Hey there, hotmesses...it's story time!
About two months ago, I woke up on my back in my comfortable bed in the wee hours of the morning. The sun had just started to peak out from the safety of the horizon, the light just barely brightening my room. I could see my ceiling fan moving eerily slow and silent. Just below the fan, in my peripheral vision, I could see the rear end of a blonde cat that had just jumped on to the edge of my bed. I could feel the pressure of its little feet on my comforter, just by where my feet lie motionless. At some point in my sleep, I had pushed my pillow completely off my bed–so with the angle of my head, I had a limited view of my body, comforter, and the strange cat in front of me. I could only feel its little feet creeping through out the waves of my bunched up blanket and occasionally see the tail flick slowly back and forth.
The cat danced its way to my left side before leaping on to my chest–where it decided to lie down. I felt all of the air push out of my lungs and my hands felt frozen at my side as I tried to will my body to push this cat off of me. I heard the cat purring as I struggled to breathe. As much as I wanted to snuggle this cat, I truly thought I was going to suffocate to death. It was at that moment that I realized I didn't have a cat. I'd been wanting one for a while, but my roommate is allergic to cats, so there was no reason this cat should suddenly be here at the crack of dawn. While I didn't feel as though this cat wanted to hurt me, I did confirm that this cat was being an asshole (as many cats are). The purring would get louder every single time I tried to get my body to move. It was also strange that I could only ever see the back of this cat's head.
Finally, I realized that I was experiencing sleep paralysis. That I just needed to close my eyes and fall back asleep or get the rest of my body to wake up. Either way, I needed to do it soon, or my brain would start to truly believe I was suffocating and I would break into a painful coughing fit (happened in my last episode). Eventually, I woke up to the bright ass sun blinding me into total consciousness. As much as I wish it were here, the cat was nowhere to be found. I explained what had happened to my boyfriend and he joked that's why we should never get a cat. I told him that was nonsense and we had to have a fur baby in our future.
About this week's episode:
This week our episode is a special one. If you couldn't already tell by the post title or the story, we're going into Sleep Paralysis for a couple of weeks. Both Gabe and myself have personally experienced this strange and petrifying phenomenon multiple times. It's the most bewildering occurrence any unlucky person could be forced to have. You think you are awake, but really you're living through a complete and total nightmare. I mean even though my most recent episode of Sleep Paralysis was with a cute cat, it still wasn't pleasant. In fact, for the most part, Sleep Paralysis is more often a vexatious time in your moments of slumber.
If you have also experienced this incident, whether it only happened once or multiple times, know that you are not alone. If you have never experienced Sleep Paralysis, consider yourself extremely lucky. It's perhaps one of the scariest incidents that make you never want to sleep again.
Many people who experience an episode of sleep paralysis report the presence of a malevolent being. They report the feeling of being suffocated or out of breath. They also report being unable to move anything with the exception of their open eyes. Of course these aren't the only symptoms, for the experience varies between each individual person. Either way, the experience gives many people a sense of Nightmare on Elm Street but in the comfort of your own room.
We had to split this episode into multiple parts because of all of the content we wanted to include this week. We had reached out to the friends of ours and to the reddit community to find those willing to share their experiences with us. The participants came flooding in, so we weren't able to include everyone, but will continue to utilize these stories on future listener episodes.
As for part one, released yesterday, we share stories, and introduce our listeners to the human sleep cycle and the five stages it contains. We hope you enjoy this week's episode and tune in for part two next week on Thursday!
ASA - American Sleep Association - wants to find ways to improve public health by researching sleeping patterns and conditions
Penn State University SP Research - How does sleep paralysis effect university students?
National Sleep Foundation - great place to find out backed research on sleep
Sleep Paralysis Reddit Community - this is a great community to relate to those who have experienced SP one or more times in their lives.
National Center for Biotechnology Information - some medical article on sleep paralysis from the US National Library of Medicine