The Cliff

I found myself standing on the edge of a cliff,
The turbulent sea crashing at its rocky base,
I had been on an adventure through beautiful countryside,
The simplest things bring the greatest pleasures.

As I travelled I came across a beautiful butterfly,
She danced in front of me and settled for a moment,
Waving her beautiful wings, which shimmered in the sun,
Before she fluttered off again away from me.

I followed her as best I could, dancing among the trees,
But she fluttered ever onwards towards the cliff,
There I could follow her no longer; she was free but I was not,
I could only watch as she flew away from the cliff into the distance.

I looked out from my perch on the cliff,
Far away I could see even more beautiful scenes,
I could only imagine what wonders lay within them,
Places I longed to go, but the treacherous sea was in my path.

I looked back the way I had come and saw smoke rising,
Last night’s campfire still smouldering offering promises of warmth,
Should I brave the journey and try to cross the sea?
It would surely be much easier to just turn back…

 

In life you can never turn back the way you came,
So when you find yourself on a cliff you have but one option,
No matter what lies between you and your goals,
You must be brave; you must be fearless; you must JUMP!

 

You must JUMP

You must be brave; you must be fearless; you must JUMP

Sleep Paralysis: Of Hags and Horses

Last week I experienced sleep paralysis for the first time; I am not sure what brought this about, but I had been sleeping poorly all week which probably didn’t help.

Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon which causes the sufferer, usually when transitioning between sleep and wakefulness, to experience hallucinations and paralysis with a sensation of weight pushing down upon them. Many sufferers report seeing an intruder in the room to whom they cannot react due to paralysis.

I had heard of this before, several of my friends had described their experiences to me. I had no idea how real and terrifying it was. This is what happened to me:

I had been unable to sleep again that night; I remember looking at the clock, 3:20am. The next thing I knew I heard my front door opening and someone coming up the stairs. At first I thought “oh good my house mate is home, about time”, it took a few seconds for my thought to catch up with me as I heard the footsteps come closer and open my bedroom door when I sudden thought “wait, I live alone! I don’t have a housemate, so who is this who has just come into my room?!?!”.

I was lying face down on the bed, I could see a shadowy figure out of the corner of my eye, I tried to turn to see but before I could, the figure lunged on top of me and pressed me down hard onto the bed. For that instant I was in complete panic “HELP! Someone has broken into my home and they’re attacking me!” I thought. I struggled to move but I couldn’t; I was completely pinned, with the intruder’s weight pressing down on me and I could not breathe.

The sensation only lasted a few moments, after which I found I was able to move; at first just my arms, which I flailed about and then managed to flip myself violently on to my back, nearly leaping clear out of my bed! I looked around me; nothing there, the door still closed, everything dark and silent except for the sound of blood surging through my body; my heart was beating so hard I could see it thumping in my chest. I looked at the clock again 3:25am

I knew right away that this was sleep paralysis; based on accounts I have heard from friends I got off lightly; some have reported seeing demons, high pitched screaming, having to concentrate intensely in order to move a single finger before they could get out of that state. I certainly hope this isn’t going to become a regular occurrence for me!

The Nightmare

The Nightmare - John Henry Fuseli's iconic depiction of sleep paralysis