Josh Langley – The Afternoon Nap that Turned Into a Nightmare – False Awakenings and Sleep Paralysis in Lucid Dreaming
I‘m not normally big on afternoon naps, but this particular Saturday afternoon in early 2002 definitely had me wary of taking another one. My partner and I had laid down at about 2 pm. Half an hour later I opened my eyes as I lay there, waking up slowly, and saw the afternoon light stream in through the curtains as well as the back of Andy‘s head as he lay there still sleeping.
Then suddenly, the next thing I knew I was dreaming, and in a kitchen in a city apartment block – I went fully lucid.
Never having a lucid dream before, I wasn‘t too sure what was going on, so I walked around for a bit, and then just as suddenly, I was opening my eyes back my bedroom and saw the same scene of the curtains and the back of Andy‘s head. I reached out to touch him and couldn‘t move, so I called his name and no noise came out. I started yelling his name to wake him up, but he just laid there.
Then again I was lucid, back in the city apartment block. What the hell was happening? I felt panic rising as I pondered what to do, but realised I needed to keep my thoughts positive and once I did, I then woke up.
But I hadn‘t. I was back in my bedroom, looking back at the curtains and Andy‘s head and I panicked. Screaming as loud as I could, I started to feel my arms moving as I reached out to wake him up. But I couldn‘t see my arms, which I could still feel moving, which freaked me out even more.
Then snap! I was back in the apartment, still lucid, and I quickly collected my thoughts for a few seconds and thankfully it happened; I really woke up.
Phew! I reached out and touched Andy‘s head to make sure he was real and I wasn‘t dreaming. I could feel my hand move out, but I couldn‘t see it, yet I could see the entire room and bam! – I realised I was still dreaming. I hadn‘t woken up at all. I was fully lucid, seemingly stuck inside myself, yet I could see everything.
I now started to realise I could be trapped, and no amount of effort could release me from this prison, no matter how much I moved, shouted or screamed….. nothing was working. Then once again, I found myself in the city apartment, with the shift being more like a quick phase-out.
Being lucid once more, I knew I had to keep calm and take control, so I made the heartfelt wish to wake up properly, and once I did that, I felt myself rise up (more like claw my way) back to the ‘other‘ reality of my bedroom, yet the texture was different. The whole thing had a different feel. I opened my eyes to find Andy staring at me with a concerned look on his face and I noticed I had tears running down my face.
‘You were whimpering and crying,‘ he said.
‘More like screaming and panicking,‘ I replied, and then relayed the story.
Since then I‘ve had much more experience with lucid dreams and false awakenings and I know what to do one they happen. I realise that it‘s the high emotional stress that keeps me trapped in the cycle. Once I take control of the situation and my emotions, I can then focus on turning the nightmarish experience into an adventure.