Friday, December 3, 2010

Paralyzed

Dear Peregrin,

When I was a child, I was able have "lucid dreams" quite freely. Quite a few years ago, I had a dream where I was trapped within the jaws of an alligator. During this dream, I literally felt the pain as the alligator's jaws were crushing me. This theme of "feeling" physical pain during dreaming recurred throughout the years (though the alligator was more or less a one time occurrence). Whenever this occurs (quite frequently), I enter a state of sleep paralysis in which I am aware (lucid) to the fact that I am in a dream and I know that the only way to stop the "pain" is to wake up. The paralysis keeps me from being able to "jerk" my body out of sleep. Inevitably, I awaken a few times "within the dream" before I can truly wake myself up. After years of trying to cope and understand these recurring nightmares, I made a remarkable discovery. I realized that everytime this "phenomenon" occurs, it is preceded by the same event (in the dream) each time which seemingly triggers this state. The event is that I become fully aware that I am in a dream and have control (full lucidity) of my surroundings. However, this control ends abruptly as the pain and "paralysis" immediately kick in. I wish to regain the control that I once had in my wonderful "lucid dreams" but this block prevents me. Interestingly, one might think that having realized this cause for this state I could simply keep it from happening, but it has not helped me. I tell myself "this is a dream, the pain is not real, I have control" but it does not help. I cannot regain control and (as I have said) even awakening is even difficult. Please help! Thanx.

David



Good morning, David.

You should consider the possibility that the pain is real. When you have a lucid dream, you are mixing states of consciousness. Paralysis is normal while dreaming, but usually we aren't aware of it because most of the feeling is blocked as well as motor control. If you are able to feel enough to be aware of the lack of motor control, then you may be feeling real pain as well. I would investigate this possibility first. Your family physician can order a sleep study, and most insurance companies will cover the expense.

Pleasant dreams,

Peregrin

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