I’m finding it really hard to hit publish on this poem. Given how little sleep I’ve had it’s probably full of mistakes and doesn’t make any sense. But, those of you who have been reading for a while will know that writing is my therapy and getting it out on paper is how I process things. So maybe writing this will help me sleep better tonight. Here it goes…
Sleep paralysis: A poem
Have you ever heard of or experienced sleep paralysis?
When I was told to prepare for parenting-related sleep deprivation I was never prepared for this.
Now it doesn’t happen to many, but unfortunately for me,
When I’m functioning on little sleep I have to deal with it occasionally.
So to help you understand and to give you a little insight,
Let me tell you a story about how it happened last night.
First of all its important for me to set the scene,
Of seven consecutive nights where barely any sleep was seen.
I have a teething toddler so she often wakes up in pain,
And sometimes needs a lot of help to get back to sleep again.
Last night was no different, she kept waking from her slumber,
And needed someone to go in just to comfort her.
It was almost 2am when I finally got her settled and back in bed,
And the thought of her waking again soon filled me with dread.
I don’t remember falling asleep just that I was suddenly aware,
That we were not alone in the house. Someone else was there.
I instantly started to panic. So scared that I felt sick.
No idea what to do. Just panic. Panic. Panic.
I tried to get out of bed but my body was too heavy.
I was stuck. Unable to move. No idea what was happening to me.
All the while frightened about the person in my home.
But I couldn’t do anything. Not even reach my phone.
I tried to scream for help but no noise was coming out.
No matter how hard I tried, not one single shout.
I could feel my husband sleeping in the bed next to me.
But try as I might I couldn’t move one single part of my body.
- Sleepless nights: A late night obstacle course
- Why I’m always tired: A poem from an exhausted mum
- Confessions from a tired mum: I just can’t finish anything
My chest felt heavy – I couldn’t control my breathing.
I knew I needed to take deep breaths but I couldn’t stop the panicking.
I’m not sure how long had passed but soon the paralysis went away.
But that didn’t mean that I was suddenly ok.
After an inspection I discovered that it was all in my head.
There was no one in the house, but the thought still filled me with dread.
Every little noise started the panic again.
I wish I was able to just switch off my brain.
Unsettled and anxious I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried.
The thought of it happening again kept me wide eyed.
My alarm was due to go off soon – that feeling is the worst.
And that’s if the toddler didn’t wake needing my attention first.
Now if you don’t know what I’m taking about this won’t sound like much to you,
But those of you that have experienced it will know that it’s horrible to suffer through.
It doesn’t happen often so it always takes me by surprise,
And the panic has already set in before I begin to realise,
That it’s just a weird dream messing with my head,
And soon I’ll be able to safely get out of bed.
I’m not sure that I believe those that say it’s a paranormal experience.
I feel much more comfortable (and will sleep better) putting it down to science.
Apparently to get rid of it, all I need is a better sleeping routine.
But with an unsettled teething toddler that seems like a distant dream.
How am I meant to get 8 hours sleep at the same time each day?
When I’m constantly on edge to make sure that my daughter is ok?
So I’ll just continue to struggle on, scared to sleep in my own bed.
Because that awful sleep paralysis occasionally messes with my head.
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Or do you know someone that has? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
For more information about sleep paralysis please visit the NHS website.