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Vivid hallucinations when falling asleep (I don't think it's sleep paralysis)

Hey everyone

I've already posted this on another forum but didn't get an answer after a long time. I don't know if it's because noone knows what's happening to me or my question just didn't get any traction.
I'm sorry for the really long text but my experience is very specific and i feel the need to describe it in detail.

This has been happening for maybe 2 - 2.5 years now and there are times where it happened maybe once a week and times where it didn't happen for months. Currently it happens maybe once a month, maybe even more times I don't remember.

Sometimes when I go to sleep, shortly before i fall asleep, I will get this intense pressure in my head. It feels like someone put a way to small helmet on my head and it just keeps getting smaller and smaller. It feels like it should hurt, but it doesn't, it's just an extremely intense pressure. Really hard to explain.

After that I will start hallucinating. I am completely delirious at this point and don't even realise I'm sleeping or in my room. The hallucination is completely real to me, almost like a dream. These hallucinations are extremely vivid too, filling my entire field of view and transporting me to a completely different place. They also aren't abstract like LSD hallucinations or something, it's always a real place and a scenario I could actually be in. I can't really find any connection between these hallucinations. Once I'm in the city in the rain, once I am outside my house and another time I was just standing in front of my Computer doing nothing.

The reason I know these aren't just dreams is that i can see and feel the transition back into the 'real' world. The hallucination will get blurrier and blurrier. During this the head pressure returns and usually I will realise that I'm actually in my bed. After that the hallucination will slowly vanish from my vision and the pressure will subside.

This transitional state is also where I will panic sometimes. Sometimes I am still in this delirious state where I think the hallucination is real when this transition starts. So I get blurry vision and this intense head pressure in a seemingly normal everyday situation and I think I'm having a stroke or something. I have also had two or three of these hallucinations lately, where something painful happened and I could actually feel it. These are the reasons why I'm starting to get scared of it.

Sometimes I can feel the head pressure and stop the whole thing by moving around a bit. Most of the time though I already don't really get what's happening at that point.

From what I remember this only happens when I am going to sleep, and not when waking up. I also have trouble remembering these instances sometimes, sometimes only remembering it like two days later.

Also mind that this seemingly only happens when i don't smoke weed before going to bed (wich I often do).

The reason I don't think this is just sleep paralysis is that people describe it very differently. They always describe a chest pressure and seeing figures in their room. The hallucinations they describe aren't nearly as vivid as what I experience. Also the head pressure is a very consistent element. It ALWAYS comes before the hallucinations. I have been to a doctor and a neurologist because of this, and both of them didn't know anything that matched my symptoms and the neurologist told me that what I am experiencing is very unusual. I also did a brain scan and some other tests and everything seems to be functioning normal up there, so I really don't know what to do at this point. I hoped someone on here knew what's happening to me, or at least someone had the same experience so I know I'm not alone in this.

It really didn't bother me for some time since it didn't seem dangerous but because of the reasons mentioned I'm getting really sick of it. Also I don't like the idea of going completely insane in the middle of the night once a month.

Thank you for your answers, they are highly appreciated.

I'm 20 btw. This has been happening since I was about 17 or 18
1 Responses
Avatar universal
Look up 'exploding head syndrome' to see if that fits.  If so, rest assured despite the bad sounding name it's considered harmless.  In any case, I suggest you to talk to a doc about this.
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