Sleep paralysis traps you in your own body leaving you in a state between reality and imagination. When you wake up from a nightmare, you know it was nothing but a bad dream. But when you lay down unable to move for what feels like an eternity, the thought of staying paralyzed haunts you and you are unable to grasp it. Dream and reality are almost indistinguishable.

Somehow my eyes were shut, but I could see myself sleeping. Battling my way out of the crippling feeling. I could see what was around me, and my stomach knotted as the room grew even darker. At the end of it all, a hazy cloud emerged before my eyes.

I attempted to find sanity in the depths of my brain, hiding in one of its corners. Looking for one sign that what’s happening isn’t real. One way to hold on to reality. A weight seemed to press on my chest, robbing me of breath. As the tension intensified so did my pulse, and the thought of demons circulating my room terrified me. I stayed up a bit later and prayed a little harder.

Auditory hallucinations were the most terrifying to me, I don’t remember all the hallucinations vividly but one did stand out. I was in my room when suddenly the lighting adjusted itself to full brightness. An unearthly figure approached me as I was sleeping and started whispering in my ear. The whispers deliberately grew louder and louder until it eventually evolved into a gust of wind that managed to wake me up.

What truly fascinates me is the different scenarios everyone has. Reading through different sleep paralysis accounts made me realize that no two minds are the same and every case is a unique one. From being abducted by aliens to being dragged into a hole. In my case, sleep paralysis remains a mystery. As time went on it happened less frequently, but it wasn’t until later that I shared my experience with a friend. I told her how I think I’m possessed, and the intimidating feeling of being temporarily paralyzed. Together we identified the problem and the sigh of relief that followed signaled the end of sleepless nights spent crying and worrying over demons. This was a pivotal turning point in my life where I unlocked yet another aspect of myself.

Shayma is a 15-year-old high school student based in the United Arab Emirates. She finds the concepts of the universe and writing very fascinating as she aspires to major in astrophysics with a creative writing minor. She is also passionate about human rights and activism, and hopes to be involved in humanitarian work in the future. Shayma is also a staff writer at Unootha. 

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