Monday, September 8, 2008

I see dead people

I have sleep issues. In fact, I've had sleep issues my entire life.

As a child, there was many a night that my parents would see me running through the house in my underwear. Sometime I would be screaming or crying. Sometimes just on the prowl. When questioned about this the next morning, I would have no recollection of anything from the previous night. It was like my own personal "Raising Cain."

I later took a psychology course, and found that as a child, I suffered from "night terrors." My sleep issues continued sporadically into my teen years, but then transitioned into a different type of dream. I don't think I have to spell it out--but take a 16 year old boy, start the natural hormone juices flowing in his body, and he'll be in a happy place. And you also have to wash your sheets frequently. I digress.

In my 20's, my bodies hormonal system regained equilibrium, and the "naughty" dreams ceased. But a new phenomenon started taking place.

I will try to explain this accurately:

There is a state right in between sleep, and being fully awake where you posses all your faculties. For me, generally this occurs after I've been sleeping for some amount of time, and wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes this "middle state" lasts a few seconds, and sometimes a few minutes.
While in this "state," my conscious mind is not in complete control of my body. I see things. I do things. And these things are not normal.

There are the humorous stories that my wife likes to tell everyone. These generally garner enormous laughs...especially in large groups.

There was the time that she saw me "army-crawling" across the ground.
Another time, she saw me out of the bed, just peering over the edge looking at her.

This is easily explained. Most of the time when I wake up in the night, I have no idea who I'm sleeping next to. Now, I realize that many of you have this problem, and you actually don't know this person you met that night in a drunken stupor in a bar---But this is my wife---every time.
I usually wake up, and feel very afraid that this stranger lying in the bed will see me in my underwear. So I usually tip-toe, crawl, or make my way to the closet in order to put some clothes on.

There was the time that I saw something on the wall, and used my "hand-gun" (literally, my hand shaped like a gun) to shoot it.

Most of the time, I rouse myself after a minute or two, and realize where I am, and what I'm doing. Then I go pee, and head back to bed. No harm done.

But it isn't all fun and games. I also see people in this "state."

It started with kids. I started seeing children walking through my room when I'd wake up. I'm not talking about seeing my future children requesting that the wife and I "get it on" like something you'd hear in a church service.

I'm talking about kids that just stare at me.

At times, I'll see them looking over the foot of my bed. Just looking.
Other times, they'd be walking through the room, on the way out of my bedroom.
I'll see them hiding in my closet, looking out at me from behind my clothes.

To say I was scared would be under-stating the situation. As a 28 year old man, I would pull the blanket over my head, until I awoke from this "middle state," and everything would be normal after a few minutes. A cursory walk through the house obviously showed no lost children. It's obvious that my subconscious mind loves to play tricks on me in this "state."

And then I started seeing adults.

At first I would just see someone peering around the open door frame, only the tops of their head and eyes visible. Just looking. The first time I thought I saw an adult man in our house, I went through every room and closet to ensure that nobody was in the house.

I've seen more than one adult, standing in the next room, just looking at me.

I remember the time I had trouble sleeping, and went downstairs to sleep on the couch. I awoke later to see a large group of kids standing outside, looking at me through the blinds.

Of particular note, there was the time that my family was out of town, and I awoke to see a man standing in my bathroom. I could only see his profile and face, and the closest match in appearance was to the preacher from Poltergeist. I didn't sleep with the bathroom door open from that point on.

The way I see it, there are 3 different explanations for my problem.

One is that there are truly people in my house. I think I've debunked this, as I've never found anyone in the house.

Another scenario is that I actually see ghosts, apparitions, spirits, etc. They aren't your "chicken soup for the soul" type of ghosts either. These ghosts do not make me feel "warm all over."

Lastly, is that my subconscious mind creates these elaborate visions that are only seen when I'm in this state of waking up. As soon as my rational mind takes control, it is obvious that nothing is in the room. This may be the worst scenario of all!! I don't want "A Beautiful Mind 2--the sequel" to be based on my life.

We've lived in 3 houses, and I've seen these things in all of them. I'm pretty sure that there isn't an Indian graveyard under all 3, so I doubt that's the issue.

I don't think I've "wronged" anyone so that they would haunt me in the after-life.

I wasn't abused or molested as a kid....I've never dabbled in hardcore drugs that would alter my state of reality...I'm not really into the occult. (I do watch Battlestar Galactica, which is a sci-fi show)

I'm not sure what issues I have, but I wish it would stop. Tylenol PM, NyQuil, sleeping pills...they don't help. It doesn't matter if I'm exhausted, I'll still have problems.

I've left out the REALLY scary moments, as they disturb me deeply, and would not translate well into written word.

It could be worse...and for my wife it is.
Imagine waking up and seeing your husband acting out scenes from "Nightmare on elm street." That would be scary. I think she just rolls over and goes back to sleep...I think she's afraid to interact with me in this "state." I mean...she is a stranger and all. Who knows what I'd do to her??


Athena said...

OH. MY. GOD. Firstly, I am sorry you have this little issue. Secondly, that is fucking scary as hell - I don't know which is worse...seeing the kids or the adults? Maybe you should sleep with one of those eye mask things on?

You know, maybe one day you can harness your ability and make some money off of it a la John Edward?

The Nemesing One said...

Dude - this scared the shit out of me - seek professional help, quick!

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's just me.

You are adorable when you snore.

Anonymous said...

I never say the word shit. It is so low and crass. So, you scared the SHIT out of me!! I've had similar nightmares every night, all my life, and now my doctor has told me to get a "buzz" on, in order to go to sleep.

I posted about this very same thing today.

but only you can imagine the terror of taking something to MAKE me go to sleep so that I can have all those fun nightmares!

I got help. But it was an accidental thing that I got one of those counselors who KNEW about dreams.

Your wife needs help too. Like, to learn how to fasten you into a straight jacket. arghh

Da Old Man said...

Dude, I have something similar, but not to nearly the degree you described. I woke and started yelling at the sheep in my room the other night.

Dan da Man said...

I had this problem then I started sleeping with a 12 gauge shotgun on my chest now I still wake up to these things looking at me but then I blow their brains out

I hope my roommate doesn’t wake me one evening

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

You are the first person I've heard describe this not swear they are beign abducted by aliens or seeing ghosts. Of course I've only ever heard other people describe these scenarios on alien abductions TV shows.

I suppose one question I would have is, do you ever see the same people twice? And if so, did you ever see the same person in different houses? Are they ever people that you know or are familiar?

Ok that's 3 questions, and I'm completely fascinated by this. I'm sorry you have to go through such scary ordeals, though. How awful and frustrating for you. I hope it helps at least a tiny little bit that you've blogged about it.

robkroese said...

Holy crap, I occasionally have sleep paralysis, where I'm aware of being in bed but can't move, which is pretty freaky, but your stuff is WAY scarier than that. Seriously, have you tried going to a therapist?

Matt said...

athena--they don't talk to me I wouldn't be a very good psychic.

TNO--To scare you is a treat.

Dan--I knew it..are you very short?

Dana--drugs for sleep...I'm a little leary. Sleep isn't the's the "rousing" time that scares me.

old man--Now you're scaring me.

Dan--I knew you're response would involve guns.

Nanny--I can never make out enough detail to know if I personally know any of the people. I'm not sure if that would be more or less scary.
To be completely honest, I'm far less afraid of seeing these things than I used to be...perhaps I'm more "acclimated" to it all. But every now and again, a real scary one happens...and I'm like a little girl.

Diesel--Going to a therapist would admit I actually have a problem. By ignoring it, I'm hoping it will go away...although this hasn't proved very succesful.

Dan da Man said...

Thats because i am you silly

Kenny D said...

Not even kidding, just last night my wife woke up to me plugging her nose and mouth with my eyes fully open.
Have you ever thought it was from that one night when we "accidentally" ran over that fisherman on the way home from the graduation party?

Chat Blanc said...

thank gawd your wife doesn't have similar issues. Can you imagine both of you seeing things and acting out crazy scenes? Although, you could probably take that show on the road and make some money.

But, see it could be worse. ;) Still, it's pretty freaky!

*lynne* said...

wow, this is all at once freaky, scary, intriguing, amazing. Thank you for sharing!

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

There's a "This American Life" episode that talks about stuff like this. Some of the stories are pretty funny, but some are truly scary, like the ones where people start to strangle the other person in the bed.

Bottom line: apparently there are drugs (not sleeping pills) that will help with this.

Consider this a public service announcement or something...

Unknown said...

A good Sleep keeps the mind and body fresh. The beginning for all the problems in the body is lack of sleep. If a person does not have proper sleep, then throughout the day the person feels sleepy and tired. Sleep apnea is basically a condition that affects most people causing them to stop breathing for around 10-20 seconds as they sleep. The sleep apnea cannot be identified by the same person since it occurs during sleep. So if someone complaints about you for snoring, inform your partner or your family member who sleeps along with you to notice your sleeping condition during sleep. If you had sleep apnea, there are lots of medical procedures and devices to cure sleep apnea in a natural way.

Anonymous said...

I fully understand, they tell you these things for a reason listen well and look around you, you will sometime be able to tell when it will happen. Sometime you will see a calendar on a wall on a news paper on the table look at your surrounding see if you can see a window that could help you with time of day. Your not crazy you can just do something a few of us can do. You are here to help.

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