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Do I Have Sleep Paralysis? I Woke Up Extremely Anxious, Feeling Like I Was Going To Die

sleep paralysis dream anxious panic attack heart attack going to die

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#1 ThompsonCherry

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 05:50 AM

So last night I had the beginning of a panic attack in, I think, months. I think it happened because I had somewhat of a fight with my boyfriend and it made me stressed and angry.

So I'm having the dream and suddenly I wake up. But then I fall back asleep and I'm in the same spot/exact moment I was in the dream, like nothing had happened. I know I'm having a dream, I'm conscious of that, I just can't wake up. And when I look at things they're very dark and hard to make out; I try to open my eyes but I'm too tired to do so (in the dream). I tried waking up for real but couldn't. So I started thinking up ways I could wake myself up like splashing my face with cold water or slapping myself. I try to give myself a slap but my arm is as though it's underwater and it's slow, so I can barely feel the slap. I try harder to make it hurt, over and over, but it's the same.

Finally I wake up and my head is a mess, I'm very anxious, very worried, my back hurts in the center, my heart is bothering me. I feel tired but I refuse to go back to sleep because the experience has scared me. I think it scared me so much that I might be having a heart attack. I stay in bed for a while, hoping the feeling will go away, but it doesn't. I turn on the TV to distract myself. I feel nauseous. I go to the bathroom, wash my face. I come back to the room, feeling a bit woozy still. I go make some camomile tea to calm myself down. And now I'm writing this in hopes someone helps me or at least to take this out of my chest.

It's not the first time I experience this, but the other times I didn't feel as anxious. Yes, it was horrible and disturbing after I woke up and during the dream but it soon was over. This time the feelings lingered so that's why I was worried. I've been researching and wonder if what I'm suffering from is sleep paralysis. It definitely sounds like it but at the same time there are many differences. Like, I don't feel paralized; I move freely just like in real life. I just feel extremely tired and my eyes can't picture things properly and I can't "slap myself" I guess you could say.

I started crying after I woke up, like tears started rushing out, the more I thought about it. I'm still crying as we speak...

Any ideas? Especially what can I do to avoid having more of this or, if I can't, calm myself down afterwards? Thank you so much.

Stacy

Edited by ThompsonCherry, 10 January 2012 - 06:02 AM.

~ If you ever need someone to talk to, send me a PM. I promise I will try to help! ~

If there's one thing I've learned in this life is that family ties can be your greatest treasures but also your greatest enemies. Be who you want to be, don't change for others but for your own self. Don't mind anyone calling you fake. Loser. Useless. Immature. Unrealistic. They don't stand in your shoes. Your happiness depends heavily on what you do, not who you are. If something is wrong, change it. You have the power, no one else. Positive thoughts attract positive people and positive situations. Don't give up on what you love! Follow your instincts but bear in mind other people's advices. Don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. It is true that what goes around comes around. Just because it all seems helpless now, things will get better! They always do!
Don't do anything rash, call someone and they will help you. Talk to friends and family. Don't hide or be scared. There are many people who can help. You are definitely not alone! Just look around, everyone here has problems of their own but they have the will to get help and provide help as well. Families don't have to be tied by blood. Support can come from the most unlikely of places. Welcome that support, it will do you good!

Also, if you want you can send me a friend request! Don't be shy ^_^

#2 anhedonistica

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 07:06 AM

you may want to look into going to a sleep clinic. I had the kinds of feelings you are talking about, and it turns out that I have severe sleep apnea, which means that when i was snoring, my breathing was stopping for an instant. This was repeated many times over a night without my being aware of it. Sometimes, however, i would wake up with a panicky feeling, heart racing, etc. After having a sleep study done (you sleep there and they hook you up to all kinds of monitoring), i was prescribed a continuous pressure air machine. This has fixed the problem right up.

Hope that helps,

A.

Edited by anhedonistica, 10 January 2012 - 07:09 AM.


#3 brokenXbutterflyXwings

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:22 PM

I had that happen to me when I was younger. What happens is in the dream you have the fight or flight response and so your body is confused because its sleeping. Then when you do wake up, you freak out because the experience was so scary and uncomfortable. And then you have panic symptoms which are scary too! My thoughts would start to race or go too slow or go too fast and too slow at the same time. The important thing to remember is you're NOT weird and your NOT crazy. What I would do in this situation is deep breathing and a guided meditation. Guided meditations make me feel better because I am listening to someone elses voice and they help me paint a relaxing picture in my mind. You can find them on itunes and youtube. I also listen to affirmations. Sometimes over and over again if I need to. Its like someone is there reassuring me Im okay. They also have these on itunes (albums and podcasts) and on youtube and some websites like mythoughtcoach.com

I hope this helps. Fear and uncertainty are very uncomfortable feelings and I am sorry you are experiencing this.

Hugs, Lauren
~Lauren~

Major Depression
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#4 taysmom1016

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:05 PM

I googled sleep paralysis because I've had these same problems. The one thing they say is don't sleep on your back. Apparently they occur more when you sleep on your back and I've found that to be true, I hardly ever have an episode if I can sleep on my sleep on my side.
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#5 ThompsonCherry

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 02:52 PM

I googled sleep paralysis because I've had these same problems. The one thing they say is don't sleep on your back. Apparently they occur more when you sleep on your back and I've found that to be true, I hardly ever have an episode if I can sleep on my sleep on my side.


People who snore do experience sleep apnea which can be related to sleep paralysis, so it makes sense. Snoring can make you stop breathing as well, or at least people who snore are more prone to have those kinds of issues. The back position will indeed increase snoring whereas other positions will lessen it. I do sleep on my side, in fact I can never sleep on my back or at least not FALL ASLEEP on my back so I should be guarded from it.... But it's possible that, during my sleep, I get on my back. But there's no way to know this :(
~ If you ever need someone to talk to, send me a PM. I promise I will try to help! ~

If there's one thing I've learned in this life is that family ties can be your greatest treasures but also your greatest enemies. Be who you want to be, don't change for others but for your own self. Don't mind anyone calling you fake. Loser. Useless. Immature. Unrealistic. They don't stand in your shoes. Your happiness depends heavily on what you do, not who you are. If something is wrong, change it. You have the power, no one else. Positive thoughts attract positive people and positive situations. Don't give up on what you love! Follow your instincts but bear in mind other people's advices. Don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. It is true that what goes around comes around. Just because it all seems helpless now, things will get better! They always do!
Don't do anything rash, call someone and they will help you. Talk to friends and family. Don't hide or be scared. There are many people who can help. You are definitely not alone! Just look around, everyone here has problems of their own but they have the will to get help and provide help as well. Families don't have to be tied by blood. Support can come from the most unlikely of places. Welcome that support, it will do you good!

Also, if you want you can send me a friend request! Don't be shy ^_^

#6 ThompsonCherry

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 02:59 PM

I had that happen to me when I was younger. What happens is in the dream you have the fight or flight response and so your body is confused because its sleeping. Then when you do wake up, you freak out because the experience was so scary and uncomfortable. And then you have panic symptoms which are scary too! My thoughts would start to race or go too slow or go too fast and too slow at the same time. The important thing to remember is you're NOT weird and your NOT crazy. What I would do in this situation is deep breathing and a guided meditation. Guided meditations make me feel better because I am listening to someone elses voice and they help me paint a relaxing picture in my mind. You can find them on itunes and youtube. I also listen to affirmations. Sometimes over and over again if I need to. Its like someone is there reassuring me Im okay. They also have these on itunes (albums and podcasts) and on youtube and some websites like mythoughtcoach.com

I hope this helps. Fear and uncertainty are very uncomfortable feelings and I am sorry you are experiencing this.

Hugs, Lauren


Thank you very much for the suggestion Lauren! I always heard meditation, yoga, etc. can do wonders for your well-being but I'm not a very spirited person when it comes to these things ^^' Just thinking I'll have to stay still for a while while listening to relaxing music/recordings makes me cringe because I'm very active and restless. I do need to learn to relax more and just take a time off things but it's very hard for me because I feel I'm wasting my time when I could be doing a million other things that need to be done! I don't know why I feel like this, if it's just my personality or something more... Either way, do you have any advice for someone who can't seem to get the hang of doing nothing and just sit still? I'd appreciate it a lot :)

I googled sleep paralysis because I've had these same problems. The one thing they say is don't sleep on your back. Apparently they occur more when you sleep on your back and I've found that to be true, I hardly ever have an episode if I can sleep on my sleep on my side.


People who snore do experience sleep apnea which can be related to sleep paralysis, so it makes sense. Snoring can make you stop breathing as well, or at least people who snore are more prone to have those kinds of issues. The back position will indeed increase snoring whereas other positions will lessen it. I do sleep on my side, in fact I can never sleep on my back or at least not FALL ASLEEP on my back so I should be guarded from it.... But it's possible that, during my sleep, I get on my back. But there's no way to know this :(

you may want to look into going to a sleep clinic. I had the kinds of feelings you are talking about, and it turns out that I have severe sleep apnea, which means that when i was snoring, my breathing was stopping for an instant. This was repeated many times over a night without my being aware of it. Sometimes, however, i would wake up with a panicky feeling, heart racing, etc. After having a sleep study done (you sleep there and they hook you up to all kinds of monitoring), i was prescribed a continuous pressure air machine. This has fixed the problem right up.

Hope that helps,

A.


I was hoping I didn't have to do that because God knows I don't need an air machine or any more pills or even one more illness! But maybe I will have to look into it and see what they say. It's a wonderful suggestion nonetheless, thank you very much :) I'll see what I'll do about it.
~ If you ever need someone to talk to, send me a PM. I promise I will try to help! ~

If there's one thing I've learned in this life is that family ties can be your greatest treasures but also your greatest enemies. Be who you want to be, don't change for others but for your own self. Don't mind anyone calling you fake. Loser. Useless. Immature. Unrealistic. They don't stand in your shoes. Your happiness depends heavily on what you do, not who you are. If something is wrong, change it. You have the power, no one else. Positive thoughts attract positive people and positive situations. Don't give up on what you love! Follow your instincts but bear in mind other people's advices. Don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. It is true that what goes around comes around. Just because it all seems helpless now, things will get better! They always do!
Don't do anything rash, call someone and they will help you. Talk to friends and family. Don't hide or be scared. There are many people who can help. You are definitely not alone! Just look around, everyone here has problems of their own but they have the will to get help and provide help as well. Families don't have to be tied by blood. Support can come from the most unlikely of places. Welcome that support, it will do you good!

Also, if you want you can send me a friend request! Don't be shy ^_^

#7 eveandtonic

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:08 AM

Occasionaly I also experience sleep paralysis.

Things that can trigger it are: worrying right before going to bed and eating a lot and feeling very full right before going to bed. Other than that I haven't come up with anything.

I don't have sleep apnea, so that's not always the cause.

To make you feel better: the more you experience it, the less frightening it becomes. Now when I experience it, I tell myself in my dream. "OK, I have it again, I want to wake up but I can't. But I always wake up again, so just relax and let it pass."

#8 trailer

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 11:35 PM

I get sleep paralysis once in a while. They really scared me at first. Now I'm more used to it but it's still an unpleasant experience where I'm anxiously waiting for me to wake up. I dream of myself preparing to call 9-11 or shout for help when it happens.

However personally I haven't found that to be associated with panic attacks or higher than normal depression or stress. It tends to happen for me when I take a nap or oversleep. I try to avoid taking naps these days and minimize disruptions to normal sleeping patterns (which can be a result of depression) and I think that reduces the chance of sleep paralysis happening.

As for sleeping position I'm a natural side sleeper but I've been trying to sleep on my back more because other positons seem to give be diahrrea/upset stomach more often. Interesting to know that increases snoring and sleep apena and paralysis, but I don't know if I should stop sleeping on my back for that reason.

#9 ThompsonCherry

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:52 PM

I feel that you should always sleep in whichever way you feel more comfortable since it won't help if you can't sleep because of your position. It will basically counteract your intention in the first place. I always slept on my side but since I started having panic attacks/depression I can only sleep on my left side for a few moments because I feel my arm start to get numb and I really don't like the feeling. Funny thing is it doesn't happen with my right arm. I also love sleeping on my stomach but because I'm a girl my chest won't be too comfortable and it will start hurting after a while too, unless I position my arms a certain way and even bring my knee up to get some space between my body and the mattress. It is indeed a strange sleeping arrangement but seems to work for me :)

If you don't sleep with a partner or anyone that could be disrupted by your snoring, you have more freedom. The only downside will be, of course, the sleep paralysis and sleep apnea. But if you are used to those by now and can quickly solve them by yourself, try to be as much comfortable as possible. A position that will cause you to wake up from pain, discomfort or anything of that sort will only prompt the rest of the unpleasant things.

TIPS: I feel that a cup of chamomile tea (I usually have chamomile because it's the most soothing but you can have whatever you like, as long as it's not green tea or any other flavor that is potentially excitable and/or contains caffeine) will do wonders. Also, if you have a sort of lavender balm or spray, try to place them on your bedside table or near the pillow to inhale before and during your sleep. It will definitely help. If you like stronger smells go for incense sticks (during the day and always under your watch, for it can be dangerous to leave it unnatended). It will make the room smell wonderfully for hours. Even better, if you have someone to massage you ask them to rub your back or neck or spine or anywhere else you feel tension. Get a massage or essential oil if possible, they really do help the fingers give the best rubbing. Then, I never eat much at dinner. I don't starve but I don't eat until I'm completely full either. I make sure I have good meals throughout the day and I just don't feel the need to get stuffed at night. I do think it makes my body less stressed and pressured and lighter, which is very good. Have something light and not very spiced, as simple as you can get so your metabolism won't make a huge effort while you're asleep.

These are all things I experimented and that seem to work for me, hopefully it will for you too :) Give them a try and let me know.
~ If you ever need someone to talk to, send me a PM. I promise I will try to help! ~

If there's one thing I've learned in this life is that family ties can be your greatest treasures but also your greatest enemies. Be who you want to be, don't change for others but for your own self. Don't mind anyone calling you fake. Loser. Useless. Immature. Unrealistic. They don't stand in your shoes. Your happiness depends heavily on what you do, not who you are. If something is wrong, change it. You have the power, no one else. Positive thoughts attract positive people and positive situations. Don't give up on what you love! Follow your instincts but bear in mind other people's advices. Don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. It is true that what goes around comes around. Just because it all seems helpless now, things will get better! They always do!
Don't do anything rash, call someone and they will help you. Talk to friends and family. Don't hide or be scared. There are many people who can help. You are definitely not alone! Just look around, everyone here has problems of their own but they have the will to get help and provide help as well. Families don't have to be tied by blood. Support can come from the most unlikely of places. Welcome that support, it will do you good!

Also, if you want you can send me a friend request! Don't be shy ^_^





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