To say that sleep paralysis is frightening is an understatement. People who don’t experience sleep paralysis often trivialise the episodes without realising it. It’s difficult for them to relate to what has taken place and they struggle to put themselves in your shoes. In an attempt to help, they offer rational reasons for the episodes together with causes and remedies such as: “You’re overworked or stressed” or “get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be fine.” What irony! If only it were that simple.
While the intentions are compassionate and well-intended, friends and family really can’t help in the realm of sleep paralysis. Knowing this, we often prefer to handle the episodes alone, finding it easier not to give updates as we would about any other illness, and when asked how things are going, it’s much easier to say, “I’m fine,” or respond in a general way, hoping not to bring attention to the issue. Yet, deep down inside you know that you felt fear and that you are still afraid in case it happens again.
The fact that sleep paralysis takes place when you are most vulnerable does not mean that you must succumb to it. You can make a conscious decision to stand up to the fear.
This is a personal and silent battle. One that includes 3 actions steps:
Action Step 1: The Intention to Face the Fear
You must assume battle mode. Tell yourself over and over again that you are going to stand up to this silent persecutor. Not only tell yourself this, feel the emotion of strength, the warrior feeling. Remember that this has to penetrate into your sleep state and must reach a deep emotional level. There is strength in your conviction to no longer be a victim and accept what is occurring. With this decision you open yourself up to a new level of awareness and understanding.
Action Step 2: Internal Spiritual Strengthening
With the intention to fight the fear you are no longer a victim. You are no longer passive, and this stage involves to some extent recognising that you have feelings of unworthiness, which allowed the ‘victim’ behaviour and emotions to surface. This is a hugely positive step as now that you have identified it, you can do something about you.
“I am worthy of strength, of being free, of being happy, of not being controlled, of being in charge of my life.” These are a few affirmations that you can use to build up your self worth, which may have been inflated recently. Your spiritual muscle is strengthening as you say these words and begin to feel more sure of yourself as you experience sleep paralysis.
Action Step 3: Wanting the Best for Yourself
If someone you loved was being persecuted or harassed, wouldn’t you want to step in and defend them, to take care of them and stop the suffering which is being felt. Of course you would. This is an expression of your love. If you would do it for someone you love, then make the conscious decision to do it for yourself and express self-love towards yourself. Whilst this can be done by the 2 Action Steps above, you can also do it day to day, by doing things that you choose to do and enjoy, by putting yourself first and by saying no more often, standing firmly committed to yourself.
With these 3 Actions Steps firmly in hand you’re in a better position to alleviate episodes of sleep paralysis. In the final part of this 3-part series I look more closely at the spiritual side of sleep paralysis and exactly what it is that takes place during an episode.