Of the many things I was scared of when I was little, ‘the dark’ was the most terrifying. As a child it scared me because I felt like a lack of light permitted terrible and ill-willed beings license to be wherever light wasn’t–and if I was in the dark, so were those beings. As I got older, I slowly realized that this was simply a case of my overactive imagination having free reign over the possibilities of darkness, and a small part of it was my mind taking the ‘what happens if I do this’ stance.
My mind always pushes the envelope when I allow it.
Naturally, I went to bed each night with a light on. My fear of the darkness was so bad that if I woke up from sleep and the light was off I would have a panic attack. This continued until I was 25 and I started to really feel the effects of sleeping with a light on (low-quality sleep, chronic fatigue, patchy insomnia). I began sleeping with the light off–talking myself out of whatever horrors I was imagining around me with pure logic. This worked really well and I continue to sleep in [mostly] darkness. (In all truth, there is still a very dim light-activated plug-in light in my room that provides just enough light to make out the objects around me, now. But that’s for liability and general safety reasons so it doesn’t count.)
It’s gone really well ever since then. In fact, I prefer being in dark or dim rooms over brightly lit ones. My office, at this moment, features two small desk lamps that cast a warm, relaxing light over everything–everyone wants to take naps in here. Don’t get me wrong, I am still highly prone to fear induced by my overactive imagination. But I have a few strategies up my sleeve to control that:
- No creepy/scary movies or shows after 5pm
- Remain logical in all things
- Don’t let my mind wander into frightening territory
- Have a few comforting places to imagine (like a huge bowl of sticky rice and warm almond milk I can immerse myself into)
However, there is one experience that has developed while sleeping in the dark that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around.
For the past 5 years or so, I’ve had a variety of experiences where I wake up from sleep and see someone or something in my room. I’m having a little of a dilemma, here, in how to refer to what I see. I feel like if I call them ‘beings’ or ‘entities’ that gives them too much weight, and I’m not willing to do that at all. I’m going to go ahead and call what I see ‘visions’–bear with me.
These visions are always shadowy, like anything else I can see in the room but slightly more bathed in shadow, just enough for me to identify basic features. They started out as faces beside my bed, usually in front of me, as I sleep on my side a lot. Then they progressed into full-figured visions–face, head, body, all that. Usually they resemble something like human (though some have had horns), but there have also been ‘mice’ or ‘rats’ as well. [These weren’t actual mice or rats, believe me, I made sure of it.]
So how did I react to this? Well, with the intense fear of the dark, I’ve had to develop and strengthen my logic to be able to overcome that fear. So, when I wake up and see things like that I think to myself, “that’s not real”; and then I punch, jab, or kick at it. Yes, I actually make an effort to physically impact whatever I’m seeing because
- By doing so and not making contact with anything but air, I am proving to my mind that what I’m seeing is not actually there.
- At least if it ever was real, I’d really know it, and, hey, I’ve already begun to defend myself. (If anyone or any thing ever wants to hurt you, fear is their greatest ally; people who defend themselves pose a problem and ill-willed beings don’t want problems. SHOW NO FEAR.)
So, as you can probably tell, I don’t give much weight to these visions. I see them every so often when I wake up from sleep in the night, and for the most part they simply serve as a good topic of conversation. People are chilled by what I see, and I kind of like that. But it’s also interesting to speculate about why I see these things at all. Once, a past boyfriend called them ‘shadow people’ and gave me a vague description of what that meant. If you are easily frightened DO NOT google that. Big mistake, HUGE. You’ll need a nightlight after.
Anyway, this brings me to a little experience I had last night. Let me set the scene for you: During the last hour before I go to sleep, I usually have a string of white twinkle lights that are strung about my headboard as the only light source in my room. When I am ready to go to sleep, I simply reach over the right side of my bed and unplug the lights from the wall. A few feet away from the foot of my bed is my closet which has two mirrored doors in which I can see the reflection of my bed. (Another rule: Don’t look in the mirror when the lights are off.)
I spent the hour before sleep reading Miranda July’s novel, The First Bad Man–not a creepy book at all. When I decided to stop reading for the night, I reached over to unplug the twinkle lights from my wall. As I did so, I happened to glance in the mirror reflecting from the foot of my bed. In the reflection I saw the figure of a man dressed in baggy clothes, standing faced towards the wall, with his hand on my head. I looked next to me to where he should be in the reflection–nothing. I looked back into the mirror–nothing. Why is this weird to me? All my other visions have occurred when I awoke from sleep. At this time, I had not been sleeping or even falling asleep.
Word to the wise, guys; if you are having a similar experience, don’t go and google things like ‘seeing people who aren’t there’ because google will basically just tell you that you are schizophrenic. I don’t think I’m schizophrenic. Recently, my best friend and I were discussing my experiences and she suggested that I may have an overproduction of melatonin which may be causing something like ‘waking dreams’.
I am waterfalling my fingertips together, here. Ah, yes–something to research. There’s no resolution to this story, so I’m sorry if you were hoping for one. Rather, it’s something that’s on my mind and I felt like it would be interesting to share with whoever may come across this blog. Like I said, I like to hear people’s reactions to all of this.
And away I go…