out of bed experience

So here’s a fun thing.  And when I say “fun” here, I mean perplexing, interesting if you are of a certain leaning, and actually kind of personally troubling.  I.e., I’m being glib.  You know, sometimes I just like to spell things out lest I be taken wrong.

Anyhow, fun thing.  I sometimes have strange sleep sensations.  My brother and sister do too.  They overlap more with each other in the character of these things.  Let’s get to descriptions!  That is the fun (in the interesting) part.

My sister has awoken to find herself paralyzed on several occasions.  She cannot move anything but her eyes.  She tries to call out but cannot.  She also talks in her sleep – a lot.  I used to hear her in the middle of the night when we shared a room.  Some nights, when I couldn’t sleep or had been woken up by her, I’d talk back  to her.  I’d say nonsensical things, trying to influence her dreams “But ______,” I’d say on hearing her muttering over there in bed “we don’t have any cotton candy ice cream.  Why don’t you ask the hippo?”  I am not making this up or exaggerating – we had many nights where this went on.

My brother was a lot more, um, active.  He’d start with a little talking, maybe some singing.  Then came the distraught

picture of light blue bowl with potato chips

Is this IT?

crying, the walking around the house, opening doors, lifting covers, unfastening cabinets.  He usually stayed upstairs on the floor where our bedrooms and the 1/2 bathroom we shared was but I do recall him down in the main living area before too.  He usually was talking about having to find “it”.  He was insistent and very upset about not being able to find “it”.  One memorable night, he apparently had to pee during one of these things.  I caught him nearly peeing in my drawer and had to coax him into the bathroom.  As an aside, he told me years ago that he had a dream like the ones he had then and in it, he found “it”.  “It” was a blue bowl filled with potato chips.  OMG.  Guess someone was as little hypoglycemic at night.

And then there’s mine.  Mine involves feelings of floating.  Now, before we start talking “out of body experience”, let me be clear.  I am often quite certain my entire body is floating.  Only twice have I felt that I was “out” of my body.  One

Jean Lecomte du Noüy

It's not like this.

time about 15 years ago when I was also experiencing an “intruder” sensation – let me tell you, that is LITERALLY the scariest thing I can imagine.  Seriously.  The other time was less scary, it was about 9 years ago.  The moon was out and visible from my window, and I felt like I was floating up to see it.  This time I looked down and saw my body, but not a “normal” view.  It was translucent and I could see ribbons of darkness in it, like veins.  I thought something like “oh that’s the problem!” I had been thinking about how to stop being so negative, moody, angry, etc. (abuse survivor, remember?) “I’ll just pull that out!”  And I reached in and grabbed ahold and started pulling.  And it hurt – it felt wrong and uncomfortable and bad, like it was wrapped around my spine or something a bit more towards the front…something that in my sleep state, I conceived of as the core of my body.  I stopped, and I realized that if I wanted this thing gone, I would have to work on transforming it from the inside out rather than tearing it out and throwing it away.

Sounds all mystical and shit, huh?  But the short version is I do have the “out of body/floating body” sensation and usually it is bad.  Often there is a feeling of a “presence” in the room, which is SCARY.  Almost always, I am scared that I will become loose and fly away, not find my way back, or just plain scared by this motion that I cannot control – that I will get hurt or will drift forever.   Last night’s was more the last one.  I felt like I was moving up, up, up to the ceiling.  To the point where I even “felt” my hands scraping against the plaster.  Then I’d put my arms down and angle my body and I’d sink back to the bed, where I was relieved to be down.  But then my arms would drift upward and it would start over again.

Now the extra creepy thing about last night’s experience was the feeling of not being able to stop it.  I tried holding down my arms (it seemed to me, in this state, that since my arms went up first and that there was some feeling of leverage going on that if I held them down I’d stay put) and then my legs rose up.  I pressed and pushed hard to keep them down, but as soon as I’d relax they’d drift up again. I distinctly recall thinking “This isn’t possible, I’m sleeping,” and checking my legs with my hand – feeling along the backs of them to see if they really were at this insane angle, pointing up at the ceiling.  The hand reported that they were.

Eventually, what woke me up was after fighting many times not to drift up but drifting up anyhow, while pressed into the ceiling I tried to yell “help me”.  And woke up myself up from the effort.

I really don’t like these things.

I’ve looked them up before, usually only after I experience them – which thankfully is not often.  Maybe one a year or two.  But what I keep finding is research on “out of body sensation” with discussions of “autoscopia” (seeing yourself) etc.  But as I said, I usually feel quite certain that all of me is what’s moving, and the two times I’ve “seen” my body it’s been (a) disturbing and (b) not exactly an accurate or detailed representation of it.  More like “lump/presence in the bed that I somehow know is me because I feel a physical tethering-like attachment to it.”

Here are some links to articles to get you started if you’re interested in reading up on this sort of thing:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10487786

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15382733

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16571587

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18621363

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