I think I would be deeply traumatized by having a dream similar to the one depicted in this comic. Years of exposure to fiction in which dreams, hallucinations, altered mental states and other such things have a certain degree of objective reality to them has rendered me extremely succeptible to this kind of idea. If someone in my dream told me that they didn't want me to wake up because they were afraid to die, I'd not only be terrified for the remaining part of the dream but I would feel guilty and evil for a long time after waking up. That's assuming they were a pleasant person of course. If it was an antagonist character, I'd be inclined to be less troubled.
Like the first reply said, now I'm afraid to go to sleep. At least somewhat. The worst part is that I know I'd wake up straight away, because I always do when I realise that I'm dreaming. That's just the way it works for me. If any sympathetic character in one of my dreams were to tell me that I was dreaming, and they did not want me to wake up, they would in effect be signing their own death warrant.
Spoon_of_Doom wrote:The first is kind of a semi-lucid dream gone bad. I'd dream something, everything's fine, but then something happens (like seeing my late father for example) that makes me go, "No, wait. This can't be real. I'm dreaming!" But this doesn't turn into the awsome lucid dream experience where I can do what I want, instead the world around me suddenly goes black. I then think I'm in a semi-awake state, and try very hard to fully wake up, but I can't. But I can very weakly perceive my enviroment, or at least I think so. It feels like I'm tensing my brain like an actual muscle in the process, and it's very exhausting. I often think I have partial control over my body, which means I can move, but it's very hard. So I try to do things like punching myself or pulling my hair or hit the wall to cause myself up, but it never works. The worst thing is that I'm always sure that if I stop trying and "tensing" my brain for just a few seconds, I will never wake up again and cease to exist. A long time, I thought that this half-awake state was actually real, which made the whole thing that much scarier. Until one night, in this dream I rolled myself out of my bed to wake myself up. Of course it didn't work. But when I then woke up in real life, I realized that I wasn't sleeping in my bed at all and in a completely different room because someone was staying at my place and using my bed. Only then was I sure that this was really nothing more than a dream.
It's hard to explain what that feels like, but I hope I got the point across more or less.
It sounds similar to an experience that I sometimes have had, in which I stop dreaming, but don't actually wake up properly. Instead I attempt to wake up, but can't open my eyes, process any sense impressions, or move at all. I feel that I am trying extremely hard to wake up. As you have said, the best way to describe it is the feeling that one is flexing the brain like a muscle. I do eventually manage to wake up, in a cold sweat with my heart pounding.
The other variant is somewhat less strenuous. I wake up and open my eyes, but I am unable to move at all. I can process sensory data, but that's all I can do. I can't speak, and I'm completely helpless. I can't even move my neck, so I'm stuck looking in the direction I was facing during my sleep. I have no idea how long it lasts, since I seldom sleep facing a clock.
Since we're generally talking about dreams here, I think I may as well mention that I went through a disturbing phase of dying in my dreams. The most memorable being the time when I started coughing, only to bring up blood. I remember going downstairs to get help, but I couldn't make a sound. That dream ended with me bleeding to death from my mouth.
It was most unpleasant.