Sunday, July 1, 2012

In Essence

I've fallen back into the habit of dozing off on the couch in the living room, taking naps late at night before even considering going up to my room. I would wake up after half an hour or so, stay up for a while, and then turn in for the night. And I didn't have any trouble with sleep at first. In fact, I started dreaming regularly again, which was great. But then (as these things tend to play out), it changed. Drastically (i.e., in one mentally exhausting night).

[side note]
My sisters and I are working on building up a shop. We're planning on selling our items at events and on Etsy. More news on that later, I guess. Since we decided to do this, we've been working in the evenings, nights, and weekends (or otherwise on our own time) to make things from stationery to jewelry to stuffed animals. This was one of those nights, although I don't think I was being very productive....

I had a long work day (after three or four other long work days), and just got a break. No crafting for me. Just TV and 3/4 of the couch.
And then even TV was too much for me to focus on. So I closed my eyes (mistake 1) with my arm draped over them, and rolled onto my back (mistake 2)...and my body froze like that (if you were beside me, you'd see how poorly I can snap my fingers, but let's pretend that was a satisfying sound).

I could clearly hear my sisters talking, commenting on whatever show they were watching, or going over design details. So I tried as hard as I could to move my arms and sit up so that I could tell them about how hard I tried to move my arms and sit up.
No luck; this paralysis was strong (yes, you can measure the degree to which you feel trapped and helpless). It didn't help that I felt like I was sinking into the couch. It gave me the impression that I was about to suffocate, which somehow translated to I am suffocating.... So I started trying to gasp for air.
Apparently, Shiel could hear my breathing was a little off (and that I was twitching a little bit), so she asked me if I was awake.
No answer.
Then she wondered if I was experiencing sleep paralysis.
It'd be great if I could answer that, but I can't, I thought.
She decided to leave me alone, and everything got quiet again...which kind of made me more nervous. It was late, and I don't like being the last one to go upstairs at night.
Eventually, I managed to wrench myself out of paralysis (without punching the air or screaming, like I desperately needed to do) and relate the experience to my sisters.

According to me, this is how it went:
1. closed my eyes and lay there for what felt like two minutes at most
3. sleep paralysis for what felt like an hour

And in real time, according to Shiel:
1. I fell asleep and stayed unmoving for a long while.
2. Sharp breathing and twitching happened maybe....five minutes before I woke up.

After I told that to my sisters, I let myself fall asleep again. Stupid, I know. But I was just too tired to care. And I felt like I was long overdue for a sleep paralysis episode.
Of course it happened again.

It actually happened a couple of times, but I didn't make such a big deal out of it. I just wanted to wake myself up enough so that I could open my eyes fully (one of the most uncomfortable aspects of s.p. is focusing so much energy on just opening your eyelids....which you later realize weren't even your real eyelids -- they were still only dream figments).

After the third one, I told Shiel to try and wake me up if I manage to give a signal that I'm stuck -- something like before: irregular breathing would be pretty easy to relay. I figure it would be okay to try to shake/nudge me awake, since I'm already mentally aware and it's just my body that's switched to sleep mode. I just need a little push.
But I could feel that it wouldn't happen again.
Instead, this is what happened after I woke up:

Shiel and Evie: *talking about color coordination or something*
Me: .............. . .. ..hhh ....ha...hahaha... ha ha ha ha ha...
Evie: What? Why are you laughing, Steph? Did you just wake up?
Me: Yeah. I'm laughing because I had a really random dream.... You know how you can close your eyes sometimes and then there's just this image that you see? Like you don't even remember thinking it up, it just appears in your mind?
Shiel: Yeah...?
Me: Well, I had that. I had this picture in my mind of the jewelry on the counter in Express. And I didn't feel like I fell asleep. I was just thinking about this picture. The store was empty, like they already closed and I was the only one there. The lights were still on and everything. So I reached into the picture, forgetting it was just an image, and started trying on different bracelets. And every bracelet I wanted, I would.... toss it onto the floor. "I want that. Oh, I want that. And this." Just... throw them on the floor like it was normal. And ... I heard you, Shiel, asking me if I was asleep..! And I was standing in the store going, "No, I'm not asleep, I am clearly in Express right now, trying on jewelry. Duh." And THEN, this random dude showed up in the store, from my right. He was eating a burger and talking about how good it was. And I heard you, Evie, telling him about different varieties..? And that's when I realized I was hearing what you were actually saying, and that you obviously weren't talking about burgers...but paper.... so that's why I woke up laughing.
Shiel: You were asleep for like one minute..!

Upon waking up again, I found Evie and Anjel standing by the window, listening to cats fighting outside.
Me: Is that what's going on?!?
Evie: Oh, hi..!
Me: Oh my god, that felt so real!
Evie: What?
Me: I had sleep paralysis again..!! And it felt so long, like all the others. I kept trying..... thought I got out of it--
Evie: When, really, you didn't?
Me: Yeah..! I thought I woke up. I was here on the couch, same position. You weren't standing there, you were sitting on the chair in the corner. Shiel wasn't in the kitchen washing dishes, she was still sitting beside me. Anjel was on the other couch. Mom came down with a caterpillar in her hand, saying she found it in the room. She put it on the floor by your feet and let it wriggle off under that radiator... The wall on that side of the room wasn't the same; instead, it was the wall between the dining room and the deck in the backyard. So we figured the caterpillar went under the door to get outside. And a couple of cats started fighting each other over it....

I think that is a perfect example of almost-simultaneously creating while perceiving.

So I went up to my actual bedroom not too long after that, thinking that the worst was over.
I guess the worst was over, but the most intense was yet to come.
That's right. It keeps going.

This post has gotten quite long, though, not to mention it's almost 2am and I've had a long day. Sounds like a repeat of all I just shared with you. I'm a smart one.