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Thursday, February 5, 2009


Or maybe I should title this post "Sleep Disturbances". :)

I have been thinking lately about my sleep history. I have had some interesting, at least to me, episodes in my life! I always slept lightly, and then the lupus really messed up my sleep. When I was young, my cousin Linda told my mom one morning that I must not sleep at all, because every time she woke up, I was staring at her! When I got sick and moved back home, that is one of the reasons I kicked Loy out of our room... plus she was super messy!

The first time lupus attacked my brain, I was sure something was trying to possess me. I would wake up in the middle of the night, completely paralyzed, with a super heavy weight on my chest that felt like a person sitting on me. I could feel their hands around my neck- not choking me, but trying to pull my soul out. This, of course, freaked me out. I had to fight back two ways- I had to keep my spirit in my body, plus try to break the paralysis. I would start with my left hand, and try to move my index finger. The struggle took what felt like hours- eventually I would get the finger to move, then I would go to the next. By the time I got to around my wrist, the paralysis would snap and I would lay there gasping for air. I knew that if I didn't get up, it would happen again, but I would be too exhausted to move... and would fall back asleep, only to wake up paralyzed again a few minutes later. This would go on for hours, and in the morning, I would be even more tired than when I had gone to bed. Once I decided to just give in and let my spirit be pulled out of my body. I didn't really believe that someone was trying to possess me, so I thought maybe that if I didn't fight, the paralysis would snap. Not. I was ripped out of my body up to the ceiling, then pulled a hundred miles an hour towards the door. I remember looking down and seeing my body on the bed... it freaked me out, so I jerked backwards all my might and snapped back into my body. The paralysis was broken, but it scared me so much I never let go that way again!

After the chemo, the incidents like that decreased, then stopped completely. One Sunday I was reading the little "magazine" that comes with the Sunday paper and saw a blurb on people who think they are abducted by aliens. The article explained that your brain paralyzes your body when you are in REM sleep so you don't hurt yourself while dreaming. Sometimes you wake up and the brain doesn't realize it, so you are still paralyzed. People didn't understand what was going on, and thought they were abducted by aliens. I was so relieved- this explained what was happening to me! Except for the "ripping my soul out of my body" part, but I try to ignore that. :)

I also have trouble waking up in the morning. I seem to slip in and out of the dream state very quickly- I know this because one night I woke up, looked at the digital clock, fell asleep, had a LONG and scary nightmare that went on for hours, woke up gasping, looked at the clock, and saw that the minute had not even flipped to the next number yet! So the whole nightmare was mere seconds in real time. This causes trouble in the morning. When I wake up, I am too tired to actually get up, so I fall back asleep and have nightmares.

A common morning is waking up exhausted, tangled in my blankets, maybe with one of my face so I think I am suffocating, struggling free, using up all my energy just to get out of bed, only to have something strange happen that doesn't seem real.... realizing I am dreaming.... trying to force myself to wake up for real, starting the cycle over again... and when I actually wake up, I am so tired I can't get out of bed.... and then I fall asleep....
So by the time I actually get up, I feel like I have done it twenty five times and am so tired I can't get out of bed!

I also have trouble knowing what is real and what isn't when I am sleeping. Once Loy and Manda woke me up to tell me Manda's dad was in an accident. They claim I jumped out of bed hollering "shit, shit, shit!" until they calmed me down and said no one was hurt. In the morning, I had no memory of the whole thing.
If anyone calls me when I am in bed, texts me, or comes into my room, never expect me to remember. I don't know if it happened or I dreamed it.... or I don't remember it at all!

Yesterday morning was a bad one. I woke up because someone was screaming and pounding on the front door... but then it was all quiet... so I was trying to figure out if that part had been a dream right before I woke up, or if it actually happened and woke me up. Luckly I was really tired, and managed to convince myself it was a dream and went back to sleep.

One thing that helps me determine was is real is that all my dreams take place at our OLD house. I never have dreamed about the new house, tho we have lived here for five years. So, if it happened in the old house, it wasn't real!

Please keep Gregory in your thoughts and prayers- he is back in the hospital again.

Have a good week,


  1. Interesting how you compensate by knowing real/not real by location of your dreams. I have a feeling the out-of-body experience is the most fascinating part of your blog, but I find your deciphering of reality amazing!

  2. Very interesting. And quite scary about the "sould being ripped out" part! I would never be able to sleep.
    When I had the head of our bed way elevated for horrible reflux, I dealt with sleep paralysis. It wasn't the first time I'd dealt with it but it had been a long while. I finally realized that I'm naturally a side sleeper and I only ever got it when I was sleeping on my back. There was always a black silhouette of a figure either standing in the doorway and coming closer or at the foot of my bed. I tried to scream for help or at least move but it also felt like something was sitting on my chest. Funny but I did the same thing with my hands, moved one finger at a time and finally my whole arm would go flying and the rest of me would wake up. It's so odd, hey? I never knew that you dealt with it too! :D