Most people know about sleep paralysis. Only a Few know that it can last for up to an hour. Not being able to move for a few minutes is scary. Not being able to move for an hour is the most terrifying thing in the world. I read online that writing about your problems can help to resolve them, so here goes nothing!
I have suffered from sleep paralysis ever since I was a little girl. It all started during third grade.
I remember it like it was yesterday. We were supposed to go on a class trip the next day. Shy and awkward little me was the prime target of our class’ bullies. That same day I had lost one of my baby teeth, an incisor. I knew those bullies would give me hell on the trip. I cried and pleaded with my parents, but as always they didn’t budge.
“It is going to be fine sweetie.”
“Nothing bad is going to happen Claire, the trip will be fun!”
Yeah right, they didn’t know how bad Mark and Lisa could be.
That night bad dreams plagued my sleep. I woke up again and again, seeing their laughing and teasing faces right in front of me. Then, as I woke up once more, I couldn’t move any of my limbs. I didn’t know what was going on. I freaked out and wanted to call for mom and dad, but words didn’t come out either.
When it was finally over, I screamed for them at the top of my lungs. My mom was by my bed in an instant.
Under tears, I told her what had happened. In her kindest voice, my mom explained to nine-year-old me what sleep paralysis was.
“It’s rare sweetie, but sometimes your body is really, really tired. When that happens, it can take your arms and legs a bit longer to wake up. It is not scary at all, it just means you used them a bit too much.”
It was the first of many, similar nights. Looking back now, it was most likely due to Mark and Lisa and their constant bullying. Oh, how I hated them.
Throughout middle school, things got worse. These episodes happened more often, at least once or twice a month. It was always scary. Somehow I couldn’t get used to them.
I went to the doctors with my parents multiple times, but there was nothing wrong with me.
During my first year of high school, things changed for the worst. After not getting along for years, my parent’s relationship finally fell apart. They went through a nasty divorce, which left me living with Mom. Soon after we moved to a different town, where she hoped to start a new life. She didn’t tell me what Dad had done, but she’d made it clear that he was not part of our life anymore.
A month or so later, I learned that sleep paralysis can last much, much longer.
In my mind, it felt like I wasn’t able to move for eternity. Seconds turned to minutes, minutes to hours.
I started to freak out, and soon I noticed something else in the room. At first, I only felt a presence near me, but then I saw a dark shade at the bottom of my bed. For a long time it just watched me, but then it inched closer.
I didn’t know what was going on. I grew more and more agitated and scared as the thing climbed onto my bed. The only thing I could make out was a pair of cold eyes. As the dark shade was hunched over my body, I felt a pressure on my chest. I almost couldn’t breathe!
I had gotten used to the shorter episodes, but this one was entirely different. I was frozen, barely able to breathe. A thought came up in my mind: I was dying. This shade was death, and it had come to take me away.
In panic and utter fear, I kept my eyes shut. I told myself that there was nothing else in the room. I imagined things, there was no one else here, and I’d not die. I recited this over and over again.
I didn’t know how much time had passed when I was finally able to move again. I was a crying and shivering mess. In an instant, I turned the lights on, but I was all alone in my room. No sign of any intruders. For the rest of the night, I sat on my bed, huddled in a blanket, waiting for morning to come.
After that, I went to the doctors once more. Again they told me there was nothing wrong with me.
I learned that while it was rare, sleep paralysis could indeed last for quite some time. In extreme cases, an hour wasn’t unheard of. Lucky me, I guess. Having trouble breathing or hallucinations weren’t uncommon, the doctor said. That explained the dark shade I’d seen. In the end it was attributed to the stress of the divorce and moving to a new town. It would pass in time.
Well spoiler alert: It did not. And guess what, I never got used to these episodes either. I mean how could I? I am pretty sure no one would be able to.
Each night, I am scared that it will happen again.
By now I am not sure what to do anymore. I tried mediation, hypnosis, sleeping pills and now I am trying to write about it. Who knows, it might actually help.
With this, I closed my baby girl’s diary. Reading these pages was hard. She was suffering so much. It must be so tough for her to go through all that.
I looked at her as she was sleeping in her bed. I smiled. It almost brought tears to my eyes as I thought back to the very first night I’d visited her here. She’d described it in such vivid detail and remembered as much about it as I did. It made me so happy.
As she was lying there, right in front of me, I could see her alabaster skin. Her beautiful legs. They look almost like her mother’s only so much prettier. I touched them only for a moment, but I could feel how soft they were.
“Oh, Lauren, you thought you could take her from me, didn’t you? First the divorce and then the move to this small town.” “You thought you could hide our little girl form me? You were never that smart. And those windows? They are so easy to open. What would you do if someone bad were coming for our pretty little girl?”
Oh yes, our little Claire was so pretty. I went forward to her bed and caressed her leg with my hand. It was in that instant that she woke up. Her eyelids flashed open like so many times before. Her eyes darted around the room, but the rest of her body stayed frozen.
Sleep paralysis can last for up to an hour. It was quite hard to get the dosage of the anesthesia right, but it was worth it for my baby girl.
Tonight though, I couldn’t feel happy. Like so many times I’d read her diary, and this time I could feel my little girl’s pain. She was suffering so much.
It wasn’t supposed to be like that. This was supposed to be a time we shared. After the restraining order, there was no other way for me to spend some time with my beautiful baby girl. I wanted this time to be pleasant, for the both of us.
But I know what it was. It was this fear. The terror of not being able to move her arms and legs. It was her limbs. My baby girl’s limbs were causing all this. They were the reason for all this pain, all this suffering.
Then a thought appeared in my mind. It was one of such sweet, fatherly love. If those nasty limbs were gone, she’d not have to worry about them anymore, would she? All those fears would be gone and be washed away.
As her eyes focused on me, I smiled. I nodded and whispered to her that everything would be fine soon. I leaned over to her and brought my face close to hers. I knew she didn’t recognize me, she couldn’t in this darkness. I gave her a soft kiss on the forehead before I increased the dosage of the anesthesia. She drifted off back to sleep in an instant.
My little Claire was a strong girl. She’d suffered so much already, and I knew she’d be able to bear with it for a little more.
It didn’t take me more than a few more minutes to find a hacksaw in the shack of the next door neighbor. I’d been here so many times already.
Then I snuck back into Claire’s room.
With the first cut, the alabaster color of her skin changed to a rosy red. Oh how beautiful she was.
Don’t worry my dear, little Claire. It won’t take long. It will all be over in an hour.