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Have any of you been sleep paralyzed?

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Well, the whole sleep paralysis thingy has been bugging me for a while now, I've been struggling with getting enough sleep simply because I'm an insomniac due to my genes. There are some nights where I simply can NOT fall asleep no matter how hard I try, even though I'm sleepy as fuck. This can be really torturing if you couldn't understand that by now. Having issues falling asleep has caused many problems aside from just lack of sleep, and one of them, the most annoying, scary and interesting one, is sleep paralysis.

What even is this phenomenon you may ask. Well, to put it simply, it occurs when your mind wakes up, but your body doesn't, or when your mind wakes up, but your body doesn't. Though it mostly happens when waking up. So how does this work? During REM sleep, which is the 4th stage of sleeping, when most of your dreams occur, your body locks itself down, to prevent what you'd call falling off the bed or simply being a lunatic. If it didn't do that, you might have acted out of your sleep, and started walking or doing anything else that's not laying down. Sleep Paralysis happens when you wake up, but your body doesn't "unlock" itself from the REM sleep, sounds weird right? Well it happens pretty often. 

What happens during sleep paralysis though? Why is it so "scary"? As we mentioned before, it occurs when "waking up" from a dream state of mind. When this happens, you can only open/close your eyes, you can't move, talk, and even have some trouble breathing. As if that wasn't bad enough, this will 95% cause panic, and will make your body think that you're going through, well, maybe a nightmare? Cause it should be the time when you'll be getting all your dreams and stuff. This will cause hallucinations, you might see/hear things, and they will look really, and by that I mean REALLY vivid. You might see a fucking ghost passing by or just straight up coming at you, might hear someone screaming in agony, though these are the most basic ones I could think of. it all depends on what your mind can really think of. Though it will always be something bad. 

Some religions even thought that it was a demon possessing the person and some fucked up stuff like that lol, but from an atheistic perspective, it all has a scientific explanation, the religious thoughts just make it more interesting? I guess?

I don't know if I'm the only one that has  been sleep paralyzed multiple times in here, if any of you had some experience with this, I'd LOVE to hear your story, and can give some advice cause I've been struggling with this problem for a while. 

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It's happened to me once. Couldn't move for several minutes, and I remember that my mind was playing my friend's laugh on repeat but it was slowed down and really low pitched for a minute or so. Believe it or not I really didn't find it scary or anything, I just waited several minutes until I could move again and I got out of bed for school. I didn't really think about it after that. 

I guess the most helpful thing is to just know it will end soon enough and not to panic as you can't do anything in the brief stretch before it ends anyway. Mine was probably pretty tame compared to others so my advice may not be so helpful in the moment though. It's a natural thing and I think that there are several others here who have experiences with it too. 

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I've suffered a few of those myself, probably the second worst I had was when I was in a car trip with my parents, because when I woke up, I could barely open my eyes, and no one even knew what I was going through, they thought I was still asleep and I couldn't even call for help in desperation, not that anyone would be able to do anything. It was the closest I ever felt to the trope ''And I Must Scream''.

However the worst was when I had a nightmare where someone was choking me to death, and waking up in sleep paralysis it STILL FELT LIKE I WAS BEING CHOKED, I had to physically force my leg to kick the wall on the side of my bed, so the pain would force my body to ''wake up''.


But I've learned a LOT from these tho', first thing, if you've had it more than once, then you'll become aware of it when you have it, it will not surprise you, and with that, all you have to do is, well, have good thoughts, you're still kinda dreaming, so good thoughts lead to good or no hallucination, same idea as sleeping with good thoughts will probably end up with you having good dreams versus sleeping with awful thoughts will leave you with nightmares.

After that, try slowly to feel your body, even if just a simple small move, you can just ''connect'' the body parts with it, move a finger, then another, then your hand, then your arm, slowly getting your body awake. Focus on that and good thoughts and it'll soon stop being a hellish experience, instead just an occasional annoyance.

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30 minutes ago, ShroomZ said:

It's happened to me once. Couldn't move for several minutes, and I remember that my mind was playing my friend's laugh on repeat but it was slowed down and really low pitched for a minute or so. Believe it or not I really didn't find it scary or anything, I just waited several minutes until I could move again and I got out of bed for school. I didn't really think about it after that. 

I guess the most helpful thing is to just know it will end soon enough and not to panic as you can't do anything in the brief stretch before it ends anyway. Mine was probably pretty tame compared to others so my advice may not be so helpful in the moment though. It's a natural thing and I think that there are several others here who have experiences with it too. 

That's actually really lucky. MOST of them are horrifying, though a laugh may be creepy, it's nothing compared to some of the "real" encounters.

29 minutes ago, Ratcicle King said:

I've suffered a few of those myself, probably the second worst I had was when I was in a car trip with my parents, because when I woke up, I could barely open my eyes, and no one even knew what I was going through, they thought I was still asleep and I couldn't even call for help in desperation, not that anyone would be able to do anything. It was the closest I ever felt to the trope ''And I Must Scream''.

However the worst was when I had a nightmare where someone was choking me to death, and waking up in sleep paralysis it STILL FELT LIKE I WAS BEING CHOKED, I had to physically force my leg to kick the wall on the side of my bed, so the pain would force my body to ''wake up''.


But I've learned a LOT from these tho', first thing, if you've had it more than once, then you'll become aware of it when you have it, it will not surprise you, and with that, all you have to do is, well, have good thoughts, you're still kinda dreaming, so good thoughts lead to good or no hallucination, same idea as sleeping with good thoughts will probably end up with you having good dreams versus sleeping with awful thoughts will leave you with nightmares.

After that, try slowly to feel your body, even if just a simple small move, you can just ''connect'' the body parts with it, move a finger, then another, then your hand, then your arm, slowly getting your body awake. Focus on that and good thoughts and it'll soon stop being a hellish experience, instead just an occasional annoyance.

Exactly, the main thing causing bad hallucinations are simply panic attacks. You got the point right, no panic and just simply trying to get out of the paralysis is the best way. How you do that tho may depend on your own technique.

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If its an option for you, you should consider participating in experiments seeking to find effective treatments for sleep paralysis. This helps the people who strive to discover a solution make progress, and every participant counts.

I can relate somewhat-- while I've never had sleep paralysis, I did develop insomnia in my preteens. It wasn't very fun-- I tended to feel drained very quickly and it contributed to my stress. My family had tried non-medical solutions for awhile to no avail, so eventually, I saw a doctor. Luckily, it turned out that I needed some medication to get my sleep patterns back on track. Sleep paralysis can't really be solved with medication or anything like that, but perhaps a sleep doctor could help. Maybe. You're the judge here.

Though I think the demons explanation is less because its more interesting (I'd argue that its more terrifying, actually), and more because people were trying to rationalize what was happening to them but can't understand it, whether because an experience like that has never happened to them before or because the episode puts them in a state of mind that makes them unequipped to consider the situation rationally. And it just so happens that people in medieval times and other societies that believe that sleep paralysis is supernatural have been taught that demons/supernatural entities like to target and hurt humans when they're at their most vulnerable. So the people assume that they're at fault. It simply makes the most sense to them. Its kind of like how some people who get panic attacks think they're having a heart attack-- they don't know what in the world is happening to them at first, but they've been taught that the signs of heart attacks is a rapidly-beating heart, chest discomfort, feeling of impending doom, etc. and thus assume that they're having a heart attack. Even though those are all actually symptoms of panic attacks as well.

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5 minutes ago, Mad Convoy said:

If its an option for you, you should consider participating in experiments seeking to find effective treatments for sleep paralysis. This helps the people who strive to discover a solution make progress, and every participant counts.

I can relate somewhat-- while I've never had sleep paralysis, I did develop insomnia in my preteens. It wasn't very fun-- I tended to feel drained very quickly and it contributed to my stress. My family had tried non-medical solutions for awhile to no avail, so eventually, I saw a doctor. Luckily, it turned out that I needed some medication to get my sleep patterns back on track. Sleep paralysis can't really be solved with medication or anything like that, but perhaps a sleep doctor could help. Maybe. You're the judge here.

Though I think the demons explanation is less because its more interesting (I'd argue that its more terrifying, actually), and more because people were trying to rationalize what was happening to them but can't understand it, whether because an experience like that has never happened to them before or because the episode puts them in a state of mind that makes them unequipped to consider the situation rationally. And it just so happens that people in medieval times and other societies that believe that sleep paralysis is supernatural have been taught that demons/supernatural entities like to target and hurt humans when they're at their most vulnerable. So the people assume that they're at fault. It simply makes the most sense to them. Its kind of like how some people who get panic attacks think they're having a heart attack-- they don't know what in the world is happening to them at first, but they've been taught that the signs of heart attacks is a rapidly-beating heart, chest discomfort, feeling of impending doom, etc. and thus assume that they're having a heart attack. Even though those are all actually symptoms of panic attacks as well.

I've managed to find out the best way out of it: You can control your breath exceptionally well when paralyzed -> I try to breathe a bit weirdly, like fast and then slow and just making it unbalanced will 100% make your body think something's not right and instinctively wake you up and get you out. That's the most effective treatment I've found atleast. The best way to avoid it is by far having a good sleeping schedule without any drinks or food that might ruin it for example too much coffee might make it hard for you to fall asleep etc.

And yes, the demons explanation is actually really scary to think about but it's more interesting to me because I'm an atheist. I don't believe in anything supernatural, so neither do I believe in demons.

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I cannot recall experiencing sleep paralysis. I most commonly sleep on the side, and coincidentally, research says it reduces the chance of having a sleep paralysis. Whether or not this would be true, I do think it is easier breathing while lying on the sides, which may help against a sleep paralysis making you feel like you are being asphyxiated. In those cases, it is apparently not uncommon to hallucinate that a horrifying creature from your deepest nightmares be sitting on your chest impairing your breathing.

Another reason for why I have not experienced this yet might be due to me almost always sleeping with my head under the covers. This does not give me vision of my room and its closet or dark corners, rather nothing at all, so I feel that might help.

That said, parts of my childhood has been haunted by nightmares almost every night, waking up around 1 am all sweaty and broken, and many of the dreams were about me sleeping in my room, so there are some weird similarities, hehe.

While on the subject, on my YouTube channel, I used the Oculus Rift to virtualize a sleep paralysis. The Oculus Rift, along with a good headset, makes the experience feel extremely genuine, but the worst part is that it felt just like some of my past, more cruel nightmares. Technology ...

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2 minutes ago, Diz said:

I cannot recall experiencing sleep paralysis. I most commonly sleep on the side, and coincidentally, research says it reduces the chance of having a sleep paralysis. Whether or not this would be true, I do think it is easier breathing while lying on the sides, which may help against a sleep paralysis making you feel like you are being asphyxiated. Another reason for why I have not experienced this yet might be due to me almost always sleeping with my head under the covers. This does not give me vision of my room and its closet or dark corners, rather nothing at all, so I feel that might help.

That said, parts of my childhood has been haunted by nightmares almost every night, waking up around 1 am all sweaty and broken, and many of the dreams were about me sleeping in my room, so there are some weird similarities, hehe.

That's true, sleeping on your back increases your chances of being paralyzed. But having your head under the covers doesn't help with anything, there can still be voice or sound hallucinations, and you might even see something under the cover too lmao, not sure about that but it's still due to your brain so it might find a way through. :D

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2 minutes ago, Dizcrybe said:

It's happened to me a few times, though not recently. I've found that trying to move around as much as you can will eventually wake your body up.

Though it may be effective, it might let the hallucinations get a lot worse, which if you can take, that would make this technique pretty decent.

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1 minute ago, Dizcrybe said:

I haven't had any hallucinations, so that's never been a problem.'

Understandable then, apparently you didn't get scared, did you know about the phenomenon before the first time it happened to you?

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12 minutes ago, Dizcrybe said:

No, it just sort of happened, and I just did what my instincts told me to do; wiggle around till I finally budge.

That's actually really rare lol, first time, didn't know what happened and still no hallucinations, impressive.

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This actually happens to me every couple of months or so (though sometimes I go a whole year without even thinking of it). Though, I've never had hallucinations during them before and they've all been pretty much the same for me. I wake up and realize I'm awake but I can't move (my eyes are still shut). The worst thing is that it feels like I'm not really breathing. I that point I calm down and literally just force myself up.

It has become less scary and more of an annoyance to me honestly. Once it happens, I can kiss getting a good night's rest goodbye.

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I had it twice. First time I was laying down on my bed, feeling pretty terrified cause I didn't know about it beforehand, but then I gradually gained the ability to move different parts of my body overtime, like I could move one arm at one point but not the other, eventually I could move my whole body. It was a strange, but honestly pretty cool experience lol.

Second time I actually had it while I was sleeping while sitting down in a car! For some reason I wasn't even thinking that it was sleep parlysis, I was just thinking "Is this what it feels like to be possessed???"

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8 minutes ago, Strickerx5 said:

This actually happens to me every couple of months or so (though sometimes I go a whole year without even thinking of it). Though, I've never had hallucinations during them before and they've all been pretty much the same for me. I wake up and realize I'm awake but I can't move (my eyes are still shut). The worst thing is that it feels like I'm not really breathing. I that point I calm down and literally just force myself up.

It has become less scary and more of an annoyance to me honestly. Once it happens, I can kiss getting a good night's rest goodbye.

Can't imagine myself getting it so much that it becomes annoying lol. 

 

8 minutes ago, Adamabba said:

I had it twice. First time I was laying down on my bed, feeling pretty terrified cause I didn't know about it beforehand, but then I gradually gained the ability to move different parts of my body overtime, like I could move one arm at one point but not the other, eventually I could move my whole body. It was a strange, but honestly pretty cool experience lol.

Second time I actually had it while I was sleeping while sitting down in a car! For some reason I wasn't even thinking that it was sleep parlysis, I was just thinking "Is this what it feels like to be possessed???"

 Yeah, the first time is the worst, when you have no clue what's happening and think that you're screwed ahahah. The car accodent just proves my point that sleeping on your back makes them occur more often.

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I've had sleep paralysis maybe twice in my life, with the most recent one being early this year. It's definitely a strange experience, though mine have been very minor compared to the stories here. I didn't hallucinate (and I didn't wanna figure out if I could), and I was aware of what was happening and managed to stay calm as I gained movement again.

A thing that helped me both times was remembering some advice I heard about sleep paralysis. Instead of struggling to force yourself awake, you just gotta gradually wiggle your way out of it, starting with your toes and fingers, working your way up until you're able to move your knees and elbows, then hips, shoulders, ect. At that point I was able to get up and be okay. A bit bewildered that it happened, but still okay. I'd like to never experience it again if I can help it though. Not that I have much control over it. Pft.

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9 hours ago, Niko said:

Well, the whole sleep paralysis thingy has been bugging me for a while now, I've been struggling with getting enough sleep simply because I'm an insomniac due to my genes. There are some nights where I simply can NOT fall asleep no matter how hard I try, even though I'm sleepy as fuck. This can be really torturing if you couldn't understand that by now. Having issues falling asleep has caused many problems aside from just lack of sleep, and one of them, the most annoying, scary and interesting one, is sleep paralysis.

What even is this phenomenon you may ask. Well, to put it simply, it occurs when your mind wakes up, but your body doesn't, or when your mind wakes up, but your body doesn't. Though it mostly happens when waking up. So how does this work? During REM sleep, which is the 4th stage of sleeping, when most of your dreams occur, your body locks itself down, to prevent what you'd call falling off the bed or simply being a lunatic. If it didn't do that, you might have acted out of your sleep, and started walking or doing anything else that's not laying down. Sleep Paralysis happens when you wake up, but your body doesn't "unlock" itself from the REM sleep, sounds weird right? Well it happens pretty often. 

What happens during sleep paralysis though? Why is it so "scary"? As we mentioned before, it occurs when "waking up" from a dream state of mind. When this happens, you can only open/close your eyes, you can't move, talk, and even have some trouble breathing. As if that wasn't bad enough, this will 95% cause panic, and will make your body think that you're going through, well, maybe a nightmare? Cause it should be the time when you'll be getting all your dreams and stuff. This will cause hallucinations, you might see/hear things, and they will look really, and by that I mean REALLY vivid. You might see a fucking ghost passing by or just straight up coming at you, might hear someone screaming in agony, though these are the most basic ones I could think of. it all depends on what your mind can really think of. Though it will always be something bad. 

Some religions even thought that it was a demon possessing the person and some fucked up stuff like that lol, but from an atheistic perspective, it all has a scientific explanation, the religious thoughts just make it more interesting? I guess?

I don't know if I'm the only one that has  been sleep paralyzed multiple times in here, if any of you had some experience with this, I'd LOVE to hear your story, and can give some advice cause I've been struggling with this problem for a while. 

I've had sleep paralysis quite a few times throughout my childhood.  I only ever have it every once in a while now.  The worst ones I remember is when I'm in my bed and there's an intruder in my house, and he would always come after me and I couldn't move (I had that one A LOT during my childhood).  I also remember having one where there's a man holding me down to my bed and I can barely whisper or struggle to get him off of me.  One other vivid one is me opening my eyes after a nightmare, then hearing my dad shout "JASON" (my name) coming from downstairs extremely loud (to which I shoot upfront in my bed in a pant).  It's an incredibly scary thing, and I'm surprised I went through that as much as I did growing up.

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As someone who suffered horrible, horrible sleep paralysis through childhood, and to an extent still do - panicking is the worst thing you can do in a sleep paralysis episode, because it essentially creates a feedback loop. It draws attention to your lack of ability to move, which makes you feel more helpless, which causes you to conjure more frightening imagery, which makes you panic more, ad infinitum. Part of getting the better of sleep paralysis long term is realizing, even subconciously, that your dreams can't harm you and simply going with the flow, allowing them to carry you where they may, and by that point it's less a nightmare and more simply dreaming somewhat more lucidly than normal.

I don't know of any concious way to condition yourself into that to be honest - as far as I know my body just started noticing the warning signs earlier until it barely affected me the same way. Maybe it helps if you make a mental note of what they all have in common - nearly all of my earlier episodes were characterized by a sensation of vigorous, violent shaking, for example - but hell, I'm not an expert so take that how you will.

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I actually had a really weird case of this recently.

It started with me lucid dreaming someone giving me a tour of my own apartment, and as they were talking to me they started to tell me the story of how it was haunted and how the ghost that was haunting it died. at this point i remember being like "naw fuck that i'm waking up" and trying to wake myself up, but instead of getting up properly I was lying in bed unable to move.

i tried calling to my girlfriend next to me for help but i obviously could neither move or speak, but i remember raintly rasping out "angeeeee, help" (tho this could have been in my mind) Then i woke up properly and farted while checking the time and she was like WTF is wrong with you.

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It happened to me quite a bit when I first started out taking SSRIs to help with my mental health issues strangely. It lasted off an on for maybe about a year or two after I started them, but since then I can't really recall it happening. Worst feeling in the world, fully aware without being to move or call out to anyone to actually jolt you fully awake when you realize it's sleep paralysis. At first I also got the oddity of those waking dreams. Surprisingly, they played out exactly like those generic being sat on by something descriptions for sleep paralysis nightmares.

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8 hours ago, HylianSith said:

I've had sleep paralysis quite a few times throughout my childhood.  I only ever have it every once in a while now.  The worst ones I remember is when I'm in my bed and there's an intruder in my house, and he would always come after me and I couldn't move (I had that one A LOT during my childhood).  I also remember having one where there's a man holding me down to my bed and I can barely whisper or struggle to get him off of me.  One other vivid one is me opening my eyes after a nightmare, then hearing my dad shout "JASON" (my name) coming from downstairs extremely loud (to which I shoot upfront in my bed in a pant).  It's an incredibly scary thing, and I'm surprised I went through that as much as I did growing up.

Now that's really bad lol. But when something like that occurs, just remember that they can't do ANYTHING to you, anything that happens is cause of your own mind. And yes,I've had the shouting ones a lot, the weirdest one being some absolutely random girl screaming.

 

5 hours ago, Blacklightning said:

As someone who suffered horrible, horrible sleep paralysis through childhood, and to an extent still do - panicking is the worst thing you can do in a sleep paralysis episode, because it essentially creates a feedback loop. It draws attention to your lack of ability to move, which makes you feel more helpless, which causes you to conjure more frightening imagery, which makes you panic more, ad infinitum. Part of getting the better of sleep paralysis long term is realizing, even subconciously, that your dreams can't harm you and simply going with the flow, allowing them to carry you where they may, and by that point it's less a nightmare and more simply dreaming somewhat more lucidly than normal.

I don't know of any concious way to condition yourself into that to be honest - as far as I know my body just started noticing the warning signs earlier until it barely affected me the same way. Maybe it helps if you make a mental note of what they all have in common - nearly all of my earlier episodes were characterized by a sensation of vigorous, violent shaking, for example - but hell, I'm not an expert so take that how you will.

I do think lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis have something in common aswell, they mostly occur to me after I dream lucidly. Which sucks, because I've always wanted to control my dreams, which I can do, to some extent, but have to pay with a 40% risk of being paralyzed right after, which is not worth it.

5 hours ago, Remy said:

I actually had a really weird case of this recently.

It started with me lucid dreaming someone giving me a tour of my own apartment, and as they were talking to me they started to tell me the story of how it was haunted and how the ghost that was haunting it died. at this point i remember being like "naw fuck that i'm waking up" and trying to wake myself up, but instead of getting up properly I was lying in bed unable to move.

i tried calling to my girlfriend next to me for help but i obviously could neither move or speak, but i remember raintly rasping out "angeeeee, help" (tho this could have been in my mind) Then i woke up properly and farted while checking the time and she was like WTF is wrong with you.

LOL at the last part. That was exactly like my second time ever, I got bored of a lucid dream and tried waking up in a stupid way by shaking my whole body and woke up being unable to move, it sucks, can relate.

 

3 hours ago, Haalyle said:

I have never actually had this happen to me. I mean, I've had moments where I've hallucinated because I used to be scared of the dark, but I've never been paralyzed.

Atleast now you know what it's like so you can be aware of the situation and to some extent control it.

2 hours ago, Conando said:

It happened to me quite a bit when I first started out taking SSRIs to help with my mental health issues strangely. It lasted off an on for maybe about a year or two after I started them, but since then I can't really recall it happening. Worst feeling in the world, fully aware without being to move or call out to anyone to actually jolt you fully awake when you realize it's sleep paralysis. At first I also got the oddity of those waking dreams. Surprisingly, they played out exactly like those generic being sat on by something descriptions for sleep paralysis nightmares.

Weird that it caused sleep paralysis... To me it was actually too much coffee which is kinda weird but I used to drink up to 3 cups a day which caused a LOT of sleeping problems + sleep paralysis.

 

 

By the way, thanks for all the replies everyone! This is my first ever topic on here, and I'm really happy that it's doing well! :D Appreciate it so much.

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It happened to me once, when I was suffering with mental health issues and insomnia. Just woke up, unable to move, my jaw clenched painfully and just visual and aural static intensifying until it just clicked off. Was very disorientated, but fell back to sleep after a cup of tea. One of the weirder things that has happened to me, but it was one star in a constellation of mental health garbage and it never happened again. 

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