My original character Azra, as you probably know him through a lot of the personal works I’ve created, struggles with a lot of byproducts of PTSD (Including a lot of anxiety and a variety of other mental tics and symptoms). One of those is struggles is insomnia. It’s more of a reluctance thing. As with anyone who struggles with insomnia, he has trouble finding sleep when he wants it, and when he does it’s at seemingly random and/or unwanted times. On top of that, the sleep he does find is plagued with nightmares.
Recently he is learning he suffers from a form of sleep paralysis. He’s haunted by what he just assumed was ghosts of memories that could/could not be his own, but they’re actually what’s known as hypnopompic hallucinations (hypnagogic hallucinations). These occur before or after awakening, and results in visual and auditory hallucinations. Many people see or hear different things, and sometimes can’t move, adding to the stress and fear of the situation.
Azra, in particular, often sees shadows lurking about his residence. He knows that they aren’t real and aren’t actually people, but sometimes they just seem so real to him that he can’t help jumping from bed and searching his place, just in case. He keeps a gun under his pillow, and makes sure to close the door. He’s definitely learned to make sure his bed doesn’t face the door.
I wanted to draw this in a way that it made sense. I had a bunch of aspects I wanted to address. I wanted him to look like he had just opened his eyes after hearing something, maybe like a door shutting or a creak in the floor, but even though he knows that what he is experiencing isn’t real, it doesn’t terrify him any less. He’s not taking action and giving in, but he’s gripping tight on his pillow/sheets as these hallucinations take place.
This is also my first full piece with my new monoprice tablet, which afforded me a lot of new workarounds and a few frustrations (more computer oriented than with the tablet), so that was interesting as well.