Afraid of being afraid

A few years ago, I was REALLY into lucid dreaming. The idea sounded so awesome, I wanted to create my own worlds, explore my mind, and manipulate my surroundings.

However, I ran into a stumbling block: fear. I read the horror stories about “bad trips” in lucid dreams, such as SP, old hag, and being aware in nightmares in general. Now, I knew for a fact that absolutely nothing could hurt me, and being afraid of being afraid is irrational. Unfortunately, if fears were rational, we wouldn’t have problems with them. I wasn’t able to get over my hesitation, and eventually put LDing out of my mind.

Recently though, I was reminded of LDing and now I want to start again. But this time, I don’t want to let my fears stop me. I’m asking anyone that had the same issues as me or those that are understanding about this: what do you recommend to get over it? How can I basically conquer the fear of fear itself?


Hi Adam,

It depends, it could be either easy to be solved or incredibly hard depending on your fear.

It could be hard if you in fact have Phobophobia (i.e. your fear of fear is not only about LDing). In this case you should look for professional help.

If you don’t, you just need to experience it without thinking about the bad things and you will soon find that you don’t need to fear LDing at all.

Thanks for the reply.

I doubt that I have Phobophobia. I love being scared normally; I play a lot of horror games like Amnesia or Silent Hill, and I love horror movies. It’s just a lot different when it’s in a situation where you’re normally physically helpless, and when it feels like it’s actually helping to you. The amount of horror stories I’ve heard related to LDs don’t help either.

I guess I’ll just need to experience it. But first, I’ll just ask this: how common is the usual scary stuff? I know that this stuff is mainly based on expectation, but are things like intense SP moments that I’ll have to expect sooner or later, or are they rare experiences that are often talked about because they are rare?

That’s good that you probably don’t have Phobophobia.

I think SP freak is quite rare, if that’s you are asking.
Then, if you are worried about SP, you just need to know that it’s easy to deal with!
Many people get scared when they have SP because they force to move, then they get yet more scared because they cannot. By getting scared their breathing intensifies (intentionally written like that) until it’s hard to breathe because they are still paralyzed…

You just need to remain calm and the SP won’t hurt (by itself, I mean, in rare cases you may be already injured because of your real life adventures and something might actually hurt, but that’s not the case here).


  • do not force to move;
  • maintain calm breathing rhythm;
  • avoid opening your eyes.

There are easy ways to break the SP:

Solution 1: Just wait, without fighting it, when you try to move, do not push it. Wait a bit, and try again without panic.

Solution 2: Move only what’s not paralyzed (usually faster): There are muscles that are never paralyzed by SP, such as the thoracic diaphragm, your heart (thank God, but it’s not voluntary). There are some muscles that are almost never paralyzed, such as the tongue, throat, masseter (jaw), sphincters (just search for it if you don’t know what they are). Keep moving one or more voluntary muscles that are not paralyzed, the SP would break real soon. For example, swallowing seems to be effective.

Solution 3: (My favorite) since the thoracic diaphragm is never paralyzed, there’s a nice trick that is not as fast as Solution 2 but seems work all the time: Hold your breath for about 10 seconds (just stop breathing), then take a really deep breath, hold it for about 2 seconds then blow it out. Every time I tried it, the SP breaks as soon as I exhale the air.

I think there are other ways but I can’t recall right now.

Are there ways to “control” the SP itself? I don’t mean the paralyzation itself, I can deal with that as long as I know what’s going on. I mean the visual and audial hallucinations. Could I potentially turn those things into fluffy bunnies and a song I like, or will I just need to take those at face value? I mean, if I could potentially treat SP like a LD itself in a way, then I’d actually embrace it.

That’s a smart move if you ask me!

Wake Initiated LD techniques involve using SP to “transform” it into an LD. Among these, there are WILD and DEILD.

WILD is about falling sleep (from being awake) and trying to go through SP until dream starts. Be sure to read some links:
Making WILD your own (updated)
Is WILD for beginners?

DEILD is about taking advantage of being in SP right when you wake up. Don’t move at all and try to get back into a dream while in SP. You may find this technique named as “chaining” as well. Be sure to read some links:
DEILD - Dream Exit Induced Lucid Dream

If you don’t want to take advantage of the hallucinations, breaking SP would cause them to vanish.

Yeah, I’ve heard of those techniques. I was quite interested in WILD a few years ago, but the whole SP thing put me off on it.

Anyway, I’m probably going to try techniques like MILD because SP is something I’m not really interested in experiencing, I just want to be prepared for it should it happen. Anyway, thanks for the help!

this is exactly what i have!! some years ago i was also so scared that i forgot LDing !
im a little bit scared to now and i also posted a topic like this, maybe you can check it out on my profile!

the key for me is: knowing that you only have a nightmare 2 times in a year. when i remembered my dreams in the past, you only remember the negative ones. but now when i am recalling my dreams & looking in my dream journal, i see that most of my dreams are with friends, in safety places with much, beautyful and bright light. just remember that you can controll your dreams, you can create a sword or something, to make you feel more convident, but most of all: convince yourself about that you can get hurt and there wont be something scary. the most you think of positive things, the most you will dream about positive things. for me this is working very good! :content: :content:

Thanks you very much for wonderful answer
Have a nice day