I don’t recall suffering from sleep disorders, or indeed having any problems with sleeping at all, as a child. 

I know that I used to fidget a lot in bed, and that I had issues with noise and light.  The fidgeting still exists, to a lesser extent, today, and the noise and light issues are controlled with the use of earplugs and blindfolds [not of the kinky variety, just the black-out kind].  Sleeping tablets help as well, but not every night.

I must have been seventeen[-ish] when I had my first episode of Old Hag Syndrome.  There I was, happily minding my own business, enjoying the sleep that we all need, when suddenly I couldn’t breathe, felt as though I was suffocating.  Or rather, being suffocated.  The room was pitch black and yet I could still see the evil presence that loomed over me, choking me, wanting me dead.  I couldn’t move, certainly couldn’t scream [not through lack of trying] and genuinely thought I was going to die.  What didn’t help, at the time, was the sound of footsteps getting nearer and nearer my bedroom door. 

And then, just as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped.  The room was still pitch black but there was no evil anymore.  The footsteps had stopped.  I could move.  I could breathe. 

Since that first time this has happened to me maybe three or four times a year.  It’s happened twice since we moved here, the most recent being last night.  Of course I went through the fanciable phase of alien abduction, or some other paranormal explanation.  It was a few years before I discovered that it’s something many other people suffer from.  That it is, indeed, now seen as a sleep disorder.  That aliens aren’t experimenting on me.


Each time it happens it scares me, just as much as that first time.  It’s an impending doom, a sense of evil, a lack of control on my part to do anything about it.  Not being able to breathe, or move.  I scream, but no one hears me.  I have lesser episodes on a more regular basis, where I may just call out for someone, yet the next day nobody can claim to have heard me. 


Bloody sleep paralysis.

[I may have Xanga’d about this before, but it was probably a while ago – apologies if this seems to conjure feelings of deja-vu.  Deja-vu?  An entirely new post, sometime – *grin*]

please God bless the sleep disorders xxx Elsabeth


  1. That’s a really interesting article. How scary though. I have had similar things before but not exactly like your’s. The trying to call out thing is fairly common for me. Never heard footsteps before though. That would really cause me to flip out I think. Hope it doesn’t happen again to you.

  2. That’s just great!  Now I’m going to obsess over MAYBE having this happen to me.  I have on occasion been unable to move AT ALL and  I almost wake my self to consciousness but still cant move..(thats freaky enough)…but never can’t breathe and hear footsteps and so on.  I can’t breathe enough while I’m awake, I don’t need that happening during my sleep time too. lol

  3. I did get deja vu reading this, but not for the reason you suggested!  I suffered from the same thing for years! (from when I was about 8 or 9 until I was 16 or 17)  I had forgotten about it – since I don’t have it happen anymore!  How horrible that you still go through that!  I know how helpless you must feel! ((hugs))

  4. Oh that sounds quite scary.  I do the dream thing where i try to get up but can’t or try to scream or say anything but can’t…and I feel someone looming over me but it’s not evil it’s a flesh and blood robber or rapist or something.  But the not breathing and the evil sounds absolutely horrible…and very frightening!  Prayers for you!

  5. It seems that Xanga is full of people Sleep disorders. As in I’m posting this now at 3:12 am Tues morn..! I have had a similar episode in 1997. My theory was the house I was in at the time was haunted. It was about 350 years old in Europe.

  6. That happened to me once. Scariest thing ever. I was…oh, I don’t know. About 7 years old I guess. It’s never happened again (that I remember) and I’m glad. I always thought it was just a fluke and then I watched this British series with Clive Owen where he goes blind (for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it right now but I enjoyed it) and there was an episode that featured this very thing – AND that picture! Good to know I’m not alone.

  7. Is this like Apnea?  Hmmm, I’ve never heard of it before…..I can’t sleep either, maybe it’s because I drink to much coffee…; )

  8. ryc: it’s like the movie… on groundhog day the groundhog comes out of his hibernation hole and if he sees his shadow he gets scared and goes back inside meaning 6 more weeks of winter weather.  If he doesn’t see his shadow then it means an early spring.  (I really don’t know the origin of this day or even the purpose- but it’s one of those crazy traditions we’vehad as long as I can remember!) Of course it’s not as big a deal in my towns as it is in the one in the movie…  and actually when I was growing up I always got it confused, b/c I figured if he saw his shadow that meant the sun was shining and that means early spring…but no matter how logical that sounded to me my teachers never appreciated the thought and would just shake their heads and say “No, Alyson”  in a no nonsense voice.  (of course I could be making the tone of voice part up! )

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