Monday, April 12, 2010

My Worst Nightmare

I don't like to be alone.

Brian's responsibilities for our church, however, take him away from home from time to time.

And I hate it.

It's not that I begrudge the responsibility, it's just like I said in the beginning: I don't like to be alone.

Last Friday night was one of those nights that he was gone. I gave myself pep talks all night. "You're doing great. You are safe at home. The baby is safe. Cookie will bark if anyone tries to break in. There are no ghosties lurking about."

After bathing the baby and putting her to bed, I checked every closet, every cupboard, every shower, and even the washer and dryer to make sure no psycho killers were hiding. Then I gathered up every phone in the house, Brian's Louisville Slugger, a few knives, and headed to bed.

No, I'm not kidding.

It was around 12:50 that the nightmare started.

I was driving through a town with my mom. We were trying to get out because everyone had turned into zombies. They wanted to eat us.

Alarmed by this dream, I began to wake up. I opened my eyes and blinked a few times.

Then the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

There was something next to the bed and it was very, very close to me. And somehow I knew that it was going to be getting closer.

And then it was on me. It laid on top of me and squeezed and squeezed. I couldn't move. I couldn't breath. I couldn't even swallow. My heart was pounding and it felt like my chest would burst. All I could do was sit there and think "God will protect me." over and over again.

I don't know how long I laid there like that. After a while though, the thing seemed to evaporate and I could breath again. I was hysterical. I tried calling Brian, I tried texting, but he was camping and his phone wasn't on. I texted a few of my brothers, frantic for someone to talk to.

Luckily, my brother in New York was up. I called him and he talked me down. I spent the rest of that night with all the lights on.

Saturday morning I got up and Googled 'something laying on you in the night'. I didn't know what it was, but I knew that it wasn't just in my mind.

This 'thing' was real. And it was absolutely terrifying.

The Google search came up with something called sleep paralysis. It's when you're either falling asleep or just waking up and you literally become paralyzed. You also can hallucinate like I did, thinking some 'presence' was on me. Sleep paralysis can happen to totally healthy individuals, but can be caused by interrupted sleep schedules like, oh, I dunno, when you have a baby.

This has been happening to people for thousands of years, and has different names in different cultures. It's commonly known as 'the witch on your back' or 'The Hag Phenomena" because people, like me, think they are really being visited by some ghoulish creature. Look, Henry Fuseli even painted a picture in 1781 called 'The Nightmare' of a woman believed to be experiencing sleep paralysis.
I'd say that looks about right.

Researches have found that people who think they have been abducted by aliens experience sleep paralysis, and believe it is during these episodes that the individuals hallucinate their abductions. Now that I've experienced sleep paralysis, I can totally see how someone could believe they've been probed.

So, if this ever happens to you, just know that it's not a ghosty or a witch or an alien or anything like that. It's just your crazy brain. And you will eventually be able to move your arms and legs again.

Now go get some sleep.


Eliza said...

Reading this seriously gave me goosebumps. Scary, ScArY, SCARY! I'm glad your brother in New York was awake and I'm amazed you were able to go back to sleep at all that night. Wowzers.

Kimba said...

horrible!!! i'm so sorry! i've never heard of such a thing, but it sounds terrible. also, caleb could commiserate about the zombie dream. he literally has at least one a week about zombies.

Ashley and Zach Smart said...

Abs, I was reading your post to Zach and he was like,
"That's never happened to you?" and I said,
"No. Has it ever happened to you?" And he said,
"Yeah, it's happened to me like five times. It's freaky."
Also, when I was in 9th grade, the boy I was dating fell asleep in class and when he woke up he couldn't move and had to be transported by ambulance. So apparently people experience sleep paralysis more than we realize.

turleybenson said...

Yes, I had one of these a few weeks ago. No one sat on me, per se, but I swore that someone was in bed with me, and I heard and felt them. I could not move. Terrifying. Luckily, it was during the day, but yeah, called Mike RIGHT away.

Katie said...

Oh my freaky!! I'm glad you made it through the night!

Bre said...

I have an GIGANTIC fear of being alone. I HATE IT! And yet my husband is gone about 65 hours a week... between his calling and work. Also, scout camp is coming up and all the little camps between snows. (Utah weather, gotta love it!) I have a little friendly non-barking dog to protect me... and a bird. Yea, I'm so safe. My husband takes his gun with him, so, I don't even have a slugger. Maybe we need to schedule a boogie man text rule. That way we can both feel safe.

Bre said...

P.S. I swear that the "I Am Legend" scary people live in my basement. According to the movie, they come alive at night... and when Kraig is gone. ;-)

Leslie said...

Scary! I haven't had that exact same thing happen but something close to it. So, to get over the frightening memories of it I made up a dance that incorporates all of my scary dreams. Our dance concert is about dreams this year so I was really excited to portray those things with dance. It turned out pretty cool and the girls LOVE it. Sleep paralysis, zombies, not being able to have doors open when you go to sleep, spiders, etc.
Hang in there my friend! So hard with a baby too. Can't just take a Benadryl and call it good.

Jocelyn Pehrson said...

Geez! I have never heard of that before. Sounds creepy! I am glad I have never experienced it. BUT I have had many scary dreams about spiders and literally feel that they are crawling all over me when I am awake. But ghosty's and dead people are scarier I think. Sorry you were alone when something so frightening happened to you.

Chelsea said...

Oh my gosh this has happened to me too!! Twice- after blake was born and I had just started going back to work. I didn't hallucinate I just thought I was having a stroke or something (which i guess may have been part of a hallucination) but it scared me SOOOOO bad!! GLad you were able to figure it out girl!! Hope you have gotten some sleep since then :)