I hear my husband get out of bed. I wake , each limb and digit feels full and numb and fuzzy and heavy. I climb out of bed with difficulty and speak silent words to my husband in the other room . No sound. I try again. A deep heaving in my chest to roar the sound out where only a shrill barely audible squeak manifests. In panic I try again and again and again until I feel my eyes might pop out of my head.


 I wake in the exact same position as beat one. I don’t remember laying back down. This is a second chance. A reset. I lift my heavy body out of the bed and look for ways to get his attention. I see an glass now empty of water. I pick it up with great difficulty and bang it hard against every surface. As I lift the weight gathers stronger against me. My limbs feel feeble. I feel the resistance and as i try to slam the glass over and over it feels like trying to hit a surface whilst wading in thick jelly. Still no sound . I repeat over and over with more urgency and desperation. There is something in the room with me. Its dark. Its not my husband.

BEAT THREE: I awake in the same position as each time before. This isn’t another chance this is a groundhog day. A prison from which I feel I can’t escape. Sound doesn’t work. But I can’t stay here. This is meant to be a safe space, our bedroom, our bed is transported in some middle hell. Its dark and cold and I’m not alone. Is the shadow death? I lay on my back to deceive it. Pushing myself across my bed on my back with my full might against resistance jelly legs I slide painfully slow staring at the ceiling. I never noticed all those marks and words before. Written all over our bedroom ceiling like graffiti until I saw a word like a neon light stand out amongst the rest. Ugly.

BEAT FOUR. I awake , here we go again but this time I cannot move. I can only look and see my husbands shadow flicker in the light as he passes the door. I open my mouth to scream the loudest scream of terror. I can hear it in my mind but no sound is made. My heart races and fear has set my body to the bed like concrete. It feels like I’ve been screaming for help for hours. He can’t hear me, he doesn’t know I need saving.

BEAT FIVE. I awake in this familiar position. The realisation that i haven’t moved is psychological torture. I’m ready to cry. Please not again.I can’t handle another reset. I wiggle a finger and it moves with ease. In relief i move the whole hand then arm and jump up onto the bed on my knees. I’m awake. my husband comes in the room ” you couldn’t sleep either babe?” he asks. With tears in my eyes and fear in my heart I explain my ordeal ,trying to mask my fear and not sound crazy, “How long were you gone” I ask expecting the answer to be in hours. “15 minutes at most” he replies. The longest 15 minutes of my life.

sleep paralysis 18th May ’19


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