Narcolepsy Symptoms Can Be Scary!
Last updated: October 2023
It’s that time of year again — the air is turning chilly, pumpkins are popping up on every corner, steaming mugs of tea and coffee fill us with warmth... Spooky Season is officially in full swing!
I like to ring in Spooky Season by binge-watching horror movies. However, it’s when I watch these kinds of movies that I realize just how scary it is living with narcolepsy. I am a huge horror movie nerd. And in watching so many scary movies, I’ve noticed that most of them aren’t nearly as scary as my narcolepsy symptoms!
Scary sleep paralysis episodes
Sleep paralysis is a narcolepsy symptom that I struggled with for years. I am convinced that these experiences helped shape me into the resilient, gothic horror-fiend that I am now. My most common sleep paralysis experiences were painful, long, terrifying, and disgustingly frequent. I have seen and experienced things from sleep paralysis that would scare even the most extreme horror-movie fan.
Episodes of sleep paralysis can feel like someone sitting on the chest, preventing any kind of movement. When experiencing sleep paralysis I would lay back in terror, frozen, with black figures staring at me from the darkness of my room. Figures would growl menacingly, even going so far as to slowly approach me as I lay pinned against my mattress, terrified and helpless.
In one sleep paralysis episode, I distinctly recall being terrorized by a black demonic entity with sharp teeth glinting in the moonlight. I had a window in my room that showed the moon outside — and when I looked out this window, I saw the moon glowing red. I felt like I was in a different, monstrous parallel reality.
Sleep paralysis episodes can be scary, indeed.
My medication has mostly rid me of my sleep paralysis and significantly reduced my hallucinations. However, I still experience narcolepsy-related hallucinations from time to time, especially at night. This usually means that a sweater hanging on my chair will turn into a dark figure at night, staring at me. I’ve even seen my service dog laying down on the ground, only to crouch and reveal a tall, stringy, stooped person lunging towards me. Way creepier than anything I’ve seen in a horror movie!
Some hallucinations are just sounds, though. Sometimes this means hearing talking while home alone at night, but not seeing anyone around. Or hearing music playing on an invisible radio while coming out of sleep. These kinds of hallucinations can make you feel like you’re being haunted!
Even nightmares are worse with narcolepsy — they are more vivid, and they can last all night long. I personally experience intrusive REM sleep from my narcolepsy, which means I dream uncontrollably. Nightmares happen more when I am stressed out, so I am careful to keep my life as stress-free as possible. It’s not possible to prevent every single stressor, but I can choose how I choose to act after a stressor rather than reacting in anxiety and fear.
Narcolepsy nightmares are, simply put, the worst.
Are your narcolepsy symptoms scary?
What are some of your spookiest narcolepsy symptoms? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
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