"Was Anna O.'s black snake hallucination a sleep paralysis nightmare: Dreams, memories, and trauma" -Powell, R. A., & Nielsen, T. A. (1998).
The other day I was sitting and talking with Dr. Breuer about this awful experience I had recently with a black snake trying to attack my father. You see, my father is very sick much of the time and it is my job to take care of him. Often he is in bed unable to move much if at all, and he sleeps quite a bit. Once he is asleep, there is nothing I can do to wake him since he sleeps so deeply. If you recall from the introduction at the top of my blog, Dr. Breuer is one of my doctors that treats my Hysteria. Though I must admit, I am beginning to think that they are the crazy ones and they have made up this whole disease they think I have.
In the house we live, there are snakes that live underneath the foundation. They are black and poisonous. The other day, one of them got into the bedroom where my father sleeps and I saw it slithering up closer and closer to my father. From the chair where I was reading, I began to cry out for him to wake up but of course he wouldn't. It seemed as though the snake was possessed by a demon and had it out for my father particularly and was racing towards him as if for vengeance. I tried to get up and grab something to hit the snake but to my terror I found that my left arm would not move!!! Then my voice stopped working, and I could no longer cry out for my father to wake up. Furthermore, my thinking was not in English!! My native language is English, but my mind was thinking in German. I do not even know German, nor have I even taken any lessons in it!
So, I had to resort to only thinking and praying in German that the snake would not bite him. From that point on my memory is foggy... I am not sure if the snake bit my father or not. I remember for days after, I could no longer speak with my words, only in my mind. The German was gone, but I could not form words with my mouth. I don't know why that is, but I was so frightened by the whole experience that I think it caused my vocal chords to be paralyzed as a result. Now I am terribly frightened that my father might be sick from the snake bite and that I don't know it. What if the poison works slowly, and tomorrow morning I find that my father will never wake again?
I told Dr. Breuer about this, and he told me I must have been dreaming it. He said it did not really happen. I don't believe him. He also told me that the reason I thought my arm would not move was that WHILE I was telling him the story, my arm had been hanging over the back of the chair and had fallen asleep. I just don't understand how this makes sense! How could it be that I could confuse the present moment with my memory of what had happened with the snake? He also said that only a few moments ago I had woken up after retelling this story as if I had been asleep while telling him.
This must be another one of Dr. Breuer's tricks. He tricks me all the time. I think its rather mean of him, but he says he isn't tricking me and that its my mind that tricks me. I was becoming more and more agitated durong this session, and as if it was a sign, a train whistle blew loudly outside his office. It was as if the train whistle was my own thoughts screaming for Dr. Breuer to shut up and leave me alone. So we ended the session and that was that.