gravity is working normally and to test whether I can float or fly, checking my senses, looking around to see if things seem normal and looking for things that are normally not in my dreams like insects, and seeing if I can use any dream powers like summoning dream characters or teleporting or moving things with my mind et cetera.

        Good luck,
        -John Jr


  2. While reading your entire post I was questioning all along, whether this is fiction or really your real life experience. I have not experienced something like this. I do have bad dreams and nightmares, only when it is my first time to sleep on that room. Or, when I am too tired to say my evening prayers. Having done this routine for a long time, I know when I would have awesome dreams or the not so good ones. Praying and saying the rosary before bed work best for me. I just do not know if it would work for you. If you share the same faith with me, maybe you could try it. If not, try some relaxation exercises or meditation before going to sleep. It helps a lot too. Would be praying for you. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I woke up from this dream earlier today. I decided to write it down here on the blog. Thanks so much, Nezel. Praying actually does work when I want to wake up from a bad dream. I guess it would have been better if I pray before sleeping as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This really sounds awful. Sleep is something that I look forward to every day – often it’s the best part of my day. I can’t imagine it ever being any different. Thanks for sharing something personal. Very engaging writing style BTW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I actually just try to remember my train of thoughts while going through the experience. I’m glad it’s interesting to you. 🙂

      You’re right. Sleep should be the relaxing part of the day, and even if I get nightmares, I LOVE sleep. Haha! The night terrors are scarce by now, and some dreams are fun and light. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Your case sounds like a nightmare with open eyes n the you have do a reality check that’s awful…. for the longest time I thought I never dreamed, ppl around said must been having dreams but probably don’t remember after waking up, could be …. though nowadays I do get occasional nightmare’s maybe I am ageing 🤔 don’t know, but thankfully once I wake up they go away, sometimes I force myself to wake up telling it’s a dream n wake up now…
    I think anxiety n stress create such situations, so maybe if you could calm your place around n mind, might give u blissful sleep….just a thought …Thanks for sharing this 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I also have this problem from my childhood days. At that time I used to get very scared. For me it’s different then you in some sense e.g. I always see myself in the bed and trying to get awake. The more I try, the more I feel crushed from inside. I feel, what if I am not able to wake up, what if I am not able to breathe or what if I die in this stage.
    Today also I had same experience and thought to share.
    I had now learned a trick to overcome this stage. Whenever I go in this stage. I try to be more calm. I say to myself in my head that nothing is going to happen. I just need to breathe. I sometime revise some poetry or try to remember God. This way I try to calm myself and suddenly, I get awake.

    Liked by 1 person

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