I doubt seriously that anyone could, with certainty, explain the cause of the events that you have described in your letter. Though I cannot conclusively explain the cause, I may be able to add some insight as to the possible cause. First of all, according to your letter these events only happened at night when the rest of the household was sleeping. This tells me that, in all likelihood, you were also trying to sleep or at least in a time period designated for sleep.
When we are awake we are conscious and when we are asleep we are unconscious. That would be simple enough if it were a binary system or a digital system where conscious was a one and unconscious was a zero but instead it is an analog system. If we think of consciousness as a one and unconsciousness as a zero, an analog system tells us that there are an infinite number of points between one and zero. There is a 1.0 and a .99 and a .999 and a .099, etc. In other words, there are many states between conscious and unconscious. These states are generally known as altered states of consciousness. You can think of a state of meditation, or hypnosis as an altered state of consciousness. An altered state is a mixture of the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. As you are very well aware, dreaming occurs during sleep and is a product of the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is more than capable of producing every sight, every sound, every smell, every feeling and to produce these with the realism that at times seems actually more than real. Almost everyone has had a nightmare that was so real, so terrifying that they stayed up the rest of the night so as not to take a chance at returning to the same dream.
You stated in your letter that these events occurred during two specific periods in your life, both of these were periods of fear or anxiety. You also mentioned difficulty sleeping during these periods. Fear or anxiety inhibits the transition from consciousness to sleep. In essence, during these periods you were not asleep nor were you awake. You were in-between sleep and full consciousness and most likely experiencing an altered state of consciousness.
I hope I’ve shed a little light on a possible cause for the experiences encountered during your sleepless nights. Good luck.
Dr. Kristina Randle