by Vanessa Guy
Sleep paralysis is like a vice that can grip your whole body. You are a mummified human. No one can save you from the repetitive nature and experience of actual paralysis. You’re not asleep, you’re very awake, can hear small sounds in the brain and its blood barrier to the anguish of anyone watching. It’s not to be sought out by amateur lucid dreamers and astral travelers. It’s a demon.
Then there’s the other demon of body and mind out of sync. When I’m actually asleep but choke awake, gasping for breath, heart racing a thousand times faster because a vice-like metaphysical hand has decided to curb my breath within an inch of sudden death. How will I even know when I’m dead?
Hypnagogic hallucinations, the wavering between dream worlds and this world, are relatively interesting to the average sleeper, but it’s plain exhausting every night. Time travel is a constant as is emotional travel. I get up and eat an egg and think I’m the egg-man, the lizard king, and… I can do anything. But then I tire very easily.
If your world expands beyond the consciousness of the everyday then seek solace and praise in hanging out with the other walkers-between-worlds. Witches, shamans, artists, healers, writers, monks and movie makers. Visionaries, maverick scientists and doctors, neurological enthusiasts, psychics, imaginers and dreamers. Even those who don’t agree with any of the above. Keep questioning reality and unreality.
Vanessa Guy is an artist, photographer, crafter, and zine maker. She was diagnosed with narcolepsy in her early thirties and uses art as a way of coping with her condition, but also to express how it feels to live with the disability. Her experience of hypnogogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis are evident in her work, showing worlds of dreams and nightmares. She has also written and illustrated a children’s book, Harry and the Flood.
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