The masochistic element of my mind has once again taken to its duties as my own personal torturer with a zeal. Chief among the tools of its trade is sleep paralysis. After a break of several months, these terrifying episodes have slowly crept back in to torment me.
It is as if, suddenly and without any warning, a part of my conscious mind breaks the surface of the murky waters that have so far shrouded it in sleep and is again aware. Aware of the position of my body; of the feel of the sheets against my skin; of the give of the mattress beneath me. Aware, in sum, of all the things that you might know if you were lying on your bed awake but with your eyes closed. Yet still, the rest of my mind sleeps on and I cannot move. I slowly mounting feeling of panic rises in whatever part of me is aware as it, and I, struggle to move a body that feels like it is floating in treacle. I cannot move. I feel my heart beating faster and harder in a chest constricted by the grip of fear. I cannot move. And yet I must move; for there is someone or something in the room. I do not know what this thing is – I cannot see it – but I feel its approach all the same. The mattress bends and gives under the weight of its body as it crawls up onto the bed. I strain to cry out: no sound but perhaps muted and pathetic whimper escapes my throat. I struggle to pull myself up from the bed: still I cannot break free from the viscous air that smothers me. The terror becomes overwhelming as the thing’s progress towards me is mapped out in the shifting imprints of its weight on the mattress. It is so close now. Almost over me. Bearing down. My heart feels like it might burst, my limbs tense with mental effort, and my throat tightens with the scream I cannot emit. Suddenly there is give: the treacle evaporates, the constricting bands of fear around my chest break, my body lurches up, my eyes spring open…I am awake and only the pounding of my heart remains.
This may happen several times in one night. Sometimes there are voices too: children laughing or just the insistent sound of my name repeated slowly again and again. I do not know why they happen and I cannot stop them.
Last night I dreamt I was in a tin bath full of the putrid and filthy water. From the bath I can see into two other rooms. In one, I see my family sitting on a white sofa facing away from me. Around them, like a court jester, cart-wheeling and dancing, is the Australian with all his hair shaved off. The more I stare at him the more he seems to be two people at once. The Australian and my first ever boyfriend rolled up in one. I can feel the happiness they radiate and hear their riotous laughter echoing about. After a little while I turn to the other room where enormous, snorting, wild-eyed horses rear up at each other as if in the throes of brain fever. These are truly gargantuan beasts and watching them thrash and crash about the room fills me with fear. I decide to get out of the bath. I pull the plug and the water drains away slowly to reveal that I have been sharing my bath with a joint of raw meat. I sit naked and stare at it impassively. The dream ends.
I mean what on Earth is that all about? Any budding Freuds want to give it a go?