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.