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Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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Ive recently have had what I think to be sleep paralysis.

Resolved Question:

I've recently have had what I think to be sleep paralysis. The nightmare that I
have a long with it is of being raped. I had two nightmares in one night. Different rapist each time. To be upfront I was raped when almost four years ago. The second dream I was half in and out of consciousness. I could still hear the tv in the background but I really felt the sensation of someone choking me as I was trying to sleep on my stomach. There was no one there but everything felt so real. I couldn't scream or move. Every dream I can't scream or get away my body freezes. This is really concerning me. I have a developing fear of sleeping. I'm so tired I try to sleep, but either the dreams wake me up or can't fall asleep for fear of it. I live a lone which does not help. I've become paranoid of noises fearing that these dreams and fears could become reality. Especially if I can't move I don't want to be raped again. I don't know how to deal with this. I could appreciate any help.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Sarah replied 6 years ago.

Hi Customer


Thanks for your question. I have changed your question to Q and A as I think there is a technical fault. I don't know if you managed to read my answers, but I shall go through it again here.


There are several things here to tell you. It is natural for us to try and process away distress during our dreams - they think this is what they are for. However, when they are too distressing, processing doesn't work and we awaken, hence they are called 'nightmares'. So your brain is trying to process away the real rape, which is causing dreams of them, which is making the situation even more traumatic.


It is also very natural for our brain to paralyze the body during sleep, especially when we dream - this is so that we don't act out our dreams and go sleep walking, potentially hurting ourselves. If you awaken during paralysis, it is terrifying - I have done this myself so I can sympathize with you. Your situation is very much intensified because you are paralyzed during a dream of the rape - this seems very cruel of Mother Nature, but she is trying to get rid of the emotions for you.


I would like to suggest that you find an EMDR therapist, (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) who can help your brain to process away the memory of the rape that is locked in your subconscious mind, along with the emotions that you experienced at the time. Then the memory can drop back in time and you can sleep peacefully again. The good thing about this therapy is that you can go through the rape in your head without telling the therapist every detail, whilst the therapist helps you to process away. Its an odd therapy, but it can be so very powerful. The therapy is emotional, but it allows you to process it for the last time, so you need not dream of it any more. Have a look on for more information and a therapist near to you. You are showing that you can be strong, so I hope you can keep going with this until you have let it go - you have done nothing wrong - rape is ALWAYS wrong and the rapist is ALWAYS responsible for it. Treat yourself to the therapy now and you may be amazed how good you can feel again. Lack of sleep/tiredness can bring about many problems, such as obesity, typeXXXXXaccidents, lack of concentration to learn, to work, to go out with friends. Tackle this now and get your life back. Happy to respond to your answer if you wish. Best, Sarah



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