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Author Topic: Panic attack or sleep paralysis?  (Read 475 times)

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Offline lcfrogs

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Panic attack or sleep paralysis?
« on: January 15, 2013, 09:43:21 AM »
I've been having a lot of trouble with my insomnia lately. Usually I wake up between 1-3 AM and stay up.

About a week ago, I woke up at around 1 AM but instead of getting up right away I decided to try and fall back asleep. I rolled over on my side and closed my eyes, and almost immediately I started feeling these waves of anxiety course through me and my ears started to ring. I rolled over onto my back and opened my eyes and realized that my body felt mostly limp. I could still move my body but just barely. The waves of anxiety became worse and worse and pretty soon I started having double vision. I remember thinking "I must be dying, and need to go get help." I tried to move my legs and arms so that I could sit up and get out of bed, but I could only move very slowly. Before I could get my legs all the way over to the edge of my bed, I noticed the sense of panic diminishing and my vision cleared. It all went away as quickly as it began. The experience scared the crap out of me and I didn't go back to sleep after that.

Now, I've experienced episodes of sleep paralysis for years and this felt completely different from that. For starters, I could move...just not very fast. I also felt more aware of my surroundings; my thoughts were not dream-like. And typically during sleep paralysis I will have hypnagogic hallucinations, and that didn't happen during this particular experience.

So, what to you all think? Was it a really weird panic attack or a really weird episode of sleep paralysis?
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Offline angielee

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Re: Panic attack or sleep paralysis?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 10:57:41 AM »
I have experianced sleep paralysis a few times. Seems like there are different degrees to it, one time i couldnt move at all and another time just barely. Maybe that part of your brain was awake enough to move and think but still not fully. Since you were able to comprehend what was going on you was able to experiance anxiety because it scared you.
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Offline lcfrogs

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Re: Panic attack or sleep paralysis?
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 02:39:36 PM »
It scared me so much I thought I was literally going to die. It felt like I was on drugs. I've only ever been that scared during day-time panic attacks and when I've been so high that I'm freaking out.
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Offline angielee

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Re: Panic attack or sleep paralysis?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 09:07:10 PM »
Everytime i experianced the sleep paralysis it freaked me out. Its very scarey, last time it happened i told myself its ok part of your brain hasnt woken up uet so you just go back to sleep and quit trying to fight it lol. I was trying to open my eyes and move couldnt do either.  I was  able to go back to sleeep! Since i have experianced it several times before and umderstood what was going on it was a little less scarey.
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Offline lcfrogs

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Re: Panic attack or sleep paralysis?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 05:42:02 AM »
But this was different. I get sleep paralysis at least once a week and it doesn't scare me at all because I'm so used to it. It doesn't even freak me out when I hallucinate because I know it's not real. During this particular experience I am pretty certain that I was fully awake. And I was terrified.
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The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

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Offline Death Metal Philosopher

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Re: Panic attack or sleep paralysis?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 03:14:20 PM »
Sleep paralysis has a well documented correlation with anxiety and stressful life situations. I get sleep paralysis pretty often, I usually have hallucinations and a feeling that someone else is in my room. Fortunately I don't experience any feeling of suffocation that often goes hand in hand with it.

The most intense episode was when I was lying on my side as I woke up into sleep paralysis, then the hallucinations started. I have a poster of a pin-up model that in my room that I was facing, and her tongue was sticking out and making all sorts of horrific facial expressions, first pain, then anger and hate. Then I notice that the pile of clothes underneath the poster looked like a pile of dead bodies, thats when I could have sworn someone opened the door and was speaking to me, but then I woke up and felt completely normal. I don't think I've ever hallucinated like that in my life, and I am no stranger to psilocybin or LSD.

Definitely not pleasant by any means, but it was an interesting experience looking back on it. I use opiates rather frequently and they are known to cause intense dreams, that might explain why the hallucinations I get when I'm sleep paralyzed are so intense.
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