8 thoughts on “2 Frightening Hallucinations: When Waking Up Is A Nightmare

  • February 4, 2016 at 6:54 am

    When I fall asleep I frequently see dogs and family members that have passed away. They always appear as though they are talking to me, even the dogs. I find the experience surprisingly pleasant, although it scared me when it first started happening a few years ago. I am diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and assumed it was a symptom of this. Also I cannot remember feeling paralysed during these episodes. I always feel transfixed to the images and don’t want them to go away, but they seem to disappear when I close my eyes. Is this what others with bipolar have experienced too? Does anyone have a broader knowledge of this please?

    • February 6, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Hi Katie,
      Thanks for your email. My understanding is that there are two theories of sleep paralysis. 1. it is spiritual and only warded off by prayer, scripture, or calling on God for help. 2. it is the result of stress/biology/genes/brain functioning and can be tempered by medication, meditation, therapy, or some other form of “therapy” such as biofeedback or aromatherapy. I encourage you to do your research online to understand both of these theories. I also encourage you to research sleeping difficulties with bipolar disorder as the “images” could simply be the result of hallucinations or mania. Have you experienced hallucinations in the past, primarily visual? If so, perhaps this is what is happening. Either way, do your research as this will be helpful in deciphering what’s going on with your body.

      Take care

  • February 4, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I’ve been reading articles on Psych Central for some time now. After reading “2 Frightening Hallucinations: When Waking up Is a Nightmare”, I felt compelled to respond. I’ve experienced these dreams but didn’t know there was a word/definition for them. I always accepted them as “bad” dreams. My first experience with this type of paralysis was around 5. It was vivid and disturbing. I remember floating out of my body, hovering over it and seeing my physical-self lying there on the bed. Next to my bed was an old lady in a rocking chair watching me “sleep. “ I tried calling my mother but my voice was frozen and my body was paralyzed. With all my might I worked hard at waking myself. Once awake I yelled for my mother to come to me. She yelled back, “go to sleep, no one else is in your room”. I feared going back to sleep that night. To this day when I feel the darkness of a deep sleep come over me I’m able to force myself awake.

    • February 6, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Hi Tessie62,
      Thanks for your comment. The experience of sleep paralysis is very difficult as I discussed in the article. I find it interesting that you are able to force yourself awake. Many people struggle to do that and often cave under the intense fear of paralysis or the inability to scream or ask for help. I don’t blame you for fearing to go back to sleep. It isn’t a pleasant experience. I do hope that you are better able to cope.

      I wish you well

  • March 20, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you for exploring this topic. There was never anyone I knew who’d suffered anything similar, and only recently have I begun to find articles describing my experience. I had 3 episodes of paralysis upon waking affect me,almost 40 years ago in my late teens. They occurred immediately following the most terrifying demonic dreams I’ve ever had, and I recall believing that should one more occur, I would die in my sleep. It wasnt the same nightmare each time, but it was the same theme. The paralysis involved no hallucinations, only a feeling of being stuck inbetween realities. My heart was pounding so hard, I thought it would burst. Unable to move or cry out for what felt like minutes, I remember feeling trapped, as if in a portal of consciousness, and that the demon would ‘come through’ me to this plane of reality if I remained frozen, effectively killing me. Though not religious, prayer helped, and for a number of years after the last episode, I ‘prayed’ myself to sleep.
    I have struggled with insomnia all of my life, and believe I’m BPD, more extremely so back then, though there was no diagnosis given. I eventually rationalized it over the years as ‘anxiety’. I do wish though that sleep could be reinvigorating for me, yet it rarely is.

    • March 20, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Patricia,
      Thank you for your comment. I can relate to your discouragement regarding sleep. It can be very upsetting to experience some of the things discussed in this article. Prayer is very beneficial. It is, in many cases, the only thing that can free the sufferer from their state of terror. It is a very frightening experience and can become even more frightening when you recognize just how many people experience this but with very little to no answers from the medical or psychiatric field.

      I encourage you to do your research and keep praying.
      Take care

  • July 19, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    This was a very interesting article. I have not personally experienced sleep paralysis but my spouse has on several occasions and I took a minute for her to come out of it. It seems like a very frightening ordeal to be momentarily paralyzed and not being able to speak. It was pleasant to read about both the medical cause and mentioning the believed spiritual cause as well. I was unaware there were two different point in the sleep cycle that one could hallucinate or experience the paralysis. In the past I was only aware of the Hypnopompic stage. Thank you for sharing this.


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