A recurrent image, sometimes subliminal, kept pinning my conscience down whenever I tried to sleep on my back. I saw dark figures and heard voices that told me things I didn’t understand. My consciousness was juggled between states of awareness and hollowness— sleep paralysis. Perhaps that is what instigated my downfall. Perhaps liberation does not lie in sleep.
As a child and maybe even as a middle school student, I always had the inspiration to proceed onwards with my studies. Unfortunately, the transition into high school and the realization of the importance of academics didn’t up my enthusiasm. The increasing stress cracked down onto my well-being, and I soon became entrapped in an unhealthy cycle of poor habits, including avoiding meals or shutting myself away from family.
The sleep paralysis has taken its toll on my thought process already. My brain seemingly shuts off sometimes, its thoughts drifting off to nothing as I stay in perfect stillness. Other times, the thoughts are a jumble of volatile scenes—either a dark ocean of consistency or a plume of randomness. Most of the time, it is the latter, the memories of the figure tugging at me whenever I try to calm myself. I try to lighten myself up but that light is refracted and sent into nothingness.
Presently, the being still haunts me even during the day. It has become a part of me and lives with me, following my every thought with its smoldering existence. Sometimes, the dread makes me paranoid- too focused on the entity to pay attention to anything around me.
When I come home from school everyday, I finish homework and read books to stay occupied. I go to sleep late and again, the threat of sleep paralysis is mounted on me. When I’m on my back, motionless, I sometimes feel as though the force of gravity is amplified and that I’m in a fall with no protection enveloping me. I sometimes feel a separate presence stirring around me. I try to shrug it off, but again the image of a dark, horned figure is dwelling above me, its eyes gleaming red. The impish being plunges toward me and catches me by the neck, striking in me a deep fear that renders me powerless. It talks in its raspy voice, saying things I’ll never comprehend. After an agonizing minute which feels like an eternity, the vision dissipates and I regain control over my body. I lie sleepless for a few hours until sheer exhaustion sends me unconscious.
I see no clear way to go about this problem: it’s all shrouded whenever I try to think of a way out. A peace of mind does not come easily. The process of rewiring the brain away from negativity takes a lot of time and persistence. Hopefully, amidst the constant unrest that my mind goes through, I’ll unearth something that overcomes this empty feeling. Something, be it a passion, person, or purpose. Something that can free me from sleep paralysis.