Scary Semi-Lucid Dream: What's Going On?
August 15, 2006 1:58 PM Subscribe
Recurring, scary sleep/dream phenomenon. What is it? How can I change it?
posted by treepour to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For the last 10-15 years, I've sometimes had a semi-lucid dream which always follows the same pattern. I've never heard of anything quite like it anecdotally or in sleep literature, though it strikes me as something of a cross between a lucid dream and "night terror"/sleep paralysis phenomena. Are there any sleep phenomena experts/enthusiasts out there who might have a clue as what's happening? Or any lucid dreamers who could recommend tips for taking this dream in another, more positive direction?
(Sorry, BTW, for the verbosity of what follows -- just don't want to leave out a significant detail). Here's the pattern:
1) I realize I'm dreaming and think "Oh, cool, I'm finally having one of those lucid dreams! Let's have some fun!" Sometimes, one of the first things I want to do is look into a mirror. I usually appear somewhat differently than I would normally -- e.g., I'm a different age or sometimes even a different gender. This mirror thing usually scares me a bit.
2) The dream environment refuses to remain stable; e.g., I'm walking down a hallway and it starts to turn into a forest.
3) I focus on something (e.g., an object, or even my reflection in the mirror) and try to prevent it from morphing into something else.
4) Object morphs anyway, usually into something increasingly terrifying (i.e., the longer I let it morph, the more scary it becomes -- e.g., a table lamp morphs gradually into a hideous monster). I try to change the dream somehow (e.g., move to another location), but fail. I realize that I could wake up, but I'm determined to keep trying.
5) A strong auditory halluciation occurs -- often an electrical buzzing sound, but it could also be whispers or voices -- sound gets increasingly loud.
6) As sound gets louder and object gets scarier, I feel something tingling/pressure sensations all over my body -- I used to describe it as feeling like hundreds of wings flapping against me, though it sometimes also feels like an electrical current or light muscle spasms.
7) As sound/scary object/physical feeling all get stronger, I start to feel as if some malevolent force is attempting to assualt or "invade" me. At this point I become both genuinely afraid and, strangely, sexually aroused. (To clarify, I don't believe some force actually is trying to invade me, it just feels this way in the dream). I feel so overwhelmed by the sensations that I fear losing myself in them -- i.e., I fear that my "self" will somehow be "erased" in the maelstrom of sensation.
9) I decide to wake up. For the first few moments of waking, I find myself quite disoriented (not sure where I am), and aspects of the dream continue (e.g., the sound continues, or fluttering feeling in my body). Fortunately, reorientation happens quickly -- in a few seconds, I'm fully awake, remember where I am, and the strange sensations are just a memory.